Subjunctive: Evolution from Classical Latin to Spanish

by María Constanza Pérez



IV. Spanish and Subjunctive

Latin had four classes of verbs differentiated by the thematic vowel of the infinitive ending:

 
 
A. Present Subjunctive (-ar, -er, -ir) in Spanish
Long -ô-
Long -ê-
Short -e-
Long -î-
amem 
ames 
amet 
amemus 
ametis 
ament 
ame
ames
ame
amemos
améis
amen
timeam 
timeas 
timeat 
timeamus 
timeatis 
timeant 
tema
temas
tema
temamos
temáis
teman
perdam 
perdas 
perdat 
perdamus 
perdatis 
perdant 
pierda
pierdas
pierda
perdamos
perdáis
pierdan
dormiam 
dormias 
dormiat 
dormiamus 
dormiatis 
dormiant 
duerma
duermas
duerma
durmamos
durmáis
duerman

In Spanish the stem of the first person singular present indicative is generally the stem in the present subjunctive. Spanish forms the present subjunctive by dropping the ending of first person singular present indicative and adding the above personal endings to stem:
 
 
1. Verb Changing in Spanish
 
Conjugation
Infinitive
Present Indicative
Present Subjunctive
1st
cantar to sing
amo 
ame 
2nd
vender to sell
vendo 
venda 
3rd
partir to leave
parto 
parta 
 
 
2. Conjugation Changing in Spanish
 
  Languages Conjugation
Singular
Plural
1st p.
2nd p.
3rd p.
1st p.
2nd p.
3rd p.
  Spaniish 1st Conjugation.
-e
-es
-e
-emos
-éis
-en
cante 
cantes 
cante 
cantemos 
cantéis 
canten 
2nd - 3rd Conj.
-a
-as
-a
-amos
-áis
-an
venda
vendas
venda
vendamos
vendáis
vendan
parta
partas
parta
partamos
partáis
partan
  French All Conjugations
-e
-es
-e
-ions
-iez
-ent
chante 
chantes 
chante 
chantions 
chantiez 
chantent 
vende 
vendes 
vende 
vendions 
vendiez 
vendent 
parte 
partes 
parte 
partions 
partiez 
partent 
  Italian 1st Conjugation
-i
-i
-i
-iamo
-iate
-ino
canti 
canti 
canti 
cantiamo 
cantiate 
cantino 
2nd - 3rd Conj.
-a
-a
-a
-iamo
-iate
-ano
venda 
venda 
venda 
vendiamo 
vendiate 
vendano 
parta 
parta 
parta 
partiamo 
partiate 
partano 
 
 
3. Radical Changing Verbs in Spanish

Pensar to think
Contar to count, tell
Servir to serve
e => ie: 
1st , 2nd & 3rd conj.
o => ue: 
1st, 2nd & 3rd conjugation
e => i:
3rd conjugation
Present Ind.
Present Subj.
Present Ind.
Present Subj.
Present Ind.
Present Subj.
pienso
piensas
piensa
pensamos
pensáis
piensan
piense
pienses
piense
pensemos
penséis
piensen
cuento
cuentas
cuenta
contamos
contáis
cuentan
cuente
cuentes
cuente
cuentemos
contéis
cuenten
sirvo
sirves
sirve
servimos
servís
sirven
sirva
sirvas
sirva
sirvamos
sirváis
sirvan
 
 
Irregular Present Indicative vs. Present Subjunctive
 
Verbs Present Indicative Present Subjunctive
dar  to give doy, das...
estar  to be estoy, estás... esté
haber  to have he, has... haya
ir  to go voy, vas... vaya
saber  to know se, sabes... sepa
ser  to be soy, eres, es... sea
 
 
 
B. Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish

The Latin Imperfect subjunctive did not retain that function in the Ibero-Romance, where the forms of the Pluperfect subjunctive soon replaced it.
 
  Conjugations   Latin Imperfect Subjunctive   Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive I   Latin Pluperfect Subjunctive   Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive II
  -âre   cantarem
cantares
cantaret
cantaremus
cantaretis
cantarent
           
  cantara 
cantaras
cantara
cantáramos
cantaran
cantaran
  canta(vi)ssem
canta(vi)isses
canta(vi)isset
canta(vi)issemus
canta(vi)issetis
canta(vi)issent
  cantase 
cantases 
cantase 
cantásemos 
cantasen 
cantasen
  -êre / -ere   perderem 
perderes 
perderet 
perderemus 
perderetis 
perderent
             
  perdiera
perdieras
perdiera
perdiéramos
perdieran
perdieran
  perdidissem
perdidisses
perdidisset
perdidissemus
perdidissetis
perdidissent
  perdiese 
perdieses 
perdiese 
perdiésemos 
perdiesen 
perdiesen
  -íre   dormirem
dormires
dormiret
dormiremus
dormiretis
dormirent
               
  durmiera
durmieras
durmiera
durmiéramos
durmieran
durmieran
  dormivissem
dormivisses
dormivisset
dormivissemus
dormivissetis
dormivissent
  durmiese
durmieses
durmieses
durmiésemos
durmiesen
durmiesen
 
 
 
C. Perfect Subjunctive in Spanish

 
Future Perfect Indicative
-âre
-êre / -er
-íre
Sg.
1.
2.
3.
cantavero
cantaveris
cantaverit
perdidero
perdideris
perdiderit
dormivero
dormiveris
dormiverit
Pl.
1.
2.
3.
cantaverimus
cantaveritis
cantaverint
perdiderimus
perdideritis
perdiderint
dormiverimus
dormiveritis
dormiverint
 
Present Perfect Subjunctive
-âre
-êre / -er
-íre
Sg.
1.
2.
3.
cantaverim
cantaveris
cantaverit
perdiderim
perdideris
perdiderit
dormiverim
dormiveris
dormiverit
Pl.
1.
2.
3.
cantaverimus
cantaveritis
cantaverint
perdiderimus
perdideritis
perdiderint
dormiverimus
dormiveritis
dormiverint
 
 
 
D. Pluperfect Subjunctive in Latin  
 
E. Analytical tenses Explanation:
The cooptation, for new purposes, of structures that were developed for other purposes but then became redundant. This is one of the processes that have helped differentiate the Romance Languages.
Explanation example:  
 
F. Phonological Developments Parhaps the most active force in the verb conjugations is that of analogy.

This is most apparent in the treatment in velar stem endings :



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