[tlhIngan Hol] -lI': intentional or not?

Lieven levinius at gmx.de
Sun Feb 26 01:45:07 PST 2017

Am 25.02.2017 um 20:36 schrieb SuStel:
> There was a discussion on Facebook about whether *-lI'* needs to be
> intentional progress or not. I'm curious what other list members think.

Interesting question. The more I think about this, the more complicated 
it gets.

My first reaction to your question is NO. When I send data, of course I 
know that it will be finished soon, but it is not my personal 
"intention" to have it finished. So far the short answer.


But I do understand the confusion. Since {-ta'} is described as a non 
continuous counterpart to {-lI'}, there seems to be some intention. 
Saying {pumta' nagh} sounds like the stone has fallen by its own will.

This shifts the question a bit to a different topic: Can {-ta'} and 
{-lI'} be used with non-living beings? That's what the intentionality 
implies. Only living beings can do something with an intention.

Generally spoken, I would suggest to avoid aspect suffixes, or at least 
not to use them too often. When you just say {pum nagh} the meaning is 
quite the same. It's falling, and it certainly will stop. For instance, 
see the word {Dor} "end": We all know that a period of time will end 
somewhere, but you do not say {DorlI' jaj}.

> The arguments in favor say that a sentence like *pumlI' nagh* to refer
> to a stone that is falling to the ground due to, say, a landslide, is
> ungrammatical.

I would not be so strict to say that it is ungrammatical, because 
technically spoken (TKD) you may add it to the verb, but I would wonder 
if it was the stone's decision to do it:

TKD says:
{-ta'} is used when an activity was deliberately undertaken, the 
implication being that someone set out to do something and in fact did it.

When I take this literally, {pumta' nagh} is nonsense. Since {-lI'} is 
the continous counterpart of {-ta'}, {pumlI' nagh} is nonsense as well.

quod erat demonstrandum.

Lieven L. Litaer
aka Quvar valer 'utlh
Grammarian of the KLI

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