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Old 9th November 2008, 08:44 PM   #21
gastephen
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I've just found an online version of the first article, which, at 51 pages, I'll need to peruse later on. But from a quick skim, I was interested to read his definition of declaración:

Quote:
Una declaración no es una aserción. Es, justamente, lo que una aserción y una suposición tienen en común ("visión que un sujeto tiene del mundo representado", "lo que un sujeto sabe o piensa").
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Old 10th November 2008, 10:52 AM   #22
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Interesting stuff. I'm sure this approach will lead to a more intuitive understanding than the case by case approach.

Regarding ser/estar: ser is the essence of something, estar it's state
That's my rule. I state it here only because I find it seems to work for me and it seems to apply to any use that I've come across.
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Old 10th November 2008, 02:47 PM   #23
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What about the use of the subjunctive to express emotion?

e.g. me alegra que hayas ganado

Here it seems that the speaker is unable use the indicative to declare/assert that you have won, because he/she is obliged to use the subjunctive. To me it seems that you would usually be happy about something having occured in reality, such as somebody winning, and would therefore wish to use the indicative to declare/assert as much. However the speaker cannot apply Lazarus' rule because the option of using the indicative is not available.

Is this case an exception to Lazarus' rule, or can it be accommodated somehow?
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Old 10th November 2008, 05:56 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
What about the use of the subjunctive to express emotion?
e.g. me alegra que hayas ganado
Here it seems that the speaker is unable use the indicative to declare/assert that you have won, because he/she is obliged to use the subjunctive. To me it seems that you would usually be happy about something having occured in reality, such as somebody winning, and would therefore wish to use the indicative to declare/assert as much. However the speaker cannot apply Lazarus' rule because the option of using the indicative is not available.

Is this case an exception to Lazarus' rule, or can it be accommodated somehow?
.....ah well - what's a rule without an exception? Yea rationalization!
Let's go Lazarus.......Ënlighten us
(We'll probably hear: ..."feelings are ephemeral, they don't express objective reality, blah blah blah..."
I'm just teasing, Lazarus - even tho I'm serious.......pulling your leg with one hand, scratching my head with the other, all the while recalling that sage advice: "don't get your knickers in a (grammatical) twist"!

Last edited by Margot; 10th November 2008 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 10th November 2008, 06:56 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
Here it seems that the speaker is unable use the indicative to declare/assert that you have won, because he/she is obliged to use the subjunctive. To me it seems that you would usually be happy about something having occured in reality, such as somebody winning, and would therefore wish to use the indicative to declare/assert as much. However the speaker cannot apply Lazarus' rule because the option of using the indicative is not available.

Is this case an exception to Lazarus' rule, or can it be accommodated somehow?
The point main of this sentence is not to inform the other person that he has won, but to make comments about the fact that he has won. Look at these two sentences:

Creo que has ganado.
Me alegra que hayas ganado.


Which one would you use to tell the another person that you think or know that he has won? (Not to tell him that you are happy about it, but to tell him about the fact of winning according to what you think?). Only the first one, so it is the only one accepting indicative.

More examples:

Es increíble que aún estés aquí.

You are not trying to inform the other person that you think or know he is still here, but to inform him of your views about that given fact that doesn't need to be acknowledged independently (it doesn't have to be "declarado"). You didn't say "aún estés aquí" because it was the main point, but because you needed that phrase to detail your main point, which is to say how incredible something is. However, in:

Es evidente que aún estás aquí.

the whole point of the sentence is to acknowledge that the other person is here, and also to point out how obvious that is. Subjunctive here would avoid acknowledging something that it is supposed to be obvious, and that makes no sense.

Using an example by Ruiz Campillo: if you come closer to a group of people, and suddenly you hear from them this sentence about you:

... lazarus sea estúpido.

you cannot get angry... yet, because no one is informing others that you are stupid, but you cannot know whether it is a feeling, a doubt, or simply an assumption, because subjunctive is not necessarily any of these things. All you know is that they didn't want to "declarar" this, state it as one's own opinion for others to know, independently of the rest of the sentence. This sentence could have been many things:

No creo que Lazarus sea estúpido. (disagreement)
Es posible que
Lazarus sea estúpido. (probability, but not confirmed)
Es imposible que Lazarus sea estúpido. (impossibility)
Nadie ha dicho que Lazarus sea estúpido. (negating a fact)
Ojalá Lazarus sea estúpido. (wish)
Me divierte que que Lazarus sea estúpido. (emotional response to that fact)

In the last sentence, the speaker didn't want to inform others of his belief: this is taken as a assumption before this comment, and therefore is not being "declarada" here (it has been done before, maybe by someone else).

What we express with the subjunctive is determined, not by the subjunctive itself, but actually by the other verb and complements in the main sentence within which the subjunctive is being used; the subjunctive is used because the whole point of the sentence is not informing others of our belief's about Lazarus, but something else, like our feelings about it. However, if you hear:

... Lazarus es estúpido.

you have all the right in the world to get angry right away; there is absolutely no need to know what came before that sentence, because that's what the person thinks and wants others to know; he has just openly "declarado" it.

Estoy seguro de que Lazarus es estúpido.
Seguro que Lazarus es estúpido.
Creo que Lazarus es estúpido.

If anyone uses indicative, we can always quote that part of the sentence as a open "declaración" from the speaker, no matter what the beginning of the sentence was (assuming no indirect quotes, questions, irony, etc.).

Take these three sentences in English:

1) I think it is raining.
2) Most likely, it is raining.
3) It is likely to be raining.

If someone said the first one, and you said "No, it is not", you are directly commenting on the speaker's "declaración", ignoring the fact that he also said "I think". On the second one is the same, because despite that "most likely", he has also "declarado" that "it is raining". However, on the third one, a comment like "No it is not" would only make sense if you mean "No, it is not likely", as the person has never "declarado" that "it is raining". Also, the last sentence is the only one where the speaker can go on saying: "... but I don't think it is raining", because it is the only one where that has never been "declarado" before.

1) I think it is raining, but I don't think it is raining.
2) Most likely, it is raining, but I don't think it is raining.
3) It is likely to be raining, but I don't think it is raining.

Understanding this fine distinction is the key to understanding subjunctive.

Last edited by lazarus1907; 10th November 2008 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 10th November 2008, 07:20 PM   #26
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As a humble aside to lazarus' excellent explanation, some other terms that you might hear in this regard are as follows.

In me alegra que hayas ganado

me alegra is the foreground information, the comment or rheme, is of high information value, and of high 'relevance'; whereas hayas ganado is background information, the theme, presupposed information, the common ground between speaker and listener, and is therefore of low information value and low relevance.

The indicative is sometimes said to be the 'marked' form, with the subjunctive the 'unmarked' form - meaning that use of the indicative draws attention to the fact, and the use of subjunctive de-emphasises it. As lazarus said, the whole point of the sentence above is to state ('declare') that you are happy - this is brought to the foreground by the use of the indicative; whereas the presupposed information is not really new information at all and is sent to the background.
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Old 11th November 2008, 08:35 AM   #27
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I think the whole point that Jose Placido was making is that trying to follow a rule that says "this verb/phrase/sentiment always takes the subjunctive" inevitably produces a long list of exceptions and is impossible to teach or learn. Only the meaning that the user wants to convey should matter - as Lazarus has ably demonstrated with his examples.
Mind you I've only read it a couple of times so might change my mind yet!!
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Old 13th November 2008, 02:59 PM   #28
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¡Fenomenal! My grammar book uses 42 pages explaining it (most of which I don't understand) -I like this rule much better.

...er, the only thing is, what do you mean by 'make a declaration'? -is that a grammatical term, I didn't get it from your examples.
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Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
I've just found an online version of the first article, which, at 51 pages, I'll need to peruse later on. But from a quick skim, I was interested to read his definition of declaración:
Hmm maybe it takes 42 pages for an outline of the subjunctive, but 51 pages to explain what 'make a declaration is'!

Anyway, I've found this thread very useful and believe I'm getting a better 'feel' of the subjunctive here than from many books.

Here is an example from B+B:
"me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"

-in fact they use this example to demonstrate that the subjunctive does not always indicate doubt or uncertainty (there is no implication that the sun may not set)
I'm having trouble reconciling this with 'declaring' in that it seems to me that here you are making a declaration. Lazarus...are you still there?
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Old 7th December 2008, 09:23 PM   #29
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Quote:
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Hmm maybe it takes 42 pages for an outline of the subjunctive, but 51 pages to explain what 'make a declaration is'!

Anyway, I've found this thread very useful and believe I'm getting a better 'feel' of the subjunctive here than from many books.

Here is an example from B+B:
"me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"

-in fact they use this example to demonstrate that the subjunctive does not always indicate doubt or uncertainty (there is no implication that the sun may not set)
I'm having trouble reconciling this with 'declaring' in that it seems to me that here you are making a declaration. Lazarus...are you still there?
I've had a read through the article and I'll give my comments on this below. But first, I'll try to summarise what I've read.

In his article El concepto de no-declaración como valor de subjuntivo Ruiz Campillo puts forward the view that the choice between indicative and subjunctive mood should be explained and guided by actual meaning rather than simply as an exercise of looking for the correct grammatical form — from lots of separate rules and associated exceptions, lists of cases, verbs, set expressions, and so on.

The basic premise is that the indicative is the mood of ‘declaration’ and the subjunctive the mood of ‘non-declaration’. Here ‘declaration’ is used in the sense of an explicit statement of what the speaker knows or thinks (with varying degrees of certainty) — I think I’d have preferred a definition along the lines of it being an explicit statement of what the speaker intends to convey of what he knows or thinks.

Ruiz Campillo uses an extended transport metaphor in which a long journey (learning to understand and to use the subjunctive) is much faster by car (the ‘declaration’ model) than on foot (‘traditional’ taught methods). That said, however, he does point out that before going anywhere by car, one must first devote some time and effort in learning to drive. To this end, he describes in some detail six different generic contexts. These are nicely summarised at the end of the article in the form of an ‘operational mood map’.

The contexts are classified in terms of the type of matrix clause involved. (A ‘matrix’ clause sits at the top of the clause hierarchy; it is super-ordinate to the subordinate clause(s).)

The contexts covered are as follows, with the appropriate mood indicated as either (I) indicative or (S) subjunctive.

1. Intentional (S) — Quiero que…

2.
a) Declaring a fact (I) — Es verdad que…
b) Casting doubt (S) — Es dudoso que…
c) Evaluation (S) — Es bonito que…

3. Making a specification
a) Object identified by the speaker (I) — …una cosa que…
b) Object not identified by the speaker (S) — …una cosa que…

In 1 the matrix clause introduces a subordinate clause containing an objective. For instance, if you say that you want someone to be your friend (quiero que sea mi amigo), you are not saying that that person is your friend, so you are not declaring that fact. And therefore the subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause.

In 2a you are declaring X, whereas in 2b you are calling X into question and therefore not declaring it.

For 2c it is stated as a rule that when commenting upon a fact, it is the comment that you want to declare and not the theme of the comment, which is taken to be presupposed (already known by the listener), and so the object of the comment is not declared. The rule can, however, be broken to create a special effect by drawing attention to the fact commented upon, bringing it to the foreground, when, for example, the speaker assumes it not already to form part of the common ground.

In 3a a specific item already known to the speaker is described and declaring its description signals this fact. Conversely in 3b the item in question is not specifically identified by the speaker and so its description cannot be declared.



The case of adverbial clauses is not specifically mentioned in the article. Tad quoted the example:

"me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"

I think there could be different ways of looking at this.

You could say that the fact that the sun will set is common knowledge and is therefore presupposed, in which case one would not declare the fact. But this doesn’t cover the generic case of this construction where the subordinate clause refers to some future event (in which case the occurrence of the event is not necessarily presupposed).

Another approach might be to say that what you are declaring is ‘me acostaré at a certain time’ and not that 'se pone el sol'. But I think this account obviously runs into trouble when the setting is changed from the future to the past: me acosté cuando se puso el sol.

So, perhaps there is another regulation in the ‘declaration’ highway code saying that you just don’t declare future events in adverbial clauses. If so, then what insight does the declaration model provide here?

I’d also like to know more about how the approach accounts for a few more scenarios, such as:

quizás + INDICATIVE v. quizás + SUBJUNCTIVE in main clauses

‘If’ clauses using indicative when introduced by si, but using present subjunctive when introduced by como,…

Cheers, G (still driving with 'declaration' L plates)
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Old 7th December 2008, 11:51 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
The case of adverbial clauses is not specifically mentioned in the article. Tad quoted the example:

"me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"
The author is not intended to cover the several thousand possible scenarios where the subjunctive might arise, but to give a tool to make sense out of it. In any case, the idea remains the same, and it is almost parallel to that of relative clauses. That sentence is saying that "the sun sets at certain times", where these moments are represented by the temporal conjunction "cuando", linked to the time I go to bed. Is it not our intention to declare that the sun sets at those times, for they haven't taken place yet. Also, the future tense in Spanish is used to make suppositions, and it is very difficult to declare that things happen or have happened when we are not positive that they are true. If you say "cuando se pone el sol", you are declaring that the sun sets at times, and therefore, it has to be something that has happened before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
So, perhaps there is another regulation in the ‘declaration’ highway code saying that you just don’t declare future events in adverbial clauses. If so, then what insight does the declaration model provide here?
Imagine that I approach a group of friends who are talking, and I hear only this:

...cuando vienen mis padres a visitarme.

It is a declaration, so I know that my friend is saying that his parents come to visit him sometimes, and because of that "cuando", I know that there is something else that happens when they visit him, which I have missed, for I could only hear the end of the sentence. Because of the present tense, we can presume that this is likely to have happened several times before.

If I hear:

...cuando vengan mis padres a visitarme.

This time I know it wasn't his intention to declare that this visit has taken place at certain times, and therefore something happened. The only logical conclusion for this choice of mood is that he is not talking about a past event that can be declared, but a potential outcome, and therefore, in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
I’d also like to know more about how the approach accounts for a few more scenarios, such as:

quizás + INDICATIVE v. quizás + SUBJUNCTIVE in main clauses
These two are tricky, but you can imagine "quizá" being equivalent to the beginning of a sentence introducing a subordinate clause:

Quizá viene mañana = Creo que viene mañana
Quizá venga mañana = Es posible que venga mañana

However, if "quizá" is not at the beginning of the sentence, we have to assume that it is a plain adverb, and therefore the sentence is not a subordinate clause, and must be in indicative:

Viene mañana, quizá.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
‘If’ clauses using indicative when introduced by si, but using present subjunctive when introduced by como,…
"Si" is used in conjunction with an outcome being true when a particular condition is met. Therefore this condition can be declared IF it happens. Of course, for as long as it is not true, the whole thing is irrelevant, and we can ignore that declaration. "Si" is sort of waiting for a declaration to be made before a conclusion can be stated. This peculiar behaviour is exclusive of "si", and it cannot be expected from other linking words. Now, if an outcome is not going to happen, because the condition is not expected to be met, any declaration becomes impossible, and its timeless hypothetical nature forces the use of the imperfect subjunctive.
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Old 8th December 2008, 10:54 PM   #31
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Many thanks for your insights, lazarus.

The use of si with the indicative in the if-clause for open conditions seems to be something of a special case then. I get the feeling there is something of a catch-22 in being able to declare the condition IF it is true ;-)

cheers, G.
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Old 11th December 2008, 10:59 PM   #32
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A bit more on conditional statements...

I was interested to learn that it was formerly the FUTURE SUBJUNCTIVE that was used in the si-clause (protasis) for 'real' (or 'open') conditionals, as opposed to the present indicative used in modern Spanish; and that this archaic form is still used in legalese.

So, you'd declare the condition in the subordinate clause in everyday Spanish, but not if you were drafting a legal document

Any insights into a) the reasons behind the historical shift in mood in this context, b) why the archaic form is still retained in certain registers, and c) how the 'declaration' approach accounts for this?

Cheers, G.
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Old 12th December 2008, 03:05 PM   #33
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Quote:
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Here is an example from B+B:
"me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazarus1907 View Post
The nuances are almost impossible to translate exactly, but bear in mind that the future tense does not necessarily imply absolute certainty about the future; for that, you need the present tense: Este fin de semana veo el partido con mis amigos.
Gluing these threads together maybe this is an answer to my sun setting phrase. In English when we say 'I will' I take that as a declaration of intent which was why I was wondering why no indicitive... so then any future subordinate clause must be subjunctive?

Re future subjunctive I have seen lazarus comment before with something like 'don't bother with it, most Spaniards don't know how to use it anyway...' which is fine with me.
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Old 12th December 2008, 08:05 PM   #34
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Quote:
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Re future subjunctive I have seen lazarus comment before with something like 'don't bother with it, most Spaniards don't know how to use it anyway...' which is fine with me.
De acuerdo. Cuando a Roma fueres, haz como vieres, ¿no?

That said, however, from a theoretical perspective it would still be interesting to know the answers to my three questions.

Later.
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Old 27th December 2008, 07:15 PM   #35
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Default A bit more about mood in conditionals...

In an interview, Ruiz Campillo briefly touches on the question of the choice of mood in conditional statements with regards to 'declaración'.

He says that in terms of teaching Spanish in the classroom this is an area that is simply not worth fully explaining, as the cost/benefit ratio is too high. The simple rule for this restricted context is easy to memorise; and the full explanation is too abstract and time consuming.

He does mention in passing, however, that "the operator si frees mood from any 'declarative' responsibility."
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Old 28th December 2008, 05:19 PM   #36
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In English when we say 'I will' I take that as a declaration of intent which was why I was wondering why no indicitive... so then any future subordinate clause must be subjunctive?

I asked a friend of mine about your " me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol" and the (slightly gloomy) answer that I got was " ok , you are stating that you will go to bed when the sun goes down using the future tense (a fact as you intend to do it) and even though the sun generally rises and sets everyday there is still the (all be it slim) chance that the world could end before that time , so the sun setting cannot be "declared" (see Lazarus' posts) as an actual fact untill it happens.(hence the use of the subjunctive). I believe this applies to all future subordinate clauses, at least the ones that use "cuando".

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Old 28th December 2008, 08:25 PM   #37
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I asked a friend of mine about your " me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol" and the (slightly gloomy) answer that I got was " ok , you are stating that you will go to bed when the sun goes down using the future tense (a fact as you intend to do it) and even though the sun generally rises and sets everyday there is still the (all be it slim) chance that the world could end before that time , so the sun setting cannot be "declared" (see Lazarus' posts) as an actual fact untill it happens.(hence the use of the subjunctive). I believe this applies to all future subordinate clauses, at least the ones that use "cuando".
If it is really only to do with the fact that a given future event might not actually take place, why does this only apply to subordinate clauses? Why is it okay to declare: el sol se pondrá a las 16:50 ?

I think the level of uncertainty in the mind of the speaker would be the same in both instances.
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Old 30th December 2008, 04:27 PM   #38
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If it is really only to do with the fact that a given future event might not actually take place, why does this only apply to subordinate clauses? Why is it okay to declare: el sol se pondrá a las 16:50 ?

I think the level of uncertainty in the mind of the speaker would be the same in both instances.
I'm new to all this declaration business and I'm only going from what I have learned from the posts in this forum (including your own).However, in my mind the key to all this depends on how you define "to declare" and I would say (based on my limited knowledge of the subject) that in order to declare something it has to meet one of (at least) 3 different criteria.

A/ To be something that has already happened/a fact.

B/ To be something that you have observed happening in the past/generally happens, which you can then declare as you own personal opinion.

C/To be something that you have been previously informed about.

"El sol se pondrá a las 16:50"

A/ No , it hasn't happened yet.

B/ Yes , I have seen the sun set at 16:50 yesterday and the day before so I am going to declare that it will do the same tonight.Therefore I'm declaring my own personal opinion of what will happen (based on previous observations and what generally happens) and not actually declaring that the sun will set as a fact .

C/No , the sun can't inform me of anything.

"Me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol" " I will go to bed when the sun sets"

A/ No , it hasn't happened yet.

B/ No, by saying "when" I have fixed it to a single occurrence , that "when" has never happened in the past and will only happen that one time, therefore I can't declare it as my own personal opinion based on previous observations or the fact that it generally happens.

C/No, the sun can't inform me of anything.

As I said , I'm no expert on the subject and I realise that this answer is far from perfect and somewhat open to interpretation, but this is my take on it.

Last edited by delgado; 30th December 2008 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 30th December 2008, 07:12 PM   #39
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Hi Delgado

My take on this is that most people use the subjunctive in the phrase "me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol" not because they are uncertain that the sun will set, but because they are uncertain of when it will set. However I don't think the reason for the uncertainty is that important - the point of the phrase is to communicate that your action of going to bed is entirely dependent on the setting of the sun: if the sun doesn't set then you won't go to bed.

If you used the indicative then I think it would come across as if you were declaring that the sun will set, and that it will coincide with you going to bed, but it wouldn't convey that one action is dependent on the other.

More generally, I think if we start trying to discuss how we go about making declarations about the world, and how certain we can be of them, then we'll end up talking about epistemology (the theory of knowledge), which might involve entering rather deep philosophical waters. The subjunctive provides an excellent way of avoiding them.
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Old 30th December 2008, 07:43 PM   #40
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Hi Delgado

My take on this is that most people use the subjunctive in the phrase "me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol" not because they are uncertain that the sun will set, but because they are uncertain of when it will set. However I don't think the reason for the uncertainty is that important - the point of the phrase is to communicate that your action of going to bed is entirely dependent on the setting of the sun: if the sun doesn't set then you won't go to bed.

If you used the indicative then I think it would come across as if you were declaring that the sun will set, and that it will coincide with you going to bed, but it wouldn't convey that one action is dependent on the other.

More generally, I think if we start trying to discuss how we go about making declarations about the world, and how certain we can be of them, then we'll end up talking about epistemology (the theory of knowledge), which might involve entering rather deep philosophical waters. The subjunctive provides an excellent way of avoiding them.
I see your point , and very well explained (as usual)
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