Pragmatic uses of Russian subjunctive

2015. № 1 (29), 67-86

Nina R. Dobrushina, Higher School of Economics


The paper considers pragmatic uses of the Russian subjunctive which does not refer to an irreal situation but marks an utterance as non-categorical (as in English: “I would suggest switching to the next question”). These usages are common in the 1st and 2nd person though confined to a narrow class of verbs listed in the paper. The paper focuses on the subjunctive of the verb xotet’ (‘want’). It is shown that the pragmatic subjunctive has a number of special properties: it may combine with indicative conditional protasis and may be co-ordinated with indicative forms.