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Syntactic Conditional: -nnu + aa(l).

The quotative verb () (e)n may be conditionalized; the form is then nnaa. When a sentence precedes -naa we can get a kind of sentence-conditional meaning `If it is the case (that x)' Nouns alone may be followed by nnaa, which then functions as a kind of TOPICALIZER. Its meaning is somewhat difficult to translate idiomatically in English; (literally `if one SAYS X ... '),) but the loose translation is generally something like, `as far as X is concerned' or `regarding X ... ' or `since you mentioned X ... ' or `speaking of X ... .'

When a sentence precedes the -nnaa, the construction is equivalent to the ordinary conditional, semantically. That is, the following sentence pairs mean the same thing:

The -nnaa type of conditional is somewhat more common in ST than in LT; it is however REQUIRED when the verb that precedes it cannot be conditionalized the ordinary way, i.e., it has no past stem. Modals or habitual negatives are of this type:

᣺ Ԩ ¯Ũ adu veenumnnaa, naan varreen `If that is needed, I'll come.'

The meaning of -nnaa is often epistemic, i.e., it can often be translated `If it is true that ... ' or `if it is such that ... ' or `If it turns out that ... ', etc.



Harold_F.Schiffman