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reported speech

English translation: indirekte Rede

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14:28 Apr 7, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Linguistics
English term or phrase: reported speech
The question is how to put the following two pairs of sentences into reported speech. The first pair was taken from Dorothy Edgington, 1995. On conditionals. Mind, 104, p. 312. The second is from V. H. Dudman, 1985. Thinking about the future. Analysis, 45, p. 183-186.
(1a) If she receives the letter tomorrow, she'll be in a bad mood.
(1b) If she'll receive the letter tomorrow anyway, I'll warn her about it right away.
Last Sunday he said that if she...
(2a) If Smith does not shoot Peterson tomorrow, someone else will.
(2b) If Smith (being already locked up) will not shoot Peterson tomorrow, then someone else will shoot Peterson tomorrow.
Last Sunday he said that if Smith...
gilberto1
English translation:indirekte Rede
Explanation:
First, a couple of preliminaries. There is no reason to suppose that there will always be a clear and unambiguous way of reporting an utterance. For example, "would" can have various interpretations, as future-in-the-past, conditional, etc., and these may come into collision due to the requirements of sequence of tenses.

More importantly, I feel it is my duty to report that, in the early 70s (or late 60s), the late Vic Dudman successfully defended a charge of being "drunk and disorderly" on the grounds that he was too drunk to be disorderly (unconscious, in fact).

Let's get down to business.

(1a) Last Sunday he said that, if she received the letter the next day, she'd be in a bad mood. (Simple.)
(1b) Last Sunday he said that, if she would receive the letter the next day, he would warn her about it right away. (Not so simple.)
(Alternatively...)
(1b) Last Sunday he said that, if she was going to receive the letter the next day, he would warn her about it right away.

(2a) .... (Easy.)
(2b) Last Sunday he said that, if Smith (...) would not [alternatively: was not going to] shoot Petersen the next day, someone else would.

I think the problem with the two answers submitted so far is that the answerers have refused to take seriously the unusual grammar of the (b) sentences. They have tried to assimilate them to more commonly encountered forms. But they make sense as they stand.

(1b): The speaker is wondering what to do. He reasons that, as the woman will receive the upsetting letter the next day in any case, it would be best to warn her about it.

(2b): Maybe the speaker is a crime boss, who had previously ordered Smith to shoot Peterson, and now, on finding out that he has been arrested, is order that someone else do it. Or maybe the speaker is a detective, who knows that a crime boss has ordered Smith to shoot Peterson, and reasons that, now that Smith is locked up, someone else will be assigned the task.

In both sentences, "if" has a sense that shades into "given that".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 hrs (2007-04-08 02:34:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Hello Gilberto. I have looked at your previous two KudoZ questions, and it looks as though you are conducting come kind of investigation into tenses in conditionals. As you have probably gathered, the use of the future in the antecedent is very rare. I would say, at a very crude approximation, that what is going on is something like this. Normally, we use the present when making conditional statements about the future, because we are, so to speak projecting ourselves forward to the time at which the condition may or may not be fulfilled. In the letter example, however, the speaker is making plans about the present (or immediate future), as opposed to what will happen tomorrow. Similary, in the murder example, we can assume that the crime boss is organizing things *now* to allow for the apparent fact that the originally designated hitman will not be available.

It is hard to imagine contexts in which it makes sense to use the future tense in the antecedent unless the future event is already taken as certain, but I think this is a bit of a red herring. We regularly use conditionals in other tenses too where there is no doubt.

A: Did you go to the last committee meeting?
B: Yes.
A: Well, if you were at the meeting, you will remember that Smith resigned as treasurer.

(The question of why the future in the consequent is another question, but note that we would say the same thing even if it weren't in a conditional context.)

C: Let's order a banquet!
D: I'm sorry, I'm a vegetarian.
C: Well, if you're a vegetarian, we can order the vegetarian banquet.

I know that a lot of ink has been spilt by linguists and philosopohers on the subject, and I am sure my contributions above are nothing new and probably subject to numerous objections, but I couldn't resist.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 hrs (2007-04-08 02:52:49 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

PS I have just read Dudman's article. I can see he was getting at something different. I think he is wrong about the deductive argument interpretation, but it remains the case that there are acceptable uses of the conditional with an antecedent in the future tense.
Selected response from:

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 21:26
Grading comment
Thank you very much, Richard. Your answer and comments were very helpful. In fact I'm doing research on conditionals and writing a paper on the subject.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +4My version of amended text
Jack Doughty
4indirekte Rede
Richard Benham
3please see below
Caryl Swift


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
please see below


Explanation:
(1a) If she receives the letter tomorrow, she'll be in a bad mood.
Last Sunday he said that if she didn't receive the letter on the following/next day, she would/she'd be in a bad mood

(1b) If she'll receive the letter tomorrow anyway, I'll warn her about it right away.
Last Sunday he said that if she was going to receive/ would be receiving the letter on the following/next day, he would/he'd warn her about it right then.

(2a) If Smith does not shoot Peterson tomorrow, someone else will.
Last Sunday he said that if Smith didn't shoot Peterson on the following/next day, someone else would.

(2b) If Smith (being already locked up) will not shoot Peterson tomorrow, then
Last Sunday he said that if Smith (havimg already been locked up) did not shoot Peterson on the following/next day, then someone else would

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 mins (2007-04-07 14:39:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The last one could also be

"... if Smith (having already been locked up) was not going to shoot Peterson on the following/next day, ... "

Caryl Swift
Poland
Local time: 21:26
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 16
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

35 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
My version of amended text


Explanation:
Maybe it's presumptuous of me to criticize people who are presumably eminent authorities in this field, but I don't like the original direct speech versions.

(1a) If she receives the letter tomorrow, she'll be in a bad mood. (OK)
(1b) If she'll receive the letter tomorrow anyway, I'll warn her about it right away. Should be "if she receives" here too, not "if she'll receive".
.
(2a) If Smith does not shoot Peterson tomorrow, someone else will.
(2b) If Smith (being already locked up) will not shoot Peterson tomorrow, then someone else will shoot Peterson tomorrow.
I think in should be "cannot", rather than "will not" (seeing that he is already locked up), and the repetition of "tomorrow" is superfluous.

So on that basis:
(1a) If she received the letter the next day, she would be in a bad mood.
(1b) If she received the letter the next day, he would warn her about it right away.
(2a) If Smith did not shoot Peterson the next day, someone else would.
(2b) If Smith (being already locked up) could not shoot Peterson the next day, then someone else would.

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 197

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxcmwilliams
29 mins
  -> Thank you.

neutral  Richard Benham: You are missing the point here. The (b) sentences both mean something very different from your "corrected" version. (1b), e.g. is something like "Given that she will find out tomorrow anyway, it might be better to tell her now to prepare her".
1 hr

agree  danya: +1 on corrections: no will after if unless the clause is an object (which it's not)
6 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  ugrankar
9 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Hakki Ucar
1 day23 hrs
  -> Thank you.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
indirekte Rede


Explanation:
First, a couple of preliminaries. There is no reason to suppose that there will always be a clear and unambiguous way of reporting an utterance. For example, "would" can have various interpretations, as future-in-the-past, conditional, etc., and these may come into collision due to the requirements of sequence of tenses.

More importantly, I feel it is my duty to report that, in the early 70s (or late 60s), the late Vic Dudman successfully defended a charge of being "drunk and disorderly" on the grounds that he was too drunk to be disorderly (unconscious, in fact).

Let's get down to business.

(1a) Last Sunday he said that, if she received the letter the next day, she'd be in a bad mood. (Simple.)
(1b) Last Sunday he said that, if she would receive the letter the next day, he would warn her about it right away. (Not so simple.)
(Alternatively...)
(1b) Last Sunday he said that, if she was going to receive the letter the next day, he would warn her about it right away.

(2a) .... (Easy.)
(2b) Last Sunday he said that, if Smith (...) would not [alternatively: was not going to] shoot Petersen the next day, someone else would.

I think the problem with the two answers submitted so far is that the answerers have refused to take seriously the unusual grammar of the (b) sentences. They have tried to assimilate them to more commonly encountered forms. But they make sense as they stand.

(1b): The speaker is wondering what to do. He reasons that, as the woman will receive the upsetting letter the next day in any case, it would be best to warn her about it.

(2b): Maybe the speaker is a crime boss, who had previously ordered Smith to shoot Peterson, and now, on finding out that he has been arrested, is order that someone else do it. Or maybe the speaker is a detective, who knows that a crime boss has ordered Smith to shoot Peterson, and reasons that, now that Smith is locked up, someone else will be assigned the task.

In both sentences, "if" has a sense that shades into "given that".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 hrs (2007-04-08 02:34:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Hello Gilberto. I have looked at your previous two KudoZ questions, and it looks as though you are conducting come kind of investigation into tenses in conditionals. As you have probably gathered, the use of the future in the antecedent is very rare. I would say, at a very crude approximation, that what is going on is something like this. Normally, we use the present when making conditional statements about the future, because we are, so to speak projecting ourselves forward to the time at which the condition may or may not be fulfilled. In the letter example, however, the speaker is making plans about the present (or immediate future), as opposed to what will happen tomorrow. Similary, in the murder example, we can assume that the crime boss is organizing things *now* to allow for the apparent fact that the originally designated hitman will not be available.

It is hard to imagine contexts in which it makes sense to use the future tense in the antecedent unless the future event is already taken as certain, but I think this is a bit of a red herring. We regularly use conditionals in other tenses too where there is no doubt.

A: Did you go to the last committee meeting?
B: Yes.
A: Well, if you were at the meeting, you will remember that Smith resigned as treasurer.

(The question of why the future in the consequent is another question, but note that we would say the same thing even if it weren't in a conditional context.)

C: Let's order a banquet!
D: I'm sorry, I'm a vegetarian.
C: Well, if you're a vegetarian, we can order the vegetarian banquet.

I know that a lot of ink has been spilt by linguists and philosopohers on the subject, and I am sure my contributions above are nothing new and probably subject to numerous objections, but I couldn't resist.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 hrs (2007-04-08 02:52:49 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

PS I have just read Dudman's article. I can see he was getting at something different. I think he is wrong about the deductive argument interpretation, but it remains the case that there are acceptable uses of the conditional with an antecedent in the future tense.

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 21:26
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 64
Grading comment
Thank you very much, Richard. Your answer and comments were very helpful. In fact I'm doing research on conditionals and writing a paper on the subject.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




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