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Old 30th December 2008, 09:52 PM   #41
gastephen
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Hi delgado

Thanks for your input - this is proving to be a very interesting discussion.

By the way here is how Ruiz defines declaración:

Una declaración es la manifestación explícita y efectiva de la visión que un sujeto tiene del mundo representado, mediante la cual el sujeto establece un determinado estado de cosas en ese mundo, independientemente del grado de seguridad que el sujeto tenga y exprese sobre ese estado de cosas.

or, more briefly:

Una declaración es una manifestación explicita de lo que un sujeto sabe (afirma) o piensa (supone).

BTW, one thing I liked from his article was this:

En español, cuando alguien dice que LLUEVE,
eso significa que alguien dice que LLUEVE
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Old 30th December 2008, 09:55 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
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.
I think there must be more to it than that. Picture this: I look up the exact time of sunset for my location in an almanac. With this certain knowledge, I then later make the statement, and yet the subjunctive is still required.
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Old 31st December 2008, 01:26 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
I think there must be more to it than that. Picture this: I look up the exact time of sunset for my location in an almanac. With this certain knowledge, I then later make the statement, and yet the subjunctive is still required.
I was suggesting the subjunctive is primarily used in this phrase to clarify that your going to bed is solely dependent on the sun setting, not on when it sets. You may happen to be certain of when the sun will set, but that is not relevant to the point you are trying to make. In this case you don't want to declare that you are certain of when the sun will set because that might imply that your going to bed is also dependent on the sun setting at that particular time, so you use the subjunctive.

BTW, regarding certainty, many philosophers have come to the conclusion that ultimately you cannot be certain about anything, except perhaps for the contents of your thoughts ("I think therefore I am").

I think this might have influenced Ruiz's definition of a declaration: he talks about declarations based on our representations of the world, independent of how sure we can be that our representation of the world corresponds with reality.
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Old 31st December 2008, 12:33 PM   #44
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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"

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?
Well I think that was the nature of this sentence that caused me problems. I think that the fact that the sun will set is not in doubt (as originally cited in B+B) -astronomic cataclysms aside.
There is of course a doubt that it will happen as a whole bunch of circumstances might arise, I might get hit by a bus, hit by lightening (less likely) or propositioned by a beautiful rich countess on my way home (highly unlikely -sigh)

...it just seemed to me that saying 'acostaré' was a declaration in the same way as 'creo que' but it seems that any future event following cuando must be subjunctive.

Presumably: 'Creo que no se pone el sol esta noche' is correct as it is a declaration even if it is a highly misinformed one

and 'No creo que no se ponga el sol esta noche' is correct also from a converse viewpoint (?)

It's all very confusing, I keep meaning to try and read through some of the weighty articals cited but I've got Ben and Marina's course to look at, which I bought myself for Christmas, and a Johnny Cash song to learn on my guitar.
So much to do, so little time...

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Old 31st December 2008, 06:00 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by tad View Post
or propositioned by a beautiful rich countess on my way home
I hate it when that happens.

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Presumably: 'Creo que no se pone el sol está noche' is correct as it is a declaration even if it is a highly misinformed one
From my understanding, yes - you are saying what you think and therefore declare that the sun won't set.

Quote:
and 'No creo que no se ponga el sol está noche' is correct also from a converse viewpoint (?)
You are saying what you don't believe and therefore only want to mention the proposition that the sun won't set without declaring it.

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It's all very confusing, I keep meaning to try and read through some of the weighty articals cited but [...]
You know you really want to!

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So much to do, so little time...
¡No me digas!

y

Te deseo a ti (y por supuesto a todos los demás también) todo lo mejor para el año nuevo.
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Old 31st December 2008, 06:36 PM   #46
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I think that the whole notion of certainty is a bit of a red herring in this type of situation. You said earlier:
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.
But I agree with:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
I was suggesting the subjunctive is primarily used in this phrase to clarify that your going to bed is solely dependent on the sun setting, not on when it sets.
Previously, I was content to accept it as a rule of grammar that the subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses referring to something that has not yet taken place.

The idea, however, that all uses of the subjunctive can be explained in terms of a single concept, namely that of declaración, is rather seductive.

Ruiz propounds a grammar based on significados and laws, which have no exceptions, rather than on rules, which do.

Quote:
You may happen to be certain of when the sun will set, but that is not relevant to the point you are trying to make.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I can see how the idea of 'relevance' (i.e. in the terms of high/low information value, foreground/background information etc) could be applied in this example as an explanation of why the setting of the sun should only be mentioned rather than declared. However, I also pointed out that this is inconsistent with what happens when the sentence is changed to be in the past.

My only conclusion so far is therefore to assume that, as you hinted at, for this class of sentence, dependency AND futurity are key factors in determining whether the event is declared or not.

But to me, this doesn't really explain the 'why'. For it only seems to be replacing "use the subjunctive" with "don't declare" in the standard rule.

I still feel that I must be missing something with regards to the declaración approach in this regard.


Quote:
BTW, regarding certainty, many philosophers have come to the conclusion that ultimately you cannot be certain about anything, except perhaps for the contents of your thoughts ("I think therefore I am").
Well, I don't think that Solipsism will really get us very far...
Quote:
I think this might have influenced Ruiz's definition of a declaration: he talks about declarations based on our representations of the world, independent of how sure we can be that our representation of the world corresponds with reality.
From what I have read about the subjunctive, this seem to be a fairly commonly accepted model - that of an individual's perception of reality (i.e. the notion of 'mental spaces').

Bueno, ¡te deseo todo lo mejor para 2009!
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Old 31st December 2008, 10:11 PM   #47
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Echando más leña al fuego my understanding is that in this instance the subjuntive can be used if the action in the subordinate clause takes place at a different time to that of the principle clause, leaving uncertainty out of the equation.

Hence

"me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"
"me acosté cuando se puso el sol"
"me acosté despues de que se pusiera el sol"
"me acosté antes de que se pusiera el sol"

However, as always there might be regional differences. In northern Spain castellano is heavily influenced by the bilingual town Bilbao. Its importance, both past and present means that their take on castellano cannot be ignored. In south and central america the influences come from all directions. Great resource for Ben & Butt !
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Old 1st January 2009, 01:50 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
I think that the whole notion of certainty is a bit of a red herring in this type of situation. You said earlier:
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.
Yeah I should have said something like:

"If you believe the subjunctive is being used to convey uncertainty then the uncertainty is probably to do with when the sun sets rather than whether the sun sets. However I don't believe the subjunctive is being used to convey uncertainty because...blah, blah, blah"

I didn't make the condition explicit because I was initially replying within the context of Delgado's post, which assumed that the subjunctive was being used to convey uncertainty.

[/quote]


Quote:
Originally Posted by gastephen View Post

...

The idea, however, that all uses of the subjunctive can be explained in terms of a single concept, namely that of declaración, is rather seductive.

...

But to me, this doesn't really explain the 'why'. For it only seems to be replacing "use the subjunctive" with "don't declare" in the standard rule.

...

Ruiz propounds a grammar based on significados and laws, which have no exceptions, rather than on rules, which do.

Yes. Explaining the subjunctive in terms of a declaration does seem to encapsulate the subjunctive mood very well, and has made me more comfortable with it. As a teaching/learning aid I think it's a great help.

However, as you point out, if we want to turn it into a more formal law which can be used as a point of reference, then we need to formally define our terms, i.e. what we mean by a "declaration", along with describing the various cases when you don't want to make one (uncertainty, dependency, etc).

Quote:
Originally Posted by gastephen View Post

As I mentioned in a previous post, I can see how the idea of 'relevance' (i.e. in the terms of high/low information value, foreground/background information etc) could be applied in this example as an explanation of why the setting of the sun should only be mentioned rather than declared. However, I also pointed out that this is inconsistent with what happens when the sentence is changed to be in the past.

My only conclusion so far is therefore to assume that, as you hinted at, for this class of sentence, dependency AND futurity are key factors in determining whether the event is declared or not.


I still feel that I must be missing something with regards to the declaración approach in this regard.
Sorry, I was away from this thread for nearly a month and missed your earlier post. I hadn't thought about it in that way.

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¡te deseo todo lo mejor para 2009!
igualmente!
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Old 1st January 2009, 02:03 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
I think there must be more to it than that. Picture this: I look up the exact time of sunset for my location in an almanac. With this certain knowledge, I then later make the statement, and yet the subjunctive is still required.
On further reflection, if your almanac says the sun will set at 6pm in your location, we can demonstrate that the subjunctive is not being used to convey uncertainty about when the sun sets by changing the phrase from

me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol

to

me acostaré cuando sean las 6 de la tarde

I know that you would probably say "me acostaré a las 6 de la tarde" instead, but for our purposes I think the fact that we have now replaced the "setting of the sun" with a specific time, and yet we still use the subjunctive demonstrates that the uncertainty about whe the sun sets was a red herring.
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Old 1st January 2009, 03:09 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
On further reflection, if your almanac says the sun will set at 6pm in your location, we can demonstrate that the subjunctive is not being used to convey uncertainty about when the sun sets by changing the phrase from

me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol

to

me acostaré cuando sean las 6 de la tarde

I know that you would probably say "me acostaré a las 6 de la tarde" instead, but for our purposes I think the fact that we have now replaced the "setting of the sun" with a specific time, and yet we still use the subjunctive demonstrates that the uncertainty about whe the sun sets was a red herring.
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Old 1st January 2009, 03:35 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
From what I have read about the subjunctive, this seem to be a fairly commonly accepted model - that of an individual's perception of reality (i.e. the notion of 'mental spaces').
If we forget about uncertainty for a while and we all agree that a declaration can be made about anything according to our(or anyone else's) perception of reality/the world around us, without getting too deep and trying not to repeat myself , would it be fair to say that by saying "when...this/that happens" you are fixing that "when" as a future event/reality(as I said before) of which we can have no perception until it happens /forms part of our reality, therefore making it undeclarable. However, we can make informed/uninformed predictions about it based on our peception of the reality in which we currently form part of, as in the given example "el sol se pondrá a las 16:50" ???

My point is that if we are trying to apply the declaration rule to this , then maybe certainty/uncertainty has nothing to do with the subjunctive usage in the given example "me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"(as has already been stated) and perhaps it is a question of perception?



P.s HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

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Old 1st January 2009, 07:26 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by delgado View Post
If we forget about uncertainty for a while and we all agree that a declaration can be made about anything according to our(or anyone else's) perception of reality/the world around us, without getting too deep and trying not to repeat myself , would it be fair to say that by saying "when...this/that happens" you are fixing that "when" as a future event/reality(as I said before) of which we can have no perception until it happens /forms part of our reality, therefore making it undeclarable. However, we can make informed/uninformed predictions about it based on our peception of the reality in which we currently form part of, as in the given example "el sol se pondrá a las 16:50" ???

My point is that if we are trying to apply the declaration rule to this , then maybe certainty/uncertainty has nothing to do with the subjunctive usage in the given example "me acostaré cuando se ponga el sol"(as has already been stated) and perhaps it is a question of perception?



P.s HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!
I think you are saying that we can be more confident about making declarations based on our current perception of reality, be they declarations about the past, present or future, however we cannot make declarations based on a possible future perception of reality. And when we use "when..." type phrases in this way, we are indeed referring to some future perception of reality and therefore need to use the subjunctive.

If so, then I can't see how this is any different to talking about making declarations in terms of certainty and uncertainty. When talking about a possible future perception of the world then you are implying that you are not certain that it will actually happen: you are speaking hypothetically to an extent. Is there something I'm missing?

PS Happy New Year
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Old 1st January 2009, 08:23 PM   #53
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Ok , I'll put it another way ......

You cannot make declarations about any future reality because until it forms part of your reality (happens) you simply cannot perceive it ,and as you said, any perceptions that you do have about it would be either hypothetical(using the subjunctive) or opinions with varying degrees of implied conviction on the speakers part (using the indicative) , based on the reality that you currently form part of.

So if all declarations are made according to your(or someone else's) perceptions of reality then you can't make declarations about a reality that can't yet be perceived as the current/past reality, although you can declare your perceptions of how it will be.

Although the certainty/uncertainty issue is still there(being as any hypothetical statement conveys a degree of uncertainty) it just seems to me that if you look at it along the lines of "can it be perceived as the current/past reality?" ,then it explains why the subjunctive is used in the given example to describe something that we would consider certain to happen.

eg. the sun setting

Or maybe I'm just going off on a bit of a tangent here?

Last edited by delgado; 1st January 2009 at 10:53 PM. Reason: improvements
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Old 1st January 2009, 08:48 PM   #54
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Ok , I'll put it another way ......

You cannot make declarations about any future reality because until it forms part of your reality (happens) you simply cannot perceive it ,and as you said, any perceptions that you do have about it would be either hypothetical(using the subjunctive) or predictions (using the indicative) , based on the reality that you currently form part of.

So if all declarations are made according to your(or someone else's) perceptions of reality then you can't make declarations about a reality that can't yet be perceived.
Here's what I think:

Your "predictions (using the indicative)" would therefore be declarations according to Ruiz's definition (as they are expressed in the indicative mood).

You can declare what you think, based on your internalised model of reality. This model will be formed by your perception of the world. Although you can't yet perceive a future event, it can still be part of your model of reality and can therefore be declared.
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Old 1st January 2009, 08:52 PM   #55
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Although the certainty/uncertainty issue is still there it just seems to me that if you look at it along the lines of "can it be perceived as part of the current reality?" ,then it explains why the subjunctive is used in the given example to describe something that we would consider certain to happen.

eg. the sun setting
But ONLY when it is subordinate
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Old 1st January 2009, 08:56 PM   #56
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Ok , I'll put it another way ......

You cannot make declarations about any future reality because until it forms part of your reality (happens) you simply cannot perceive it ...
I can perceive the future, although my perception of it might not be very accurate.

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...,and as you said, any perceptions that you do have about it would be either hypothetical(using the subjunctive) or predictions (using the indicative)...
What do you mean by "prediction"? Many predictions are just opinions, and based on hypothesis. When we use the future indicative, both in Spanish and English, there is often assumed to be a greater element of hypothesis than when you use the present indicative. When the weatherman says "it is raining", there is assumed to be more certainty in that statement than when she says "it will rain tomorrow".
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Old 1st January 2009, 10:15 PM   #57
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I can perceive the future, although my perception of it might not be very accurate.
yes , you can perceive the future based on the current/past reality but you can't actually perceive it as a current/past reality, which is what I was trying to suggest. (I will edit my previous post to include this)

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Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
What do you mean by "prediction"? Many predictions are just opinions, and based on hypothesis. When we use the future indicative, both in Spanish and English, there is often assumed to be a greater element of hypothesis than when you use the present indicative. When the weatherman says "it is raining", there is assumed to be more certainty in that statement than when she says "it will rain tomorrow".
Ok , perhaps "prediction" was the wrong word , I will replace it with "opinions with varying degrees of implied conviction on the speakers part"
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Old 2nd January 2009, 12:46 AM   #58
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Ok , I'll put it another way ......

You cannot make declarations about any future reality because until it forms part of your reality (happens) you simply cannot perceive it ,and as you said, any perceptions that you do have about it would be either hypothetical(using the subjunctive) or opinions with varying degrees of implied conviction on the speakers part (using the indicative) , based on the reality that you currently form part of.

So if all declarations are made according to your(or someone else's) perceptions of reality then you can't make declarations about a reality that can't yet be perceived as the current/past reality, although you can declare your perceptions of how it will be.

Although the certainty/uncertainty issue is still there(being as any hypothetical statement conveys a degree of uncertainty) it just seems to me that if you look at it along the lines of "can it be perceived as the current/past reality?" ,then it explains why the subjunctive is used in the given example to describe something that we would consider certain to happen.

eg. the sun setting

Or maybe I'm just going off on a bit of a tangent here?
OK I think I'm following your line of thinking a bit better now. However I'm going to try to throw a spanner in the works...

Consider this phrase:

Me acuesto cuando se pone el sol

Here I'm saying that in general I go to bed when the sun sets. The phrase is grammatically correct (I hope) but it has nothing to do with any particular perception of reality, be it past or present. It doesn't relate to any particular time frame. So why don't I use the subjunctive?
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Old 2nd January 2009, 01:09 AM   #59
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OK I think I'm following your line of thinking a bit better now. However I'm going to try to throw a spanner in the works...

Consider this phrase:

Me acuesto cuando se pone el sol

Here I'm saying that in general I go to bed when the sun sets. The phrase is grammatically correct (I hope) but it has nothing to do with any particular perception of reality, be it past or present. It doesn't relate to any particular time frame. So why don't I use the subjunctive?
Because you are not projecting into the future? I'd venture that in saying that this is your custom what it actually means is that, up until now, you have, in the past, on a number of occasions, gone to bed when the sun set (and it did).



PS: I'd also say that it does have something to do with your perception of reality - your perception is that on those particular occasions in the past to which you are referring generally you did go to bed and that the sun did set and that the two events were coincident in time.

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Old 2nd January 2009, 02:23 PM   #60
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Here's some ideas.....

When declaring a past event/reality we are subsequently fixing it as a specific reality.Therefore we can declare our perception of that event/reality and any coinciding event/reality. However, any subsequent events/realities would not form part of that said reality and therefore shall remain undeclared.

When referring to present/current events/realities we can declare anything that forms part of our perception or anyone Else's perception of reality provided that the said person/s perception is known to us.(therefore forming part of our own present/current reality)

When referring to future events/realities we can declare our perceptions of how we think that they will be percieved with different degrees of implied conviction. However, we cannot declare how that event/reality will be perceived until it forms part of our own present/current perception of reality.

For me this explains most subjunctive usage although I haven't researched it thoroughly and I'm sure that it still needs some work . Having never studied Spanish grammar in depth I would be very interested to here your comments/criticisms/ideas etc... as this could be very useful for me and I'm sure many others.

However , there are still some examples where the idea of perception seems to fall short ,especially when talking about emotions "me alegro de que hayas ganado" (to quote Legazpi from an earlier post) amongst others that LAZARUS has already explained in previous posts.

Last edited by delgado; 2nd January 2009 at 02:41 PM. Reason: additions
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