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Re: Irrealis conditionals

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  • Douglas Koller
    From: Philip Newton ... Here s how my lang, Géarthnuns, does it: European-style subjunctives kind of fissioned into four moods in
    Message 1 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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