Irrealis within irrealis?

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eldin raigmore
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Irrealis within irrealis?

Post by eldin raigmore » Sun 23 Apr 2017, 21:34

I was listening to NPR's "Prairie Home Companion" yesterday and heard a satirical commercial for a not-really-existing movie.
One of the quotes was, "Roger Ebert said 'If I were still alive, I would wish I were dead.'.".
sentence 1 wrote:If I were still alive, I would wish I were dead.
The whole "If" sentence is a conditional. It has two component clauses; its protasis (aka hypothesis) "... I were still alive ..." and its apodosis (aka conclusion) " ... I would wish I were dead.".
Some languages have a special modality(-or-mode-or-mood) for use in such a clause.
If I am not mistaken (am I?), for some such languages there is a protatic conditional mood; for some, there is an apodotic conditional mood; for some, there's one conditional mood that applies both to the protasis and the apodosis; and for some there is a mood for the apodoses and a different mood for the protases. (Did I pluralize those right?)
I have also read that some languages have one apodotic mood for use when the protasis is realis, and a different apodotic mood for use when the protasis is irrealis.

In the case of sentence 1, its protasis "... I were still alive ..." is not merely irrealis (not known to be nor to have been a matter of fact), but also actually counter-factual (known to be currently contrary to fact).

The apodosis " ... I would wish I were dead." is a complex sentence, too.
The clause "... I were dead." is a complement of the (subjunctive? irrealis?) verb-complex "... would wish ...".

Is (or are) there any natural language(s) that have an irrealis-within-irrealis mood/mode/modality marking for such clauses?

According to Bernard Comrie's book "Tense",
Spoiler: show
some languages have not only past/present/future, but also past-within-past, future-within-past, past-within-future, and future-within-future.
Some have these first few even though they also have degrees-of-remoteness (remote past vs near past and/or remote future vs near future).
Others, that don't have degrees-of-remoteness, have tenses "going up to four deep"; for instance, the following eight "three-deep" tenses;
  • past within past within past
  • future within past within past
  • past within future within past
  • future within future within past
  • past within past within future
  • future within past within future
  • past within future within future
  • future within future within future
So maybe it's not unreasonable to wonder whether any languages have (a) mood(s) for irrealis-within-irrealis?

[hr][/hr]

If not a natlang; maybe a conlang?
Last edited by eldin raigmore on Wed 12 Jul 2017, 07:09, edited 2 times in total.
Sumelic
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Re: Irrealis within irrealis?

Post by Sumelic » Sun 23 Apr 2017, 23:49

eldin raigmore wrote: According to Bernard Comrie's book "Tense", some languages have not only past/present/future, but also past-within-past, future-within-past, past-within-future, and future-within-future.
Some have these first few even though they also have degrees-of-remoteness (remote past vs near past and/or remote future vs near future).
Others, that don't have degrees-of-remoteness, have tenses "going up to four deep"; for instance, the following eight "three-deep" tenses;
  • past within past within past
  • future within past within past
  • past within future within past
  • future within future within past
  • past within past within future
  • future within past within future
  • past within future within future
  • future within future within future
Sounds interesting. I should look to see what the examples are, but I haven't read that book yet. Are there any morphologically simple tenses, or are they mostly compound tenses/tenses inflected for multiple categories at once? E.g. are there any languages with a specialized morpheme (or at least fusional affix) meaning "past within past within past", or is it a case of stacking multiple different types of past-tense marker? Depending on how you analyze its tense system, English can be said to have past-within-past ("I had done"), future-within-past ("I would do"), past-within-future ("I will have done").
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Irrealis within irrealis?

Post by eldin raigmore » Mon 24 Apr 2017, 01:48

Sumelic wrote:Sounds interesting. I should look to see what the examples are, but I haven't read that book yet. Are there any morphologically simple tenses, or are they mostly compound tenses/tenses inflected for multiple categories at once? E.g. are there any languages with a specialized morpheme (or at least fusional affix) meaning "past within past within past", or is it a case of stacking multiple different types of past-tense marker? Depending on how you analyze its tense system, English can be said to have past-within-past ("I had done"), future-within-past ("I would do"), past-within-future ("I will have done").
---------------------------------------------------------

If we're going to talk about tenses, can we start a different thread?
I don't want my irrealis-within-irrealis thread to topic-drift already with the first response!
But thanks for responding!
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Re: Irrealis within irrealis?

Post by eldin raigmore » Wed 12 Jul 2017, 07:10

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