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The unrealis is a term from grammar and linguistics . It exists in individual languages ​​as a grammatical concept or a separate verb mode; In linguistics, the term also serves as a generic term for all modes that relate to unreal events.


In linguistics, the term “unrealis” has been developed from the individual language to a generic term for the categorization of grammatical modes , under which all modes are subsumed whose object is the description of events that did not actually take place.
Some authors therefore also classify the future under the unrealis; In individual languages, the future is marked by a verb form that functions as an unrealis in this language.

German language

The German language does not have Irrealis as an independent mode, but has the concept. The subjunctive II can be used to form an unrealis of the present and an unrealis of the past , which appears as an unreal or unrealisable conditional structure:

If I rich would, would offer to me more opportunities. (Unrealis of the present, with subjunctive II)
If I had been there, I would have saved her. (Unrealis of the past, with subjunctive II past perfect)

The unrealis of the present and the past can alternate in the conditional ( protasis ) and in the conditional sentence ( apodosis ):

When I learned would (Irrealis the past), sitting I no clueless around (Irrealis the present).

In principle, the unrealis of the present can also be directed towards the future (recognizable by "tomorrow"):

If the weather tomorrow well be, could I work in the garden.

Depending on the context - for example, whether the speaker can assume that the weather will be good but not sure - there is a potential instead of the unrealis . However, there is no real “unrealis of the future” in German, since the future tense auxiliary verb werden serves as an auxiliary verb for an analytic subjunctive II and only rarely has a temporal function.

Turkish language

The Turkish language has an independent verb form for an unrealis:

  1. Lotoda kazan saydım ev alırdım. (If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a house; unrealis)

Unlike in German, however, the unrealis itself does not convey any information about the time stage.

Other languages

In other languages, the unrealis is sometimes expressed in a similar way to German, for example in Latin . In the conditional sentence, English deviates (following the example of the Romance languages ) to the “conditional I” ( would + infinitive ) and “conditional II” ( would have + participle II) (corresponding paraphrase with the subjunctive of werden is also in German often, today also in the conditional sentence).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Johan von Auwera, Ewa Schalley: From Optative and Subjunctive to Irrealis. In: Frank Brisard, Michael Meeuwis, Bart Vandenabeele (eds.): Seduction, Community, Speech: A Festschrift for Hermann Parret. John Benjamin Publishing, ISBN 9-027-25370-6 .
  2. T. Givón: Irrealis and the subjunctive. SiL 18, pp. 265–337, based on: Jae Jung Song: Causatives and Causation. Routledge, 2014, ISBN 978-1-317-88843-7 .
  3. ^ FR Palmer : Mood and Modality. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1986, ISBN 0-521-31930-7 , p. 1.
  4. Margarete I. Ersen-Rasch: Turkish grammar: for beginners and advanced learners. Hueber Verlag, 2001, ISBN 3-190-05185-2 .