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

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri Feb 25 11:37:06 PST 2022

On 2/25/2022 2:08 PM, luis.chaparro at web.de wrote:
> SuStel:
> > I don't think you're identifying the time context correctly. In po 
> ram je qubbID HaDtaH ghaH, jaj veb vaj qaD Qappu' 'ej ngeD qaD, we 
> have two distinct time contexts. po ram qubbID HaDtaH ghaH is set in 
> po ram qubbID the time between morning and night, and jaj veb vaj qaD 
> Qappu' is set in jaj veb the next day. HaDtaH is continuous over po 
> ram qubbID, and Qappu' takes place sometime in jaj veb. (ngeD qaD is a 
> sort of timeless fact, though it refers to something that existed 
> during jaj veb). They take place when their time expressions say they do.
> Sorry, I was actually referring to the time context of the second 
> sentence, but that's not important anymore: your reply has solved my 
> doubts anyway. Thank you!
> So, I (*really*) hope I've understood your point:
> Let's say I want to express in Klingon *I ate at 2 p.m. and then I 
> went home*. That would be *jISoppu'* and *vIjaHpu'*.


> *I ate from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and then I went home*, assuming the 
> similarity to *She had studied from morning to evening*, would be 
> *jISoptaH* and *vIjaHpu'* (despite the fact that I would use the 
> perfective *Pretérito Indefinido* in both cases in Spanish).


> *I will eat at 2 p.m. and then I will go home* would also be 
> *jISoppu'* and *vIjaHpu'*.

No, /I will eat/ is not perfective. It isn't describing a completed 
action. The eating is not being described as a completed whole. Same 
with the going home. *wa'maH cha' vatlh rep jISop; ghIq juH vIjaH.*

> *I will eat more vegetables from today* would be *vISop*.

Yes, although the /from/ is not contained in the meaing of the verb. 
*latlh naH vISop* said about the future just means /I will eat more 
vegetables./ /I will eat more vegetables from today/ isn't quite 
grammatical in English. You'd have to say /from today on/ or a more 
formal /starting today./ In Klingon the whole thing would be two 
separate clauses, something like *latlh naH vISop; DaHjaj jIruchchoH*/I 
(will) eat more vegetables; today I start doing it./

> *I haven't eaten today* would be *jISoppu'be'*.

Yes, *DaHjaj jISoppu'be'.*

> *I've lived here for two months* would be *vIDabtaH*.


> *I've eaten this type of food before* / *I have eaten this type of 
> food five times before* - I'm not sure about these ones. I would use 
> *vISoppu'*, because I think we refer to several completed actions, any 
> of them considered as a whole: we say we completed the eating once, 
> two times etc. We're not speaking about the action from its inside, as 
> it unfolds over time, without considering a beginning and an end (as 
> we do when we speak about general truths, habits or actions that 
> repeat an unspecified number of times).

You are correct: these are perfective. The collection of actions isn't 
important. What's important is that eating is being described as a 
completed whole. Whether you consider the entire collection as a 
completed whole or an individual act as a completed whole, it's perfective.

> Well, if I still don't understand, then it's probably time to close 
> this thread :-) I will think more about it and, above all, I will read 
> more Klingon.

There are some subtleties we haven't discussed. If you're telling a 
story, for instance, rather than reporting events, you might be trying 
to position the listener's viewpoint in the middle of the actions as 
they occur. This will affect the aspect. In storytelling, for instance, 
it is a convention of English (I don't know about Spanish) that a story 
is told in the past tense. Klingon doesn't work this way (see 
/paq'batlh/); the storyteller puts his or her audience in the middle of 
the action as if it's in progress, even if they tell you that the story 
happens in the past. (For instance, when telling a story, you might say 
something like, *jaj wejDIch ghIq ghaH vIleghqa', 'ej jaj loSDIch 
murI'*/And then on the third day I saw him again, and on the fourth day 
he hailed me.../ If you were just reporting these things as completed 
events, you'd use perfective, but if you're telling them as an ongoing 
story, you wouldn't.

And not all possible combinations are significantly different that they 
really matter. For instance, I don't think the difference between 
*qaStaHvIS cha' jar, naDev vIDabtaH* and *qaStaHvIS cha' jar, naDev 
vIDab* is significant. One describes your habitation as ongoing; the 
other describes it as a timeless fact, but one which in context is true 
during a particular period. I don't think it would make a difference 
whether you used the *-taH* here or not. So it's not absolutely cut and 
dried, and you shouldn't get too bogged down in the bits that aren't 

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