English speakers do use the subjunctive all the time, but they usually don't realize it. For sentences that begin with "I wish" the verb in the following clause ends in -ed to express a present wish. The given sentence is best translated as "I wish he loved (or liked) me." This is not the past tense; rather, it expresses a present subjunctive wish. He doesn't love me, but I wish he did, right now. Similarly, to express a future wish, we use what looks like a conditional verb, but isn't: "I wish you would come to my party." It means that I know you don't plan to come, but I hope you will anyway. DL's translation of the sentence as "I hope he likes me" seems wrong to me, as I would expect that to be "J'espère qu'il m'aime." That obviously has a different meaning from "I wish he liked (or loved) me."
Agreed, if they want to translate that I hope he loves me, it should be j'espère qu'il m'aime. J'espère que gives more of a sense of optimism. You can picture a girl telling her best friend all about her crush, and how he asked her to hang out, saying j'espère qu'il m'aime ! Je souhaite être sa petite-amie. Where as je souhaite qu'il m'aime is darker, sadder. It's what best friend says about her crush, slightly jealously over her friend's success. it implies he does not love her, and that there isn't much hope that he will.
At least that's what I pictured in my mind ha.
Yes, that's the subjunctive form. In this case, the subjunctive is spelled the same as the indicative. For most verbs ending in "-er" like "aimer", the present tenses of the subjunctive and indicative are the same unless the subject is "nous" or "vous". You can see all the different tenses for "aimer" here: http://www.wordreference.com/conj/FRverbs.aspx?v=aimer
apologies for bothering you again but following on from the previous questions discussion of D vs indirect objects. in this sentence its a bit less obvious to me. 'Je souhaite qu'il m'aime' am I right in thinking here the subject is JE, obviously souhaite/aime are your verbs and then IL is a direct obj leaving ME the indirect obj. either that or i'm completely wrong and i look a bit silly!?
No. Nothing silly about it. It just takes getting used to switching from automatically using subject/object/indirect object forms and placement, to having to deconstruct them.
Je souhaite qu'il m'aime. is composed of two clauses. For your purposes think of them as two separate sentences.
Je (subject) souhaite (verb) que/that il (subject) aime (verb) me (direct object) . You ask ......who/what does he wish for. You get ...a great big long clause with its own internal dynamics. You ask .......who/what does the liking? You get il/he (subject). You ask ....who what does he like? You get the answer ...me. Therefore me is the direct object.
Because direct object pronouns are placed in front of the verb, me is moved into place and elided into aime. It just so happens that me is one of those pronouns that takes the same form whether it is indirect or direct.
Sometimes the pronoun form tells you exactly what it is. Il is definitely the subject because it is the subject form. Sometimes they give only a rough idea. The me form could be direct object or indirect object in both French and English. This is important to remember because whatever il/he is doing in any sentence, it is the subject of something because it is the subject form.
Me likes he is obviously incorrect because the object form is placed in front of the verb where one expects the subject. The subject form is placed after the verb where one expects the object. At first glance you can immediately see that it is not just wrong but it is backwards. Simply rearranging the forms can make the sentence correct.
Same thing with the French. Except the forms are new and require some thought. Also the French insist on moving them around a little bit just to mess with you.
thank you again for you patience! I was being a bit dense suggesting il was the indirect object since as you pointed out its obviously in a 'subject' form! doh! thank you for breaking it down! it now looks very simple and hopefully i can deconstruct the next one in the same way! lol
And you can definitely use I hope he likes me in the present tense, because it might be something that he is doing now, but that the speaker doesn't know whether he is or isn't liking her. Whereas I wish he would like me is looking a bit more into the future, suggesting he doesn't do so now for sure.