Bibliography of conditionals

We’re pleased to announce our bibliography of conditionals for New Testament translation, published in the Journal of Translation: Bibliography of Conditionals. The months of August and September were incredibly busy for Rachel and Mike Aubrey primarily because of this project. It started as a nascent collection of references that we pulled together last year in support of Dr. Steve Nicolle’s NT conditionals research project at CanIL. That project is complete and will soon be available to Bible translation teams around the world.

When the Journal of Translation decided to publish an issue dedicated entirely to conditionals, they invited us to expand our bibliography to be published along with the other articles. In accepting that invitation, we had a choice to make in terms of how we could most effectively produce something that would useful to the work of translation into indigenous and minority language communities around the world. We weighed the option of taking our initial bibliography, add annotations to its entries and publish an annotated bibliography that focused on a set of select pieces of research on Ancient Greek conditionals. But in the end, we decided that a larger need for this community was for situating Greek conditionals in the context of language documentation. To that end, the final version of our bibliography has three sections, which we describe below.

This bibliography is an ongoing project. We plan on adding more languages as we find them, we plan on expanding the Greek section as research continues, and we hope to build a comparable bibliography for Ancient Hebrew, as well. Most likely, that ongoing version will be hosted here at

Conditionals in Ancient Greek

Here, we have attempted to be as comprehensive as we possible could be in documenting the literature on conditionals in Ancient Greek: Homeric through Byzantine Greek. We have entries in nearly a dozen languages that we hope to provide some support to translators outside of anglocentric contexts. We also provided a short essay as an introduction that surveys the history of research of conditionals in Ancient Greek: where there has been progress and also where, in our view, progress has been stalled.

Conditionals in the world’s languages

In this second section, our focus was not to be comprehensive for everything written, descriptively, on conditionals in any language, but to especially lift up and highlight the work on conditionals specifically in less prestigious languages. Thus for example, English is still there, but only in the context of studies where it is compared to other languages. The bibliography is organized geographically with entries for roughly 150 different languages—including studies of nine sign languages. Here, we want to draw your attention to the introduction to this section, but also more importantly, the introduction to the final section (2.6) on sign languages, where we summarize some of the ways that conditionality is expressed in this important and understudied group of languages.

There is still so much to be done here, however. We have about 150 languages listed, most with specialized research on conditionals, but a few with chapters from reference grammars. However, 150 languages constitutes only about 2% of the world’s languages. There is so much more work to be done here.

Conditionals in linguistics and typology

Finally, we conclude with a brief section that surveys important theoretical and typological research done on conditionals in natural language, beginning with an introduction that summarizes the themes of the literature we chose to profile.