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Old 19th October 2008, 04:35 PM   #1
Petrichor
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Default Problem with subjunctive

Given below are quotes from two of the podcasts. Could anyone explain to me why the subjunctive has been used in them. It looks to me that both sentences talk about actual occurrences. Facts. So why was the indicative not used?

1. "Me da mucha rabia que el vecino toque el piano tan tarde."

2. "Bueno, pues lo que más destaca es la disciplina, en Inglaterra hay como una obsesión porque todos los niños se sienten a la vez, se pongan de pie, hagan la fila y parece que los profesores se pueden sentir orgullosos si la fila de su clase es perfecta."
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Old 19th October 2008, 04:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Petrichor View Post
Given below are quotes from two of the podcasts. Could anyone explain to me why the subjunctive has been used in them. It looks to me that both sentences talk about actual occurrences. Facts. So why was the indicative not used?

1. "Me da mucha rabia que el vecino toque el piano tan tarde."

2. "Bueno, pues lo que más destaca es la disciplina, en Inglaterra hay como una obsesión porque todos los niños se sienten a la vez, se pongan de pie, hagan la fila y parece que los profesores se pueden sentir orgullosos si la fila de su clase es perfecta."
1. I am no expert in this field but from recalling my lessons from Barcelona this summer when the feelings/actions of one person are as a result of the action of another = subjunctive.
2. I think this is the thing about not wishing to state categorically that such and such is the case, but rather to convey an idea that the satements are so = subjunctive

As the worlds least authoratative person on the subjubctive in Spanish, were I to be incorrect, I would be happy to be set straight.

(The subjunctive in English is in red)
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Old 19th October 2008, 05:12 PM   #3
delgado
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Maybe this site could help you with the subjuntive.....

http://www.studyspanish.com/tutorial.htm
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Old 19th October 2008, 07:24 PM   #4
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I'm not sure about the second one, but the first phrase is proceeded by the subjunctive because "Me da rabia" is a personal expression that needs the subjuntion, just like "Me alegro de que", etc.

EDIT: I'm with my Costa Rican friend right now, and I asked him about the second phrase. He says the reason why is because in #2, the subjunctive serves as a form of command, in that these actions refer to what the teacher wants the students to do.

Last edited by eventer289; 19th October 2008 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 19th October 2008, 07:47 PM   #5
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1) is pretty standard stuff. Subordinate clause attached to a statement where you're expressing some sort of emotion or value judgement or wish in the main clause. Something like, for example "it really annoys me that people park illegally in handicapped spots" Or "I hope that you can come tomorrow". Rendered into spanish both those would take the subjunctive for "park" or "can come"

regarding 2), eventer289 may be onto something--it does have a whiff of command about it--but an alternate explanation is that porque should actually be para que. it reads better that way for me, and it is clear using para que that we're talking about an intention or wish on the part of the scholastic authorities, which then falls under the same heading as 1)

The best and most authoritative guide to the subjunctive in actual usage, as far as I'm concerned, is the relevant chapter in Butt and Benjamin's New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish. Suffice to say that most textbooks get it at least partially wrong.
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Old 19th October 2008, 08:04 PM   #6
Margot
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I agree with what's been said...but to be a little more specific:
1. One of the gazillion times the subjunctive comes into play is:
subordinate noun clauses which express the emotive perceptions or attitudes of the speaker or subject

2.Eventers Costan Rican friend - of course - explains it very well - the students are responding to an (implied) command which requires the subjunctive; most tenses in the imperative mood use the same declinations as the subjunctive tense ( tho both the positive 'tu' and 'vosotros' tenses are exceptions....what's a "Rule" without its golden exception? )

Hope this clears it up a bit......
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Old 19th October 2008, 08:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
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...that porque should actually be para que.
Bingo! You nailed it.

And the phrase "para que" is always followed by the subjunctive.
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Old 19th October 2008, 08:42 PM   #8
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Agreed ....but evidently Marina didn't say "para que" in the podcast and Petrichor is trying to understand what he actually heard.......
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Old 19th October 2008, 09:16 PM   #9
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1)
regarding 2), eventer289 may be onto something--it does have a whiff of command about it--but an alternate explanation is that porque should actually be para que. it reads better that way for me, and it is clear using para que that we're talking about an intention or wish on the part of the scholastic authorities, which then falls under the same heading as 1)
this is what I had in mind but puts it much better
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Old 19th October 2008, 09:20 PM   #10
Cide Hamete Benengeli VII
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Actually, Marina's use of 'porque' in this context has the same meaning as 'para que', and is perfectly correct. For an explanation from Benjamin and Butt see 16.12.4bi (pg. 270).

(Benjamin, Carmen, and John Butt. 2004. A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY)


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1) ...but an alternate explanation is that porque should actually be para que [....] The best and most authoritative guide to the subjunctive in actual usage, as far as I'm concerned, is the relevant chapter in Butt and Benjamin's New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish. Suffice to say that most textbooks get it at least partially wrong.
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Agreed ....but evidently Marina didn't say "para que" in the podcast and Petrichor is trying to understand what he actually heard.......
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Old 19th October 2008, 09:49 PM   #11
Cide Hamete Benengeli VII
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By the way, it would be helpful if you identified the specific podcasts that you're referring to, as well as the point in each podcast at which the statements that you’ve attributed to Marina can be found. Not that I doubt the accuracy of your transcription, but, that way, we can at least all be sure about what she said. If we don't get that right, then any comments we make may not be wholly relevant.


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Given below are quotes from two of the podcasts. Could anyone explain to me why the subjunctive has been used in them....
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Old 19th October 2008, 09:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cide Hamete Benengeli VII View Post
Actually, Marina's use of 'porque' in this context has the same meaning as 'para que', and is perfectly correct. For an explanation from Benjamin and Butt see 16.12.4bi (pg. 270).
Just grabbed my B&B 'n dived in (glad we have same edition ) so could read it "from the actual Bible" on the very page you pointed to.
Thanks CHB7....and for those who don't have B&B or can't be bothered to look it up ...the important thing they say is in those instances where it can be translated as "in order that" (rather than "because") it's interchangeable with para que.
Whew - think we've (I've) exhausted this one.....
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Old 20th October 2008, 01:22 PM   #13
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I don't think that in this instance 'porque' can be translated to mean ' in order that '.

However, replacing " hay como una obsesión porque" with "hay como una obsesión en que" would provide a subjuntive trigger for what follows.

There is like an obsession, that all children sit down at the same time.
rather than......... There is like an obsession ' in order that ' all children sit down at the same time
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Old 20th October 2008, 01:56 PM   #14
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Going slightly off topic and putting the grammatical whys and wherefores aside , I think that an important point has been raised here.Spoken Spanish and written Spanish can be very different , that is to say that Marina would have said it that way because it was a natural way for her (a native Spanish speaker) to express herself (being as the podcasts are more geared towards Spanish conversation than grammatical execises).Also,I would imagine that in day to day conversations most people here don't worrying about the grammatics behind every word that they are going to say before they say it.That being said ,weather it was grammatically correct or not is beside the point, as that is how you may hear it said when conversating with Spaniards.
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Old 20th October 2008, 03:06 PM   #15
Legazpi
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I haven't heard the podcast but, following on from Barry's post, could it be that Marina says something like:

"...en Inglaterra hay como una obsesión por que todos los niños se sienten a la vez..."

(i.e. with a gap between "por" and "que")

In this case the word "obsesión" needs to be followed by the word "por" to indicate that what follows is a description of what the obession is. If it was followed by the word "para" then it would imply that what follows is a description of who is being obsessed.

So you could say "... hay como una obsesión para los profesores que todos los niños se sienten a la vez."

But maybe you cannot say "... hay como una obsesión para que todos los niños se sienten a la vez..." because it almost sounds as if the children themselves are obsessed with sitting down at the same time (i.e. "... hay como una obsesión para todos los niños que se sienten a la vez...").

So the word "obsesión" needs to be followed by the word "por" in this example, and then the subjunctive is used after the word "que" because the obsession is like a very strong desire (i.e. the desire that the children sit down together).

I'm guessing a bit here, so I hope I'm not confusing things, and of course I happily stand to be corrected.
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Old 20th October 2008, 03:11 PM   #16
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In my opinion, there is a small mistake in the transcription of the 2nd paragraph.

It should be "por que" and not "porque" (= because).

The "in order to" explanation does not sound correct to me, as, in Spanish you can have an obsession "por" algo, but never "para" algo. (You can also be "obsesionado con algo", though).

The "que" is the pronoun that introduces the subordinate clause, which referring to an obsession, should logically be in the subjunctive form.
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Old 20th October 2008, 03:13 PM   #17
Urgellenk
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I was obviously typing my message at the same time as the above poster.
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Old 20th October 2008, 03:16 PM   #18
Legazpi
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I was obviously typing my message at the same time as the above poster.
You did explain it much better than me though
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Old 20th October 2008, 04:57 PM   #19
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.....it occurs to me that perhaps we'll never know or agree upon what Marina actually said or meant when she said it or, therefore, what the governing grammatical rule is regarding what we can't agree she actually said or that we actually heard .....
What we can agree upon tho is far more important than this arcana:
Marina's not currently available to enlighten us.
She's "otherwise engaged" in something far more important and we wish her and Ben well....the best of the best of the best of all possible outcomes!
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Old 21st October 2008, 08:03 AM   #20
Petrichor
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First of all, thanks to everyone for your replies and analyses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xan View Post
1) is pretty standard stuff. Subordinate clause attached to a statement where you're expressing some sort of emotion or value judgement or wish in the main clause. Something like, for example "it really annoys me that people park illegally in handicapped spots" Or "I hope that you can come tomorrow". Rendered into spanish both those would take the subjunctive for "park" or "can come"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Margot View Post
I agree with what's been said...but to be a little more specific:
1. One of the gazillion times the subjunctive comes into play is:
subordinate noun clauses which express the emotive perceptions or attitudes of the speaker or subject
The explanation for the first sentence is straightforward and easy enough to understand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cide Hamete Benengeli VII View Post
By the way, it would be helpful if you identified the specific podcasts that you're referring to, as well as the point in each podcast at which the statements that you’ve attributed to Marina can be found. Not that I doubt the accuracy of your transcription, but, that way, we can at least all be sure about what she said. If we don't get that right, then any comments we make may not be wholly relevant.
1. The first sentence was from Intermediate Podcast 2: Question 3 of Ejercicio A of the accompanying transcript.
2. The second quote was from Advanced Podcast 96 (Los Bomberos) on page 1 of the accompanying transcript. This sentence was spoken by Marta, Marina's sister.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cide Hamete Benengeli VII View Post
Actually, Marina's use of 'porque' in this context has the same meaning as 'para que', and is perfectly correct. For an explanation from Benjamin and Butt see 16.12.4bi (pg. 270).

(Benjamin, Carmen, and John Butt. 2004. A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY)
Thanks for the reference. If it means para que then it make sense to me and I think that is the best explanation.


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Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
I haven't heard the podcast but, following on from Barry's post, could it be that Marina says something like:

"...en Inglaterra hay como una obsesión por que todos los niños se sienten a la vez..."

(i.e. with a gap between "por" and "que")
I have the transcript of the podcast with me and it says 'porque' and not 'por que'.
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