Talk:Optative mood

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Optative mood.[edit]

Whoever did the bit about the optative mood in Finnish should give clear examples, from older Finnish sources, such as the Kalevala and Suomen Kansan Vanhat Runot. I'd like to see a genuine ancient Finnish spell-song or an equivalent... such as legends/spells/folklore to ward away a bear, or a lynx, or a wolf. A simple prayer?

Basically, I'd just love to see a good example of that. An ancient Finn praying for the spirits of the animals (or the spirit of her sauna--that might be simpler) would say... what? I'm Finnish, but not an ethnologist, sadly. You could pick some sort of example and do that, yeah? Just a simple prayer.

Love, Snowgrouse (talk) 17:46, 9 June 2008 (UTC)


AKA: not appearing on this page.

Why are the snippets about English and Romanian at the top, and a list of other languages below with their own sections? (talk) 20:48, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

If I were/Were I[edit]

This form of the verb 'to be' is probably called 'subjunctive' in English because the term 'optative' has never,as far as I know, been used in describing English. In 'Would that I were rich' the first part meets the requirements of an optative, but is morphologically indistinguishable from the 'subjunctive'. The 'subjunctive/conditional' form is, in my experience, replaced by the 'indicative' form in English, but a reference substantiating this would be useful, or some qualifying phrase such as 'as far as I know'. What about 'God save the Queen' ? Pamour (talk) 17:53, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

"God save the queen" seems to me an imperative. — Smjg (talk) 01:03, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, here's the difference. Imperatives have a second person subject, that is, the subject is the person you're talking to, so the subject, when it's a noun, is technically supposed to be set off by commas. If "God save the Queen" were imperative, it would therefore be written "God, save the Queen!".
Subjunctives of wish have a third person subject, that is, the subject is a person you're talking about, and third person subjects are not set off by commas. That's why "God save the Queen" is a subjunctive — it's got no comma after "God".
Of course, people often omit commas with vocative-type nouns (like if someone said "Hey Joe" rather than "Hey, Joe"), but that's when they are not writing formally correct English. "God save the Queen", on the other hand, is formally correct English. — Eru·tuon 19:47, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Imperatives in Ancient Greek are often in the 3rd person, so "God save the Queen" could easily be considered a 3rd person imperative. Kanjuzi (talk) 21:01, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
In Ancient Greek; but they have a specifically marked form of the verb there.-- (talk) 20:55, 13 March 2017 (UTC)


The article says "Likewise in Latin, the newer subjunctive is based on the Indo-European optative. With this change in Latin, several old subjunctive forms became future forms."

I'm no expert, but surely it's the other way round? The basic difference in I-E is that the subjunctive simply lengthens the theme vowel, while the optative adds a -y- to it. On that basis, the first conjugation subjunctive, "amem, ames, amet", and the forms for esse, "sim, sis, sit", are indeed optative; but in the other conjugations the future (regam, reges, reget; audiam, audies, audiet) sounds optative while the subjunctive (moneam, moneas, moneat; regam, regas, regat; audiam, audias, audiat) sounds like a true subjunctive. Can anyone cast any light on this? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 16:30, 14 August 2012 (UTC)


I'd like this article to answer the following questions: 1. What's the difference between an optative and a subjunctive; they're closely related, fine, but what's the difference. 2. How do (Indo-European) optatives decline? Do they decline for person and number? What about gender? Do they allow for voice (active/passive)? Do they occur in multiple tenses? Thanks, -- TimNelson (talk) 23:54, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Biblical Hebrew[edit]

Neither a citation nor an example is given for this. An example would need a citation to its source. Please provide it either here or in the article on Biblical Hebrew, which never mentions optative. (talk) 23:25, 10 April 2015 (UTC)