[tlhIngan Hol] expressing more than x years ago

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Fri Aug 7 08:17:07 PDT 2020

I agree completely.

To explain my personal interpretation of this, a point in time or a duration along a time line is one of many contexts for any Klingon sentence. There are different ways of providing that context. 

Klingon grammar gives you a way of using a time-focused noun as a time stamp. It goes at the beginning of the sentence because it provides the context for everything that follows it; an anchor point or zone. The time stamp doesn’t merely do this for the sentence that contains it. That context continues for everything that follows it, until some other time context is provided. You could write a whole book with one time stamp at the beginning of it, and if there were no time references throughout the rest of the book, the assumption would be that the entire book has that time context. Witness the novel, Ulysses, by James Joyce, which tells a story that all happened during one day.

Meanwhile, any dependent clause can provide that same time context. I would say that any Klingon sentence can provide that context for all sentences that follow it, but that one sentence would probably establish its time context with a time stamp or a dependent clause… but…

muqIp. vIqIp. maSuvchuqchoH.

I’m not telling you when he hit me, but given the proximity of these sentences, it is reasonable to assume that I’m giving you a sequence of events linked in time.

He hit me. I hit him. We began to fight. When did it happen? Well, it started happening when he hit me. The event is marked by the action of the main verb, and that time gives you a setting for the sentences that follow it. Like the word {DaHjaj}, the time context doesn’t have a fixed day on the calendar or a time of day. It could have happened this morning or a decade ago, but the whole story has one time context.

And all this happens with no need for tense.

I could have chosen to express this lots of other ways, but this one is valid.

I could have said:

muqIppu’. vIqIp. maSuvchuq.

I stylistically don’t like this as much because while it does highlight that he hit me first, it might suggest to some that he hit me and significant time passed before I hit him back, so maybe he hit me yesterday, and this morning, I wasn’t over it, so I went to his house and punched him and then we started fighting pretty much immediately.

I could have said

muqIpmo’ vIqIp. ghIq maSuvchuq.

So? The original is simpler and does a fine job of telling the story, which is the primary function of language.

Use whatever best suits the story you are telling to establish the time context.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Aug 7, 2020, at 10:29 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 8/7/2020 10:03 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
>> SuStel:
>>> qaSpa' loS ben before four years ago occurs
>> I'm slightly confused with this. Shouldn't the {loS ben} as a time
>> stamp be always the first element in a sentence (i.e. without being
>> preceded by a verb) ?
> This isn't a "time stamp." It's a subordinate clause. The loS ben is the subject of the verb qaSpa'. Remember, ben years ago is a noun in Klingon and may be used as such.
>>  Could I indeed say the following ?
>> qaSpa' loS ben, tlhIngan Hol vIghojmoHpu'
>> I started learning klingon more than four years ago
> Yes, though you've got some errors there, and in general I'd expect any such sentence to be reporting the completed event of four years ago occurring.
> qaSpu'pa' loS ben, tlhIngan Hol vIghojchoHpu'.
> I started to learn Klingon more than four years ago.
> Literally, Before four years ago occurred, I started to learn Klingon.
> That's not to say qaSpa' always has to have perfective added to it. "Let me take you back in your memory. It's more than four years ago, and..."
> -- 
> SuStel
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