tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jan 25 07:55:54 1999

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Re: RE: KLBC: jIjat

On Sun, 24 Jan 1999 22:19:23 -0800 (PST) Eric Andeen 
<> wrote:

> jatlh netlh:
> > vaghHu' vay' vItu'
> > pIj tlhIngan Hol pab vIlo' DIvI' Hol mu'tlhegh vIchenmoHDI'
> I think that in this sentence you want <-vIS> instead of <-DI'>. Look at the
> first definition given for <-DI'>: "as soon as". So a sentence of the form
> <X-DI', Y> really means that first X happens, and then Y happens, which is
> not what you want.

I have to disagree somewhat here. This is a slippery area of 
grammar and different people interpret it differently, so allow 
me to describe it as I understand it.

{-taHvIS} has the sense that the action occurs over a span of 
time and sometime during that span, the action of the main verb 
occurs. jIyIttaHvIS Qanqor vIghom. I met Krankor while I was 
walking. The action of walking took a span of time and at some 
arbitrary point during the walk, I met Krankor. The meeting took 
less time than the walk. The FUNCTION of "while I was walking" 
relates less to the time period associated with the walk than it 
acts to describe my meeting of Krankor. When you have the mental 
image of my meeting Krankor, you see us outside along a path. 
This is the function {-taHvIS} gives us.

{-DI'} has more of a sense of one event triggering another. The 
action of the verb with {-DI'} triggers the event of the main 
verb. jIyItDI' Qanqor vIghom. "When I walked, I met Krankor." 
Maybe I'm under house arrest and Krankor is my guard. Whenever I 
leave my doorway, there he is, waiting for me. This gives you 
less of a description of the environment of our meeting than it 
does a time stamp. My meeting occurs when my walking occurs.

Another valid interpretation which bends this a bit is to have 
the context that I plan on walking to Krankor's place later 
today, and you ask me {ghorgh Qanqor Daghom?} I do not believe 
it is wrong to answer {jIyItDI' Qanqor vIghom.} I will meet 
Krankor when I walk. Even though the walking takes time and the 
sentence otherwise sounds in pagh's interpretation to be a 
{-taHvIS} kind of event, I see it as a {-DI'} event because the 
walking is the trigger for the meeting. The focus of my 
mentioning my walk is not the duration of the walk or the 
conditions of the walk. It is that my walking provides a time 
stamp for my meeting Krankor.

In other words, {-taHvIS} describes the environment of the 
action. It is adverbial in function. {-DI'} provides a time 
stamp for the action. If I say that I talk while juggling, that 
tells you about the environment of my talking. In your mind, you 
see me juggling and you see me talking. If I say, I'll talk when 
I want to talk, I'm giving you a time stamp for my speech. My 
desire to talk becomes the trigger for my speech.

The fact is that both {-taHvIS} and {-DI'} refer to things that 
if you got really picky you'd have to admit occur over spans of 
time. The difference is that {-taHvIS} uses the action of its 
verb as a backdrop describing the environment of the action of 
the main verb, while {-DI'} cares less about using the action of 
its verb as a description of anything except time. It provides 
the time stamp for the main verb's action.

Time stamps are generally focussed points in time, but these 
"points" can be of varying duration if you really think about 
it. wa'Hu' maghom. We will meet tomorrow. "Tomorrow" is a time 
stamp, but it has a duration. Meanwhile, we don't really care 
about its duration. That is not the part of {wa'leS} we are 
working with. We are instead focussing on it as a time parameter 
for the action of meeting. It is apparently precise enough for 
the meaning we want to convey. If we need more precision, we'll 
give a more precise time stamp.

I'm open to dialog on this understanding, both with those who 
agree or disagree.
> The problem is in the vagueness of the English "when", which sometimes means
> "when", and sometimes really means "while".

I do agree with this problem. "While" is used as a descriptive 
helper word, while "when" can be either descriptive, or it can 
be a time stamp. With VERY few exceptions, "while" is {-taHvIS}, 
while "when" can be either {-taHvIS} or {-DI'}. qay'ba'.
> pagh
> Beginners' Grammarian

charghwI' 'utlh

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