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

luis.chaparro at web.de luis.chaparro at web.de
Fri Feb 25 12:37:58 PST 2022


>> *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.

Is there any situation in which the English Future Simple can be translated into Klingon perfective?

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

And this is by the way the only case I could think of in which English Present Perfect doesn't translate into Klingon perfective. Are there any other possibilities?

>> *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.

Just to be sure I understand: *I have eaten it five times before* can be seen as five completed acts of eating, considered each as a whole, or as an unique completed act of five-times-eating, considered as a whole. Both are the same.

> 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.

You mean something like a historical or narrative present?

> 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 important.

I have the impression I will never speak Klingon well enough...

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list