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Problem with conditional sentence

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Problem with conditional sentence

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:39 am

Salvete!

While reading the latest Nuntii Latini I stumbled upon a conditional sentence which I do not completely understand. The respective news bite:

Reiijo Pitkäranta wrote:Discordia Turciae et Graeciae

Moderatores Turciae Graecos in Cypro habitantes monuerunt, ne una cum Americanis gasum in Mari Mediterraneo quaerere inciperent. Nisi illo consilio destitissent, etiam Turcos se ibidem investigationes eiusmodi suscepturos et naves bellicas indagatoribus praesidio missuros esse. Cypro-Graecos nullum ius habere mare ad suum usum convertendi, cum opes naturae communes essent.


I take it that the authors wishes to express something like this: "Unless they [the Greek Cypriots] were to refrain from that plan, the Turks, too, would undertake investigations of this sort in that very place and send war ships as a guard for the researchers."

But why did the author use the pluperfect subjunctive destitissent. From the point of view of the Turks doing the talking, the refraining takes place in the future. Why not say desisterent instead?

These conditional sentences keep confusing me. Sigh.

Valete,

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Re: Problem with conditional sentence

Postby lauragibbs » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:14 pm

I think it is because this is not just a simple conditional but a conditional in (implied) indirect speech, and all the normal rules for the subjunctive go out the window when you are dealing with reported speech. There is a very useful chart here in Bennett's Latin grammar at GoogleBooks that conveys the complexity of how that works, as Latin juggles the need to convey not just the conditional quality but also its reported-ness as it were - the original statement made by the Turkish representatives had a future perfect, which becomes a pluperfect subjunctive in past reported speech as reported in the Nuntii text:
http://books.google.com/books?id=nlLOLI ... &q&f=false
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Re: Problem with conditional sentence

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:29 am

Salve Laura!

Thanks for the hint. Unfortunately the Google-Link does not work for me (probably only available inside of the USA). However, there is a Project Gutenberg-edition available.

Thank you,

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