tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Dec 04 19:40:23 2007

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Re: usage of type-7 aspect suffix {-pu}

Doq (


On Dec 4, 2007, at 8:23 PM, QeS 'utlh wrote:

> ghItlhpu' Voragh, ja':
>> Except that {poS} "be open, opened" is not an action verb, but
>> a quality (stative verb).  Okrand on {-pu'} "perfective":
>>   This suffix indicates that AN ACTION IS COMPLETED. It is often
>>   translated by the English present perfect ("have done something").
>>   [TKD 41, emphasis added]
> I think Okrand's emphasis would have been on "completed", not on  
> "action". "Action" is the only simple word that can really be used  
> to refer to what any verb describes. I don't see why quality verbs  
> - when being used as verbs - should have any suffix restrictions  
> whatsoever. (Of course, the canon does seem to indicate that in the  
> adjectival position, the quality verbs are very restricted in their  
> suffix choice, but that's a different issue.)

I completely agree with ghunchu'wI'.

>> I would say that *{poSpu' HoD mInDu'} "the captain's eyes were
>> [but are no longer] open" is not allowed.
> I disagree. This particular sentence is still awkward (partly  
> because of the existence of the simple antonym), but to contrive an  
> example, I would have no problem with saying {qaStaHvIS wa'maH  
> chorgh DIS moHpu', 'ach QuchDaj Haqlu'mo' DaH 'IHchoH} "he's been  
> ugly for eighteen years, but now that he's had forehead surgery  
> he's become handsome" (with the simple {moHpu'} "he has been  
> ugly"). Here {moHchoHpu'} is simply inappropriate (although {moH}  
> alone, unmarked for aspect, would also work). I don't think the  
> fact that the single example we have of a quality verb plus {-pu'}  
> also carries {-choH} is instructive.

I completely disagree with ghunchu'wI'.

{qaStaHvIS wa'maH chorgh DIS moHpu'...} does not mean "He's been ugly  
for eighteen years..." I'd read it as "He had been ugly for eighteen  
years..." Like he was ugly, then for eighteen years, he became not  
ugly, so that for eighteen years, he could refer to a time when he  
had been ugly, and then, after the 18 years, he must have become ugly  
again, because otherwise we have no reason to bound eighteen years  
together like this. During the period of 18 years, his ugliness was a  
completed, not continuous state.

The Klingon sentence that would achieve your English translation is  
{qaStaHvIS wa'maH chorgh DIS moHtaH.}

I think you had a good point to make and chose a bad example of it. I  
think it would be better to say {DaH 'IH matlh, 'ach QuchDaj  
Haqlu'DI' moHpu'.} "Now, Maltz is handsome, but when he had his  
forehead surgery, he had been ugly." The surgery marks the end of his  

Or imagine an argument between a guard and an officer. The officer  
sees that the secret weapon has been stolen and suspects the guard.

'avwI': vInIHbe'. nIH latlh. narghmeH lojmItvetlh vegh.

yaS: SoQ lojmIt 'ej ngaQ! DanIHba', Ha'DIbaH! yIcheghmoH pagh yIHegh!

'avwI': poSpu' lojmItvetlh! vIpawDI' poSbej! latlh nuH nIHlu' 'e'  
vIbotmeH lojmIt vISoQmoH 'ej vIngaQmoH! chopummo' 'ej chotIchmo'  

Yes, I'm going on a bit long with this example, but I'm reading about  
theories of language development and how most current theories  
believe that children create natural languages. The first generation  
of language-less people naturally make up a "house language",  
consisting of vocabulary without grammar to convey extremely simple  
and concrete concepts. The next generation systematizes the pieces  
that they collect from their environment in order to expand into the  
expression of more complex and abstract meaning. It goes from being a  
house language to a pidgeon to a creole and then matures into an  
actual, full language.

The key is not paying a lot of attention to tiny details and  
hypothetical phrases. That's what adults do when they are not making  
a language work. The children are the geniuses here. They just use  
the language and keep what works and throw away that which doesn't.

If we could be more like children and just say stuff in Klingon, we'd  
probably get better at it than we would if we talk a lot about  
individual words and individual grammatical constructions.

Just a thought.


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