Does any language besides Esperanto have conditional participles?

Esperanto has these only "unofficially"; they're not considered correct Esperanto usage by authorities, but common sense will tell you that they're perfectly inevitable given other aspects of the language.


  • skribanta homo = a person who is writing (present active participle of skribi)
  • skribinta homo = a person who has written (past active participle)
  • skribonta homo = a person who will write (future active participle)
  • skribata letero = a letter that is being written (present passive participle)
  • skribita letero = a letter that has been written (past passive participle)
  • skribota letero = a letter to be written (future passive participle)
  • skributa letero = a letter that would be written (if things were different) (conditional passive participle)
  • skribunta homo = a person who would write (if things were different)

I once heard someone speaking of a hypothetical situation say "Viaj savuntoj ne povus atingi vin." (Your would-be rescuers would not be able to reach you.) A noun-form of a conditional active participle of the verb savi.)

(It's been sarcastically suggested that the book called "Plena Ilustrita Vortaro" (complete illustrated dictionary) ought to be called "Plena Ilustruta Vortaro".)

  • This is beginning to look more like Volapük than Esperanto.
    – jlawler
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 16:48
  • 1
    This is the single most interesting thing I have ever learned about Esperanto! Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 3:50
  • @jlawler : Your meaning escapes me. Can you clarify or elaborate? Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


A bit of Googling turned up references to "conditional participles" in Bengali:

Bengali By Hanne-Ruth Thompson

and Oriya:

Oriya Grammar for English Students by Ebenezer Charles Bethlehem Hallam

This page on Kyrgyz morphology refers to something it calls an "irrealis participle", which might be what you're looking for, but it doesn't describe its usage.

  • Latin's future passives seem to do something a bit more analogous, though with more of an imperative force than hypothetical (e.g. 'agenda' - 'things that need to be done').
    – Sjiveru
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 1:16
  • 1
    @Sjiveru: That is a gerundive. It is an interesting example: there is indeed modal force (that ought to be done or that can be done) in gerundives in certain situations, though not conditional. Oh, and in Greek, the particle an can be added to participles to add a sense of modality.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 4:46
  • This Bengali example appears to be about uncertainties rather than counterfactuals: "If you have any doubts, don't keep them concealed.", etc. Something like "What would you do in that situation?" is counterfactual: it presupposes that you are not now in that situation and it is not known that you were or will be. Counterfactual situations are what the Esperanto verb forms I have in mind are about. "Kion vi farus, se vi gajnus dek milionojn da dolaroj?" means "What would you do if you won ten million dollars?" It presupposes that you haven't actually won ten million dollars. Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 3:33

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