[tlhIngan Hol] time words and deixis

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Nov 29 08:36:25 PST 2017

On 11/29/2017 11:26 AM, Ed Bailey wrote:
> Age is normally expressed as in the example {loSmaH ben jIboghpu'}, "I 
> was born 40 years ago."
> http://klingonska.org/canon/search/?file=1996-12-12a-news.txt&q=age
> 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?

I think the /ago/ in *ben* and *Hu'* are always relative to the present 
of the speaker, but I have no evidence to back this up aside from the 
/ago/ in their given translations. If you want to say something like 
/ten years before I was born,/ but you don't want to give away your age 
and do the math yourself, you'll have to say something like *jIboghpa' 
qaSpu' wa'maH DIS; qaSpa' poHvam, /blah blah blah.../* This is really 
clumsy and I don't like it, but I can't think of a better way to do it. 
I tried to come up with something about *qaSpa' boghpu'ghachwIj wa'maH 
DIS vorgh,* but that doesn't sound right to me.


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