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Irrealis conditionals

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  • Philip Newton
    I m unsure how to do irrealis conditionals in GSF. The Wikipedia article
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 30, 2007
      I'm unsure how to do irrealis conditionals in GSF.

      The Wikipedia article
      <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_sentence#Conditional_sentences_in_English>
      distinguishes between four kinds of conditional, of which the first
      two (zero and first) are realis and the second two (second and third)
      irrealis.

      The realis conditionals are easy; I expect they'll be the same as in
      English (and the way I think they work in Modern Greek) -- protasis is
      in the past (with past meaning) or the present (with present, future,
      or generic/universal meaning) and marked with "if" ("an" in GSF and
      MG), and apodosis in past, present, or future, unmarked or optionally
      marked with "then" ("tote" in GSF and MG).

      The third conditional (contrary-to-fact past events) also looks
      doable, at least for the protasis. In both MG and English, the
      protasis is in the pluperfect; since GSF has a pluperfect, I could
      just use that. en "If you had called me, ..." = el "An me eixes
      kalesei, ..." = gsf "An sena ice kalesi mena, ...".

      I'm less certain about the apodosis. For past meaning ("would have" in
      English), I think MG uses future marker + imperfect of auxiliary verb
      "have" + infinitive for this -- this could be analysed as "(future
      marker + imperfect of auxiliary) + infinitive" (since future +
      imperfect is used for apodoses in general) but perhaps also as "future
      marker + (imperfect of auxiliary + infinitive)", and since "imperfect
      of auxiliary + infinitive" is also how the pluperfect is formed, I
      could use "future marker + pluperfect" as the apodosis form. For
      example, en "If you had called me, I would have come" = el "An me
      eixes kalesei, tha eixa erthei" = gsf "An sena ice kalesi mena, mena
      tha ice erthi".

      Where I'm still stuck at the moment is the second conditional (a
      current state or event that is known to be false or improbable).
      English uses the simple past (or the past subjunctive, which really
      only differs in "were" vs. "was") for the protasis, and "would" (or
      "could", "might", "should") for the apodosis; GSF uses "an" +
      imperfect for the protasis and "tha" + imperfect for the apodosis.

      However, I have no imperfect at the moment, so I can't go that easy
      route. And if I use the plain past, it'll look like a realis
      conditional.

      So far, the options seem to be:

      1) invent a new modal, analogous to English "would" -- this way I can
      keep "an" + past for the protasis (works well enough for English) and
      use modal + verb in the apodosis. "If I won the lottery, I would buy a
      car." would become something like "An mena ci kerdhisi to lacio, mena
      <would> aghorasi ena aftokinito" - "if I PAST win the lottery, I COND
      buy a car"

      2) invent an imperfective particle and use MG grammar. Not sure what
      form to give this particle, since I'm not sure whether there's
      anything I could use as analogy and inspiration, but I'm not sure I
      just want to pull something out of my sleeve. Representing whatever
      I'd come up with with IMP, I'd have "An mena IMP kerdhisi to lacio,
      mena tha IMP aghorasi ena aftokinito".

      3) Just use the plain past I have now -- after all, there are a number
      of MG verbs which have no separate perfective and imperfective stems,
      e.g. ksero "to know", thelo "to want". This would give "An mena ci
      kerdhisi to lacio, mena tha ci aghorasi ena aftokinito". A problem
      with this is that "tha ci" (FUT PAST) is used for future perfect, and
      I'm not sure whether this wouldn't introduce ambiguity with the first
      conditional. For example, "An afto ci pari to treno, afto tha ci di
      polis endhiaferondas polis apoye" (If she PAST take the train, she FUT
      PAST see many.PL interesting.PL city.PL tonight) which could be either
      "If she took the train, she will have seen many interesting cities
      tonight" (first/realis conditional; MG "An pire [AORIST] to trena, tha
      exei dei [FUTURE PERFECT] polles endiaferondes poleis apopse") or "If
      she took the train, she would see many interesting cities tonight"
      (second/irrealis conditional; MG "An epairne [IMPERFECT] to trena, tha
      evlepe [FUTURE + IMPERFECT = CONDITIONAL] polles endiaferondes poleis
      apopse").

      4) invent a conditional particle -- perhaps "bi" based on Russian
      "by", though I'm not sure how it is used in Russian. So perhaps "An
      mena ci kerdhisi bi to lacio, mena tha ci aghorasi bi ena aftokinito"
      or "An mena ci bi kerdhisi to lacio, mena tha ci bi aghorasi ena
      aftokinito". (Not sure which is "better".)

      The apodosis of third conditional sentences for present meaning is
      also similar -- MG has "tha" + imperfect, e.g. "an eixes diavasei to
      vivlio, tha ikseres ti simvainei" -- "if you-had read the book, FUT
      you-knew what happen" = "if you had read the book, you would know what
      happens".


      Suggestions or comments on which of the four methods above sounds
      promising, or something else to try out or consider?

      How does your conlang handle irrealis conditionals?

      Cheers,
      --
      Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
    • Douglas Treadwell
      What language is that? It seems like a very aesthetic language... I d be interested in learning more about it. Philip Newton wrote:
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 30, 2007
        What language is that? It seems like a very aesthetic language... I'd be interested in learning more about it.

        Philip Newton <philip.newton@...> wrote: I'm unsure how to do irrealis conditionals in GSF.

        The Wikipedia article

        distinguishes between four kinds of conditional, of which the first
        two (zero and first) are realis and the second two (second and third)
        irrealis.

        The realis conditionals are easy; I expect they'll be the same as in
        English (and the way I think they work in Modern Greek) -- protasis is
        in the past (with past meaning) or the present (with present, future,
        or generic/universal meaning) and marked with "if" ("an" in GSF and
        MG), and apodosis in past, present, or future, unmarked or optionally
        marked with "then" ("tote" in GSF and MG).

        The third conditional (contrary-to-fact past events) also looks
        doable, at least for the protasis. In both MG and English, the
        protasis is in the pluperfect; since GSF has a pluperfect, I could
        just use that. en "If you had called me, ..." = el "An me eixes
        kalesei, ..." = gsf "An sena ice kalesi mena, ...".

        I'm less certain about the apodosis. For past meaning ("would have" in
        English), I think MG uses future marker + imperfect of auxiliary verb
        "have" + infinitive for this -- this could be analysed as "(future
        marker + imperfect of auxiliary) + infinitive" (since future +
        imperfect is used for apodoses in general) but perhaps also as "future
        marker + (imperfect of auxiliary + infinitive)", and since "imperfect
        of auxiliary + infinitive" is also how the pluperfect is formed, I
        could use "future marker + pluperfect" as the apodosis form. For
        example, en "If you had called me, I would have come" = el "An me
        eixes kalesei, tha eixa erthei" = gsf "An sena ice kalesi mena, mena
        tha ice erthi".

        Where I'm still stuck at the moment is the second conditional (a
        current state or event that is known to be false or improbable).
        English uses the simple past (or the past subjunctive, which really
        only differs in "were" vs. "was") for the protasis, and "would" (or
        "could", "might", "should") for the apodosis; GSF uses "an" +
        imperfect for the protasis and "tha" + imperfect for the apodosis.

        However, I have no imperfect at the moment, so I can't go that easy
        route. And if I use the plain past, it'll look like a realis
        conditional.

        So far, the options seem to be:

        1) invent a new modal, analogous to English "would" -- this way I can
        keep "an" + past for the protasis (works well enough for English) and
        use modal + verb in the apodosis. "If I won the lottery, I would buy a
        car." would become something like "An mena ci kerdhisi to lacio, mena
        aghorasi ena aftokinito" - "if I PAST win the lottery, I COND
        buy a car"

        2) invent an imperfective particle and use MG grammar. Not sure what
        form to give this particle, since I'm not sure whether there's
        anything I could use as analogy and inspiration, but I'm not sure I
        just want to pull something out of my sleeve. Representing whatever
        I'd come up with with IMP, I'd have "An mena IMP kerdhisi to lacio,
        mena tha IMP aghorasi ena aftokinito".

        3) Just use the plain past I have now -- after all, there are a number
        of MG verbs which have no separate perfective and imperfective stems,
        e.g. ksero "to know", thelo "to want". This would give "An mena ci
        kerdhisi to lacio, mena tha ci aghorasi ena aftokinito". A problem
        with this is that "tha ci" (FUT PAST) is used for future perfect, and
        I'm not sure whether this wouldn't introduce ambiguity with the first
        conditional. For example, "An afto ci pari to treno, afto tha ci di
        polis endhiaferondas polis apoye" (If she PAST take the train, she FUT
        PAST see many.PL interesting.PL city.PL tonight) which could be either
        "If she took the train, she will have seen many interesting cities
        tonight" (first/realis conditional; MG "An pire [AORIST] to trena, tha
        exei dei [FUTURE PERFECT] polles endiaferondes poleis apopse") or "If
        she took the train, she would see many interesting cities tonight"
        (second/irrealis conditional; MG "An epairne [IMPERFECT] to trena, tha
        evlepe [FUTURE + IMPERFECT = CONDITIONAL] polles endiaferondes poleis
        apopse").

        4) invent a conditional particle -- perhaps "bi" based on Russian
        "by", though I'm not sure how it is used in Russian. So perhaps "An
        mena ci kerdhisi bi to lacio, mena tha ci aghorasi bi ena aftokinito"
        or "An mena ci bi kerdhisi to lacio, mena tha ci bi aghorasi ena
        aftokinito". (Not sure which is "better".)

        The apodosis of third conditional sentences for present meaning is
        also similar -- MG has "tha" + imperfect, e.g. "an eixes diavasei to
        vivlio, tha ikseres ti simvainei" -- "if you-had read the book, FUT
        you-knew what happen" = "if you had read the book, you would know what
        happens".


        Suggestions or comments on which of the four methods above sounds
        promising, or something else to try out or consider?

        How does your conlang handle irrealis conditionals?

        Cheers,
        --
        Philip Newton
      • Philip Newton
        ... GSF? It s Greek Sans Flexions -- basically a version of Modern Greek that doesn t inflect nouns or adjectives for gender or case (but still does for
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 30, 2007
          On 6/30/07, Douglas Treadwell <epicureanideal@...> wrote:
          > What language is that? It seems like a very aesthetic language... I'd be interested in learning more about it.

          GSF? It's Greek Sans Flexions -- basically a version of Modern Greek
          that doesn't inflect nouns or adjectives for gender or case (but still
          does for number), and doesn't mark person, number, tense, or mood on
          nouns by endings (instead marking some of them with particles and
          leaving others unmarked). At a rough approximation, it's Greek words
          with English inflectional morphology.

          What there is about it is at http://gsf.wunschzetel.de/ .

          Cheers,
          --
          Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
        • David J. Peterson
          I don t want to start a YAEPT (or YAEUT, where U = usage), but I find it fascinating that sports casters speak a different variety of English. For example,
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 30, 2007
            I don't want to start a YAEPT (or YAEUT, where U = usage), but
            I find it fascinating that sports casters speak a different variety
            of English. For example, Wikipedia calls the first conditional,
            sports casters produce with the form of the zero conditional--and
            they do it consistently, and effusively.

            "I'll tell you what, John, if the lineman doesn't tip that ball at the
            line of scrimmage, that ball's intercepted, and Ray Lewis runs it
            back to the house, and this game is over."

            All of that is hypothetical.

            ObConlang: I don't know how my conlang do this. Is that allowed? :)

            -David
            *******************************************************************
            "sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
            "No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

            -Jim Morrison

            http://dedalvs.free.fr/
          • Douglas Koller
            From: Philip Newton ... Here s how my lang, Géarthnuns, does it: European-style subjunctives kind of fissioned into four moods in
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 30, 2007
              From: Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>

              > I'm unsure how to do irrealis conditionals in GSF.

              > The Wikipedia article
              > distinguishes between four kinds of conditional, of which the first
              > two (zero and first) are realis and the second two (second and third)
              > irrealis.

              > How does your conlang handle irrealis conditionals?

              Here's how my lang, G�arthnuns, does it:

              European-style subjunctives kind of fissioned into four moods in G�arthnuns, among
              which there are two: the speculative, marked by the prefix "hau-" on the verb,
              and the conclusive, marked by the prefix "he-". The speculative is used in the
              protasis, the conclusive in the apodosis. Since the verb in the protasis is
              marked (cf. Japanese "kattara/kaeba"), the word for "if", "aim" (pronounced
              "I'm") is optional.

              1) zero conditional - universal statements, laws of science
              Simple structure, but G�arthnuns uses its "transcendent" tense here:

              If you heat water to 100 degrees celsius, it boils.

              (Aim) seth l�v ch� mn�aks�t sauk sels�us�ursaush kashaderaush hauvukh, s�k l�
              heheshtehun.

              (if) one aux./transcendent/impersonal the water/acc. indef. art./pl.
              Celsius-degree/locative/pl. hundred/loc./pl. heat/speculative, it/nom.
              aux./trans. boil/conclusive

              2) first conditional - hypothetical condition, potentially true, but not yet
              verified:
              First and second ones are straightforward:

              If she took that flight yesterday, she is somewhere in town today.

              (Aim) san l� che vangab�hathset helkethet che here�kedalthsev haurh�isaf, san la
              che hengedalthsev ch� dharhals�b b� shah�d�nsav hemal.

              (if) she/nom. aux./past the flight/acc. that/acc. the yesterday/loc. take/spec.,
              she/nom. aux./present the today/loc. the town.wall/postpositional inside (i.e.
              "in town") somewhere/loc. be.located/concl.

              If it's raining, your laundry is getting wet.

              (Aim) seth la hengeft� haufun, cha al�hans r�tht�l�n ��kelan la pl�mn�an
              hevan�i.

              (if) it/nom aux./pres. now rain/spec., the clothing/nom. washed/nom. your/nom.
              aux./pres. wet/nom. become/concl.

              But in the third, unlike English, the future is needed in the protasis:

              If I become President, I'll lower taxes.

              (Aim) s� l� chau al�dlers hauvan�i, s� l� ch�k z�els�ch hep�mnalsuf.

              (if) I/nom. aux./future the president/nom. become/spec., I/nom. aux./fut.
              the/pl. tax/acc./pl. lower/concl.

              For irrealis, all that Eurolang tense and mood stuff kept getting in the way for me, so it's indicated adverbially. The word "�lzden�" (or its more literary equivalent "v�rh�") is placed in the apodosis and simply indicates, "Yo, this sentence is irrealis." Hence:

              3) second conditional - state or event is false or improbable

              If I were king, I could have you thrown in the dungeon.

              (Aim) s� la ch� d�bs haun�i, s� la ��ket ch� zark�ij�bs�v bab shabutel �lzden� hekalokh,

              (if) I/nom. aux./pres. the king/nom. be/spec., I/nom. aux./pres. you/acc. the dungeon/loc. verb-connector/causative passive "hole.up"* �LZDEN� be.able/concl.

              If I became President, I'd lower taxes.

              (Aim) s� l� chau al�dlers hauvan�i, s� l� ch�k z�els�ch �lzden� hep�mnalsuf.

              (if) I/nom. aux./future the president/nom. become/spec., I/nom. aux./fut.
              the/pl. tax/acc./pl. �LZDEN� lower/concl.

              4) third conditional - contrary-to-fact past events

              Same style, but with a little extra (explained below):

              If you had called me, I would have come.

              (Aim) ��ek l� s�k haui�m�l, s� l� nzh� �lzden� hethauth.

              (if) you/nom. aux./past I/dat, telephone/spec., I/nom. aux./past NZH� �LZDEN� come/concl.

              Yet another adverb. "Nzh�" doesn't translate well on its own, but it lends a kind of futurity to events in the past:

              The white tiger would (was to) become the symbol of G�artht�rs.

              Chau �rs l� ch� vag�bs G�artht�rsaus nzh� van�i.

              the white.tiger/nom the symbol/nom. G�artht�rs/genitive NZH� become

              I was (just) about to leave when you called.

              Shtan� ��ek l� i�m�l sho, s� l� nzh� ba palenguf �raf.

              when you/nom. aux./past telephone SHO, I/nom. aux./past NZH� verb-connector leave want

              Insofar as these irrealis sentences are concerned, there seems to be a parallelism in tenses between protasis and apodosis (I hadn't consciously thought of this before):

              If I were king, I could have you thrown in the dungeon. present/present
              If I became President, I'd lower taxes. future/future
              If you had called me, I would have come. past/past

              but I'm not sure if that covers all the possibilities.

              Well, adverbs ain't nearly as sexy as funky verb forms, and it doesn't help you, Philip, but that's the way G�arthnuns handles it.

              Kou
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