Although/ obwohl/hoewel (concessive conjunctions)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I have been intrigued for some time now by the nature of concessive clauses, and maybe the meaning of the conjunctions will help to understand it better. What strikes me is that there seems to be something 'nice' in them: German -wohl/Dutch -well refer to the adverb 'well' (< good), German zwar/ Dutch weliswaar refer to 'waar/ wahr', true...

    Some other nice 'parts' of concessive conjunctions:
    - German : obgleich (gleich = equal)
    - French: bien que (bien = good)
    - Dutch : ofschoon, fairly formal (schoon = nice, beautiful)
    - Dutch : ook al (not so sure whether it can be considered positive, but ook = also, too)

    So I suppose concessive clause start from the recognition of something as positive, and then add a negative element, a negative nuance. But I am not quite sure.

    But do you perceive any positive words/ elements in concessive conjunctions in your language?
  2. arielipi Senior Member

    In hebrew it is (in my opinion) neutral to negative,
    most of them are either 'despite, in spite of, even though'
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    There is indeed despite in English, which is related with to despise, and which cannot possibly be considered positive indeed. That reminds me malgré in French (wrong + grace, or something the like), the equivalent of ondanks (un-thanks) in Dutch. The least I can say so far is that my hypothesis was at least not complete... ;-(

    However, if you can analyse the word, please do. Can you analyse the Hebrew word, Arielipi?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  4. arielipi Senior Member

    In hebrew you have many many conjunction words for each type of conjunction.
    Actually two types of hebrew conj. words are mapped to the english concessive clauses.
    each type is unique to when you want to mark something (result, addition etc)

    type one is "to mark/note a negation to the expected" and is of '
    concession' connection (e.g. it was very cold but didnt rain):
    על אף ש al af she even though
    אף על פי ש although
    חרף ה kheref ha... even though (of something bad), despite
    אף על פי כן af al pi chen even though that, in spite of that
    אף כי af ki even that
    אף אם af im even/despite if
    גם אם gam im even/despite if
    אפילו afilu even
    למרות ה lamrot ha.... although/in spite/despite
    למרות זאת lamrot zot although/nevertheless
    בכל זאת bechol zot even though, despite the above
    עם זאת im zot nevertheless, even with that (= not taking into consideration)
    בכל אופן bechol ofen anyway
    מכל מקום mikol makom anyway
    על כל פנים al kol panim anyway

    the second type is to mark objection, rejection and is of connection type opposition: (cold - hot)
    בעוד ש be'od she while
    בו בזמן ש bo bizman she at the same time that
    לעומת ה le'umat ha... as opposed to
    לעומת זאת le'umat zot on the other hand
    אבל aval but
    אמנם omnam indeed, surely
    אך ach but, alas
    אולם ulam but (semi-negation to what was said above)
    ברם bram but
    אפס כי efes ki non will
    עם זאת im zot see above
    לא.... אלא lo... ela not (the negated text) but
    ואילו ve'ilu and that (opposed to)
    בניגוד לכך benigud lechach opposed to that
    מאידך גיסא me'idach gisa on the other hand
    מנגד mineged opposed, on the other side
    מצד אחד.... מצד שני mitzad ekhad.... (text) mitzad sheni on the one side..... on the other side.
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Good Lord, I sincerely do not wish everyone to publish such an exhaustive list. Just some main conjunctions will do. But thanks a lot, Arielipi. I had a look, and just wondered about the im: is there some way of describing its precise meaning? Is the word 'even' translated in one way? I suppose it is not, I see all kinds of different words.
  6. arielipi Senior Member

    אם im is if
    עם im is with
    על al is on
    כי ki is because
    בכל bechol is in all
    כל col is all
    אף af is even
    פי pi is semi-though
    כן chen is also, as well, approval.

    Thats what i said in the first place: hebrew has many words in this subject, and the exact meaning is hard to translate because the words (when giving these meanings) are chained with each other.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  7. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek a concessive clause is introduced with:

    1/ «Παρόλο» [pa'rolo] (conj.) --> although < compound, Classical adv. & prep. «πάρα» pắră --> besides, by, alongside (PIE *prh₂-/*preh₂-, beside, by) + neuter form «ὅλον» hólŏn, of adj. «ὅλος» hólŏs --> whole (PIE *sol(H)-uo-, whole). Babiniotis gives it a Katharevousa construction --> «παρ' ὅλον» < Modern Gr. «παρόλο» --> although, despite.

    2/ «Ενώ» [e'no] (conj.) --> during < Byz. Greek conj. «ἐνῷ» enộ < Classical set phrase «ἐν ᾧ (χρόνῳ)» ĕn hộ (kʰrónǭ) --> during the (time, is omitted).

    3/ «Ενόσω» [e'noso] (conj.) --> while < Byz. Greek conj. «ἐνόσῳ» enósǭ < Classical set phrase «ἐν ὅσῳ» ĕn hósǭ --> in the course of
  8. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Interesting to notice that 'all' seems omnipresent. The Greek Ενώ and ἐνόσῳ remind me of durative words, which seem to constitute another category of concessive conjunctions: Dutch terwijl (while), French tandis que, English whereas (I don't think while can be used in a concessive sense)...
  9. arielipi Senior Member

    In hebrew it sure is... and as i said above, we have many more conj. types and many words for each.
  10. Ёж! Senior Member

    1. «хотя» ("wanting", probably "wanting to say"): «Я отказался от покупки, хотя было недорого» ("I didn't buy it, though it was not expensive").
    2. «всё равно» ("all the same"): «Было недорого, но я всё равно отказался от покупки" ("It was not expensive, but I didn't buy it nevertheless/anyway").
    3. «тем не менее» ("not less {with/because of} that", i.e. "nevertheless"): «Было недорого, но тем не менее я отказался от покупки» (the same).
    4. Some formal compounds like «несмотря на» ("not looking at"). They have to be used with demonstrative pronouns, and demonstrative pronouns tend to look and sound bad in Russian.
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    So in Russian I could recognize something like 'all', negative forms [which we don't have except in ondanks/ malgré/ despite, but not used as a conjunction].

    The 'wanting' is intriguing. I could imagine something like 'in weerwil van' (in counter-will of, literally) in Dutch, but this 'wanting' seems different, not negative for example. Is it still used to literally refer to 'to want'?

    The though/ doch (toch) is very common in Germanic languages, I think, but the origin is not clear: maybe 'but', maybe a form of the second pers. sg., maybe even a demonstrative pronoun...

    I found some more more equivalents in French: encore que [also], quoique [what ???], malgré que [neg. prefix + gré/ grâce, maybe the same as will !], même si [even if, which is universal, I suppose, can literally be translated into other languages], quand, quand même [the latter is not a conjunction, I think]. .
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  12. Ёж! Senior Member

    No. Morphologically, this is exactly the verbal adverb of the verb «хотеть» (to want, to wish, etc), but nobody ever uses this word as a verbal adverb nowadays, which is why the verb «хотеть» does not have one now.

    If you analyse the phrase as "I didn't buy it, though I'd like to say it was not expensive", you won't be completely off the mark semantically, but I don't know how exactly this situation historically came to be. One can also shorten «хотя» to «хоть» (one vowel less), which is never possible for orthodox verbal adverbs.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  13. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    So I could say it is some kind of fossil, no longer analysed in any way, like most of the conjunctions...
  14. Ёж! Senior Member

    Yes, but available to anyone for immediate analysing.
  15. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    In Finnish, although/even though and even if are both translated with the word vaikka. That's why we usually mess the two words up in English.

    Vaikka appears to be related to the word vai (or) by some means. The positivity or negativity can be enhanced with the additional particles -kin and -kaan like this:

    Vaikka oletkin täysi-ikäinen, et voi tehdä mitä haluat. Even though you're an adult, you can't do whatever you like.
    Vaikka et olekaan täysi-ikäinen, on sinulla kuitenkin velvollisuuksia. Even though you're not an adult, you still have duties.
  16. bibax Senior Member

    In Czech it is crystal clear:

    although, even though = přestože;

    "přes to, že" means "despite that, that", i.e. "despite the fact, that" (to = demonstrative that; že = conj. that). As a conjunction it is written together "přestože".

    It is similar to the conjunction protože = because ("pro to, že" means literally "for that, that"). The meaning is different, of course.

    Nekoupil jsem to, přestože to nebylo drahé. = I didn't buy it, though (= despite the fact that) it was not expensive.
    Nekoupil jsem to, protože to bylo drahé. = I didn't buy it, because (= for the fact that) it was expensive.

    Russian «хотя» is 'chtě' in Czech. It is the so called present transgressive (something like present participle, but not the same) of the verb 'chtíti' (= to want). It is used in the phrase "chtě nechtě" (= volens nollens, willy-nilly). Chtě is not a conjuction in Czech.

    Like in Russian there are other formal constructions, e.g. "nehledě na to, že" (= «несмотря на ...», "not looking at that, that"; nehledě (= not looking) is also the present transgressive); "navzdory" = in spite of (vzdor = defiance), "navzdory tomu, že" = in spite of that, that; etc.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  17. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    A small addition for Russian:

    There are more words that could be used in the sense of “although”:
    правда /pravda/ - truth
    только /tol’ko/ - just, only

    B Сахаре дожди бывают, только редко – it rains in Sahara, only/just rarely

    B Сахаре дожди бывают, правда редко - it rains in Sahara, [the] truth [is], rarely
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    правда reminds me of English 'it is true', 'al be it', Dutch adverb 'weliswaar' (it does be true, would be a literal translation, be it with a huge mistake). The Cz protože, for the fact that, is the one that I cannot link with a conjunction I know for the time being.

    I have started realizing that there are lots of lexical words, that also express concession: like (modal) may, as in He may be ill, but he was there... We might yet focus on conjunctions (prep.) mainly, though the others remain welcome as an aside...
  19. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In Portuguese, the most common concessive conjunction is probably embora. Apart from "although/even though", this word also means "away" as in "to go away". I don't know which of the two senses is older. Historically, though, embora < em boa hora, "in good time" or "about time".

    Some synonymous phrases: mesmo que/se (even if), ainda que (lit. "still that", cf. Spanish aunque), se bem que ("if well that").

    There's also a separate phrase for "despite/in spite of", apesar de, literally something like "in the weight of", as well as the rather old-fashioned and literary não obstante (notwithstanding).
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I suppose the 'away' will be the oldest, as concessive conjunctions seem to have developed from lexical words if we can believe the grammaticalisation theory, as I do.

    I suppose weight refers to reality here (non-reality is light like a feather or has no substance), though that is an - I think- 'educated guess' based on some other conjunctions in other languages, referring to truth...
  21. Ёж! Senior Member

    Here, Outsider shew which lexical words the junction had stemmed from. Literally, they do not mean 'away'. In fact, the word seems to me close to the Russian «хотя»: both express some kind of turning to the good in the sentence.
  22. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    That reminds me somewhat of the English word "granted", from "grant" (allow, admit):

    "Granted that it was not expensive, but I did not buy it."

    Another curious English word with concessive meaning is albeit < al(though) be it (that).
  23. bibax Senior Member

    In Czech: dokonce jestliže (even if), not too good stylistically.

    IMHO a universal phrase (but it is not a conjuction) is "in defiance of the fact that". In Czech: "na vzdory faktu, že" (vzdor = defiance); the quasi-conjunction přestože (= přes to, že) has the same meaning but is shorter and has only one stress.

    In defiance of the fact that the movie is silent, the actors seem to jabber constantly.

    Navzdory faktu, že film je němý, herci neustále brebentí.
  24. Ёж! Senior Member

    If you mean it is universal among languages, then it is not. As an example, Russian does not defy facts in such cases.
  25. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Well, I also think that the idea of contrast [defiance] would be the main idea, or no, concept, but it seems to be conveyed more subtly (...) than that. I'd think 'all ... but', or 'really ... but', might be more general, but Ёж! can judge whether that might be true - by which I mean that it seems to me that concession implies a double concept...

    (I do wonder whether that is present in granted that, except if we see granted as a reference to reality...)
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  26. Ёж! Senior Member

    I am no authority here. :) I don't know just like you. As for Russian, it has both of them («всё-таки» and «правда»), this is all I know. :) But now I wonder if the sense of bibax' statement was more general than I thought...
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  27. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia

    tot i que "all and that"
    encara que "still that" (cf. Spanish aunque)
    malgrat que (mal- "bad" + grat "will, liking" (cf. agradar "to like"), (cf. French malgré))
    si bé "if well"


    aunque (aún "still" + que "that")
    si bien "if well"
  28. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia

    иако (iako) - from "и", meaning "and, even", and "ако", meaning "if" (but not "whether").

    The evolution here is from "even if" to "although", which are closely related in many languages. Meanwhile, "even if" is expressed by "(дури) и да" ((duri) i da), where the "even" meaning of "и" is reinforced by "дури", which means "even" only. "да" is a synonym of "ако", but since it hasn't evolved to in conjunction with "и" to mean "although", the "дури" isn't necessary. If, however, you want to use "ако" in saying "even if", you would need the "дури", i.e. you would need the full "дури и ако" (note that the second two words aren't spelled together, unlike when they mean "although", in which case they've developed beyond their individual meanings).

    макар што (makar što) - the first element is from Greek "μακάρι" and is cognate to Italian "magari" and Romanian "măcar". It means "even", just like "дури", but it has a more restricted usage. It is semantically similar to Romanian "măcar", but not the Greek "μακάρι", which means "if only", and the Italian "magari", which means "maybe" - interesting semantic evolution here, but a different topic. The second element, in turn, in its function as a complementiser, means "which, that". So, here we have something like "even that".

    There aren't any concessive words or phrases in Macedonian relating to "nice things", as far as I know. The most metaphorical one is probably "додуша" (doduša), meaning "then again" (introducing a contrary argument), literally "to-soul".
  29. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    To us the link with "even if" is not so self-evident when looking at our words. We can only combine it with one of the words I mentioned, the most "dissident" one having a very particular syntax, i.e., "al".

    Is the syntax of a CC different from the one in subclause, or in any way special, BTW?

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