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"Subjunctive"

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  • Boris Shapiro
    Aiya! A line in VT43:14 puzzles me: _na_ also has a subjunctive or imperative sense when preceding a verb . Could you explain what you mean by subjunctive
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 1, 2002
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      Aiya!

      A line in VT43:14 puzzles me: "_na_ also has a subjunctive or
      imperative sense when preceding a verb".

      Could you explain what you mean by "subjunctive" here? Do we
      really have some info on conditional mood in Quenya (well,
      obliquely) now?

      [From the context, Tolkien's own note, and the examples given there, what is
      intended is clearly what is sometimes called the "hortatory" or "volitive"
      subjunctive, which implies a condition contrary to (known) fact, and expresses
      an exhortation and/or desire to change that condition. CFH]


      Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]


      : masse sii rocco ar roquen? : masse naa romba i suuyane? :
    • Boris Shapiro
      Aiya! Tuesday, October 1, 2002, 8:21:16 PM, CFH wrote: CFH From the context, Tolkien s own note, and the examples given CFH there, what is intended is
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 2, 2002
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        Aiya!

        Tuesday, October 1, 2002, 8:21:16 PM, CFH wrote:

        CFH> From the context, Tolkien's own note, and the examples given
        CFH> there, what is intended is clearly what is sometimes called the
        CFH> "hortatory" or "volitive" subjunctive,

        You mean the context, the note, and the examples present in VT43?

        [Correct. CFH]

        Then I sadly find it not obvious. But I suggest you had more data in your
        disposal to figure that out, hadn't you?

        [No. What is said in _VT_ 43 is based solely on the evidence presented in
        that issue. CFH]

        That's OK. I simply cannot make the same deduction out of the VT43 material
        alone and I would appreciate if you help me.

        As you may guess, the question of Quenya conditional mood is of great
        interest for us, and several questions rise immediately: what do you
        think, what makes the "_na_ preced. verb" construction imply a false
        condition (that is contrary to the fact)?

        [It was not said that the _na_ + verb construction is "conditional". It was
        said that it is a "subjunctive or imperative" construction. The hortatory or
        volitive subjunctive nature of the construction follows from Tolkien's
        statement on it: "_na_ preced[ing] = 'let it be': _na aire_ 'be holy'", and
        from the known meaning of the construction as used in the prayers. When one
        says "let it be", one is exhorting others to make some desired condition so,
        and/or expressing a wish that some desired condition will arise. In both
        cases, if the desired condition is not contrary to known fact, there seems
        little point in expressing the wish, except perhaps in the sense that one
        hopes that some present condition will persist throughout future history;
        but even here, there is an implication that that persistence is not assured,
        and so that its persistence is not a known fact. Does that help? CFH]


        Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]


        : linde nar i oomar tolesse vanwa yaamala :
      • Boris Shapiro
        Aiya! Wednesday, October 2, 2002, 1:59:49 PM, Boris Shapiro wrote: CFH [It was not said that the _na_ + verb construction is CFH conditional . It was said
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 2, 2002
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          Aiya!

          Wednesday, October 2, 2002, 1:59:49 PM, Boris Shapiro wrote:

          CFH> [It was not said that the _na_ + verb construction is
          CFH> "conditional". It was said that it is a "subjunctive or
          CFH> imperative" construction. The hortatory or volitive subjunctive

          But doesn't conditional include subjunctive?

          [Conditional aspect implies subjunctive, yes; but subjunctive does not
          (necessarily) imply conditional. CFH]

          I think that's where misunderstanding is. In Russian, constructions like
          E. "let it be" are imperative rather than subjunctive, and subjunctive
          constructions are for the most part conditional ("[subj] by [pred] esli";
          N.B. "esli" - "if").

          [In _form_, yes (or so I must accept your testimony, since my Russian is
          non-existent (contrary to fact? ;) ); but in _function_, in _meaning_, "let
          it be" can be regarded as either imperative (hortatory) or subjunctive
          (volitive) or both. There is not a one-to-one relationship between
          grammatical form and semantic function, nor is linguistic terminology
          always mutually exclusive. CFH]

          As far as I know, most new European languages developed new conditional
          types to express dependence, assumption, possibility, desirability and
          non-categorical predication of an action. All of them seem to imply a
          condition in some degree, though it is not always declared. I do not
          understand the difference between your hortative subjunctive and imperative,
          for even imperative implies that its goal is not achieved and therefore the
          desired condition is contrary to the present state of things.

          [Well, I didn't invent the terms hortatory or volitive subjunctive. They are
          standard linguistic terms. Nor did I say that hortatory/volitive subjunctive
          and imperative are completely separate and distinct terms or functions. CFH]

          I've always thought that the difference between subjunctive and imperative is
          that subjunctive implies some cause making (or capable of making, in theory)
          the desired condition unachievable because it depends on that cause-matter,
          while imperative simply urges to achieve the desired condition regardless of
          any antagonizing causes.

          [Again, I would refer you to a dictionary of grammar or a grammatical treatise
          to resolve your understanding of these standard linguistic terms. But I would
          say that it may well be that imperative and hortatory subjunctive can and
          probably often do blur as semantic functions, if not formally. CFH]

          Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]


          : manen i orne polis tyule ai miste uulantuva nentien olwaryar? :
        • Boris Shapiro
          Aiya! Wednesday, October 2, 2002, 7:55:40 PM, CFH wrote: CFH But I would say that it may well be that imperative and hortatory CFH subjunctive can and
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 2, 2002
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            Aiya!

            Wednesday, October 2, 2002, 7:55:40 PM, CFH wrote:

            CFH> But I would say that it may well be that imperative and hortatory
            CFH> subjunctive can and probably often do blur as semantic functions,
            CFH> if not formally. CFH]

            By the way, do you know other languages besides English with cases of
            formally identical imperative and (non-hortative) subjunctive?

            [Yes: Greek, at least in the first person. See:
            http://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/subj-hortatory.htm
            CFH]

            Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]


            : man hostuva usque wilwa turuo hessa uryala? :
          • Hans
            ... Indeed, that s the source of the misunderstanding. Russian is a highly inflected language, but it doesn t distinguish between conditional and subjunctive.
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 3, 2002
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              --- In lambengolmor@y..., Boris Shapiro <elenhil@p...> wrote:

              > I think that's where misunderstanding is. In Russian, constructions like
              > E. "let it be" are imperative rather than subjunctive, and subjunctive
              > constructions are for the most part conditional ("[subj] by [pred] esli";

              Indeed, that's the source of the misunderstanding. Russian is a highly
              inflected language, but it doesn't distinguish between conditional and
              subjunctive. Both moods are indicated by the particle "by", analytically.
              But there's a difference: "conditional" means that the truth of your
              statement depends on conditions, while subjunctive indicates your
              faith: you use subjunctive I if you think it possible, and subjunctive
              II if you don't. Unfortunately, subjunctive is rudimentary in English
              (most forms of subjunctive I coincide with indicative present tense,
              and most forms of subjunctive II coincide with indicative past tense).
              If you want to see a working system with one conditional and two
              subjunctives, look at Italian.

              Hans
            • Ben Echols
              Hans wrote: H If you want to see a working system with one conditional and two H subjunctives, look at Italian. Another example is Spanish. It has one
              Message 6 of 12 , Oct 3, 2002
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                Hans wrote:

                H> If you want to see a working system with one conditional and two
                H> subjunctives, look at Italian.

                Another example is Spanish. It has one conditional verb tense and two
                subjunctives.

                Ben Echols
              • David Kiltz
                ... Ben, I m not sure what you mean by one conditional and two subjunctives . Spanish (like every West-Romanic language, including, e.g. French) has a
                Message 7 of 12 , Oct 4, 2002
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                  On Thursday, October 3, 2002, at 10:03 PM, Ben Echols wrote:

                  > Hans wrote:
                  >
                  > H> If you want to see a working system with one conditional and two
                  > H> subjunctives, look at Italian.
                  >
                  > Another example is Spanish. It has one conditional verb tense and two
                  > subjunctives.

                  Ben, I'm not sure what you mean by "one conditional" and "two
                  subjunctives". Spanish (like every West-Romanic language,
                  including, e.g. French) has a category "subjunctive" and one
                  "conditional". Both occur in two forms:

                  Conditional 1) compraría
                  Conditional 2) habría comprado

                  Subjunctive 1) (que) compre
                  Subjunctive 2) comprara or comprase (note: the first goes back to the
                  Latin pluperfect and is also sometimes used as such, especially in
                  South America).

                  Germanic languages mostly employ the subjunctive for conditionals often
                  with an extra auxiliary (e.g. English _would_ or German_würde_).
                  So, for conditionals, where they are distinguished from subjunctives,
                  we see periphrastic or agglutinative formations. Note that the Romanic
                  languages' conditional is really a periphrastic formation (e.g.
                  comparare habebam etc.).

                  No explicit marker for the conditional is needed in Quenya. Cf.
                  VT42:33, in the bottom most paragraph, starting from _lá karita i
                  hamil..._.

                  David Kiltz
                • Hans
                  [OK, folks, let s bring this back to Tolkien s languages. CFH] ... I m sorry, David, but I have to disagree. The German würde is a modern development,
                  Message 8 of 12 , Oct 4, 2002
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                    [OK, folks, let's bring this back to Tolkien's languages. CFH]

                    --- In lambengolmor@y..., David Kiltz <dkiltz@g...> wrote:

                    > Germanic languages mostly employ the subjunctive for conditionals often
                    > with an extra auxiliary (e.g. English _would_ or German_würde_).

                    I'm sorry, David, but I have to disagree. The German "würde" is a
                    modern development, following the general tendency of replacement of
                    the older, strong inflections by analytical (or, as you call it,
                    periphrastic) constructions. German still has two genuine subjunctives
                    (I'm afraid they'll vanish within the next hundred years, though), "er
                    komme/ er käme" in the case of the verb "to come". Most of the forms
                    of subjunctive I are very similar to forms of indicative present
                    tense, ok. But some are different, and it's interesting that one of
                    the differences has parallels in other languages: "be it so" is "so
                    sei es" in German, different from indicative "so ist es". In Italian,
                    you would use "sia" for "sei".

                    > Note that the Romanic languages' conditional is really a periphrastic
                    > formation (e.g. comparare habebam etc.).

                    That's not true for Italian. The conditional is much used to express
                    wishes politely (not unlike German or English or some other languages!),
                    but forms like "vorrai" (I would) are real inflections, not periphrastic
                    constructions or agglutinations.

                    > No explicit marker for the conditional is needed in Quenya.

                    That's true, unfortunately. A language lacking a word for "if"
                    certainly doesn't need a conditional.

                    Hans
                  • Ben Echols
                    [I m letting this through, but in general, follow-up messages of this sort, basically simply acknowledging a correction, will not be accepted on this list. Any
                    Message 9 of 12 , Oct 4, 2002
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                      [I'm letting this through, but in general, follow-up messages of this
                      sort, basically simply acknowledging a correction, will not be accepted
                      on this list. Any such response should be made in conjunction with
                      offering new information on the question at hand. Otherwise, make your
                      acknowledgments privately. CFH]

                      I never learned the other conditional. I am sorry for the mistake, I know
                      about the two different ways to do subjunctive. I am not a native speaker
                      of spanish, however I have been taking spanish classes for 4 years and
                      have been to spanish countries. But thanks for the information, you learn
                      something new everyday. :)

                      Ben Echols
                    • Hans
                      ... Er... yeah, I m afraid this is a well-deserved rebuke. [I wouldn t call it a rebuke , just a reminder that posts to this list are, according to the
                      Message 10 of 12 , Oct 4, 2002
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                        --- In lambengolmor@y..., "Hans" <gentlebeldin@h...> wrote:
                        > [OK, folks, let's bring this back to Tolkien's languages. CFH]

                        Er... yeah, I'm afraid this is a well-deserved rebuke.

                        [I wouldn't call it a "rebuke", just a reminder that posts to this list
                        are, according to the guidelines, supposed to deal in some manner with
                        Tolkien's languages. That by no means excludes discussion of grammatical
                        features of other languages for purposes of comparison or illustration
                        or even speculation; but each such discussion should touch on Tolkien's
                        languages at some point. When we start _debating_ the grammatical
                        features of other languages, and comparing them to one another, we're
                        drifting off course. CFH]

                        Quenya may not have a conditional, but it's well known that JRRT thought
                        of a subjunctive once. Now the English subjunctive II is almost identical
                        with forms of past tense, and the German forms are close, too (though
                        with umlaut). Interestingly, the Quenya word glossed as a subjunctive
                        ("should flow", IX:247) coincides with an (augmentless) perfect,
                        "ullier", forms usually translated by JRRT with past tense. Of course,
                        that's one of the cases of later reinterpretations. In "Lost Road",
                        the word "ullier" was glossed "poured" (V:51). Nonetheless, there
                        can't be much doubt JRRT thought of a subjunctive later: the Adunaic
                        forms in the Notion Club Papers were meant to be translations of the
                        "Avallonian" ones, and the respective word _du-phursâ_ is glossed
                        "so-as-to-gush" (IX:247, again), and that's certainly not an
                        indicative mood.

                        Hans
                      • David Kiltz
                        -I m sorry if this is drifting away from Quenya but my response will (hopefully) set some things straight. This will ultimately be beneficial for the
                        Message 11 of 12 , Oct 6, 2002
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                          -I'm sorry if this is drifting away from Quenya but my response will
                          (hopefully) set some things straight. This will ultimately be
                          beneficial for the discussion of the Quenya forms.

                          On Friday, October 4, 2002, at 09:54 PM, Hans wrote:

                          > --- In lambengolmor@y..., David Kiltz <dkiltz@g...> wrote:
                          >
                          >> Germanic languages mostly employ the subjunctive for conditionals
                          >> often with an extra auxiliary (e.g. English _would_ or German_würde_).
                          >
                          > I'm sorry, David, but I have to disagree. The German "würde" is a
                          > modern development, following the general tendency of replacement of
                          > the older, strong inflections by analytical (or, as you call it,
                          > periphrastic) constructions. German still has two genuine subjunctives,
                          > "er komme/ er käme" in the case of the verb "to come".
                          <snip>

                          Hans, but that's exactly what I said. Germanic languages (such as
                          German, even Modern German ;-) do use the subjunctive. In addition,
                          formations with an auxiliary arise. (Certainly with the idea of
                          disambiguating). I don't see how this is not "Germanic" although it is
                          a younger formation (which I never denied).

                          >> Note that the Romanic languages' conditional is really a periphrastic
                          >> formation (e.g. comparare habebam etc.).
                          >
                          > That's not true for Italian. The conditional is much used to express
                          > wishes politely (not unlike German or English or some other
                          > languages!), but forms like "vorrai" (I would) are real inflections,
                          > not periphrastic constructions or agglutinations.

                          1) Your analysis of the form is factually wrong. Even Italian _vorrai_
                          is ultimately _velle_ (or rather Proto-Romanic _volere_) + habui. The
                          only difference between Italian and Spanish is that Italian uses the
                          perfect as second part, Spanish the imperfect. By "really" I meant
                          "originally".

                          2) The semantics are irrelevant to the question of periphrasis or not.
                          I never said they weren't employed like that.

                          >> No explicit marker for the conditional is needed in Quenya.
                          >
                          > That's true, unfortunately. A language lacking a word for "if"
                          > certainly doesn't need a conditional.

                          Well, Tolkien writes that "if this uncertainty [i.e. a conditional
                          proposition for the future] is emphasized Quenya can say _nauva_ "will
                          be". So, Quenya does not require a specific marker if the semantics of
                          the sentence are clear.

                          It would be interesting to see whether the _-uva_ forms are a "pure"
                          future tense or rather some kind of prospective.

                          David
                        • Lukas Novak
                          David Kiltz wrote: DK It would be interesting to see whether the _-uva_ forms are a pure DK future tense or rather some kind of prospective. I have been
                          Message 12 of 12 , Oct 6, 2002
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                            David Kiltz wrote:

                            DK> It would be interesting to see whether the _-uva_ forms are a "pure"
                            DK> future tense or rather some kind of prospective.

                            I have been having this impression for already a long time. More
                            specifically, I suspect that the -uva formation is originally
                            prospective/optative and only one of its usages evolved into pure
                            future. I imagine that Tolkien might have been inspired by the origin
                            of Greek future tense or English usage of the auxiliary "will" -
                            originally a modal verb.

                            Lukas
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