[tlhIngan Hol] vaj and meqvammo' difference

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Tue Oct 6 08:37:36 PDT 2020


The following paragraph was exactly what I needed to read. The rest was helpful, and likely the thought process of the rest of it helped you arrive at this crystalline nugget that is at the core of aspect and somehow it’s slippery enough that from time to time, I drop it.

Thanks for helping me pick it back up again.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Oct 6, 2020, at 11:20 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> Aspect, on the other hand, doesn't tell you in which direction of time an event occurs. Aspect tells you the shape of an event. It tells you how the event occurred and how you're looking at it. Aspect tells you things like whether an action is unchanging or continuous or instantaneous or having an abrupt start or having an abrupt ending or being repetitive or being habitual or being timeless. It doesn't tell you WHEN the action happened, just HOW it happened and how YOU are viewing it.
And of equal importance:
For us English speakers, it takes a lot of work to recognize perfective. It's not natural for us. Our tenses are complex and subtle and difficult for non-natives to learn, but they don't match the way Klingon works. Klingon tense is purely contextual. Klingon aspect doesn't line up with any English grammar. TKD claims it will TRANSLATE Klingon perfective with English present perfect tense, but it only does so about half the time. The other half it's simple past tense. But even future perfect tense is a possible translation for perfective: DaHjaj ram pItSa' chab vIvunpu' Tonight I will have ordered pizza. Viewpoint is looking back on the completed order; both the viewpoint and the order take place at the reference time, tonight. Now is before tonight.


Yes. It is challenging to wrap an English speaking brain around this grammatical point that English doesn’t map very well. For myself, I get it… and then later on, without sufficient practice, I forget it, and need to explore it again to remind myself of this grammatical difference as a thing independent of the English “perfect tenses”. The term “perfective” is too close to “perfect” to not encourage confusion, because it is harder to understand something one has misunderstood than it is to understand something that one has not understood.
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