tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Mar 11 10:55:29 1994

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Narrative "tense"

	While translating the book of Genesis, I have encountered a bit of
a problem.  Having read Mark Shoulson article on "Tense, Aspect, and
Simultaneity in tlhIngan Hol" in HolQeD 2:4, I am trying to find a way to
represent narrative in the past without the overuse of -pu'.  I agree
that often a sentence can take its time from elements other than the verb,
such as in the sentence:

	wa'Hu' jIghung

Here the time of the sentence is indicated by wa'Hu'.  To have added the
-pu' suffix would have changed the meaning from "Yesterday I was hungry"
to "Yesterday I had been hungry".

	My problem is trying to indicate that an entire passage or story
in Genesis is in the past, even though time element such as wa'Hu' occur
rarely.  Is it possible to have a time element occur once, at the
beginning of the story, and then for the rest of the narrative to continue
with either no type 7 suffix or only the -taH suffix.  Or would a possible
solution be to place the first verb of the passage in the completed
aspect, and then have successive verbs in the unmarked aspect (similar to
the conseqution of tense in classical Hebrew indicated by the perfect
followed by converted imperfects).

	I realize that we probably have little canonical evidence for
extended prose narrative.  The only similar thing I can remember is the
jokes on PK, but I think these are done in a narrative present.  Has
anyone else encountered this problem?  If so, how did you solve it? 

Kevin A. Wilson					Yale Divinity School
43 Highland Avenue				<[email protected]>
Branford, CT 06405				Home: (203) 481-6866

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