Not sure this makes sense to me. Here "the thing" is happening, namely the subject ACTUALLY WANTS to see his father. Just as in the main clause of a sentence with a subordinate subjunctive clause (e.g. quiero que, or querría que, etc). The action of wanting is not hyporhetical, it is real, so none of these explanations make sense
Quisiera in Spanish may be ambiguous and can be used to either make a request or suggest a hypothetical wish or desire:
I wanted to see my father or I wish that I had seen my father (hypothetically possible but it didn't happen)
I would like to see my father (polite request)
"I wanted to see my father" means for instance that in the past you tried to see your father but you were not allowed into the hospital But "Yo quisiera ver a mi padre" can have to meanings depending of the situations:
-You are away from home and you miss your father, so you wish you could see him
-You go to the hospital and ask the nurse: "yo quisiera ver a mi padre, es posible?"= I would like to see my father, is it possible? Here you can also say: "Yo querría ver a mi padre, está en su habitación?" I´d like to see my father, is he in his room?
Hope i clarified, but there is a very slight difference among meanings...
My understanding is that this is an overuse of the subjunctive to express a desire more politely. It´s not exactly technically correct to say it in this way with this meaning, but everyone does it. It could be thought of as similar to the way some English speakers say things like, ¨Might I perhaps please see my father¨...overdoing it in an attempt to be super polite.
The discussion in this thread seems to revolve around how polite the speaker is trying to be. I see no explicit context of politeness in this particular exercise. Without a clear context the meaning is open to interpretation.
Since "quisiera" is the continuous past subjunctive or imperfecto de subjuntivo, the context I gave it was: I wanted to see my father over a period of time (imperfecto) but was unsuccessful (subjuntivo).
Given this context, I translated the Spanish as "I wanted to see my father." Of course I lost a heart. My frustration is that I don't know if I am being fundamentally wrong, or am I just running into another idiom?
I don't believe it is idiomatic. According to this source imperfect subjunctive can be used to make a formal request: http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/98
Using only the verbs deber, querer, or poder, you can use the imperfect subjunctive to make a very polite suggestion or formal request.
Quisiera dos semanas de vacación. (I would like two weeks of vacation.)
¿Pudiera ayudarnos? (Could you help us?)
No debieras hablar ahora. (You should not speak now.)
I had to look up this conjugation on spanishdict and it's listed under the subjunctive imperfect tense, which makes no sense at all to me. "I would like to see my father" isn't past-tense at all, at least, in English. Maybe it should be "I would have liked to see my father", but wouldn't the verb "haber" be required in that case?
Can anybody make sense of this one?
I think part of the problem with understanding this sentence is that people today do not understand how to use the subjunctive, especially in American English. If you don't know how the English functions, how are you going to understand how to translate the Italian?
If this were true English subjunctive if would be something like "I were wanting to see my father." In this kind of sentence, it is perhaps easier to understand present subjunctive: "I be wanting to see my father." There is much more of an urgency, a indication of want or desire in that tense than in "I want to see my father."
So, more's the pity that subjunctive has fallen out of use. It brings a kind of nuance to language which is sorely wanting nowadays.
in two back to back sentences I had ¨yo quisiera tener¨ and ¨yo quisiera ver¨ . In order I interpreted them with ¨I want to have...¨ (wrong DL said it was ´ I wish to have....), on the next then I used ¨I wish to see...¨ (DL said it was ¨I want to see...¨) Now I am really confused. Comments please?
I'm still a little confused. If 'yo quisiera' means I would like (want really), then what does 'yo querría' mean. According to the conjugations of querer that I have 'yo quisiera' is the imperfect subjunctive: I wanted/was wanting. This is clearly not the same as 'I would like' which is 'me gustaría'.