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Old April 18, 2011, 03:58 PM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 3,127
Native Language: Castellano
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¡Gracias por tus amables conceptos! Como diría un andaluz:¡Qué me pongo coloráo!

I should say subjunctive is a beast that can't be easily tamed and that will never answer to any name you use to call it.

It think that the best synthesis of it is done in Lozano's paper (it's a legitimate link by the way): in my words "subjunctive is associated with no-action"

A way to understand Spanish subjunctive -and why it is useful, why it was kept in the language- is following the story of our own learning as native speakers: the more earlier we learn a feature, the more brainwired that feature is, so the more strange sounds a mistaken use.

1st stage : 1-2.5 years old ---> subjunctive means "don't do it"

¡Ven! ¡No vengas! ¡Come eso! ¡No comas eso!

so an asymmetrical use is brainwired together with the notion of "it" -3 each 4 natives don't have a clue about the concept "subjunctive"- I was saying, together with the notion of "it" being related to no-action.

but: ¡Ven! ¡Ven aquí! ¡Te digo que vengas! ¡Que vengas te he dicho! ¡Que vengas de una buena vez! (someone could imagine that daycare is like Auschwitz!). So sometimes it do imply actions, but with a "que" and sometimes together with another verb -this is to be read with a "dah! dah!" accent, as we are 2 years old-

2nd stage : 2.5 to 5 years old ---> subjunctive means "not doing"

¡Quiero una muñeca que tenga ojos azules!
¡No te vayas! ¡Quiero que te quedes! ¡Quédate! ... ¡Qué te quedes! ¡Qué te quedes! (mimicking "¡Qué se quede!", a group calling)

As we don't know many nouns and adjectives, we use it a lot

-¿De qué color es el auto del tío Sergio?
- Bordó
- ¡Quiero una playera bordó!

or simply

-¿Cómo quieres tu playera?
- Que tenga el color del auto del tío Sergio.

Don't forget also

¡Quiero una muñeca grande que no tenga ojos azules!

as these expressions are symmetrical (que tenga / que no tenga)

3rd stage: 5 to 8 years old ---> subjunctive means "it doesn't exist" (in some frame)

The basical "Creo que lo tiene papá/Creo que papá no lo tiene" at some point gives way to instances of "No creo que papá lo tenga". This starts at an age the kids begin to lie a lot as a seek for self-assurance: the adults can anticipate things but they can't read the kids minds (can they? just in case I tell a lie to probe it). So the kids are achieving the notion that their minds are their own individual realms and they engage in dialogues like this

A - ¿Dónde están las llaves?
B - Creo que las tiene papá.
Kid - No creo que las tenga papá [The content of my mind is not a clone of your mind's]

By the way: Creo que las tiene / No creo que las tenga (asymmetrical use again)

So, by an age of 6,7 or 8 we have all the basic elements brainwired and we can start to mix them in different recipes -at an unconscious level-. Uses about likelihood come about an age of 8-11. The most complicated uses come about an age of 12-18 so nothing is much brainwired and mistakes don't sound so badly.

I hope this helps. If I could make it much easier, I would be a millionaire.
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