How do I say... tense in Klingon?

There is NO TENSE in Klingon, only aspect. To indicate a specific time, add time stamps which make it clear. Let's use the root sentence vIlegh I see him.

Basic example

vIlegh = I saw him. I see him. I will see him. vIleghpu' = I had seen him. I have seen him. I will have seen him. vIleghtaH = I was continuously seeing him. I am continuously seeing him. I will be continuously seeing him.

None of those sentences have time stamps; so we don't know when the action takes place. One might be tempted to think that vIlegh means one of the possible options, we just don't know which one. But it sometimes helps to think of it like this: vIlegh means all of them at the same time, and English (or another strongly tense-oriented language) cannot represent the idea accurately. A smooth English translation necessarily introduces the idea of tense that is simply not present in the Klingon.

Adding time-stamps:

wejHu' vIlegh I saw him three days ago.

DaH vIlegh I see him now.

wejleS vIlegh I will see him three days from now.

wejHu' vIleghpu' - Three days ago I had already seen him. = I might have seen him four days ago, I might have seen him a year ago; I don't get that specific; I merely say that as of three days ago the act of seeing him was over with.

Make sure the context is clear. Generally, you shouldn't say wejHu' vIleghpu' if you saw him a year ago, because wejHu' and wa'ben are not closely associated.

DaH vIleghpu' I have seen him now. = At this point in time, I have already seen him. = I might have seen him yesterday, or it might have been a few months ago.

Same note as above. DaH and jar puS ret are not closely associated.

wejleS vIleghpu' - Three days from now I will have seen him. = I might see him later today, I might see him tomorrow; I don't specify when I see him, only that by time three days from now gets around our paths will have crossed.

wejHu' vIleghtaH - Three days ago I continuously saw him. It wasn't just a glance. I was spying on him and kept an eye on him all day. You might or might not have been watching him all day, but it was certainly more than a glance. And no secrecy is implied in the watching.

DaH vIleghtaH - I am continuously seeing him right now. = He's been in my sight for a while and I will be watching him for some time.

wejleS vIleghtaH - Three days from now I will continuously see him. = It won't be just a glance. I'll keep him in my sight all day. As above, maybe not all day, but more than just a glance.

See also

The first version of this page
originated in the old KLI wiki. ➞ see list
Category: Grammar    Latest edit: 29 Jun 2020, by WikiAdmin    Created: 03 Mar 2014 by LieVen
History: r14 < r13 < r12 < r11 - View wiki text
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