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

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Wed Apr 6 04:00:00 PDT 2022

On Wed, 6 Apr 2022 at 09:48, Iikka Hauhio <fergusq at protonmail.com> wrote:

> It is? It seems pretty clear to me that {neH} is an action and not a state
> (in the senses of these words as used in TKD). {vIneHpu'} is even used as
> an example for {-pu'}, right after it's explained that the suffix indicates
> that "an action is completed". (A verb expressing a state can be used as an
> adjective following a noun, whereas {neH} clearly can't.)
> I'm not sayin gthat *neH* is a quality verb. I'm saying I think it's a
> stative verb. The English *want* is a so called stative verb.

What you wrote was "a verb describing a state". This has a specific meaning
in TKD. Verbs describing a state or quality behave differently than states
describing actions.

You're equivocating between different meanings of words like "state" and
"event" to make your case. Those words have specific meanings in the
context of linguistics.

In Klingon, {neH} is an action, whereas {rop} is a state or quality. This
is pretty clear from TKD. It does not matter that "want" is a "stative
verb" in English or that being sick is a biological "event". That's not
what those words mean in this context.

> *jIvem, jISay'eghmoH, Soj vIneH, vaj jISop. yaH vIghoS.*
> Here *vem*,* Say'moH*,* Sop *and* ghoS *are actions that happen in an
> order: first I wake up, then I wash myself, then I eat, then I go to the
> duty station. But I don't think *neH* is an action. I don't first do a
> wanting-action and then eat. Wanting food is a state I have before eating,
> but I probably wanted to eat before washing myself too.

It doesn't matter that you don't think {neH} is an action. TKD literally
uses {vIneHpu'} as an example to illustrate "an action is completed".
Whatever the colloquial meaning of the word "action" is, {neH} is an action
when we're talking about Klingon linguistics.

> Same goes for quality verbs:
> *jIvem, jISay'eghmoH, jIghung, vaj jISop. yaH vIghoS.*
> Being hungry is a state I have before eating, not an action.

That may be true, but irrelevant. {ghung} is a verb expressing a state or
quality in Klingon, whether or not being hungry is a "state" in a
biological sense. If Okrand had wanted to be weird, he could've defined
{ghung} to be "hunger" and {'oj} as "thirst", and they'd have been action
verbs in Klingon (like {Qong} is), regardless of the fact that the
corresponding verbs in English are states.

> I do agree that these verbs aren't actions as such. But if we apply
> perfective to them, I think we can force them to describe events by
> compressing the state to a single point in the timeline. For example:
> *Hogh vorgh jIrop. *Last week I was sick.
> *Hogh vorgh jIroppu'. *Last week I had an illness.
> I think by adding *-pu'*, I can make it an event. In my opinion, this is
> useful and meaningful.

Going by what's in TKD, which says that {-pu'} indicates "an action is
completed", {jIroppu'} does not mean what you think it means. It means "The
action of the quality of my being sick is completed", which is
self-contradictory because a quality is not an action (or event).

Quoting SuStel: "But what this says isn't that during last week I had the
quality of being sick. It says that at some point during last week I
experienced the event of being sick, and that the entire event is described
in that one sentence. But it remains undemonstrated to me that Klingon
allows being sick to be an event, and your simply declaring it so doesn't
provide any evidence."

You've just declared "I can make it an event", but how? Klingon verbs can
be classified as expressing states or qualities ("be" verbs) and expressing
actions or activities (and maybe some are both). You've simply *declared*
that you can turn one into the other, but what is it (what is the rule or
linguistic procedure or whatever) that allows you to do it? We have known
means of doing so involving suffixes like {-choH} and {-moH}, but there's
no evidence that "be" verbs can be turned into actions without such
modifications. You can't simply declare that you can do this, any more than
you can declare that one can turn a noun into a verb by putting verb
prefixes on it (*{DIp vIwotpu'!}). It might turn out that what you claim is
possible, but if so, there's no evidence that it can be done and the result
doesn't make sense, so people are naturally pushing back on it.

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