[tlhIngan Hol] time words and deixis

Ed Bailey bellerophon.modeler at gmail.com
Wed Nov 29 08:26:09 PST 2017

Age is normally expressed as in the example {loSmaH ben jIboghpu'}, "I was
born 40 years ago."


The English word "ago" tends to be always relative to the present. {ben} is
glossed as "years ago" but is it necessarily relative to the present, or is
it relative to the event being talked about?

Say we want to use age to express when something happens, as in {qaSpu'
wanI'vam loSmaH ben jIboghpu'DI'}. Does it say "This event happened when I
was 40 years old (when I had been born 40 years previously)" or "This event
happened when I was born forty years ago." Switching the dependency of the
clauses, {qaSpu'DI' wanI'vam loSmaH ben jIboghpu'}, seems to have the
desired effect on {ben}: "When this event happened, I had been born 40
years ago (that is, I was 40)." But I can still conceive that it could be
understood as "I was born 40 years ago when this event happened." Reversing
the order of the clauses shouldn't have any effect in Klingon, but I would
tend to interpret {loSmaH ben jIboghpu' qaSpu'DI' wanI'vam} as "I was born
40 years ago, when this event happened" instead of "I had been born 40
years previously when this event happened."

Are there relevant canon examples?


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