tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sun Mar 13 03:55:44 1994

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Narrative "tense"

>From: [email protected]
>Date: Sat, 12 Mar 94 07:05:17 EST

>ghItlh KevinWilson:
>> 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".

>When speaking narratively, contextual markers of a past time frame of
>reference are unnecessary because the fact that the events described are in
>the past is obvious.

>~mark wrote his _Jonah_ translation with virtually no contextual markers or
>indicators that the events had already occured. But of course, he really
>didn't need to.

Just basically a note to say: I agree a whole lot with Guido#1 (that's why
I did it in Jonah).  The more I think about it, the more it works this way:
Narratives will generally be unmarked, except for occasional pluperfects.
The story time is implicit in the narrative, even when there are few or no
actual time words or phrases.  "-pu'" will be more common in conversational
speech, since there the default time is the now and things that happen
before will be perfective.  But Even in talking to someone, the shift
to story-telling when giving a long explanation of something should be
efortless.  It.... um, it just works, if you think about it.  Something
that works for me is to think about Welsh (and I think about Klingon when
trying Welsh) which also has a perfective marker.  For the Welsh-speakers
out there: if you're using "wedi", use "-pu'".  Otherwise, don't.

>Guido#1, Leader of All Guidos


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