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La Logique du conditionnel (was: Re: The phrase 'I'd like...')

From:Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 22:22
Philippe offre:

>Deplorable ? Sounds rather logical, after all. > >I have a Portuguese pal, speaking French like a native, who refuses >categorally to say "Si j'Ètais... je ferais". He decided once for >all that he would say "Si je serais", because he finds it much more >satisfying (conditional being the mode of the condition) (I think >that in Portuguese it's something like "se eu fosse" = subjunctive). > >Note that in esperanto, the same applies (I'm not trying to sell any >esperanto method, I swear): >Se mi estus sana, mi estus felicxa = If I was healthy, I would be happy.
Actually, isn't French the odd man out here? Of the languages we've been discussing, most have something subjunctivish in the if-clause, si fuera (estuviera?) sano (de buena salud?), wenn ich gesund wäre, if I were healthy, even English (while I realize that "If I was healthy," and "If I were healthy," are collapsing in modern usage, the "were" points to simpler, happier, more subjunctive times). I'd be all over it if the French had something (if we're talking satisfaction here) like: Si je fusse sain (en bonne santé), je serais heureux. But imperfect subjunctive is *quite well* on the way out in French, so unless I'm handed the reins of the Académie Française, I shan't hold my breath. "Si je serais," ? <cringe>. Indeed, deplorable (no offense to your pal). Meanwhile the Esperanto sentence causes me no indigestion, since subjunctive forms don't exist ("Se mi estis sana, mi estus felicxa."? Blech!). I doubt logic has much to do with it. Kou


PHILIPPE CAQUANT <herodote92@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>