tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Nov 27 10:38:47 2002

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Re: puqbe'wI' (KLBC)

Viktor Horak wrote:
> > nungbogh Hogh boghpu' puqbe'wI'
> > Last week was born my daughter.

buy' ngop!

>That -pu' suffix keeps poking me in the eye.
>"last week" sets the time stamp.
>-pu' says that at the time referenced, the action is already completed.

No.  It means that the action is seen as completed *from the speaker's 
point of view* (in this case today).

>"at the time reference of last week, my daughter had already been born."

Okrand wrote on (December 12, 1996):

   "I am 40 years old" would be expressed as:

       loSmaH ben jIboghpu'

   This is "I was born 40 years ago" (loSmaH "40," ben "years ago,"
   jI- "I," bogh "be born," -pu' "perfective").  As is normal in
   Klingon sentences, the time element (in this case, loSmaH ben
   "40 years ago") comes first.

{loSmaH ben jIboghpu'} does not mean "at 40 years ago, I had already been 
born" ...  unless, maybe, the idea is that the act of being born was 
completed an instant before the time stamp.

Personally, this feels entirely natural.  Russian, which I've studied for 
25 years now, also uses the perfective:  *Moya doch' rodilas' v proshlom 
godu* "My daughter was born last year".  (Okay, *rodilas'* is also a 
reflexive form - "she birthed herself" - but that's another matter!)

If it's easier, think of {boghpu'} as being idiomatic instead of strictly 
literal.  Idioms are common with dates, time and other number expressions 
in all languages, which is one of the reasons that foreigners often find 
them so hard to master.

Voragh                            "All the meaning is in the context."
Ca'Non Master of the Klingons           (Ilya Kabakov, Russian artist)

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