[tlhIngan Hol] jIbogh vs jIboghpu' and a pizza

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri Dec 21 07:55:00 PST 2018

On 12/21/2018 9:15 AM, mayqel qunenoS wrote:
> Suppose I write: {loSmaH wa' ben jIboghpu'} for "I am 41 years old".
> Literally though, the klingon goes "41 years ago I have been born"
> i.e. 41 years ago my "being born" has been completed.
> Lets forget this for the moment..
> If I write {wa'Hu' pItSa' vISoppu'}, this means that "one day ago my
> eating the pizza has been completed". But I could have eaten this
> pizza many days ago, and yesterday is just another day during which my
> eating of the pizza continues to be completed.
> So, can't the {loSmaH wa' ben jIboghpu'} be interpreted to mean, that
> I am in fact older than 41, and that it is just that 41 years ago, my
> birth (which took place way earlier) remains completed ?
> So, why not write instead {loSmaH wa' ben jIbogh}, for "41 years ago I
> am born", thus avoiding the ambiguity ?

You are interpreting Klingon *-pu'* as if it were English present 
perfect tense, which it is not.

English present perfect tense means that I'm talking about a time right 
now, and as of right now, the thing I'm talking about happened in the 
past. /Happened in the past/ tells you /when/ something happened; that 
means it's /tense./ Klingon doesn't have verb tenses.

Klingon *-pu'* means that, whenever an action happens, it is completed. 
The action is viewed as a complete unit, a whole that has no visible 
internal temporal flow. *loSmaH ben jIboghpu'.* Forty years ago, the 
action *bogh* occurred and was completed.

When you do not use perfective or continuous aspects, the verb is not 
perfective and not continuous. You're not just not mentioning whether 
it's those things; it's specifically not those things. *loSmaH ben 
jIbogh* means that you're in that moment of being born forty years ago. 
The *bogh* is not yet complete and not an ongoing action.

So no, you can't use *loSmaH ben jIboghpu'* to mean you're 42 or 50 or 
anything like that. *-pu'* doesn't mean /sometime before the current 
time context;/ it means /viewed as a completed whole./

Okrand says in /The Klingon Dictionary/ that for consistency he will 
translate Klingon perfective into English present perfect tense, and 
then he only does it about half the time. We get lots of 
counterexamples, like *yaS vImojpu'*/I became an officer/ (the becoming 
is done),//*De''e' vItlhapnISpu'*/I needed to get the INFORMATION /(the 
need is over), *vIneHpu'*/I wanted them/ (the wanting is over), 
*qaja'pu'*/I told you/ (the telling is complete), *Qaw''eghpu'* /he/she 
destroyed himself/herself/ (the destruction is complete). There are more.

So don't be fooled into thinking that *-pu'* is always translated by 
/have/had/has verbed,/ or that it means exactly what those English 
phrases mean. English does not have verbal perfective; Klingon does. 
Klingon does not have perfect tenses; English does. They are not the 
same thing.

*wa'Hu' pItSa' chab vISoppu'*/Yesterday I ate a pizza./ The eating 
happened yesterday, and it was completed.


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