LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||10/SET/2007 12:17 PM|
The problem is not with a verb in particular. The problem is with the entire concept.
Although the post was made in jest, there was truth in it. The subjunctive is much easier to understand in other languages. A Mineiro told me that his secret for getting good grades in Portuguese while a student was to carefully read the question, choose the correct answer and then....change the answer because he was going to be wrong! By giving an answer he was sure was wrong, he knew that he would be right. And he wasn't joking.
I have (somewhere) a fantastic book entitled A Syntax of Spoken Portuguese. It does a great job of explaining why the subjunctive is used in a sentence. The problem is the rules for Portuguese have exceptions, the exceptions have exceptions, the exceptions to the exceptions have exceptions, and so on. By the time I have figured out how to tell the old lady to get off the railroad tracks, the train has hit her, she has been buried, and I'm dating her grandniece.
A bit off the subject, but have you seen "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"? The film is based on the lives of two very real American bandits who lived for a time in Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. In one scene they are trying to rob a bank and nobody understands their Spanish. Hilarious! Although they are killed in Bolivia in the film, many people (including Cassidy's family and many friends) insist that they returned to the USA and died of natural causes many years later. It's an interesting story.
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