Conditionals in Turkish

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Defined as the relation between two propositions, conditionals are composed of a protasis -“p”- and an apodosis -“q”-. Languages employ different strategies to construct a conditional. The most common way is to express the protasis in an explicit manner (Bhatt & Pancheva 2005: 642). This study is based on the hypothesis that the positions of the protasis and apodosis determine the functions of the Turkish conditional clauses with the conditional copula ise, its cliticized allomorph -(y)sA, and the conditional suffix -sA ”. With this objective in mind, the answers to the following research questions have been sought; “What are the positions of protasis/if-subordinate clause and apodosis/main clause in conditionals of Turkish?”, “What are the functions of the conditional clause depending on the positions of the protasis/if-subordinate clause and apodosis/main clause?” To answer these research questions a database consisting of eight different detective novels was studied, and these novels were analyzed according to Declerck and Reed’s (2001) approach to the conditional clauses. According to the findings of our analysis the unmarked order of the conditionals in Turkish is ‘protasis + apodosis’ and Turkish conditional clauses mostly undertake the purely case-specifying function and maintain this through the conditional clauses named ‘purely case-specifying P-clause specifying the circumstances under which the perception of the Q-situation may take place’. We have observed that the conditional information can be processed with the help of the case-specifying function of Turkish conditional clauses which occupies the unmarked order in the listener/reader’s mind. In terms of their unmarked orders, however, Turkish conditional clauses mostly assume the comment function by encoding “Hedging-P conditionals” and the speaker presents the content of the apodosis via the functions of protasis.


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