2

The verbal form of 'dorma' in the aria Nessun dorma from Puccini's Turandot recently struck me as strange given that there is nothing to trigger a subjunctive preceding the verb.

My question is first what form of dormire is being used: formal imperative, present subjunctive or some other form?

Second, how should this line best be understood given the form?

  • 3
    This absolute use of subjunctive mood in Italian, not “triggered” by another proposition, is known as congiuntivo esortativo. – DaG Sep 19 '16 at 7:37
4

It's the subjunctive used for denoting desire or will:

(I want that) nobody be sleeping (tonight)

or

Nobody should be sleeping

The imperative properly has only the second person (singular and plural); in the other persons it's substituted with the corresponding forms of the present subjunctive. So you can consider it as the imperative as well.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.