All Slavic languages: the subjunctive

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Crescent, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Hello, everyone! :)

    I would be very interested to know in which languages does this mood still exist, and in which ones it has already become extinct or has never existed in the first place. :)

    Also, I also wonder if we use it in Russian? According to my dictionary it translates as : сослагательное наклонение What confuses me slightly, is that from my knowledge of French and Spanish, I know that certain verbs or expressions (usually followed by que) take the subjunctive after them. For example, in French, 'Je veux que tu saches' and the verb 'savoir' has to then be in the subjunctive.
    But do we do it in Russian?
    Я хочу что бы ты знал(а)..
    Знала = the imperfect tense.
    Or perhaps we don't use it in this example, but there are others where it's needed?
    Anyway, I will be very interested to know about your native language and it's use of this aspect of grammar! :)
    Thank you very much in advance for any response!

  2. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Yes, but as far as I know, it's a lot less used than in, say French.

    First of all, I haven't learned about it yet, so I can't give you a detailed answer. However, I know that you express the conjunctive in Russian with бы, so your above sentence is indeed in the conjective mood.

    When our professor told us about the conjunctive, saying we only needed to throw the word бы anywhere we wanted in the sentence, I was very relieved (from looking over it, it seems he was exaggerating a little, but still - it's a lot easier than in French) ;)
  3. ferran

    ferran Member

    Croatian doesn't have subjunctive.
  4. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Thank you very much for your reply! Yay! It's my first one..
    And yay! We do have the subjunctive! I always thought Russian was just..the richest language in the world! :D I would actually really like to know about at least one example where the subjunctive is used in Russian, and how it is used.
    It's not used in English much either. The only example I can think of, is: The doctor suggested that my sister drink 3 spoons of medicine a day.'' and even that sounds slightly archaic to me.
    Also, ''Is it necessary that we be here?'' sounds like a good example.

    The problem is that even thought the subjuctive is used in English, it's form of the verbs is identical to that of the indicative, and therefore native speakers make no distinction between the two.. :(
    I wonder if that's the case in Russian, too...?
  5. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    I can give you a couple of example from my text book:

    1) Я пошёл бы в театре
    2) Ты бы бросил курить

    I can't tell you much about its usage, but it seems it's mostly used to express wishes/desires (like 1) and requests (like 2).

    If I were rich, I'd buy a house in Provence ;)

    It's also used in some sentences like that in Russian, though I don\t know the rules for it yet.
  6. dima_david Member

    New Mexico
    As I learn Spanish, I find that the easiest way to figure out whether or not a subjunctive is needed is to translate the phrase from Russian. Whenever in Russian an imperfect tense is used, Spanish will require a subjuntive. I haven't found any mistakes with such reasoning yet. So I think calling subjunctive сослагательным наклонением is wrong: the two are used for different purposes, and have closer analogies with other grammatical structures in the other language.
  7. dima_david Member

    New Mexico
    Lemminkäinen's post is a case in point for what I said above:

    It seems that to translate this into Spanish you want to use Conditional Tense, not Subjunctive:

    1) Yo iria al teatro = I would go to the theater.
    2) Ty dejarias a fumar = You would quit smoking.

    In the next phrase, however, subjunctive is used, exactly where in Russian one uses the imperfect tense:

    Si yo fuera rico, compraria una casa en Provancia = Если б я был богат, то купил бы дом в Провансе.
  8. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Hello there! :) Thank you for offering your very interesting response to us. :)
    I found it really fascinating how you decided whether an expression is followed by the subjunctive or not in Spanish, by comparing it to the Russian one and seeing if that uses the imperfect!.. I think I may try that too sometimes! :)

    But I've come across an example where I'm afraid (I think) your wonderful theory fails. When you want to say in Spanish: I'm sorry / it's a pity that you couldn't come yesterday, the expressions: Siento que(o lamento que)/ es pena (o lástima) does indeed require the subjunctive after it, no? :)
    So the phrase will be (and please do correct me if I am mistaken): Siento que/es lástima que no pudiera venir ayer. (o que no hayas podido venir ayer?)
    However in Russian, this sentence would simply translate as: Мне жаль,что ты не смог придти вчера.
    So how do we fix this one?
  9. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Yes!! :D Exactamente! I noticed that too! I think that romance language would probably use the условное наклонение in this case, and doesn't the бы in Russian signify that the conditional is used here also?
    Я бы пошел в кино, если бы у меня хватило денег на билет. - example of a conditional (I would go..etc.) followed by an imperfect, no?
  10. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Czech doesn't have the subjunctive and I am next to certain that neither do other Slavic languages.
    Like others said, the uses of the subjunctive in Romance languages are mostly covered by the conditional.

  11. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Thank you, Jana!
    It doesn't exist then? :( That's awfully sad.. The subjunctive is my favourite mood! It is used to express emotions, feelings, fears and doubts, and it's just so useful for an emotional person like me. :)
  12. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I agree with Jana, as usual. Slavic languages don't have the subjunctive as a separate mode (or mood) as we do: present, imperfect and future (for Spanish and Portuguese) subjunctive. The constructions with бы/by are close in meaning to some of the instances of the subjunctive, but are not equivalent in all cases.
  13. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Are you sure about it in Russian though? My grammar book as a whole chapter devoted to the conjunctive (with some of the examples given above). Plus, there's sites like this that seem to say the same.

    The Russian conjunctive (or whatever you want to call it ;) ) doesn't seem to be as broad as the Romance languages, and seems to mostly deal with uncertainty and doubt. But now I'm getting confused, so I'll see if someone who actually knows this language might elaborate ;)

    Edit: I see jazyk already gave a nice explanation - that helped for my confusion, thanks :)
  14. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Come on! :) We do not have that particular mood but we still can express as many emotions as we want: Think of the unrivalled way we form diminutives. Not to mention our ability to reshuffle the word order in many ways to convey exactly the feeling we want. Where else can you find it? :)

  15. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    As I said in my last but one post, we certainly can express the subjunctive but the point is that we miss a separate grammatical mood. Look at this example from the webpage you quoted:
    Я бы пошёл в кино, если бы у меня был билет.
    I would have gone to the movie, if I had had a ticket.

    In both parts of the Russian sentence, you have a conditional. If some people call it conjuctive, I think they are only creating confusion in the heads of learners: It would be infinitely easier to say that you just need two conditionals in the if-clauses.

  16. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Lemmi, are you sure you're not confusing it with someone else entirely? Because isn't the conjunctive a totally different mood from the subjunctive?

    What confuses me the most, if how come there is about an arm-long list (if not a leg-long :p) of expressions in Romance languages (French and Spanish certainly) which are followed by the subjunctive, and absolutely no such thing in Slavic languages.
    For example, do any Slavic languages at all employ either the conditional or the subjunctive or the conjunctive (I've totally lost myself now.. :eek:) after phrases such as: It is possible that, I want you to, I regret that, I am happy that, on the condition that, unless, etc.?
  17. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Jana, thanks for explaining :) Yes, I guess it would be simpler to put it like that.

    No, the conjunctive is the same as the subjunctive. It's only that in Norwegian it's called konjunktiv, so that's what I usually use ;)
  18. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Spanish - subjuntivo, Italian - congiuntivo. Two names for the same thing. The etymology is enlightening but I am afraid there's not more to it.
    We employ either the indicative (past, present or future) or the conditional.

  19. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    How interesting. In Serbian we say exactly the same: konjuktiv (коњуктив).

    I second what Lemminkäinen and Jana said. It is basically the same.

    But, subjunctive is the correct word in English;) .

    PS: And no, Serbian doesn't have it at all. But we still manage to be VERY expressive and sensual if we really want:D .
  20. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "Subjunctive" is the most commonly used term, but I think "conjunctive" is also right.
  21. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Both subjuntivo (Brazil) and conjuntivo (Portugal) are used in Portuguese. In Spanish it's always subjuntivo, in French subjonctif, in Italian congiuntivo, in Catalan subjuntiu and in Romanian both conjunctif and subjonctif. In case anybody cares.
  22. mauro63 Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    spanish/italian - Argentina
    I don't agree with Jana in that subjunctive is replaced by conditional in romance languages. At least in italian and spanish, this tenses are very well defined and have clear rules even though not everybody use it as one should .:)
  23. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    You mean this post?

    I am sure Jana didn't want to tell this. She meant Slavic" but instead she wrote "Romance" languages. Besides, she speaks Italian very well, and in the previous sentence she speaks about Czech and other Slavic languages, so this would be pretty unwise of her if she thought this for real, don't you think?:D
    Wait for her and you'll see that I'm right. It was just a typo.
  24. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Thanks Natasha! :D

    Actually, it was not a typo but just a clumsy formulation.

    Another attempt: The uses of (the subjunctive in Romance languages) are mostly covered by (the conditional in Slavic languages). So, where Romance languages use the subjunctive, we mostly use the conditional.

    I hope this makes it clearer, sorry for the confusion. :)

  25. cajzl Senior Member

    My attempt to make an illustrative example:

    Tengo un perro que ladra (ind.). - Mám psa, který štěká (ind.).

    No tengo (un) perro que ladre (subj./conj.). - Nemám psa, který by štěkal (cond.).

    Since the dog in the second sentence is non-existent, Spanish uses conjunctive and Czech uses conditional.
  26. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    Maybe I can give an example. Subjunctive is used after verbs that express wish or doubt. In Serbian, we use just a plain simple present.

    Ojalá tuviera un hermano!
    Kamo sreće da imam brata!
    I wish I had a brother.

    IMAM is just plain present.
    TUVIERA is imperfect subjunctive (subjuntivo imperfecto)

    No creo que tenga tres hijos.
    Ne verujem da ima troje dece.
    I don't think he has three children.

    TENGA - present subjunctive (subjuntivo presente)
    IMA - present simple

    With contidional, just as in Czech:
    No tengo un perro que ladre...
    Nemam psa koji bi lajao...
    I don't have a dog that would bark...

    LADRE - present subjunctive (subjuntivo presente)
    BI LAJAO - present conditional
  27. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Thanks! Is this everything? Much ado about nothing as I can see. :(

    Then I'll add Slovene version.

    E: I wish I had a brother.
    Sp: Ojalá tuviera un hermano! --> past subjunctive.
    Sr: Kamo sreće da imam brata! --> present tense
    Sl: Želim si, da bi imel/imela brata. --> conditional

    E: I don't think he has three children.
    Sp: No creo que tenga tres hijos. --> present subjunctive
    Sr: Ne verujem da ima troje dece. --> present simple
    Sl: Ne verjamem, da ima tri otroke. --> present simple

    E: I don't have a dog that would bark...
    Sp: No tengo un perro que ladre... --> present subjunctive
    Sr: Nemam psa koji bi lajao... --> present conditional
    Sl: Nimam psa, ki bi lajal... --> present conditional
  28. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    No, Mataj, it's not everything... Spanish uses of subjunctive are numerous. I just gave two most common examples (and the simpliest, too:D )....
  29. Diaspora Senior Member

    Serbocroatian, English
    That is a debatable statement. It depends on the terminology as it is not a settled issue. Officially, publishers of Serbo-Croatian do not mention the subjunctive but it does exist in the concept that is called "da+konjuktiv".

    Let's compare the similiarities of Spanish and Serbo-Croatian so that it is easier to see the point.

    El amor es muy importante. (indicative)
    Creo que el amor esté muy importante. (subjunctive)

    Ljubav je veoma vazna. (indicative)
    Mislim da je ljubav veoma vazna. (subjunctive)

    Even English uses such constructions to make the subjunctive, though the uses are different from language to language. I am not sure about other Slavic languages but I think South Slavic languages have more of a subjunctive feel to them.

    There is also something like a future subjunctive.

    Jednoga dana postat cu slikar. (Indicative-One day I will become a painter.)
    Nadam se da jednoga dana cu da postanem slikar. (Subjunctive-I hope one day I will become a painter.)

    There are no rules for these, you can choose how to speak,
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  30. Kanes Senior Member

    All four moods in Bulgarian are expressed with auxiliary particless, for subjunctive its да.

    ex: искам да си там - iskam da si tam - I want you to be there
  31. DarkChild Senior Member

    The second sentence is not correct. It does not employ subjunctive in this case.
  32. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    The analysis of infinitive paraphrase "da + finite verb" as (future) subjunctive was already discussed in the future subjunctive thread in some detail. :)
  33. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    English does not employ the subjunctive in such sentences:

    Love is very important. (indicative)
    I believe that love is very important. (indicative; the subjunctive would be "be")
  34. Diaspora Senior Member

    Serbocroatian, English
    So, it would be "Let love be...."
    Sorry for belaboring.

    I apologize for my Spanish, I'm exposed to it but not an expert.
  35. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I don't think you'd use the subjunctive in either sentence, at least not in modern English. Perhaps the second sentence would take subjunctive centuries ago, because it's reported speech. I believe the subjunctive is used for reported speech in German...
  36. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    It is, but please, and half-way putting my moderator hat on - let's just focus on subjunctive in Slavic languages; to give examples of other languages to explain the use better is of course okay and welcome insofar as it helps indeed to explain the use - but let's try and stick to topic as close as possible. :)
  37. Just that "знала бы" (not "знала") is constructed analitically does not mean Russian has no subjunctive mood. :) Each language has its own "subjunctive mood", so it's only possible to compare subjunctive mood in one language to subjunctive mood in another language.

    I suggest that you go for a walk = Я хочу, чтобы ты погулял.
    I wish you were here = Я хочу, чтобы ты был рядом.
    She is breathing deeply as though she had been running = Она запыхалась, как будто бы до этого бежала.
    If I were ("had been" doesn't work here, does it?) you I wouldn't have said it = Если бы я был тобой, то я бы этого не сказал.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  38. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    It depends on your definitions. Here's a quote from Alexander M. Schenker writing in Corbett and Comrie's The Slavonic Languages:

  39. I agree. But I don't think that it makes sense to compare modern languages with Proto-Indo-European to answer the question whether any Slavic language has the notion of "subjunctive mood". Russian has a notion close to the notion of what is called subjunctive mood in English and which is usually translated to English as the subjunctive mood.

    And we don't combine anything with the verb "to be" to form the subjunctive mood in Russian, so the cited description of the conditional mood in Proto-Slavonic does not work for modern Russian. Perhaps, some updated version would work.

    I don't know whether science has got any universal definition for the subjunctive mood, but if we compare any modern language to Proto-Indo-European as suggested in your quotation, it is pretty much " compare subjunctive mood in one language to subjunctive mood in another language". ;)
  40. Diaspora Senior Member

    Serbocroatian, English
    I think the main difference is that in Romance languages the subjunctive mood is built into the verb itself. While in Slavic and other languages, it is built by a seperate construction. Technically speaking, Slavic languages do not even have a regular future tense because all they are is the present tense of (to be+infinitive or to want+infinitive).
  41. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    ...or (the future of) "to be" + l-participle.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  42. jadeite_85 Senior Member

    italian, slovene
    This form in Common Slavic could have been the subjunctive, a separated form from the conditional (perfective aorist of the verb "to be" + l-participle). So, practically, Slovene uses the ancient Slavic subjunctive to express future. This way of forming the future is present also in BCS (which is future II) and if I'm not wrong it is used just in subordinate clauses. The conditional and subjunctive merged in all Slavic languages, right?

    To be fair, neither the Romance languages (at least I know about Italian and French) form the future tense "regularly" as was in Latin (with future desinences). They use a merged form of the infinitive + verb "to have" conjugated in the present. It is the same procedure as in Serbian "radiću, radićeš ..." I will work, you will work. "Lavorerò, lavorerai" in Italian is practically lavorare + ho, lavorare + hai; in French "je travaillerai, tu travailleras" is like travailler + ai, travailler + as.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  43. ibogi Member

    Serbia - Serbian
    So, in Serbian, there is no subjunctive, but I think there is something which resembles optative. You can read that verb to be (biti) has to forms: jesam/jesi/je and budem/budeš/bude. So if it has two forms, what's the difference. I believe the difference is that first form is indicative, the second form is optative.

    Ja sam lekar - I am a doctor - Ja budem lekar is wrong
    on the other hand, expressions with wishes normally don't use jesam/jesi but use budem/budeš
    Hoću da budeš dobar -> I want you to be good (aka. behave well) - Hoću da sam dobar sounds weird / compare Je veux que tu sois sage
    Želim da budem lekar -> I want to be a doctor - Želim da sam lekar sounds weird / compare Je voudrais /etre/ que je sois medecin
    Ne smeš da budeš glup -> You musn't be stupid - Ne smeš da si glup sounds wrong / compare Il ne faut pas que tu sois stupide

    I don't know if other Slavic languages have such feature.
  44. ibogi Member

    Serbia - Serbian
    Also, there is optative active and optative passive in Serbian, e.g.

    Ne želim da on bude povređen - I don't wont him to be hurt / compare Je ne veux pas qu'il soit blessé.

    I guess Futur II can be also interpreted as optative because it is related more to wishes and less to facts (as any future is)

    Ako budeš učio, položićeš ispit - If you study, you will pass your exam <- notice that study is not a fact, but a wish
    Kada budem prolazio, svratiću - When I pass by, I will stop by <- again pass by is not a fact, but a wish (and wishes are always related to future)

    There is a tendency in modern Serbian language to replace Futur II with present/indicative. So the above sentences would be:
    Ako učiš, položićeš ispit
    Kada prolazim, svratiću

    But, if we take verb biti, the things sound a little bit different
    Ako budem bio u blizini, videćemo se - If I am around, we will meet
    The short version
    Ako budem u blizini, videćemo se <- budem is used, not jesam

    This suggests that Futur II is also one of the optative modes.

    Oče naš, koji si na nebesima <- Our Father, who are in Heaven -- indicative
    da bude volja Tvoja <- Thy will be <- optative, this is a wish, not a fact

    Other examples:
    Neka bude tu <- Let him be there / compare Qu'il soit là

Share This Page