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Re: Moody Moods ...

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, March 19, 2001, 19:16
At 3:22 pm -0500 18/3/01, John Cowan wrote:
>Andreas Johansson scripsit: > >> The trouble is that I don't know much of moods. I'm somewhat familiar with >> the German conjunctive (and the few surviving or fossilized bits of the >> Swedish conjunctive), > >Just to avoid confusion: the German Konjunktiv is translated in English >by "subjunctive", following the practice of the Romance languages.
Yep - and I have found books that lump the ancient Greek subjunctive & optative together as the "conjunctive", but this usage is, I think, now obsolete.
>It is mostly fossilized too, although the construction "I suggest that >he do [not does] X" is still alive, at least in American English.
"If it be true....." , "If I were you..." are still occasionally heard still in the UK, especially the latter.
>> but what about other moods? Can anybody give me a >> description of common moods (name and usuage in different natlangs), or >> alternatively point me to a webpage with a good description? > >We have of course the imperative, for commands. In Latin that is all >(indicative, subjunctive, imperative): in Classical Greek there is also >the optative, for wishes.
A brief summary of ancient Greek uses: INDICATIVE - an assertions, whether absolute or reported - a distinct statement of an object aimed at or feared (he takes care that this _shall be done_; we fear that we _have missed_ both) - a supposition that something is, was or will be true (if he is writing; if he wrote etc) - past tenses of the indicative also used in suppositions to imply that they were not or are not true (ei egrapsa = if I had written; ei egraphon = if I were writing [now]/ if I had been writing) - past tenses also used in unreal wishes (ei gar touto epoie:sa - if only I had done this!) SUBJUNCTIVE - in earliest Greek, expressed future (PIE had no future indicatives) - in future interrogatives with idea of expediency or propriety (Where shall we go? What are we to do? - in exhortation and in prohibitions (let's go! Don't do it!) - future purpose or future object of concern (he is coming that he _may see_ me himself; he takes care that this _shall be done_) - future or general (not just strictly present) suppositions (whenever any goes....; if anyone steals, he's always punished [1st verb subjunctive]) OPTATIVE - as a main verb, it expresses wishes or potentiality for the future (we may go [we're not sure]; may he do it well0 - future conditions implying uncertainty (if I should see him,....) - it may replace the subjunctive in dependendent clauses expressing purpose or object of exertion or fear, if the main verb is past; - it may replace the indicative in all dependent clauses expressing indirect or reported speech, if the main verb is past. IMPERATIVE - commands, exhortations, prohibitions. In the later Koine, the optative more or less disappears except in set phrases or expressions (and hypercorrections :)
>Non I-E languages probably have others.
Trask (A Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics) ends his section on _mood_ with: "Among the more widely attested mood categories are _declarative_, _interrogative_, _imperative_, _jussive_, _subjunctive_, _conditional_, _hortative_, _desiderative_, _dubitative_ and _necessitative_, though many others occur in one language or another." One of those other, of course, is _optative_ which, oddly, Trask omits from his list. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================