I didn't post yesterday because I went to bed really early. And slept a long time. It was great.
But what I intended to write about yesterday was a breakthrough I had in class. We spent most of the period working on the subjunctive, which is a Spanish mode used to express distance from reality. If you've had a Spanish II class, I'm sure you're familiar with the concept. If not, it's basically a set of verb endings that are used in specific cases to demonstrate that the concept is not known for sure.
It's hypothetical. "Que tengas buen fin de semana" means "I hope that you'll have a good weekend" and uses the subjunctive. I don’t know if you’ll have a good one, but I sure hope you do.
Using the subjunctive is a tough concept for a lot of English speakers to understand because it has no direct translation. It's not a verb tense, it's a mode. As far as I know, English doesn't have usable modes. What I realized yesterday is that music does have modes.
If you've played a certain amount of guitar then you're familiar with modes of music. It's essentially a set of specific scales that corresponds to each note of a bigger scale.
Take, for instance, if I were playing in the key of C Major, and the progression used these chords for a few counts - C, C, D, F, G, C. Then I could solo above the C with one scale, called C Ionian, on top of the D with D Dorian, and the G in G Mixolydian. They would all fit in because they match exactly to the note.
This goes on and on and is a lot more complicated, but hopefully you can understand it vaguely. It’s a shift of position, a transition of sound.
This is connected to language in my mind. If we think of the way we speak as being in one mode, then switching modes is like switching positions on a guitar. It's like taking one step away from reality, shifting the whole structure of the scale (and of the verb) up one unit.
When I hear the subjunctive now, and when I attempt to use it, I imagine a little hypothetical guitar-playing dude just shredding away, moving the mode.
The symbol is useful because the man and the language are pretend, and both are transitioning through modes. Maybe that’s just my dorky brain, but the connected concepts have really helped me get a grasp on a tough idea. I figured I should share it and maybe it will help you with your Spanish.