たら-Form: C1たらC2 as “After C1, C2” or “If C1, C2” (pt. 1 of 2)
A verb, adjective, or noun can be conjugated into the たら-Form simply by taking its respective た-Form and adding the character ら right after it (for な-Adjectives and Nouns, this mean following the root word with the たら-Form-conjugated です, だったら).
In meaning, the たら-Form can denote one of two things:
1.) a past-tense, factual statement
2.) a hypothetical statement.
1.) When the second clause, C2, in this grammar construct C1たらC2 is in the past-tense, the entire statement should be interpreted as this past-tense, factual form. In this interpretation, it takes on the “After C1, C2” meaning as opposed to the “If C1, C2” meaning. This version is actually very similar to other grammar patterns, such as the C1時にC2 and the C1てからC2 grammar patterns and is often times quite interchangeable with them. However, in this form, the second clause, C2, cannot be an intentional action; another grammar pattern would have to be used instead, such as the C1てからC2 grammar pattern.
Heya o souji shitara, kutsushita o mitsuketa.
(After/when I cleaned my room, I found my socks.)
Rock no live ni ittara atama ga itaku natta.
(After/when I went to the rock concert, my head started hurting.)
*Although C1たらC2 is often interchangeable with C1時にC2, there is a very subtle distinction between the two forms. While C1たらC2 implies somewhat of a relationship between the two clauses, C1 and C2, C1時にC2 does not. For example, using this example, ロックのライブに行ったら頭が痛くなった implies that the rock concert is the cause of the headache, while
Rock no live no itta toki ni atama ga itaku natta.
(My head started hurting when I went to the rock concert.)”
implies that the simultaneous occurrence of the rock concert and the headache are more of a coincidence.
2.) When the second clause, C2, in this grammar construct C1たらC2 is not in the past-tense, the entire statement should be interpretted as being in the hypothetical form. In this version, the second clause, C2, can freely represent an intentional act. Though, the statement can still be interpretted as “when” just as much as “if,” especially if the statement has a strong sense of certainty. Adding the word もし, which itself means “if,” to this version of the grammar construct gives it a definitive sense of “if” as opposed to “when.”
Shukudai o shiowattara, nemasu.
(When I finish doing my homework, I’ll sleep.)
Shukudai o hayaku owattara, T.V. o mimasu.
(If I finish my homework early, I’ll watch T.V.)
*When an adjective or noun is used in the たら-Form, it is almost construed as being in the hypothetical sense.
Tanoshikattara mo ikkai shitai desu.
(If it’s fun, I want to do it again.)
Moshi, sono kurasu ga suki dattara, totta hou ga ii to omou.
(If you like that class, you should take it.)
Nihongo dattara, rikai dekiru.
(If it’s Japanese, I can understand it.)