[Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

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Jaleel10
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[Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby Jaleel10 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:00 pm

(sorry if the humour is a bit crude)

https://youtu.be/zg_WUVizzGs?t=8

''Este es un vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras os depiléis los huevos o estéis jugando ahí tranquilamente al fortnite''

The use of the subjunctive is really confusing me here lol. I've never seen it before. I'm talking about ''depiléis/estéis''
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby eido » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:17 pm

I'm sure someone'll come along and correct me, but my understanding is: "While y'all might be sitting there calmly playing Fortnite." That's a rough translation, mind.

There's no use of indicative because it's something the people the person is talking about could be doing, at some point in a future (and intermittently, perhaps), but they're not. At least, that's what I understand.
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby AndyMeg » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 pm

I'm a native speaker of spanish, but I'm not from Spain. For me it sounds a bit more like:

''Este es un vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras os depiláis los huevos o estéis jugando ahí tranquilamente al fortnite''

And I understand it as:

"This is a video so that you can put something in the background while you shave your balls or (for when) you are calmly playing Fortnite"
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby Jaleel10 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:10 pm

AndyMeg wrote:I'm a native speaker of spanish, but I'm not from Spain. For me it sounds a bit more like:

''Este es un vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras os depiláis los huevos o estéis jugando ahí tranquilamente al fortnite''



It's definitely ''depiléis''. I had it checked by several Spaniards

eido wrote:There's no use of indicative because it's something the people the person is talking about could be doing, at some point in a future (and intermittently, perhaps), but they're not. At least, that's what I understand.


That's roughly what my Spanish friend said too.

No sé si es otro caso donde predomina el Subjuntivo en España una vez más
Si me dices depiláis parece como que fuerzas a la gente a depilarse cuando escucha tu vídeo
Con Subjuntivo queda un poco más distante, es como, cuando llegue el momento de que te depiles
Yo te doy la oportunidad de que mires mi vídeo
Y yo usaría depiléis como el chico hizo.


Thank you both o7
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby Ser » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:15 pm

It sounds like "depiléis" to me.

The nuance between present subjunctive and present indicative is very small in this case. The subjunctive simply stresses that he really has no idea what his audience is going to be doing while listening to the video. He mentions depilation and playing that videogame as mere examples. The indicative would equally express he doesn't know what the audience is doing, but his ignorance wouldn't be as strong.

I don't want to get into detail about when the subjunctive is an acceptable form after mientras, but I'm just going to say the combination mientras + present subjunctive expresses ignorance of a future action (as far as I can tell this is not available for the imperfect subjunctive though). Mientras + present subjunctive OR imperfect subjunctive is also a construction meaning 'as long as'. Note that under the meaning 'as long as' it is not that colloquial, but rather neutral or high-register.

  • Me quedaré esperándote mientras vas de compras.
    'I'll stay here waiting for you while you go shopping (and I'm fairly sure that's what you're doing).' (You could also add por ejemplo and it would be the same thing as the sentence below.)
  • Me quedaré esperándote mientras vayas de compras por ejemplo.
    'I'll stay here waiting for you while you go shopping for example (or whatever it is that you're doing outside).'
  • Me quedaré esperándote mientras vayas de compras.
    'I'll stay here waiting for you as long as you are out shopping (if I get to know you aren't, I'll stop).'

  • Me quedaba esperándote mientras ibas de compras.
    'Back then I would always wait for you there while/whenever you went shopping.'
  • Me quedaba esperándote mientras fueras de compras.
    'Back then I would always wait for you there as long as you were out shopping.'

  • No te preocupes. Van a llegar mientras comemos.
    'Don't worry. They're will arrive while we're eating.'
  • No te preocupes. Van a llegar mientras comamos.
    'Don't worry. They're will arrive as long as we keep eating (if we stop, they won't).'
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby jonm » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:20 am

Ser wrote:The nuance between present subjunctive and present indicative is very small in this case. The subjunctive simply stresses that he really has no idea what his audience is going to be doing while listening to the video. He mentions depilation and playing that videogame as mere examples. The indicative would equally express he doesn't know what the audience is doing, but his ignorance wouldn't be as strong.

Interesting. I'm surprised that the indicative is even an option here. My understanding is that para que always takes the subjunctive, because the event or situation in the subordinate clause introduced by para que hasn't happened yet (or hadn't happened yet, if the sentence is in the past). So in the sentence in question...

Éste es un vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras os depiléis los huevos o estéis jugando ahí tranquilamente al Fortnite.

..."pongáis" can only be in the subjunctive, but I would have thought "depiléis" and "estéis" could only be in the subjunctive as well, since all three verbs refer to events that would hypothetically be happening at the same time but haven't happened yet (and may well never happen). Is that not true? Here the subordinate clause that begins with mientras is contained within the subordinate clause that begins with para que, and I would have thought the whole thing, the entire imagined scenario, would have to be in the subjunctive.

Even in a sentence where the events that haven't happened yet aren't just hypothetical examples but are actually expected to happen, I would have thought the subjunctive would be required. For example...

Sé que vais a jugar Fortnite esta noche, y grabo este vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras estéis jugando.

Sé que vais a jugar Fortnite esta noche, y grabo este vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras estáis jugando.

My understanding is that only the first version is correct. Is the second version possible too?

For context, this is from my reference grammar...

A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, 5th ed. wrote:Subordinators are words like ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘provided that’, ‘because’, ‘when’, ‘unless’, which introduce subordinate clauses. The general rule governing the use of the subjunctive after subordinators is: if the event referred to has or had occurred, the verb is in the indicative; if the event has or had not yet occurred, the verb is in the subjunctive. [...] It follows from this that a few subordinators, e.g. antes de que ‘before’, para que/a que ‘in order that’, always take the subjunctive because they must refer to something that has or had not yet happened.
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby Ser » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:48 pm

jonm wrote:Interesting. I'm surprised that the indicative is even an option here. My understanding is that para que always takes the subjunctive, because the event or situation in the subordinate clause introduced by para que hasn't happened yet (or hadn't happened yet, if the sentence is in the past).

Para que always takes the subjunctive, yes.

The thing to bear in mind is that "grammar rules" are not rules, they're patterns, tendencies, predilections, guides. In the end, we always find ourselves learning how the "rules" apply word by word.

For example, the demonstrative pronoun "this" can't normally be used to refer to a human, unless the human is treated like an object, as an insult. "Did I just make such a long trip just to see this? (pointing to a person)". But there is an exception tied to a particular syntactic construction: "this" can refer to a human with no insult expressed if it's the subject of the verb "to be", e.g. "this is my father-in-law", "this is such a cute baby!". The "rule" that English demonstratives don't refer to people except as insults is good to know, but so is the exception.
So in the sentence in question...

Éste es un vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras os depiléis los huevos o estéis jugando ahí tranquilamente al Fortnite.

..."pongáis" can only be in the subjunctive, but I would have thought "depiléis" and "estéis" could only be in the subjunctive as well, since all three verbs refer to events that would hypothetically be happening at the same time but haven't happened yet (and may well never happen). Is that not true? Here the subordinate clause that begins with mientras is contained within the subordinate clause that begins with para que, and I would have thought the whole thing, the entire imagined scenario, would have to be in the subjunctive.

Even in a sentence where the events that haven't happened yet aren't just hypothetical examples but are actually expected to happen, I would have thought the subjunctive would be required. For example...

Sé que vais a jugar Fortnite esta noche, y grabo este vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras estéis jugando.

Sé que vais a jugar Fortnite esta noche, y grabo este vídeo para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras estáis jugando.

My understanding is that only the first version is correct. Is the second version possible too?

I would personally have no problem with para que os pongáis un poco de fondo mientras os depiláis los huevos o estáis jugando ahí tranquilamente al Fortnite, with subjunctive pongáis but indicative depiláis and estáis.

I'm sure that if you ask this around to other native speakers you'll find some who'll prefer the subjunctive though, especially if you discuss your hypothesis first. If you just show them the sentence with indicative depiláis/estáis, I suspect most won't have a problem with it either.

For context, this is from my reference grammar...
A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, 5th ed. wrote:Subordinators are words like ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘provided that’, ‘because’, ‘when’, ‘unless’, which introduce subordinate clauses. The general rule governing the use of the subjunctive after subordinators is: if the event referred to has or had occurred, the verb is in the indicative; if the event has or had not yet occurred, the verb is in the subjunctive. [...] It follows from this that a few subordinators, e.g. antes de que ‘before’, para que/a que ‘in order that’, always take the subjunctive because they must refer to something that has or had not yet happened.

Yeah, that's the tendency, but as usual there are exceptions. Your grammar actually agrees with me when it comes to mientras:

    (iv) Mientras ‘as long as’/‘while’ is variable with respect to the subjunctive. [...] When it refers to simultaneous actions in the future, the subjunctive or indicative can be used: mañana puedes hacer la comida mientras (que) yo arreglo/arregle la casa ‘tomorrow you can do the cooking while I tidy the house’.

    Butt, John; Benjamin, Carmen. A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish. 5th ed. 2011. Section 16.12.7.iv.

...Well, except that I draw a slight nuance between the use of the indicative and subjunctive here.

By the way, I agree that antes de que always takes the subjunctive, just like para que, and so does a que when it means 'in order that' (a que can take the indicative when it means 'I bet' though).

I would also like to mention that it is also entirely possible for grammar authors to make misjudgements regarding how appropriate certain constructions are. A Spanish professor from a university in France once published an amusing article regarding published grammars and textbooks and the Spanish subjunctive with words of emotion. Apparently, many authors wrongly believe that the subjunctive has to be used in such contexts, but if you ask native Spanish speakers we often draw a distinction between indicative and subjunctive there, in a similar way to what I do regarding mientras.
Last edited by Ser on Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Random Review » Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:51 pm

Ser wrote:
jonm wrote:For example, the demonstrative pronoun "this" can't normally be used to refer to a human, unless the human is treated like an object, as an insult. "Did I just make such a long trip just to see this? (pointing to a person)". But there is an exception tied to a particular syntactic construction : "this" can refer to a human with no insult expressed if it's the subject of the verb "to be", e.g. "this is my father-in-law", "this is such a cute baby!"


Even that's not a syntactic rule AFAIK. I was told by native speakers in Madrid not to use that construction (even though it appears in some texbooks :lol: ) when making introductions in a formal setting, because it is somewhat disrespectful. Exact same syntax as your examples, very different context and very different acceptability (at least according to the judgement of several native speakers). This seems to me more pragmatics than syntax. If (as seems likely), its acceptability varies by dialect, it gets even more complicated!

#SpanishIsEasy :lol:
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby Ser » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:57 am

Random Review wrote:
Ser wrote:For example, the demonstrative pronoun "this" can't normally be used to refer to a human, unless the human is treated like an object, as an insult. "Did I just make such a long trip just to see this? (pointing to a person)". But there is an exception tied to a particular syntactic construction : "this" can refer to a human with no insult expressed if it's the subject of the verb "to be", e.g. "this is my father-in-law", "this is such a cute baby!"

Even that's not a syntactic rule AFAIK. I was told by native speakers in Madrid not to use that construction (even though it appears in some texbooks :lol: ) when making introductions in a formal setting, because it is somewhat disrespectful. Exact same syntax as your examples, very different context and very different acceptability (at least according to the judgement of several native speakers). This seems to me more pragmatics than syntax. If (as seems likely), its acceptability varies by dialect, it gets even more complicated!

#SpanishIsEasy :lol:

I was talking about English and its pronoun "this" though, not Spanish.

I agree with the people you met in Madrid who told you este es mi suegro is usually disrespectful. I would actually translate that as 'sadly this guy is my father-in-law'.

[I fixed your misquotation.]
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Re: [Spanish] Use of the subjunctive by this Spanish speaker

Postby Random Review » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:00 pm

Ser wrote:
Random Review wrote:
Ser wrote:For example, the demonstrative pronoun "this" can't normally be used to refer to a human, unless the human is treated like an object, as an insult. "Did I just make such a long trip just to see this? (pointing to a person)". But there is an exception tied to a particular syntactic construction : "this" can refer to a human with no insult expressed if it's the subject of the verb "to be", e.g. "this is my father-in-law", "this is such a cute baby!"

Even that's not a syntactic rule AFAIK. I was told by native speakers in Madrid not to use that construction (even though it appears in some texbooks :lol: ) when making introductions in a formal setting, because it is somewhat disrespectful. Exact same syntax as your examples, very different context and very different acceptability (at least according to the judgement of several native speakers). This seems to me more pragmatics than syntax. If (as seems likely), its acceptability varies by dialect, it gets even more complicated!

#SpanishIsEasy :lol:

I was talking about English and its pronoun "this" though, not Spanish.

I agree with the people you met in Madrid who told you este es mi suegro is usually disrespectful. I would actually translate that as 'sadly this guy is my father-in-law'.

[I fixed your misquotation.]


OK, my bad. I didn't realise you were talking about English. FWIW you can get the same effect in English as with Spanish by changing your intonation (and perhaps even pointing) to make it clear you are referring to the actual person as a "this" rather than specifying or naming an unknown identity. Although judging by the quality of your writing in English, you probably already knew that.

However, I'm pretty sure I haven't misquoted you, mate. It should quote correctly automatically when I press the "quote" button, shouldn't it?
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