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

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue Apr 5 09:10:47 PDT 2022

On 4/5/2022 11:50 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> ...
>> On Apr 5, 2022, at 11:00 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
>> On 4/5/2022 10:23 AM, Iikka Hauhio wrote:
>>>     I don't automatically take every gloss that starts with/be/as
>>>     proving a quality verb, so I'm not convinced*jIj*is one.
>>>>>> *jIj* is used in *yuQjIjDIvI' *etc. where it seems to be used 
>>> adjectivally (Union of cooperative planets). As it's a compound we 
>>> cannot be sure that its components can be used individually, but 
>>> it's some evidence for *jIj* being a quality verb.
>> I said it was a bad data point, not that I have judged it to be not a 
>> quality verb. Don't read more into my words than what I said.
> While I very much respect your expertise and your analysis, in this 
> case I was not reading things into what you said. I was offering a 
> reasonable explanation for the “bad data point”.

Nono, I was replying to Iikka, not you. I agreed with what you said there.

>>> As for using perfective with the quality verbs, I don't see why 
>>> they'd work any differently than other intransitive verbs. Why would 
>>> *jIQongpu' */"I was asleep" /be allowed, but *jIQuppu' */"I was 
>>> young" /not? Just as sleeping is a completed event, being young is 
>>> also a completed event. I was young, I can look that as a completed 
>>> whole.
>> For the same reason that you can say *ghu Qup* but not *ghu Qong.* 
>> Sleeping is an event; being young is not an event. Being asleep is a 
>> state. The issue is more complicated for *Qong,* because in English 
>> /sleep/ is an event and /be asleep/ is a state. *jIQongpu'* would be 
>> most accurately translated as /I slept/ and would be used in a 
>> context of looking back at a point where I engaged in the single act 
>> of sleeping, whose flow over time is compressed. *jIQong* would be 
>> most accurately translated in the past tense as /I was asleep/ and 
>> would be used in a context of describing my state at a particular 
>> point in the past.
> I really like this specific model you suggest in terms of the 
> perfective. The perfective sees the completion of the action as a 
> point in time without reference to the duration of the action.

It sees the action itself, including its completion, as a point in time 
without reference to duration (or frequency, or habitualness, etc.). By 
saying *jIQongpu',* you're not just saying that there is a point on the 
timeline where you finish sleeping; you're saying there's a point on the 
timeline where you performed a complete act of sleeping.

> The continuous aspect refers to the duration of the action as a fat 
> thing with no reference to the beginning or end. Those boundaries are 
> left vague and unstated. With no affix, you refer to some fractional 
> duration of the activity without reference to that ending boundary or 
> to the duration as a whole.

Or you refer to some timeless activity or state that doesn't have a 
place on the timeline. For instance, *reH yIHmey HoH 
tlhInganpu'*/Klingons always kill tribbles./ This doesn't happen at a 
specific time; it's a timeless fact. Without the *reH, *just *yIHmey HoH 
tlhInganpu'* could mean /Klingons kill tribbles/ (a timeless fact) or 
/the Klingons kill the tribbles/ (a specific event, described in the act 
of killing).//(In English, the distinction is made with the determiner 

> The fraction can be a point in time (other than the end) or of some 
> duration shorter than the entire duration. The focus is on the 
> activity itself instead of any reference to duration. The length of 
> the duration can be vague because it is insignificant to the meaning 
> of the statement.


>> Anyway, the point here is that there is a dearth of perfective on 
>> quality verbs in Klingon that may be significant. I'm not saying 
>> outright that you can't put perfective on a quality, but I am saying 
>> that it may be unusual and probably doesn't mean what you think it 
>> means. If you're thinking that it means that at some point in the 
>> past the subject had the quality and that point is over now, that's 
>> not using perfective correctly. That's just past tense. By using 
>> perfective on a quality, you're saying that the expression of the 
>> quality includes not only the quality but the completion of the 
>> quality, all in one "moment" (however long a moment is in context).
> Yep. If you had something specific to say that you think would be 
> meaningfully expressed with {-pu’} on a stative verb, then you’d have 
> a reason to explore this, but like you, I don’t foresee that 
> circumstance. Starting with “Okay, so we put {-pu’} on a stative verb. 
> What does this mean?” I think you are putting the cart in front of the 
> Sargh, and the tail is wagging the targh.

I think exploring the question of perfective on qualities is a good one 
to ask (because this discussion was started by someone doing just that), 
but I don't think you can answer it just by declaring a yes or a no as 
Iikka is doing.

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