Expression of feeling + subjunctive

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by shamblesuk, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. shamblesuk

    shamblesuk Senior Member

    England, English
    Ciao a tutti, potete aiutarmi?

    Following on from the 'pronunciation of 'abbia' thread can I clarify the use of the subjunctive when following an expression of wish etc.

    In the textbooks:

    'Penso che (io) abbia capito' is listed as a way that is commonly used, whereas I'm now being told that if I am talking about myself in the 1st person I should use 'Penso di aver capito'. :confused: Is the 1st style wrong or just not used (widely or otherwise).

    Would this also apply in cases such as:

    'Credevo di aver imparato' is this right or would one use 'Credevo che (io) avessi imparato'?

    Questi congiuntivi.........

    Grazie in anticipo.

  2. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    I think it's wrong.

    Penso che abbia capito = penso che lui/lei abbia capito (I think he/she understood)

    Penso che tu abbia capito (I think you understood)

    Penso d'aver capito/penso di avere capito (I think I understood)

    Good luck
  3. franx Senior Member

    Italy - Italian, US English
    It's really quite simple. If the subjects of the two verbs are the same (I think I know / you think you know / he thinks he knows / etc...), Italian doesn't feel the need for the full subjunctive construct, di + infinitive is less cumbersome and is possible since there's no need to express another subject. After all, this is by far the most common occurrence so it's understandable that it got a shortcut. :rolleyes:

    I think I understood is Penso di aver capito
    I think you understood is Penso che (tu) abbia capito
    I think he/she understood
    is Penso che (lui/lei) abbia capito

    He thinks I understood is Pensa che (io) abbia capito
    He thinks he understood
    is Pensa di aver capito
    He thinks he
    (a different 'he') understood is Pensa che (lui) abbia capito

    You can express the subject that I put in parentheses if the context is not sufficient to disambiguate who the subject of 'abbia capito' is, or if you want to stress it.

    In the case of your textbook, "Penso che abbia capito" is therefore either "Penso che (tu) abbia capito" or "Penso che (lui/lei) abbia capito". If it really does put the "(io)" in there, change textbook...

    Is this clear? Pensi di aver capito? :)
  4. Scrumpals

    Scrumpals Senior Member

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA - English
    what if i want to say "I think I understand"
    Si direbbe "Credo di capire" o e' ancora "credo di aver capito"?

  5. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    Credo di capire = I think I understand
    Credo di aver capito = I think I understood
  6. Scrumpals

    Scrumpals Senior Member

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA - English
    davvero, ora credo di capire. Grazie!
  7. franx Senior Member

    Italy - Italian, US English
    Yes, that's the structure.
    Except that this specific verb, "to understand", is used just a tad differently in Italian than in English with respect to present/past.

    "I understand" can mean at least three things:

    1) I see / I can relate - "I can't go, I'm too afraid!" "I understand, that's fine."
    2) I know - "I understand full well how this works."
    3) I got it / I understood it - "Thanks for the explanation, I think I understand now!"

    In the first two cases, you can keep the present tense in Italian (although in the second case Italian tends to use the verb I know a lot)
    In the third case, where you're speaking about learning something and "I understand" has the meaning of "I understood (it)", Italian prefers to keep the past tense, because as a language it places the stress on the action of your having taken in something, rather than on the state of you now possessing that additional knowledge.

    Very subtle difference, but because of that, in this context Italians would be much more likely to say "Ho capito" and "Credo di aver capito".

    If, instead, you say "Credo di capire", in Italian it sounds more like #1 or #2 above, with possible examples such as: "Credo di capire perché non vuole venire", "Credo di capire come si sente", etc... ("I think I understand why s/he doesn't want to come", "I think I understand how s/he feels", etc...) - Of course, there are also cases in between: "I understand now!" could mean both "Now I see!" and "I got it now!", and depending on the situation you might want to translate it as "Ora capisco!" or "Ora ho capito!", but you get the point, I hope... :)

    So.... In general:

    I think I smurf --> Credo di puffare
    I think I smurfed --> Credo di aver(e) puffato

    But there are exceptions that depend on the different usage the two languages might make of some verbs...

    Cheers! :)
  8. Scrumpals

    Scrumpals Senior Member

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA - English
    Franx, molto chiaro - grazie.
    Comunque, sto cercando di capire che significa "smurf o puffare". non ho mai sentito queste due parole prima...
  9. Elisa68 Senior Member

    I think it is a joke referring to The Smurfs, the cartoon show! In Italian they are I Puffi.:D
  10. Scrumpals

    Scrumpals Senior Member

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA - English
    Ok, now im laughing (e forse' mi sto arrosendo - ma di colore blu...)
    Grazie elisa!!:D
  11. franx Senior Member

    Italy - Italian, US English
    :) Yes, sorry, maybe I should have said it... Since "The Smurfs" (in Italian "I Puffi") use the verb "to smurf" (in Italian "puffare") in place of pretty much every other verb, I simply meant it as a funny placeholder for any verb whatsoever used in the present or in the past tense.... Sorry for the unorthodox example... ;)
  12. Scrumpals

    Scrumpals Senior Member

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA - English
    Non che e' per niente importante, ma perche gli italiani hanno cambiato il nome da "smurfs" (che significa niente) a "I Puffi"? Credo che durante gli anni ottanti, usavamo la parola "smurfed" nel senso " i screwed up" come "oops, i smurfed". Ma non si usa piu'.
  13. uinni

    uinni Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Almost every country changed the name to those creatures of Peyo, adapting it to something that somehow sounded the best in their own language ( :) )
    The original name (and verb) is Schtroumpf, anyway, which has no meaning at all.
    In Italy we use "coso" (there is a thread dealing with this word, If I am not mistaken), yet for those characters a new word has been invented (maybe because also the original "schtroumpf" neither has any meaning nor is used in French to address an indefinite thingy thing).

  14. Scrumpals

    Scrumpals Senior Member

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA - English
    Wow, wow, and WOW (c'e' una parola italiana per WOW)....
    Non ci posso credere! I Puffi furono dappertutto. Grazie Uinni - quanto conosci di questi Puffi? Forse' non io non voglia sapere...

  15. uinni

    uinni Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    It depends on the context, of course:
    Però! Accidenti! Perdinci! Perdiana! Accipicchia! Mamma mia! Capperi! Porcapaletta! (Che) Figata!:warn: Che figo!:warn: Cazzo!:warn: :warn:

    I am afraid I cannot understand your usage of "furono" and "Forse' non io non voglia sapere"...

  16. Scrumpals

    Scrumpals Senior Member

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA - English
    Mi dispiace -
    i wanted to say:
    the smurfs were (furono) everywhere. and "maybe i don't want to know."
    "I dont believe it. The smurfs were everywhere. Thanks Uinni - how much do you know about the smurfs? Maybe I don't want to know.."

    E' piu' chiaro o no?

  17. uinni

    uinni Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Ok. So, the sentence that fits your eja... exclamation would be
    Chi l'avrebbe detto che i puffi fossero ovunque?! Quanto (ne) sai dei puffi? (Ma) Forse non voglio saperlo... -the last sentence means that you are afraid of the answer, of course :) .

    My teacher of Italian at "scuole medie" used to give us exercises where puffi were saying puffare everywhere and we had to fill in the dialogues with the proper verb :) )


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