Time in the conditional clause

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Rossini
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Joined: August 29th, 2011, 12:16 pm

Time in the conditional clause

Post by Rossini » September 1st, 2011, 4:41 am

Hello everybody,

If in a conditional irrealis clause the timeframe of the protasis is 'earlier' than that of the apodosis, is this expressed by using a different time of the verb? For instance: In a sentence as: If I had studied well, I would have past the exam, does Greek use twice an ind. aorist?

Thanks!
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David Lim
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Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: Time in the conditional clause

Post by David Lim » September 1st, 2011, 11:15 am

Rossini wrote:Hello everybody,

If in a conditional irrealis clause the timeframe of the protasis is 'earlier' than that of the apodosis, is this expressed by using a different time of the verb? For instance: In a sentence as: If I had studied well, I would have past the exam, does Greek use twice an ind. aorist?

Thanks!
Just a small note: "... I would have passed the exam ..." ;)
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δαυιδ λιμ

cwconrad
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Re: Time in the conditional clause

Post by cwconrad » September 1st, 2011, 2:08 pm

Rossini wrote:Hello everybody,

If in a conditional irrealis clause the timeframe of the protasis is 'earlier' than that of the apodosis, is this expressed by using a different time of the verb? For instance: In a sentence as: If I had studied well, I would have past the exam, does Greek use twice an ind. aorist?
In your proposed example, ancient Greek would use an aorist indicative in both clauses, and ἃν would be prefixed or added to the aorist of the apodosis. εἰ ἐμελήτησα, ἐξέφυγον ἂν τὸ ἐλέγχος. It's clear from the formulation which action must have come first (consequences don't ordinarily precede causes). It would have been more helpful, I think, if you'd given a Greek example for your question.

I might just note also, that you really ought not to be using a single name to identify yourself.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Time in the conditional clause

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 2nd, 2011, 10:50 am

cwconrad wrote:
In your proposed example, ancient Greek would use an aorist indicative in both clauses, and ἃν would be prefixed or added to the aorist of the apodosis. εἰ ἐμελήτησα, ἐξέφυγον ἂν τὸ ἐλέγχος. It's clear from the formulation which action must have come first (consequences don't ordinarily precede causes). It would have been more helpful, I think, if you'd given a Greek example for your question.

I might just note also, that you really ought not to be using a single name to identify yourself.
And let me add to Carl's excellent response that this construction is usually called "past contrary to fact."

I've occasionally puzzled over the fact that Greek uses the indicative in contrary to facts, but Latin uses the subjunctive. Greek uses the subjunctive for the protasis of future more vivid clauses -- Latin uses the future or the future perfect indicative. I haven't lost any sleep over it -- it's not a hurricane or the economy, but I wonder if anyone has written on this or come up with any theories-- Carl?
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

cwconrad
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Re: Time in the conditional clause

Post by cwconrad » September 2nd, 2011, 2:04 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I've occasionally puzzled over the fact that Greek uses the indicative in contrary to facts, but Latin uses the subjunctive. Greek uses the subjunctive for the protasis of future more vivid clauses -- Latin uses the future or the future perfect indicative. I haven't lost any sleep over it -- it's not a hurricane or the economy, but I wonder if anyone has written on this or come up with any theories-- Carl?
My theory -- τίς ἃν εἰκάσειεν; -- Greek has a secret ingredient whereof Latin has no inkling: the particle ἂν indefinitizes (is that a word?) the specific and subjunctivizes (is that a word?) the secondary indicative tenses (imperfect & aorist): ἐφίλουν ἄν = amarem; ἐφίλησα ἀν = ama(vi)ssem. No? I didn't think you'd like the theory :D
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Mark Lightman
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:30 pm

Re: Time in the conditional clause

Post by Mark Lightman » September 3rd, 2011, 4:55 pm

...this construction is usually called "past contrary to fact."
The best example of a past contrary to fact condition in English is the old Three Stooges joke:

ATTRACTIVE YOUNG LADY: "Strange men are following me!"
SHEMP: "They'd be strange if they didn't."

:lol:
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