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"How old are you, children?"

Translation:ben 'ar Suboghpu', puqpu'?

February 7, 2019

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

What is wrong with, "ben 'ar Subogh, puq?"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdmcowan

This refers to something that was completed however many years ago, not just happened however many years ago.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

Sorry. It was not a good question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

To re-phrase what jdmcowan said, the -pu' (perfective) suffix is required on the verb here.

But -pu' (plural) is not required on the noun puq; I've made it optional now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

Thank you for that. I do see that I left out the "have been" suffix.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidTrimb3

Heh! Now the contributors try to justify why Okrand used boghpu' when their own rules would have him say bogh, which he didn't do.

Okrand used boghpu' in canon because the act of being born is completed in talking about it in this sentence. This is actually the criterion for using perfective in any sentence, but the Duolingo contributors always ignore this rule. They'll parrot Okrand when they copy his canon, but they usually don't allow it in their sentences.

If you said ben 'ar Subogh, you'd asking how many years ago you are in the moment of being born. What the correct sentence (with -pu') actually means is to ask how many years ago you completed the act of being born. You're in the present, looking back at a completed event, not in the past, reporting the event as it happens.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeGOgletree

I would assume that the "teacher" did not mean, "How many years ago were you being born, children?" Thank you for the additional perspective.

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