[tlhIngan Hol] Present tense and context

luis.chaparro at web.de luis.chaparro at web.de
Wed Jun 23 04:16:31 PDT 2021

Sometimes the more you learn, the more insecure you feel. In TKD, section 4.2.7 we read:

<The absence of a Type 7 suffix usually means that the action is not completed and is not continuous (that is, it is not one of the things indicated by the Type 7 suffixes). Verbs with no Type 7 suffix are translated by the English simple present tense. (...) When the context is appropriate, verbs without a Type 7 suffix may be translated by the English future tense (will), but the real feeling of the Klingon is closer to English sentences such as *We fly tomorrow at dawn*, where the present-tense verb refers to an event in the future.>

I guess Okrand forgot the (imperfective) past tense, so it should actually say: *may be translated by the English future tense (will) or simple past*.

My question is: If you don't have any specific context or any words indicating past or future, should you interpret a verb with no Type 7 suffix as present (as suggested by this quotation of TKD)? Of course, there is (almost) always a context, but sometimes it takes a little bit till context is clear. If a Klingon read at the beginning of a text: *tera'Daq Dab muchwI' noy*, will she or he interpret it as present, because if you want it to mean past or future you MUST use a time expression or a clear context, or will she or he simply not interpret it as present / past / future till context or a time expression clarify it (which could be pretty confusing)?

Let me put it other way: MUST I always use a clear context or a time expression to get the meaning of present (i.e. be very careful to be sure present is the only possible interpretation in a text), or can I assume that, if no other word or context indicate past or future, the listener / the reader will understand a verb with no Type 7 suffix as present?

Or am I missing something?

Thank you!

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list