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> Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2014 09:42:19 +0100
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: "if... then...." Sentences; Dyirbal
> To: [log in to unmask]

> On 9 February 2014 14:53, Eugene Oh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > > Don't know if this is what you're looking for, but Japanese has a verb
> > > form(s): stem + -eba => nomeba "if I drink"past form + -ra => nondara
> > "if I
> > > drink" (more colloquial) So you get:

> > Actually the two have slightly different nuances—not just a matter of
> > degree of colloquiality? Colloquity? Colloquialness? (What is the noun??)
 
> As for -ba vs. -ra, it's indeed not just a matter of politeness, but of
> focus: the conditionals in -ba focus on the condition, while the
> conditionals in -ra give more importance to the consequence. It's all a
> matter of what's more important to the speaker: the condition that must be
> fulfilled, or the result if the condition is fulfilled.

By "colloquial", I meant that, in my experience, in terms of hits-per-day usage, the -ra forms seemed to get more airplay. I thought discussions of nuance and focus went beyond the purview of Jeffrey's "Is there a language that does this?" question.

> > > Ame ga fureba/futtara, pikunikku ni ikimasen (desyoo). If it rains, we're
> > > not going on a picnic.

> > > Didn't study formally and don't know how the natives analyze it
> > > (conditional?). Wouldn't call it a gerund, but is it finite? "Ame ga
> > > fureba" is not a complete sentence any more than "When in Rome" is.

> > Conditional. Non-finite. There are only two finite forms, the non-past (-u,
> > which in modern Japanese has fused with the "modifier" form) and the past
> > (-ta).
 
> I have a question about that: given that Japanese verbs don't show any type
> of agreement to their arguments, how does one distinguish between
> non-finite and finite forms?

Hence my question mark.

Kou