[tlhIngan Hol] Time elements and *qaStaHvIS*, continuous and perfective aspect

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Mon Feb 21 15:23:26 PST 2022

On 2/21/2022 6:57 AM, luis.chaparro at web.de wrote:
> Thank you, SuStel and charghwI', for your replies concerning *qaStaHvIS*. Just a last question about this: *We meet tonight* would be *DaHjaj ram maghom* and, if I've understood it correctly, *We meet at night* could be something like *qaStaHvIS ram maghom*, right? Would *ram maghom* make any sense?

**ram** is a perfectly good time expression. **ram maghom** *We meet at 
night.* No problem with that. It's not pinning down anything about the 
night passing, just that we meet at night and not day. **qaStaHvIS ram, 
maghom** might be used for zooming in to a specific point at night and 
saying that that's when we meet.

**ram maghom** The meeting takes place at night.
**qaStaHvIS ram, maghom** The meeting takes place at some point during 
the night.

The difference is one of emphasis and focus. Both are grammatical.

> SuStel:
>> Those sentences do not express perfective.
>> It had been raining all day. English past perfect progressive tense.
>> It has been raining all day. English present perfect progressive tense.
>> It was raining all day. English past progressive tense.
>> It will have been raining all day. English future perfect progressive tense.
>> All of these are progressive, or continuous, and therefore not perfective. Perfective means an action is viewed as a whole, without reference to its internal flow. > English progressive tenses do reference the internal flow of actions: they tell you that the action occurred in an ongoing manner.
>> Three of these are also perfect. Perfect means the action took place before the time context of the sentence, and that the result of the action is relevant in some > way to at the time context. It had been raining all day. We're talking about a time X in the past, and prior to time X there was ongoing rain, the state of which became relevant at time X.
>> Importantly, perfect is NOT perfective. These mean two very different things.
> First of all, thank you very much, SuStel, for the *really* detailed analysis and for your patience explaining something you have explained so many times.
> Maybe the problem only exists because I'm thinking from a Spanish perspective. The difference between perfective and perfect is not always clear in Spanish grammar books, but I admit I'm not an expert on this matter and I'm sorry I've messed it up with my examples. Unfortunately, my knowledge of the English language is not that good, so it's sometimes difficult for me to understand Klingon through English.

Most English speakers don't understand the difference between perfect 
and perfective. I daresay many list members here don't understand the 
difference between perfect and perfective. I think Spanish distinguishes 
between perfective (preterite) and imperfective in the past tense, e.g., 
/yo hablaba/ "I spoke" to refer to an ongoing or recurring act of 
speaking; /yo hablé/ "I spoke" to refer to a completed instance of 
speaking. This is basically the same as Klingon *jIjatlh* (approximately 
equal to Spanish imperfective, but not the continuous meaning, /I spoke 
occasionally, regularly, sometimes, etc./); *jIjatlhtaH* (another aspect 
of Spanish imperfective, but the one with the continuous meaning, /I was 
speaking/); *jIjatlhpu'* (like Spanish preterite, /I spoke one time,/ 
but also like Spanish perfect tenses, /yo he hablando/). But Klingon 
breaks apart Spanish imperfective into *-taH* and no-aspect-suffix, and 
its aspects can be used in past, present, or future.

> Anyway, the question arose for me because I was thinking about the difference in Spanish between:
> *Ayer estuve escribiendo un texto* (*Yesterday I was writing a text*)
> and
> *Ayer, cuando llegaste, estaba escribiendo un texto* (*Yesterday, when you arrived, I was writing a text*)
> *Estar + escribiendo* is the equivalent form to English *be + writing*. The former (*estuve escribiendo*) is in *Pretérito Indefinido* (a typically perfective verbal tense) and the latter (*estaba escribiendo*) is in *Pretérito Imperfecto*. In the former, the ongoing activity is presented as a whole and completed (even if the text itself wasn't finished), in the latter this ongoing activity is presented from its interior and as not completed.


> As I said, I'm not an expert on this matter and probably this problem doesn't exist in the Klingon language itself, so leaving aside the discussion about the aspect of the Spanish sentences, I would like to know how you would say those two sentences in Klingon and, I hope I don't bother you too much, how you would say in Klingon *When you arrive, I will have been writing for an hour*, *When you arrive, I will be writing* and *When you arrive, I will be writing for an hour*.

*bIpawDI', qaStaHvIS wa' rep jIghItlhtaH.
bIpawDI', jIghItlhtaH.

I'm not sure what you're last one means. When you arrive, I will 
/start///writing and do it for an hour?

*bIpawDI', jIghItlhchoH; qaStaHvIS wa' rep jIghItlhtaH.*

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