[tlhIngan Hol] Perfective with qualities / perfective and perfect

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Apr 12 06:28:26 PDT 2022

On 4/12/2022 6:11 AM, luis.chaparro at web.de wrote:
> 1. I know now that there's no significant canonical example of qualities with *pu'*. That's a fact I'm not discussing and I'm ready to accept it without problem. Unfortunately, since we make in Spanish a difference between qualities in perfective and imperfective tenses, it's very *unnutural* for me not to use perfective in some situations. I just want to give an example of this and if you say: *Ok, maybe that's possible in Spanish, but in Klingon we don't do that*, then I won't do that in Klingon :-)

Okay, maybe that's possible in Spanish, but in Klingon we haven't seen 
Okrand doing that.

That's as definitive as I can get.

> In Spanish there is a big difference between:
> *La conversación era muy desagradable, así que decidí irme* (*The conversation was very unpleasant, so I decided to leave*) - Imperfective: The situation is presented to the listeners as not completed, as an open box into which they can go and look, so they are put *in medias res*, in the middle of the narrated situation (in their imagination they see the speaker in the middle of an unpleasant conversation and then leaving *before* the conversation was finished).
> *La conversación fue muy desagradable, así que decidí irme* (*The conversation was very unpleasant, so I decided to leave*) - Perfective: The situation is presented to the listeners as completed, as a closed box they are looking at from the outside and into which they cannot look (in their imagination they see an unpleasant conversation finished and the speaker leaving *after* that).

I understand the difference. In English you can replicate this with 
simple past and past perfect tenses:

/The conversation was very unpleasant, so I decided to leave./ (The 
decision took place during the unpleasant conversation.)
/The conversation had been very unpleasant, so I decided to leave./ (The 
decision took place after the unpleasant conversation was over.)

All I can say is that Spanish imperfect and preterite tenses include a 
sense of "past" that Klingon verbs don't have. You can't set up multiple 
levels of being in the past just with verbs. You need other words to 
establish contexts.

> By the way, how can I say *the conversation was unpleasant* in Klingon? *naH ja'chuqtaHghach*? Supossing this is correct, would it make any sense in Klingon to distinguish between *naH* and *naHpu'* in this context?

I would choose a more specific word; I don't think Klingon has one that 
covers everything that /unpleasant/ does. Examples: *baw'Ha'moH 
ja'chuqghach*/The conversation makes one uncomfortable, worried, 
hesitant;/ *nuQ ja'chuqghach*/The conversation annoys;/ *'IQmoH 
ja'chuqghach*/The conversation makes one sad./ You can also say *naH 
ja'chuqghach*/The conversation was hostile, malicious, unfriendly, 
antagonistic,/ but whether that is unpleasant to the participants is 
relative (remember that *SeymoH QeH.*)

If I say *naH ja'chuqghach, vaj jImejpu' 'e' vIwuq**/The conversation 
was hostile, so I decided to leave,/ I'm saying the conversation's 
quality of hostility prompted me to leave, NOT that I left during the 
conversation. I might have left during the conversation or afterward. If 
I want to specify whether the leaving took place during or after the 
conversation, I have to express this with other words than the verbs:

*DaSjaj naH ja'chuqghach, ngugh vaj jImejpu' 'e' vIwuq.* /On Monday, the 
conversation was hostile, so I decided to leave at that time.
/*DaSjaj naH ja'chuqghach, povjaj vaj jImejpu' 'e' vIwuq.*/On Monday, 
the conversation was hostile, so on Tuesday I decided to leave./

> 2. *wa'Hu' rep wa'maH cha' jISoppu'* could have two interpretations, right?: *Yesterday, I ate at 12 pm* (perfective) or *Yesterday, I had (already) eaten at 12 pm*. Is context (or maybe adding something like *wejHa'*) the only way to distinguish these meanings?

*wa'Hu' rep wa'maH cha' jISoppu'* means that you ate lunch at noon, not 
that you had already eaten lunch when noon rolled around.

> 3. I discussed this in another thread, I only want to be sure I understood it correctly: Although the sentence in 2 has for the past those two interpretations (perfective not perfect and perfective perfect), for the future (despite the fact this could be otherway in other languages) there is in Klingon only a *perfective perfect* interpretation (not a *perfective not perfect* one): *wa'leS rep wa'maH cha' jISoppu'* can only be *Tomorrow, I will have eaten at 12 pm*, right?

It just so happens that in English we have only one kind of perfective 
future tense: the future perfect. This doesn't affect what the Klingon 
means; it only affects our translations of the Klingon. Without any time 
context given, *jISoppu'* means that I perform an act of eating, 
expressed as a completed whole with no view of the flow of time within 
it. It can equally take place in the past, present, or future without 
any change in meaning. It's just the case that when translating into 
other languages that DO change tenses based on past, present, and 
future, you don't get equal treatment of Klingon perfective.

So, when I translate *jISoppu'* into all possible English sentences, not 
all the output sentences have equal meaning, and there aren't an equal 
number in the past, present, or future, because English doesn't treat 
the past, present, and future identically.

Simple past: /I ate.
/Past perfect: /I had eaten./

Present perfect: /I have eaten./

Future perfect: /I will have eaten./

None of these English sentences quite capture the exact meaning of 
*jISoppu',* just as how no Klingon form of *Sop* can quite capture the 
exact meaning of /I ate./ That's the nature of translation.

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