The Amazingly Atrociously Delightful Indefinite Future in the Subjunctive Mood- Learning Spanish

El Puerto de Santa María, 1972/3


My private Spanish tutor and I don't have any text books.  There are none. Instead of reading a grammar book,  we read newspaper articles together. I read out loud and he corrects my pronunciation. He talks of the present tense and the past tenses, all at the same time. And I've to look for examples in the articles.  He gives me dictations from the newspaper articles and we discuss them. Well, I don't actually, for I'm lost and befuddled.

He also talks of the subjunctive, the future, and the conditional, all at the same time. It's as if the present tense is of little importance. So much for memorizing the present tense of the AR, the ER and the IR verbs!

 I actually love the subjunctive mood in all its complexities. The Spanish language is perplexing and mystifying, intriguing and seductive. When you speak Spanish you have to pretend you're in front of the bravo toro, and give it your all. This is not some  wimpy, insipid manner of communicating, it's a do or die, and somehow you have to get your message out.

The Spanish subjunctive is passionate. When you want someone to do something, you really are commanding them to do it. Quiero que saques la basura. I want you to take out the garbage. When you love something, or hate something, you use the subjunctive. When you doubt something, you use the subjunctive. When you subject your will on that of another, you use the subjunctive. The subjunctive is precisely that - it's subjective.

What I find enticing is the indefinite future of the present subjunctive. It simply has a philosophical ring to it. We don't use this particular subjunctive mood in English for some reason.

When I go to the beach I sing 'Viva España' . In Spanish, is this the subjunctive or the indicative?
When I go to the beach I shall sing 'Viva España'. In Spanish,  is this the subjunctive or the indicative?

Why? Why?

Cuando voy a la playa canto 'Viva España'.
Cuando (yo) vaya a la playa cantaré 'Viva España'.

The first sentence is in the indicative. The second sentence is in the subjunctive. Why? Have you gone to the beach yet? No. You're referring to a future action that has not yet happened. Therefore it's indefinite.

Here's another example.

When I prepare the paella I drink sangría.
When I prepare the paella (on Saturday, as an example, referring to a future date) I shall drink sangría.

Cuando preparo la paella bebo sangría.
Cuando (yo) prepare la paella beberé sangría.

The delightful indefinite future! The amazing and atrocious, the weird and the wonderful, the Spanish indefinite future!