I was trying to find an online audible audio pronuncer (ie vocaliser) for and the etymology of the word irrealis in irrealis mood. To my shock, the word is absent in OED, ODO, even Memidex.com.

1. So is 'irrealis' not an official word? Whence does it originate, then?

The less reputable Wiktionary claims that it`s an adjective.

2. What's the French term for 'irrealis mood' ?

closed as off-topic by prash May 7 '15 at 3:26

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    Questions of the sort "is X not an official word", where X stands for some jargon word of any field, are useless. You have already found a reference for it. If you need to use the word, use it. – prash May 7 '15 at 3:33
  • Please try to actually research your questions next time. – curiousdannii May 7 '15 at 5:34
  • @prash. Perhaps we could distinguish between "technical terms" and "jargon". – fdb May 7 '15 at 8:47
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    There are no "official words". But irrealis certainly is used in semantics to refer to any clause that may be imaginary instead of actually true. From Latin in- 'not', realis 'reality'. Subjunctives, conditionals, predictions, modals, anything in the future -- they're all irrealis. It's a cover term. And it describes nicely the uses of the irrealis particle that always arises in a creole language -- creoles (i.e, baby languages, like Haitian Creole or Tok Pisin) use only one mark for all of these concepts. – jlawler May 7 '15 at 14:46
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    Highly discipline-specific technical terms don't always show up in general dictionaries. It's in the SIL glossary, which also includes references if you want to track its earliest use. (BTW @jlawler Tok Pisin has a number of irrealis markers e.g. 'sapos', 'mas', 'bai',...) – Gaston Ümlaut May 7 '15 at 22:20

There is no body that keeps track of official words in English (not even the OED), so that part of your question is unanswerable. The terminology is used in the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, and has been used on the linguistics blog Language Log, but I haven't been able to locate the earliest use of the word.

It does seem to be an adjective. Going solely by my own intuition, I would suspect it can also be used as a noun as a paraphrase of "the irrealis mood", just as we can speak of "the subjunctive" or "subjunctives".

The German-French Pons dictionary gives the adjective "irréel" and the noun "le mode irréel". For some reason I can't find this translation for the English-French dictionary, but the meaning is clear.

This list of abstracts for French linguistics papers uses "irrealis" as a translation of the French word "irréel" (the list is in English, the paper titles are in French.)

However, I did also find a case where the Latin adjective irrealis was used as a noun referring to this mood in a French linguistics text through Google Books. (It was italicized to mark it as a non-French term.)

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