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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I stumbled across this text in Wikipedia about a year ago and was flabbergasted: this is clearly far too good to be true. I've permalinked it just in case, but remarkably this error (if error it is — my Bulgarian isn't good enough to know for sure) still stands today. Just think of the conlang possibilities! Forget Sapir-Whorf, why can't language directly influence one's physiology? I want verb morphology that induces euphoria, syntactic structures that cure headaches, phonemes that draw one's thoughts inexorably to memories of childhood crushes.
The subjunctive mood is rarely documented as a separate verb form in Bulgarian, (being, morphologically, a sub-instance of the quasi-infinitive construction with the particle да (da) "to" and a normal finite verb form), but nevertheless it is used regularly. The most common form, often mistaken for the present tense, is the present subjunctive ([пo-добре] да отидa, [po-dobre] da otida, "I had better go"). The difference between the present indicative and the present subjunctive tense is that the subjunctive can be formed by both perfective and imperfective verbs. It has completely replaced the infinitive and the supine from complex expressions (see below). It is also employed to express opinion about possible future events. The past perfect subjunctive ([пo-добре] да бях отишъл, [po-dobre] da byah otishul, "I had better gone") refers to possible events in the past, which did not take place, and the present pluperfect subjunctive (да съм бил отишъл, da sum bil otishul), which may be used about both past and future events arousing feelings of incontinence, suspicion, etc. and is impossible to translate in English. This last variety of the subjunctive in Bulgarian is sometimes also called the dubitative mood.