https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kukenkun

italian nowadays

i read that among young italians today tend to replace/use indicative tense where it should be subjunctive tense. So i wanna know what those cases are, can somebody tell me?

January 25, 2019

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CivisRomanus

Among the most frequent cases are:

  • when the verb of the independent clause should trigger subjunctive:
    Voglio che tu vieni.
    Credo che è giusto.
    Speriamo che torna.

  • after conjunctions that trigger subjunctive:
    Ovunque tu vai.
    Qualunque tempo fa.

  • in conditional clauses (particularly in the third conditional):
    Se eri uscito prima non avevi perso il treno.
    Era meglio se avevamo chiamato il tecnico.

This is not only common among young people, but among many adults too. And, most of all, it is not a trend, but a wrong usage of the language, out of a poor knowledge of the Italian syntax.
It would be a trend if people knew that subjunctive is the correct mood, but preferred to use indicative all the same. Instead, many people simply don't know how to use the subjunctive mood correctly.

January 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ash.Purple

If I as a foreigner use the subjunctive correctly, would it make me sound like an old man stuck in the past or an intellectual? (or neither?)

January 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CivisRomanus

You would sound as someone who speaks Italian properly.
The best praise a non-native speaker can receive is that he/she uses subjunctive correctly.
Native speakers who fail to use this mood very often get frowned upon (they don't seem to care much, though).

January 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

CivisRomanus. So glad you said this. I love the congiuntivo and have amazed several gondoliere, shopkeepers and teachers in Venice by using it. Auguri... L

January 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CivisRomanus

Linda, sei bravissima! :-)

January 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmseiple

From experience, Italians are super impressed if a non-native uses the subjunctive properly. You get major bonus points towards sounding fluent for that. : ) It's not something that is used so infrequently that it would make you sound stodgy or pretentious, though. It's more like in English when people say "You and me are" rather than "You and I are." Lots of people use the former even though it's not grammatically correct, but it wouldn't sound weird at all to use the latter. Plenty of people still use the subjunctive in normal conversation; it's just becoming more accepted not to do so. At least that's my impression.

January 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CivisRomanus

In the Welsh course I'm following, the cleft sentence construction in English is constantly as follows:
"It is me who did something." (whereas on grammatical grounds it should be "It is I who did something"). The contributors are aware of this issue, they clearly mention it in the Tip and Notes section, but they prefer to keep using the former construction, which is much more common in the spoken language.

A speaker of regional Italian would not be frowned upon for saying something like Se lo sapevo venivo prima in the right context. I do so myself when switching to regional Italian.
But if I was using standard Italian, it would sound incorrect, and I should have to say: Se lo avessi saputo sarei venuto prima.
Code-switching can be done speaking with the same person; but if regional Italian is used in the wrong context, the listener(s) may think that the speaker is unrefined. So with strangers it is always a good rule of thumb to start speaking in standard Italian, switching to regional Italian only if the conversation becomes sufficiently informal.

Speaking of the written language, regional Italian is acceptable in informal two-way communication, e.g. using text messages, Whatsapp, and the like. But in a Facebook comment, which is public, someone picky may likely point out a wrong tense (or tenses).

January 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmseiple

It's interesting how languages evolve, often in very similar ways. The people in the Welsh course are right - "It is I" sounds stilted and pedantic in modern spoken English. It makes me think of a structure like "io e te," which grammatically doesn't make a lot of sense, but is now considered correct. For some reason languages tend to move towards replacing subject pronouns with object pronouns - such is the case of "you" in English, which completely replaced "ye."

I've read that the imperfect subjunctive is gradually being used less in various Romance languages. In French I don't think they use it at all (and they use the imperfect indicative for contrary-to-fact statements, like what you're describing in Italian), and in Spanish it's being replaced by other tenses in some regions. It's really strange to me to hear Argentine Spanish, for example, because they will say things like, "Quería que vayas" ("Voleva che vada" in Italian - just sounds wrong). These kind of things fascinate me.

January 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CivisRomanus

The "io e te" combination is indeed odd, also because "io e tu" is now considered incorrect. Only a few decades ago, the latter would have been considered the standard form and "io e te" a Tuscan variant.
However, reversing the two pronouns, the correct form is still "tu e(d) io", and "te e(d) io" is incorrect.

For some reason languages tend to move towards replacing subject pronouns with object pronouns

I guess this happens for the sake of simplicity. Besides the well-known replacement of egli, ella, essi, esse, in the north also te is commonly used as a subject pronoun instead of tu (regional Italian), and in several northern dialects even io is replaced with mi (which stands for me).

January 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

Ash. Good question, glad you asked.

January 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RomancePhilology

*sigh* So much misinformation…

Voglio che tu vieni.

It is perfectly normal to use volere with the indicative mood, especially when the verb of the subordinate clause is in the second-person present singular. Even Dante Alighieri did that:

Diſſe’l Centauro; voglio che tu credi …

Inferno, Canto XII, Verse 129

If we replaced volere with almost any other volitive verb, using the indicative mood would become impossible. For example, absolutely no one would say, “*Chiedo che tu vieni.”

Credo che è giusto.

The appropriateness of the indicative mood in that sentence depends entirely on the context. For example, if someone said to you, “Ti assicuro che è giusto!” you might respond, “Sì, ci credo bene che è giusto.”

And once again, even Dante did it the “wrong” way:

… credo che fanno i corpi rari e densi.

Paradiso, Canto II, Verse 60

In fact, according to Google Ngrams, the frequency of “credo che è” peaked around 1864 and has been relatively low over the last century.

Ovunque tu vai.

(D)ovunque can be followed by either mood.

Qualunque tempo fa.

Using the indicative mood after qualunque is the more traditional choice.

Se eri uscito prima non avevi perso il treno.
Era meglio se avevamo chiamato il tecnico.

Once again, that construction is ancient:

se io ancora giovane avea contro la tua deità commessa alcuna cosa, l’età semplice mi dovea rendere scusata.

—Giovanni Boccaccio, Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RomancePhilology

i read that among young italians today tend to replace/use indicative tense where it should be subjunctive tense.

First of all, indicative and subjunctive are moods, not tenses.

Second of all, that claim is always presented with zero evidence.

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pierobonal

L'Italia sta declinando (is falling) anche nei congiuntivi. Jokes aside (scherzi a parte ?) a correct use of subconjunctives is very important in italian language. It's a poor knowledge of many people, of the italian sintax, how much is right, Civis Romanus ! Then, it is very impressive for us if a foreigner knows well the subjunctives.

January 27, 2019

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