[tlhIngan Hol] finer shades of perfective aspect

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Feb 27 10:42:32 PST 2019

On 2/27/2019 11:33 AM, De'vID wrote:
> Every time aspect comes up in conversation about Klingon, I try to 
> think of examples in Cantonese Chinese, which also has aspect. 
> Cantonese actually has a finer grained system of aspect than Klingon, 
> so that Klingon perfective might map onto the Cantonese perfective 
> (咗), completive (完), exhaustive (哂), or experiential (過) aspects, 
> depending on context.
> The completive indicates that the person performing an action has done 
> as much as they can or intend to do, whether the task is actually done 
> or not. (You would negate this aspect if, for example, the person was 
> interrupted.) The exhaustive indicates that the action has been 
> performed to the point where it is actually completely done and can no 
> longer be continued. The experiential indicates whether someone has 
> ever performed an action or not.
> The subtle differences between these aspect markers allows 
> conversations like the following:
> Parent: "Are you done [perfective] your homework?"
> Child: "Yes, I'm done [completive] my homework." (I've done as much as 
> I am going to, and I don't feel like doing any more.)
> Parent: "But are you done [exhaustive] your homework?" (You may not 
> want to do any more, but is there any homework left undone?)
> I thought about recreating this scenario in Klingon, and I thought 
> that the combination of {-chu'} with {-pu'} might express something 
> like the Cantonese exhaustive.
> qup: {bIqeqpu''a'?}
> puq: {HIja', jIqeqpu'.}
> qup: {'ach bIqeqchu'pu''a'?}
> What do people think? Does that convey the meaning? Technically it's 
> asking if the training had been done perfectly, but surely one's 
> training can't be perfectly completed unless it is completely completed.

In the Cantonese Chinese version, the child is dodging the question the 
parent meant to ask but didn't quite. In the Klingon version, the child 
exactly answers the elder's question, so the elder has only themselves 
to blame if they didn't get the answer they wanted.

The elder asking with *-chu'* seems to be asking whether the child 
practiced perfectly, not whether the practice was totally completed. You 
seem to be trying to apply the *-chu' *to the *-pu'* rather than to 
*qeq.* I'm not sure that would be a natural interpretation. The child 
might respond to the elder's second question, *jISovbe'; wa'leS 
qeqpu'ghachwIj patlh muja' ghojmoHwI'wI'*/I don't know; my teacher will 
tell me my practice grade tomorrow./

You might be able to get this meaning with *rIntaH:*

*qup: bIqeq'a' rIntaH?
puq: HIja', jIqeqpu'.
qup: 'ach rIntaH'a'?*

The absolute finality of *rIntaH* may connote that there's no more to 
do. But this could only be used on something you intentionally accomplished.

> I've always thought the exhaustive aspect to be very useful, and wish 
> we had it in Klingon.
> The experiential aspect indicates if something had ever been done 
> before. In English, it would be expressed with the word "ever". For 
> example, "Have you visited [experiential] Qo'noS?" means "Have you 
> ever visited Qo'noS?" In contrast, "Have you visited [perfective] 
> Qo'noS?" would be asking if you've completed one particular trip to 
> Qo'noS, perhaps a planned trip known to the asker.
> (Aside: Using the completive aspect here would imply that the listener 
> isn't going to be visiting Qo'noS any more, perhaps because it's the 
> last item on their bucket list. Using the exhaustive aspect would be 
> asking if the listener has visited every part of Qo'noS! That might 
> not make sense for a planet, but it's a sensible question to ask about 
> a smaller geographic area, like a neighbourhood or small region.)
> In Klingon, {Qo'noS DaSuchpu''a'?} seems it could be asking either the 
> regular perfective or the experiential meaning. Absent other context, 
> I'd lean towards interpreting this question with the experiential 
> meaning, but if the conversation is about a planned trip, then I'd 
> interpret it as the sense expressed by the Cantonese perfective. 
> However, I'm uncertain how to clarify between these two 
> interpretations in Klingon. {wej Qo'noS DaSuch'a'?} seems like it 
> would be subject to the same interpretations, with the added 
> implication that you should/will visit Qo'noS at some point.
> How would you differentiate "Have you ever visited Qo'noS?" 
> (experiential meaning) vs. "Have you made your visit to Qo'noS?" 
> (perfective meaning), in Klingon?

Experiential-ish: *pa'logh Qo'noS DaSuchpu''a'?
*Restricted perfective-ish: *Qo'noS leng Danabpu'. Data'pu''a'?*


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