[tlhIngan Hol] both are equally useless

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Aug 25 09:58:27 PDT 2021

On 8/25/2021 11:39 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> I find {qen cha’ vIghro’ mIllogh vIleghpu’} worthy of contemplation as 
> I continue to try to improve my understanding of the difference 
> between tense, which Klingon lacks, and the perfective, which Klingon has.
> Were I writing it, I would have either used {qen} or {-pu’}, but not 
> both because right now, seeing the picture is a completed action, and 
> “recently” the action was taking place, with no significance placed 
> upon the completion of the action of seeing. The rest of the post 
> follows with either the statement that I recently saw the pictures, or 
> I have seen the pictures, but “I recently had seen the pictures” seems 
> unnecessarily restrictive in terms of setting the time context of what 
> follows.

You are interpreting the Klingon grammar according to your English 
translation, not according to the actual meaning of the Klingon.

You are using English past perfect tense with the adverb /recently./ 
Past perfective means that, at a point in the past, the state caused by 
an action even further back in the past was relevant. /Recently I had 
seen the pictures:/ at a point in the recent past, my act of seeing that 
was even further in the past was relevant. (vp is the viewpoint of the 
sentence, the point at which you are placing your perspective of the 

/Recently I had seen the pictures./

PAST >-----^----------------RECENTLY---------------NOW--------------------> FUTURE
           see                  vp

That's not what *qen mIlloghmey vIleghpu'* means. Klingon doesn't have 
any perfect tenses; it doesn't have an "action in the past is relevant 
to the time context" tense. The *-pu'* is /perfective,/ not /perfect./ 
In general, perfective aspect is used to express an action as a unit, 
indivisible in its flow over time. In Klingon, this is expressed as an 
action being /completed./ From whatever viewpoint the sentence or 
context sets up, the action is already done. The viewpoint is /not/ the 
same as the time context of the action itself. *qen mIlloghmey 
vIleghpu'* means that at a recent point in the past, I performed the act 
of seeing, and I am further expressing my viewpoint (vp) of that act as 
from a point when it was already done.

*qen mIlloghmey vIleghpu'*

PAST >------------RECENTLY---^---------------------NOW--------------------> FUTURE
                     *legh*      vp

The job of *-pu'* is not to tell you that a past action is still 
relevant (perfect); it is to tell you that you are taking a viewpoint 
that looks on an action as completed.

*tugh mIlloghmey vIleghpu'*

PAST >----------------NOW-----------------SOON----^-----------------> FUTURE
                                           *legh*     vp

This sentence means /Soon I will have seen the pictures,/ and it means 
that seeing the pictures will take place soon, and I am viewing this 
action from a point after it's done.

If you fail to use a *-pu'* or a *-taH,* then you are saying that the 
viewpoint is in the middle of the action.

*qen mIlloghmey vIlegh*

PAST >------------RECENTLY-------------------------NOW--------------------> FUTURE
                     *legh *vp**

This means that you're not viewing the action from a point at which it's 
completed; you're expressing the action as it is occurring.

The difference between this and using *-taH* is that with *-taH* the 
action continues before and after the viewpoint:

*qen mIlloghmey vIleghtaH*

PAST >------------RECENTLY-------------------------NOW--------------------> FUTURE

/Recently I was seeing the pictures./ At a recent point in the past, I 
had been seeing them, I was still seeing them, and I would be seeing 
them for some time after that.

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