The Subjunctive Usage
I know the answer is , how long is a piece of string but in terms of some massive generalization what percentage of regular speach would be in the subjunctive ?
Thanks, it oviously is an integral part of the language just like the future or past tense, and would be used as much they are - it's a bit like English being two dimensional and Spanish being three dimensional.
Ah ha - the never ending question regarding the use of the Subjunctive! I recently did the Test your level of Spanish posted by Benz, I scored B2 which surprised me as I dont speak very well so next day took myself downtown and changed my Spanish classes as I thought I should be speaking more. (Thanks Benz - new classes cost me a lot more money!) In the enrolement test I got 5 questions wrong out of 40 - all on the subjunctive because up until then I had´nt been taught it. So I got put into a class that was studing this subject. Hard or what! I asked the teacher - is this really used in everyday Spanish? Oh yes, she replied. Even by the children in the street? Oh yes, she replied again. I then asked my Spanish ex-landlord - who being an educated man understands my level of Spanish. ¿POR QUE? was his reply - so who knows??
Seriously though - there is so much to it and the subject is very interesting. I have found the lessons on this site very helpful - hopefully you will too. I think it is the difference between speaking Spanish and getting by or speaking the language more correctly.
Great question, but hard to say. The amount of subjunctive used in any given conversation would be dependent on the topic of conversation. If the topic were some hypothetical event in the future that may never happen, then obviously there would be extensive usage of the subjunctive. On the other hand, if the topic were something that definitely occurred in the past, the subjunctive may never be used, depending on the structure of the sentences.
If you are really asking if you can get by without using the subjunctive, the answer is "probably", but lack of skill in using the subjunctive will limit your ability to make yourself understood. If you are speaking with people who are accustomed to hearing English speakers speak Spanish, you can get by with lots of errors. On the other hand, if you are speaking with people who are not accustomed to the types of errors that English speakers tend to make, your probability of good communcation will be lessened.
On a happy note: most Spanish speakers are quite forgiving of errors that Spanish language learners make. However, if you really want to make yourself understood, you'll need to have some basic skill in the use of subjunctive. (And if you really weren't asking about the need to learn subjunctive, I apologize for going off on this track!)
You are right- this is a massive generalization, it really depends on the situations......I don't know. I'm not massively great at Spanish, I don't live in a Spanish speaking country, I have never been to one, so I'm sadly not inclined to say.