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

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Tue Feb 22 04:33:00 PST 2022

The important thing to keep in mind here is:

Perfect is not perfective.

Stop taking the grammar of the original and trying to map it to the grammar in Klingon when it comes to aspect. There is no map; no general rule for mapping tense and aspect in other languages into Klingon aspect.

You have to think about the MEANING of the sentence in terms of Klingon aspect. Consider the moment of the utterance, its time stamp, and whether or not:

1. Is action is still underway? If so, is there a foreseeable goal of this action, at which point the action will cease because the mission is fulfilled? If it is underway, but there isn’t progressing toward a foreseeable goal, use {-taH}. If there is a foreseeable goal (Klingons tend to be mission-oriented as a culture), then use {-lI’}.

Is the action complete? If so, was this action intentional in service of a mission or goal? If no mission, use {-pu’}. If the completion was an accomplishment, use {-ta’}.

charghwI’, retired.

> On Feb 22, 2022, at 6:45 AM, luis.chaparro at web.de wrote:
> SuStel:
>> **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.
> Ok, it's very clear now!
>> 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.
> Thank you for taking the time to *translate* it into the Spanish grammar! ¿Hablas español?
>>> 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.
> Yes, that was exactly what I was trying to say.
> I find this subject really interesting, so I hope you excuse me if I still have a couple of questions I would like to discuss. I understand what you mean when you say that Klingon breaks apart Spanish imperfective into *-taH* (*estaba escribiendo*, *I was writing*) and *no-aspect-suffix* (*escribía*, *I wrote*). However, *estuve escribiendo* (*I was writing*, *Pretérito Indefinido*) is for me, as Spanish speaker, something with represents a mix between continuous and perfective. For example, I cannot say: *Cuando llegaste, estuve escribiendo un texto* if what I want to say is *When you arrived, I was writing a text*, because *estuve escribiendo* presents the ongoing action of writing as a whole and completed *before* the arriving, although not focusing on the result of the action like *había escrito* (*had written*, *Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto*: focus on the result, the text is here finished).
> That's the reason why something like *bIpawDI', qaStaHvIS wa' rep jIghItlhtaH* sounds for me, as Spanish speaker, really strange. I would interpret it probably as the third option, *When you arrive, I will be writing for an hour (I will start writing and do it for an hour)*, and in order to get the meaning *I will have been writing for an hour* I would probably decide to give up the continuous aspect and say something like *jIghItlhpu'* (*I will have written*).
> I'm not trying to say that Klingon must work as Spanish does, I'm just trying to understand how Klingon works in order to avoid *Spanish* mistakes. From what you are saying I see three possibilities:
> 1. *-taH* always expresses continuous and imperfective aspect, so if I want to express perfective aspect I must use *-pu'* and give up *-taH*.
> 2. *-taH* always expresses continuous aspect and we should use it when we prefer, for whatever reason, to present the action as continuous - the perfective or imperfective aspect of the action comes from the context.
> 3. I'm absolutely not getting it.
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