[tlhIngan Hol] thoughts on the perfective {-pu'}

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Apr 5 09:40:47 PDT 2022

On 4/5/2022 12:09 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> Just to clarify, if I wanted to say, “I was sick last week,” meaning 
> that all week, I was sick, I’d say {Hogh vorgh jIroptaH}. I wouldn’t 
> say {Hogh vorgh jIroppu’} unless I meant that I started getting sick 
> last week, I was sick for a while, and I stopped being sick, all 
> within the boundary of last week.

I would translate as follows:

*Hogh vorgh jIrop.*/I was sick last week.
/*Hogh vorgh jIroptaH.*/I was sick all last week./

For a quality to be true over a period of time doesn't require *-taH.* 
When you add *-taH,* what you're doing is expressing its flow over time 
and saying that it was continuous. Lacking *-taH* doesn't necessarily 
mean it was discontinuous; it just means that you're not describing its 
flow over time. You're just identifying a quality that applied.

*Hogh vorgh jIroppu'* wouldn't describe getting sick, being sick for a 
while, and stopping being sick. All that does happen within the week by 
implication, but all the verb actually expresses is a complete event of 

If I say /I ran home,/ it's true by implication that I started to run, I 
spent some time running, and I finally stopped running. But none of that 
is expressed in the sentence. All it expresses is a complete event of 
running, without expressing any internal flow of that event. That's what 
*Hogh vorgh jIroppu'* is doing, and for a quality, that's weird. Again, 
I'm not saying it's possible, but it's weird, and I'm still not aware of 
any evidence that Klingon does it, just as a non-native English speaker 
might not be aware that one cannot say /I am knowing you./ It seems to 
follow the rules, so it should be allowed, right? Not necessarily.

> That perhaps brings up a condition that makes {-pu’} sensible on a 
> stative verb. If the Time Stamp has a duration that completely 
> contains the duration of the stative verb, I now see that this could 
> make sense, given the model of the perfective as being an action (or 
> state) that is “compressed” into the moment of its cessation, so the 
> reference is to the cessation, not the duration.

Think of it rather this way: the "moment" isn't necessarily a single 
instant. If I say /The United States won its independence in 1776,/ 
that's perfective. The winning's internal flow isn't being described at 
all; it just happened and was done. It didn't happen in just one 
singular instant; it happened throughout 1776, but this sentence treats 
the entire year as a single "moment." This is a common thing to do.

> If the context was my awareness that you were gone all last week and I 
> ask you why you are here now, you might reasonably answer {Hogh vorgh 
> jIroppu’.}

You could answer *Hogh vorgh jIrop*/I was sick last week./ The 
perfective is not required to make this meaning clear.

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