Subjunctive vs Conditional

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by McBabe, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. McBabe Senior Member

    English- British
    Evening all!

    In a recent thread about the structure "To want someone to.." in Russian, we started going a bit off topic about the subjunctive in Russian.

    Rusita preciosa said:

    "Я хотела бы, чтобы ты пел - I would like you to sing (хотеть in subjunctive mood)
    Я хотела, чтобы ты пел - I wanted you to sing (хотеть in indicative mood, past tense)

    Subjunctive in Russian is not as developed as, say, in French or Spanish, but still exists."

    And then went on to say that s/he was unaware of the differences between the subjunctive and conditional in Russian,if any.

    If we use German as an 'intermidiary' language between English and Russian, it can perhaps be explained?

    In German there is 'Konjunktiv II' -second subjunctive. Whilst technically subjunctive, it is translated normally into English as 'would'.

    For example:

    Ich wuerde mich informieren
    I would inform myself

    A slightly odd example I know, but I was trying to think of vocab which was similar in German and English for the non German speakers :)

    So perhaps it is the same in Russian? That whilst technically subjunctive, it is translated like Konjunktiv II into English as conditional?

    It is just a theory and I would love your opinions on the matter!

    Looking forward to some interesting responses!:D
  2. morzh

    morzh Banned

    >>Honestly, I'm not sure what is the difference between subjunctive and conditional moodes in Russian (if any), let's wait for someone who knows the theory better.
    (Rusita from previous thread).

    I'm no linguist, but isn't "subjunctive mood" (which is modus subjunctivus, as I remember) in Russian simply what used to be called "сослагательное наклонение" in my parent's grammar books and what was called "условное наклонение" in he books of my school-time?
    If yes, then those two are the same animal. Or at least Russian conditional is part of the subjunctive, if one is encompassing another.
  3. Mtasya

    Mtasya Junior Member

    New York
    In the conditional (or subjunctive ) the particle бы is added to the past tense of any gender, number or aspect. Sometimes бы is contracted to б: я сам написал бы ему - I would have written to him myself. Вы могли бы приехать около трех? - could you come around three?
    In complex sentenses, the particle бы is found in the main clause as well as in the subordinate: если бы я не был занят, я бы пошел. - if I were not busy, I would go.
    The particle бы can be places before or after the verb, both variants are correct. Note that this particle may emphasize the subject by following it immediately: я бы не пошел. - I would not have gone.
    The conditional mood may refer to the past present or future. Если бы вы приходили к нам чаще could mean if you would have visited us more often (last summer)" or "I you would visit us more often"
    Если бы вы пришли в среду could refer to the past or future "if you would have come in Wednesday " or "if you would come on wednesday"
    Meanings of the form past tense + бы include: a) condition proper. Если бы я не был болен, я бы пошел/if I weren't sick I would go. B) wish, desire, request я хотел бы стакан воды/I would like a glass of water. C) an informal suggestion Вы бы немного отдохнули/why don't you rest a while? D) concession кто бы ни пришел, меня нет дома/ whoever may come I am not at home.
    I think it covers it.
  4. estreets Senior Member

    In Russian thanks to old Russian linguists (ifluenced much by their German colleagues) we have that complex условно-сослагательное наклонение. It's also due to tha fact that both are formed similarly: using бы (б) + past form. Of course their meaning is quite different but they were combined thus confusing many people.
    Conditional is used to express just a conditional fact and Subjunctive is used to express a wish, will, order etc.
    Что бы ты сделал, если бы был директором? (C)
    Я хотела, чтобы ты пел. (S)
    По правилам требуется, чтобы претенденты хорошо знали английский язык (S)
    (In fact some very advanced linguists even think that in the first sentence in the fist clause we use Subjunctive (сослагательное) and in the if-clause pure Conditional (условное) is used).
    In fact Conditional is rather simple in Russian.
    But Subjunctive is a little bit more difficult. It is used in many structures:
    Что бы мы ни предприняли, у нас ничего не получилось.
    Где бы ты ни был, что б ты ни делал, между землей и небом - война.
    I thinh other foreros can give more good and useful and interesting examples.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  5. dec-sev Senior Member

    По-моему это самый полезный пост для тех, кого интересует практический подход к вопросу, но похоже данная ветка посвящена теории вопроса.
  6. Garbuz Senior Member

    The Indicative Mood is opposed to the Oblique Mood which has a number of subtypes. The Conditional subtype is one of them.

    Я хочу, чтобы он спел. (desire)
    Если бы он спел, мы были бы рады. (condition)

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