tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Feb 22 10:07:28 1999

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Re: Placement of aspect suffixes

At one of the qep'a', Okrand said that early in the development 
of the language, the suffix {-pu'} meant simple past tense, but 
he decided it would be more interesting to have the language 
lack tense, referring only to aspect. Unfortunately, it seems 
that several of his "simple past" examples survived intact in 

The point is that NOW the suffix {-pu'} refers to aspect, not 
tense. When we tell stories in English, we almost always tell 
them in the past tense. "Yesterday, I went there and he said 
this, so I did that." There is a temptation to translate this 
into something like {wa'Hu' pa' vIghoSpu' 'ej mu'meyvam jatlhpu' 
'ej Qu'vetlh vIta'pu'.} Meanwhile, every single one of those 
{-pu'} suffixes in that example is basically wrong. The time 
stamp {wa'Hu'} took care of the past tense for the rest of that 
compound sentence. You only want to mark a verb as perfective if 

When you give a time stamp, that time stamp remains as a time 
reference for everything that follows it until some other time 
reference is given. One reference to the past can turn an entire 
story past tense. You don't have to mark each verb with 
perfective just because that "sounds" right to your English 
speaking ear.

The perfective is used to mark the action as exceptional from 
the general zone of time indicated by the time setting. There is 
a time setting and this action happened before that time 
setting. That's what the perfective does.

charghwI' 'utlh

On Mon, 22 Feb 1999 00:16:17 -0800 (PST) [email protected] 

> In a message dated 2/20/1999 3:56:08 PM US Mountain Standard Time,
> [email protected] writes:
> << >qepDaq tev gheSmeH gor'al, *raffle tickets* DIngevpu'
>  >*Praying Hands Ranch*vaD Hoch Huchvetlh wInobpu'
>  The context here was as the last part of a narrative of things that took
>  place in the past, so I'll translate it using English past tense.  As
>  literally as I can, I read this as:
>  "In order for {gor'al} to take on the duties of a/the prize at a/the
>  meeting, we had sold raffle tickets.  We had given each of those monies
>  for the benefit of Praying Hands Ranch."
>  I think the idea you wanted was more like this:
>  "In order for {gor'al} to have taken on the duties of a/the prize at
>  a/the meeting, we sold raffle tickets.  We gave all the money for the
>  benefit of Praying Hands Ranch."
>  Can you see why I've put the perfective on the clause I did here? >>
> What I see is a misunderstanding of English grammar.  You call the pluperfect
> the perfective.
> Are you trying to put the aspect marker {-pu'} on the {-meH} clause?  Would
> not {qepDaq tev gheSpu'meH gor'al, *raffle tickets* DIngevpu'} suit your idea
> better?
> Why do you think we "had" sold raffle tickets?  "Had" implies that some other
> action also took place before the recent past tense, in English.  It's like
> the second step of "completion" of the verb.  No, we merely sold raffle
> tickets.   We "had" not sold raffle tickets in addition to the completion of
> some other act.
> I think you have gone overboard on your differentiation of Klingon's aspect
> and English's tenses.  Look again at the simple sentences MO has included in
> the sample sentences between the main dictionary and the addendum.  TKD 4.2.7
> says: 
> This suffix indicates that an action is completed.  It is often translated by
> the English present perfect (have done something).
> 	Daleghpu'	You have seen him/her/it/them (legh see)
> 	vIneHpu'		I wanted it/them (neH want)
> I cannot find "I had seen him/her/it/them" or "I had wanted it."  I cannot
> find a reference to pluperfect, only to [present] perfect.
> peHruS

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