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Submitted on
February 18, 2012


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I've been working for the better part of today and last night on wrapping my head around conditionals and the subjunctive tense for Helfametl.

I'm wondering how each of you address the subjunctive and conditionals in your language-- Do you have a separate tense for each? Do you use aspect or mood? Syntax? How do you differentiate between factual and hypothetical situations?

I think I've finally settled on two subjunctive tenses and two conditional tenses, that have 8 different possible combinations - each with its own nuance; plus a conditional particle or two. These will cover "I hope --", "I wish --", "I might --", "I could --", "If I were to -- ", "If I --", "I would --" and a couple other nuances.

I'm still not sure how to cover "I ought to --" or "I should --".

Any suggestions?
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mbrsart Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I haven't really addressed whether Hra'anh has a subjunctive or not, but for should, would, could, etc., I've decided on suffixes. The only one I currently have is -lak, which translates to "should". But I'm going to work on the other conditionals over the weekend. I'm going to be listening with iteration to the Conlangery podcast episodes on Tense, Aspect and Mood.
DasSovietCanuck Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012  Student Writer
Sythen has a number of moods which one can add onto a verb to alter the meaning of the phrase slightly. For example "Sog jikiirae jae" would translate to "I'm fine," but adding the prefix aana to the verb (making the phrase sog aanajikiirae jae) would translate out to "I wish I was okay."

Very simple, like much of sythen, due to the fact that much of the complexities were removed when the language was standardize from the various trade and pidgin tongues of the Great Circle.

Therefor the standard means of forming a sythen verb is (optional mood)-standard verb tense-verb route-verb end (that differs if the verbs are -eq, -iq, or irregular like kiir up there)-(optional adverbs(s))

So to finally get around to answering your question... sythen has three moods that indicate the speaker's interpretation of how likely something happening is - zaa (unlikely to happen), tenaa (could happen, 50/50), and kaa (likely to happen).

For conditional phrases, these are used by adding in -ni- within the verb's mood prefix (zaani, tenaani, kaani) - so you have something like:
"Babaan calokiirono reth kaanijinularino kwuverat't"
Sick will-be-(2ps) you likely-if-eat-(2ps) leaf-those'plural
You'll likely become sick if you eat those leaves
tlhakujunkan Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Most of my languages show moods and aspects through affixation. For example, ra cel indicates hypothetical situations with a positive and negative prefix like this:

chẁll-ia [ʃʊɫja] – “what if it is?/In case it is...”
chgh-ia [ʃxja] – “what if it isn’t?/In case it isn't...”

The subjunctive is a mutation of this prefix and can be used to give advice, like in this example:

allia l thli [aɫjalʲɛθli] – “if I were you” (where /all(a)-/ is the positive subjunctive prefix and /ẅ/ as the negative).

In this language /nil-/ is the simplest way to express "ought/should," though there is another more proper way to do it by using "need" (without any emphatic affixes) and the verb in the passive. This literally comes out to "need to be X."

tllchchdh thli
need-go-PASS you (you need to be gone) "You should go."

Ra cel also differentiates between factual and non-factual information, but only in gossip. There are words which start a phrase that indicate whether the phrase is a direct quote, something overheard, and outright rumor.

My other languages tend to use some level of periphrasis to indicate all of the above.
Radishes Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Mine is similar in that the distinction between the alternate (possible) and hypothetical (impossible) situations is whether or not the prefix is negated or not.

Side note: I love the way "allia l thli" sounds :) very pretty~

I think this weekend I'm going to tackle all of the new tenses I've come up with and also make all my other tense conjugations clean and pretty XD
tlhakujunkan Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, and good luck with your fixing up! I don't know about you but sometimes messing with grammar too long makes my head kooky.
Radishes Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
haha, I feel the same way XD Thanks!
JaiLatte Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I do believe you mean the subjuntive mood and the conditional mood. And its funny because I've actually just added this to my new conlang last night!
I use 5 moods which I will try to explain:

Subjuctive - When it is unclear the action has taken place or is gathered
from indirect sources.
Conditional - When reffering to a hypothetical action that has not taken place yet.
Imperative - When expressing a commanding action.
Hortative - When encouraging another party to do the action or participate in the action.
Debative - When suggesting that someone should do an action.

That is how would explain it. Debative can be use for "I should.."

Yddenĕss mady arymnĕssanya.
Food-dat mood.indicator-debative buy-PERF.
(You) should buy food.
Radishes Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, I mean mood XD I think was thinking more in terms of French, which has the Subjunctive as a tense (French class was the first time I heard of the subjunctive in high school, so it fixed in my mind as a tense, lol). I'm still not sure whether the way I have it constructed would be considered a mood or a tense, etc.

My imperative is simply a particle added to the end of the sentence and doesn't interact with the actual verb at all.

I have two different conditionals that are used in conditional sentence structures (if/when statements)- alternative (when it is a possible action) and hypothetical (when it is an impossible action). I'm thinking I might just use an idiomatic phrase for "ought to".

I like that you distinguish between encouraging that someone do something and suggesting they do something!
JaiLatte Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahhh, I never got that far in French in school.

Ahhhh. That's interesting! I take it that its not a verb final language then?

Ahhh, that's a cool idea! Well you do what you can. With my new language I've noticed any additions will have to fall in rules that I set up early on. So I got those moods in there fast before it was too late. XDDD

Thank you! It's quite handy. :)
Radishes Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's actually an SOV language, for the most part. Some things can be tacked onto the end (adverbs or a few particles). : )
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