Even if ... then (still) ...

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Rmacaw, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Rmacaw Senior Member

    ملبورن استراليا
    English انجليزية
    Hi all,

    How should I express the construct "even if (something) then (something)", for example:

    Even had I not enjoyed drawing, I would have become a cartographer.
    لو (قد؟) لم استمتع بالرسم، كنت ساصبح رسام خرائط؟

    How then do I differentiate this from the simpler:
    Had I enjoyed drawing, I would have become a cartographer.
    لو (قد؟) استمتع بالرسم، (ف؟)كنت ساصبح رسام الخرائط؟

    And then what about the fully negative?
    Had I not enjoyed drawing, I would not have become a cartographer.
    لو لم استمتع بالرسم فلست ساصبح رسام الخرائط؟

    Thanks
     
  2. AndyRoo Senior Member

    London
    English
    Hi,

    I think it is like this:


    حتى لو لم أستمتع بالرسم لأصبحت رسام الخرائط

    لو استمتعت بالرسم لأصبحت رسام الخرائط
    لو لم أستمتع بالرسم لما أصبحت رسام الخرائط
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  3. analeeh Senior Member

    English - UK
    You can (not sure if you have to) use حتى ولو, right?

    Also I think we want an indefinite here don't we? Because 'cartographer' as a whole is indefinite. What we have there reads to me as 'the cartographer.

    حتى ولو لم أستمتع بالرسم لأصبحت رسامَ خرائطٍ

    لو استمتعت بالرسم لأصبحت رسلم خرائط

    لو لم أستمتع بالرسم لما أصبحت رسام خرائط

    As I understand it, لو serves to express completely counterfactual conditions set in the past and expressed with the pluperfect in English (e.g. 'if I had studied', 'if I had not enjoyed drawing') all on its own, so you don't need قد here. In fuṣḥā though it is almost invariably followed by the perfect and not by the imperfect, except in structures mirroring colloquial constructions like اه لو تعرف 'if only you knew' where law + the imperfect is used to express a counterfactual wish. I think this is generally considered a mistake.
     
  4. AndyRoo Senior Member

    London
    English
    Yes, حتى ولو is OK too, but not compulsory.

    Yes, you are right رسام خرائط is correct. But it should be خرائطَ as it is a diptote.

    لو is often for counterfactual statements, but not always. It often has a present tense meaning although the verbs are in the past. In fact, yours and my answers above could be understood as relating to the present - e.g. The first could mean: Even if I didn't enjoy drawing, I would become a cartographer. Context would tell you whether it refers to the present or past, but to make it clear it refers to the past you might have to say:

    حتى ولو كنت لم أستمتع بالرسم لأصبحت رسام خرائط
     
  5. analeeh Senior Member

    English - UK
    Ah yeah, I wasn't meaning to imply it couldn't also express present hypotheticals as well (this is the usage I first learnt it in). My point was mainly that it is possible to use it without anything being present in the Arabic equivalent to the pluperfect which is compulsory in English.
     
  6. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    ـ«أندي رو» إجاباته صحيحة
     
  7. Rmacaw Senior Member

    ملبورن استراليا
    English انجليزية
    Thanks all for your detailed replies - I am always amazed by how this forum shows me things I don't know, but also overturns things I was sure I did know...

    The one part of my original sentence that I was pretty sure about was 'would have become' - I thought I could use kana + future to express this, e.g. كنت ساصبح kuntu sa-aSbaHu

    But you guys have consistently used
    لأصبحت, which I am guessing is li-aSbaHtu.

    Could you please explain the use of li in this context? I know thinking of prepositions with a one-to-one translation (e.g. li = for) is fraught with danger, but I am struggling to see how it works here.

    Thanks
     
  8. AndyRoo Senior Member

    London
    English
    This is pronounced kuntu sa-'uSbiHu and can be translated as I was going to become
    It is la-'aSbaHtu
    The لَ can be translated as then. ​It is the usual way to introduce the second clause of a conditional sentence beginning with لو.
     
  9. Rmacaw Senior Member

    ملبورن استراليا
    English انجليزية
    Ah it all makes sense now, I think:
    - the preposition is la (meaning then, or in that case), not li
    - kana + future is 'was going to', rather than 'would have'
    - لما أصبحت is la-ma aSbaHtu (so I didn't become), not lamma aSbaHtu (when I became)

    كنت ساصبح راسم خرائط ولكنني لا استمتع بالرسم - I was going to become a cartographer, but I don't enjoy drawing
    لو استمتعت بالرسم لأصبحت رسام خرائط - If I had enjoyed drawing then I would have become a cartographer
    أصبحت رسام خرائط لو استمتعت بالرسم - (presumably) I would have become a cartographer had I enjoyed drawing
     
  10. AndyRoo Senior Member

    London
    English

    Yes that is correct, except la is not a preposition (which come before nouns), it is a particle.
    I think these are correct, except the last should have a لَ on the first clause: لأصبحت . You could consider it an intensifying particle.
     

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