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What is the rule for conjugating verbs in the vos form in the present subjunctive? If it varies by region, what are the differences?

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The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas explains that there are two major types of voseo:

  1. Reverential voseo: archaic and ceremonial usage. Spanish speakers in the Americas are familiar with this type of voseo from historic and religious texts.
  2. American dialectal voseo: the different forms of voseo from the Spanish dialects of the Americas.

The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas provides a detailed explanation of the regional variants (in Spanish) and includes a voseo conjugation table by country and tense for the verbs cantar, comer, and vivir . Wikipedia explains the regional differences in the use of voseo under the present subjunctive for the irregular verbs dormir and mentir:

  • Ríoplatense region (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay), informal: cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás
  • Ríoplatense region (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay), formal: cantes, comas, vivas, duermas, mientas
  • Chile, Southern Perú (especially Arequipa), Northwestern Argentina: cantí(s), comái(s), vivái(s), durmái(s), mintái(s)
  • Western and Southern Bolivia (colla zone): cantes, comas, vivas, duermas, mientas
  • Northern and Eastern Bolivia (camba zone): cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás
  • Northern Ecuadorian Coast (Esmeraldas): cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás
  • Ecuadorian Sierra (Andes), parts of Northern Peru: cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás or cantes, comas, vivas, duermas, mientas
  • Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia (paisa and valluno dialects, Pacific coast), Venezuela (Andes): cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás
  • Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras: cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás or cantes, comas, vivas, duermas, mientas
  • Panama (Azuero), Venezuela (Zulia), reverential: canteís, comáis, viváis, durmáis, mintáis
  • Mexico (Chiapas and Tabasco) (rare): cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás
  • Eastern Cuba (rare): cantés, comás, vivás, durmás, mintás
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Great find! My biggest confusion though is about irregular verbs, and those don't seem to be addressed in that list. –  jrdioko Dec 8 '11 at 0:10
1  
The Wikipedia article on voseo contains examples for the irregular verbs dormir and mentir. I added those examples to the answer. Were you interested in the conjugation of another irregular verb? –  Jaime Soto Dec 8 '11 at 0:51
    
I'd say rare for the ecuadorean coast too... I lived there 7 years. –  Joze Dec 8 '11 at 9:20
    
@Joze: I clarified in the answer that voseo is predominant on the Northern Ecuadorian coast (Esmeraldas), according to the RAE. It seems like there is a link between voseo in Esmeraldas and voseo in the Colombian Pacific coast. –  Jaime Soto Dec 8 '11 at 13:55
    
@JaimeSoto: Now that you edited it with Esmeraldas I agree!! :-) –  Joze Dec 8 '11 at 13:58

It is generally conjugated as the second person, or like the 'vosotros' conjugation (second plural), but wihout the last i.

La ley requiere que (vos) tengas 18 años para votar.

Second person: (tu) tengas Second plural: (vosotros) tengáis

Te dije que (vos) lo pusieras sobre la mesa.

Second person: (tu) pusieras Second plural: (vosotros) pusierais

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I've never seen vosotros téngais or pusiérais, only tengáis or pusierais. –  krubo Nov 20 '11 at 20:27

There aren't any differences between the vos and forms in the present subjunctive. Any irregularity comes from the yo stem.

After that, the vos conjugation has an "s" just like the conjugation.

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Jaime Soto's answer above seems to indicate this isn't true in all cases. –  jrdioko Dec 8 '11 at 17:13

As pointed by Alpha, the conjugation is related to the second plural ('vosotros') (*). The general rule is to trim the last 'i'

tú comes (you eat) (second singular, standard form)

vosotros coméis (you eat) (second plural)

vos comés (you eat) (second singular, with 'voseo')

In the imperative, the final 'd' is suppresed

eh, tú, espera (hey, you, wait)

eh, vosotros, esperad

eh, vos, esperá

And, as always, there are some irregularities, eg

" tú, dime" "vosotros, decidme" "vos, decime" (hey, you, tell me)

(*) To make things more confusing, 'vosotros' is not much used in some regions with 'voseo', as Argentina; here, we mostly use 'ustedes' as second plural pronoun, plural form of 'usted' (respectful second person). Both 'usted'/'ustedes' are conjugated as third person.

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Thanks for the explanation of voseo. I was actually looking for rules for the present subjunctive (e.g. "Quiero que vos (venir) conmigo.") –  jrdioko Nov 16 '11 at 3:39
    
@jrdioko: venir would be conjugated as vos vengás, vos vengas, vos vengái, or vos vengáis depending on the region. See my answer. –  Jaime Soto Dec 8 '11 at 0:54

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