[tlhIngan Hol] thoughts on the -be'pu' vs -pu'be'

mayqel qunen'oS mihkoun at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 06:33:01 PDT 2020


It's not that I get off on talking about aspect.. In fact, discussions
on aspect are for me the same thing as time travel was for janeway on
voyager; it's something I don't want to get caught up in.. But as
janeway finally *had* to time travel, I always find myself being
caught up in the mess of aspect.

There's the tkd Ca'Non example of {vIta'pu'be'} for "I didn't do it".

The way I understand the {vIta'pu'be'} is that it goes like:
{vIta'pu'}-be'. Because that way, the meaning goes "I have done
it"-not. On the other hand, if we analyzed it as {vIta'}-pu'be', then
it would mean that my doing it hasn't been completed, meaning either
that my doing it has been interrupted, or that at the moment the
sentence is uttered my doing it still takes place, and I'm actually
literally saying "it's not yet completed whatever it is I'm trying to
accomplish".

So, the only way the {vIta'pu'be'} can mean "I didn't do it", is if
the {-be'} is interpreted as to be acting on the entire {vIta'pu'}.

Alternatively, perhaps we could say {vIta'be'pu'}, which would mean
that "the event of my not doing it is completed". I can't say I see
anything wrong with that. Did you do it yesterday ? Asks one.
{vIta'be'pu'} replies the other i.e. "I didn't do it, and now (or
then) my not doing it is completed".

So, the question arises..

If the {vIta'pu'}-be' is roughly the same with the {vIta'be'pu'}, then
why don't we always place the {-be'} on the end of the word allowing
it to act on the sum of verb+suffixes which precede it ?

And I believe, that the answer is "because there are cases where the
thing which we need to negate is not the entire verb+prefixes, but
just one of the preceding prefixes".

Assume we need to say "I have begun not to need cherish you". If we
write {qaQejnISchoHbe'pu'} then likely it means "I haven't begun to
need to cherish you". I can't see a way in which one could apply the
{-be'} only to the {-nIS}. To express the meaning of "I have begun not
to need cherish you" we would need to write {qaQejnISbe'choHpu'}.

So, in verb where the {-pu'} and the {-be'} coexist, we can't always
be placing the {-be'} after the {-pu'}.. So, I really can't understand
why instead of writing {vIta'pu'be'} and expecting the reader to take
the {-be'} and apply it to the entire word which precedes it, why we
can't just write {vIta'be'pu'} which is clearer and doesn't leave room
for misinterpretation.

Aspect is a jay' nightmare..

~ mayqel qunen'oS
the ancient cat will talk before I will


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