151895Re: Irrealis mood and non-finite verbs
- Apr 1, 2008On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 5:40 AM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
> Mark J. Reed wrote:Ah, yes. Saying "If only I had come home in time to save her!" would
> > My understanding is that the optative is restricted to non-factual
> > conditions being wished for/desired/etc,
> ...and then only when these refer to future time.
indeed be a desired non-factual condition, but not an optative
candidate in Greek. I think it'd get the indicative instead of the
subjunctive, actually, which feels weird to my Romance-based training.
> But your statement needs another qualification: the compulsory use ofAn optional optative. A literary alliterative distinction? :)
> the optative is restricted to non-factual conditions and wishes for the
> The optative had other _optional_ uses.
> But if we assume that 'realis' and 'irrealis' are the ends, poles, orWhich, clearly, tends more that way than the indicative, which can
> whatever, of the modal continuum, then it is certainly true to say that
> the optative tends more toward the irrealis end than the subjunctive.
still be used for "irrealistic" cases...
> Personally, while the realis ~ irrealis distinction may be useful in theAgreed, but I don't personally regard realis/irrealis as a descriptive
> description of some languages, I do not think it is very helpful in
> describing either Latin or Classical Greek where the use of the various
> moods is very much grammaticalized.
tool for grammar in the first place (although there may be languages
whose standard description uses the terminology that way). To me,
it's more of a theoretical basis for the way the grammar developed,
and useful in much the same way as physics problems about ideal
spheres moving with constant acceleration through frictionless media.
As with any science, reality tends to be messier. :)
Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
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