Novial/AIL Indirect Speech

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Indirect Speech[edit]

A word must here be said about the shifting of tenses found in many national languages in indirect speech. (Philos. of Grammar, pp. 292 ff.) Corresponding to

  1. I am ill
  2. I have not yet seen her
  3. I shall soon see her
  4. I shall have finished by noon 

we use shifted tenses in indirect speech:

  1. He said that he was ill
  2. he had not seen her yet
  3. he should soon see her
  4. he should have finished by noon 

This shifting of the tenses is very natural and in many cases seems inevitable: "He told me that he was ill, but now he is all right." From these cases it is extended to cases in which it is not thus justified logically, but only psychologically: "I didn't know who he was." In Russian the rule is carried through that indirect speech uses the same tense as would have been used in direct speech: the sentence (1) quoted above would thus have been: He said that he is ill, and correspondingly in the other sentences. Now this rule was transferred by Z to Esp, and from Esp taken over into Ido, one of the reasons being probably that otherwise it would have been necessary to create a new tense for the shifted future in (3). English here uses the same form as in unreal conditional clauses, and the same is true of French, where "il disait qu'il écrirait le plus tôt possible" corresponds to "j'écrirai le plus tôt possible" of the direct speech, thus with the same form as the conditional "j'écrirais si je savais son adresse."

Now in Novial there is no necessity to follow the Russian rule, and we can easily form the shifted future missing in Esp-Ido, by adding -ed to the auxiliary sal: saled. The sentences given above are thus translated:

  1. Lo dikted ke lo esed malad
  2. lo had non ankore vida la
  3. lo saled bald vida la
  4. lo saled ha fina ante medidi 

We even may form a shifted conditional not found in our languages, by means of vuded.