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

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed Apr 6 06:34:29 PDT 2022

On 4/6/2022 8:44 AM, Iikka Hauhio wrote:
> ​De'vID:
>     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.
>> You misunderstood me. "Stative verb" is a term used in linguistics, 
> not specific to Klingon. SuStel has previously used this term a lot 
> (see for example Discord #language-chat 26.3.), and I'm using it 
> similarly in this discussion.

He hasn't misunderstood you. He is specifically invoking the word 
"state" as it is used in /The Klingon Dictionary/ and distinguishing it 
from the word "stative" as used generally in linguistics. My argument 
all along has been about what I'm calling "quality verbs," which is what 
TKD calls "verbs expressing a state or quality," and I've been calling 
them that to try to avoid confusion with "stative" verbs, because they 
were never the subject of what I was talking about. But you've insisted 
on talking about them.

> My point is not to discuss the grammar but the semantics. 
> /Semantically/ verbs like *neH* and *ghung* are stative as they both 
> describe a state instead of an action.

Yes, I agree: both are "stative." Only one is what Klingon calls "state 
or quality." We have evidence in Klingon that perfective can appear on 
stative verbs that are not quality verbs. We have no evidence in Klingon 
that perfective can appear on quality verbs.

> Yes, *neH* is an "action" in the sense that you can use perfective 
> aspect with it. So while /semantically /stative, it can 
> be/ syntactically/ an action. This is my main argument: stative verbs 
> can be in the perfective aspect meaningfully.

But that is not the topic of conversation. What started this off, and 
what I've been talking about, is whether perfective can appear on a 
quality verb, and what it would mean.

> Both I and SuStel have many times said that we don't think that it is 
> /syntactically/ forbidden to add *-pu'*//to a quality verb (compare to 
> eg. adding aspect to a verb that has *'e'* as object: that is 
> syntactically forbidden even when it makes sense). What we are 
> discussing here is whether using perfective aspect is /meaningful/. 
> Therefore, it doesn't matter what syntactic feature the words we 
> discuss have.

Yes, there is no known rule prohibiting a perfective suffix on a quality 
verb. Yes, what we are discussing here is whether using perfective 
aspect on a /quality verb/ is meaningful. What we are /not/ discussing 
is whether perfective aspect is meaningful on a /stative verb./ We 
already know the answer to that: yes, stative verbs that are not quality 
verbs have been seen with perfective on them. They are actions in 
Klingon, not qualities.

I do not accept the argument that because Klingon allows one kind of 
stative verb to have perfective that it must necessarily allow all kinds 
of stative verbs to have perfective. In Klingon, the significant 
distinction between words is whether a word is an "action" or a 
"quality." In Klingon, *HoH, Qong, *and*neH* are all considered actions. 
The semantic distinction between "event" and "state" does not appear to 
have any impact on Klingon grammar in this context.

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