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By: David “Loganberry” Buttery WSH fr/ Zoe Kelaton Comp. by: Nathan Guannan “Tushuai” Zhang
Language is a treacherous thing. (Mark Twain, Following the Equator) Welcome to Frithaes! - an Introduction to Colloquial Lapine! This should enable you to become reasonably fluent in the everyday language, which is known in Lapine itself as Naylte Hyao, literally "Today's Lapine". There is also a more complicated inflected dialect Naylte Éan or "Old Lapine" which is used in more formal settings, and for the telling of traditional tales (eg the stories of El-ahrairah). Many rabbits never become fluent in this dialect: Dandelion is quite exceptional in being fluent while still a yearling, and deserves his fame as a storyteller. I have largely avoided the inflected tongue, apart from odd phrases - the main exception being Unit 13, where I thought it interesting to compare the two dialects by reference to a very well known Lapine passage. I usually cover two subjects in each Unit, although there is slight variation here in order to keep lengths reasonably comparable. I generally provide some example sentences in each Unit to give you an idea of using Lapine in context, and in most cases at least some of these will be accompanied by MP3s of my good self speaking them - look for the [LISTEN] symbol. You should note that the first couple of Units are rather more theoretical and, frankly, boring, than the later ones. I didn't really have any choice here, as some things - for example, pronunciation - have to be learnt before starting out on the living language. As soon as possible, however, I have adopted a mostly practical tone,
giving examples which will be of genuine use. If you want to use the language yourself, you might find it helpful to know that I have written a very basic Lapine-English / EnglishLapine translation program for Windows called Methrahessi, which is available from wherever I end up putting the embleer thing. You should note, as if it weren't pretty darn obvious anyway, that I am not qualified in this sort of thing. Any proper linguists reading will find some pretty jarring inconsistencies. I'm aiming this at WD fans first and foremost, and in most cases ease of use has been preferred to realism in examples etc. Here's my get-out clause: this is not a human language, so doesn't have to obey human languages' rules. (Yeah, I know that's feeble, but it's the best you're going to get!) Units available so far 00: Background information; the Lapine alphabet; pronunciation 01: The present tense; personal pronouns; a greeting 02: The past tense; measuring time 03: The future tense; more about time 04: Numbers; talking about rabbits (1) 05: U methrah Rooli Roo ao pfeffil 06: Adjectives and adverbs; qualification 07: Questions; plant names; some rabbit names 08: Possessives; prepositions 09: Ability and compulsion; conjunctions
10: U methrah Rooli Roo ao flayrah ithé 11: Comparatives and superlatives; attributes (speed, "tharnness") 12: In the warren; talking about rabbits (2) 13: Frith's Great Blessing of Elahrairah 14: Emotions and feelings; parts of the body 15: U Methrah Rooli Roo ao Methain Marli 16: Weather and the environment 17: The passive voice; reporting speech 18: Dialectal variations 19: Conditionals; more plant names Appendix 1: Lapine proverbs and sayings Appendix 2: Translating into Lapine Dictionaries Thanks to Rüdiger Grammes for his help with these! Lapine - English dictionary (to Unit 18) English - Lapine dictionary (to Unit 18) Acknowledgements I would first like to pay tribute to the work of Zoe Kealtan, on which a good chunk of my version of Lapine has been based - I highly recommend you check out her posts on the watershipdown Yahoo! Group (see the files section for her work - Yahoo! ID required). I must also thank the members of that Group who have given me help and encouragement with the project - particularly (in alphabetical order!) Befrafa,
Entei-rah, Hawthorn and Rüdiger Grammes. If I've forgotten you, let me know! And, naturally, Richard Adams himself has to be credited with starting this whole thing in the first place! The man's a star! As Lapine is not a written language (until now!), capitalisation is pretty much optional, so I have used it only where it serves some purpose (eg in distinguishing between hrair and U Hrair). The Lapine Alphabet Unit 00: Background information I only ask for information. (Charles Dickens, David Copperfield) Welcome to Lapine! I'm Loganberry (but let's face it, you knew that), and I'll be helping you to obtain a reasonable working knowledge in everyday conversational Lapine. It's a pretty straightforward language to learn, so long as you remember the basics. Mind you, I've grown up with it, as you might say! This "preview Unit" provides a little background about some general rules (well, guidelines) that the language follows. You should be reasonably familiar with the small amount (20 words or so) of Lapine vocabulary given in Watership Down itself, as I sometimes assume knowledge of such words, especially those such as tharn or elil which have no simple English translation. Incidentally, I do not assume knowledge of the few extra Lapine words introduced in Tales from Watership Down these will be explained as and when we meet them. Finally, a quick word about typefaces. My general rule will be that Lapine is written in bold italic, English in "plain text" and other languages in simple italic. There are 24 letters in the lapine alphabet: abcdeéfghiklmnoprs tuvwyz There is no J, Q or X. Note that É (E-acute) is a separate letter, coming immediately after E. The letter C is only found in a very few words, such as hawock, "pheasant", borrowed from other languages, and even then only immediately before K. Equally, with a very few exceptions (such as glanbrin, a mythical creature, the letter G is only found in the combination NG; while W occurs only in the combinations AW and OW. Pronunciation Pronunciation of Lapine is fairly straightforward, with in many cases only one sound for each letter, and no "silent" letters, and though there is considerable variation in accent over distances of only a few miles (which means that you don't have to be too slavish in following these guidelines!), things should not get to the stage of mutual incomprehensibility. I have followed the work of Zoe Kealtan for the most part in the following guide. By "English", I mean British English ('cause that's what I speak!). Single Consonants B as in English "Book" D as in English "Din" F as in English "Food" H as in English "Hand". Often pronounced even at the end of words K as in English "Key" L as in English "Lie" M as in English "Mint" N as in English "Now" P as in English "Pie" R as in English "Round". Usually trilled (except by me!), and fully pronounced even at the end of words S as in English "Sick" T as in English "Tie" V as in English "Vim" Y as in English "Young" Double Consonants HL as in Welsh "LLan" - saying "hl" will do if you can't manage the proper version. Again, fully pronounced even at the end of words HR as in Welsh "RHaid" - a sort of highly aspirated voiceless trilled R (yes, really!) - just say "hr" if necessary NG as in English "siNG" TH as in English "THink" Single Vowels A as in English "fAt" E as in English "hElp" É as E, but rather longer I usually as in English "bIt"; sometimes as in English "machIne" O as in Welsh "O" - like the sound in English "Oh", but purer, without the closing "W" sound U as in English "rUde" Y as in English "trYst", but slightly longer
Double Vowels AE as in English "sIgn" (rare; usually AY is used) AI as in English "fAIr" AO as in English "hOW" AY as in English "sIgn" EE as in English "sAY" OI as in English "tOY" OO as in English "slOW" OW similar to AO, but with a more noticeable "W" sound at the end Plurals The vast majority of Lapine nouns form their plurals in a regular way: terminating single vowels a, e, i, o and u - but not é, y or double vowels - are removed, and -il is added (or just -l if the word already ends in i). So the plural of homba ("fox") is hombil, and that of hrududu ("motor vehicle") is hrududil, but the plural of Inlé ("the Moon") would be Inléil, and that of hlao (a small depression where moisture may collect) would be hlaoil. Stress Stress in Lapine does not follow hard and fast rules, but in general the penultimate syllable is stressed. There are many exceptions however, particularly in compound words (silflay is stressed by some rabbits on the first and by some on the second syllable), and this is especially true of proper names - think of Thethuthinnang, whose name follows the stresses of the English phrase "once in a way". You'll just have to learn these as you go along, I'm afraid.... Unit 01: Introduction; the Present Tense The beginning is the most important part of the work. (Plato) Welcome to your first lesson in colloquial Lapine! Before we begin, here are a couple of things to help you get started. Firstly, it would be handy if you got used to my accent, so here's a short welcome message in English [LISTEN]. You'll notice two things: one, that I can't roll my Rs properly - just call it an odd dialect, okay? - and two, that the microphone is a cheap'n'nasty one. Oh well... Here, after Zoe Kealtan, are the inflected Lapine forms of the present tense (plus the imperative) for the verb flay, "to eat": [LISTEN] flaya - I eat flayi - you (singular) eat flaye - he (or it) eats flayo - she eats flayon - we eat flayes - you (plural) eat flayai - they eat flay! - eat! Points to note a) The -o form is used only for "she", with -e standing for both "he" and "it". Rather sexist perhaps, but languages tend to be like that! b) Unlike in many languages, there is no distinction between familiar and formal forms of "you," but merely a singular/plural distinction. c) The imperative is the same as the infinitive. Some features of Lapine are reminiscent of Welsh (which, out of interest, does indeed have e or o meaning "he", depending on dialect), and one notable feature of Welsh is the great difference between the "literary" and "colloquial" forms of the language, to the extent that some consider them to be separate tongues. So it is with Lapine: traditional tales (eg those of El-ahrairah) are commonly told in formal language, with everyday speech being less so. One feature of colloquial Welsh that is very useful to the learner is the large number of tenses which can be formed by means of auxiliary verbs. (Indeed, in some dialects, every common tense can be formed in this way.) For example, in literary Welsh, "I sing" is canaf, while in the everyday tongue it is something like (depending on dialect) dw i'n canu, from yr ydw i, "I am" + yn canu, "singing". (Let's for the moment ignore the fact that "I sing" and "I am singing" can mean slightly different things in English.) Lapine's personal pronouns are straightforward: the subject pronouns are simply the endings of the inflected verb, and the object pronouns are the same words with the addition of m- to the front. Here's the complete list: [LISTEN] a, ma - I, me i, mi - thou, thee e, me - he (or it), him (or it) o, mo - she, her on, mon - we, us es, mes - you, you ai, mai - they, them This use of m- explains m'saion, "we meet them", found in Watership Down. This is a contraction of mai saion - which literally translates as "them
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meet-we" - see note d) below for a little more on this word order. Now, think about the English verb "to be". In most dialects of English we have to say "I am singing", "we are singing", "he is singing" and so on. But one of my local dialects, that of the Black Country (the urban area to the west of Birmingham), simplifies things still further and regularises throughout, so that one says "I am", "we am", "they am" etc. This also happens in Lapine: we simply use lay in every case, with the personal pronoun being the only indicator of person. Putting all this into practice, then, we can see that, while the formal (inflected) Lapine for "I sing/I am singing" is haina, the colloquial form is a lay hain, literally "I be singing". To illustrate this further, I have made up some sample sentences. Thray, "to bite", and aydir, "pike", are the two extra words you'll need. English - Naylte Hyao - Naylte Éan [LISTEN] I see the cars - A lay hay u hrududil - Haya u hrududil [LISTEN] We go out to feed after moonrise - On lay silflay fu Inlé; - Silflayon fu Inlé [LISTEN] She sees the nice groundsel and eats it - O lay hay u sayn narn a flay me - Hayo u sayn narn a m'flayo [LISTEN] Foxes? They stink! Hombil? Ai lay embli! Hombil? Emblai! [LISTEN] The moon is shining outside - Inlé lay hy silf - Hye Inlé silf [LISTEN] Are you (pl.) does? Es lay marlil? - Layes marlil? [LISTEN] They see a stupefied badger - Ai lay hay lendri tharn - Hayai lendri tharn [LISTEN] We meet them! - On lay sai mai! - Mai saion! (--> M'saion!) [LISTEN] Cats are enemies Pfeffil lay elil - Layai pfeffil elil [LISTEN] The pike bites the hedgehog - U aydir lay thray u yona - Thraye u aydir u yona Points to note a) As in Welsh, there is no word for "a" - "a badger" is simply lendri. b) Basic questions are indicated merely by tone of voice. c) Adjectives follow the noun (eg marli tharn). An exception to this is when special emphasis is required - and in the case of embleer, its "swearword" status means that it always carries such emphasis, so always precedes the noun. This also explains why Fiver's O embleer Frith! was so shocking. d) Note how inflected Lapine uses object pronouns - by the use of mai etc before the inflected verb. Where the person is obvious (as in the third sentence above, or in Bigwig's song - we know it refers to a "them", as u embleer Hrair have already been mentioned), this indicator can be shortened to m'. e) In formal Lapine, the inflected verb, lay if necessary, begins the sentence, except when an object pronoun takes precedence. f) Look, it's a particularly stupid pike, all right? Bonus extra bit! As a reward for sticking with me this far, here's a common general-purpose greeting Frithaes! [LISTEN] What? Well, it's a shortening of Frith a mes!, meaning "Frith and you!", rather as "Goodbye" is a contraction of "God be with ye", and with much the same meaning. This can be used for both greeting and farewell, along the lines of "all right!" in some dialects of English. (Incidentally, this is one of the very few common words in Lapine that contains the double vowel ae.) And as you'll hopefully have noticed, it's the title of this very course! That's all for now, folks. Frithaes until next time!
Unit 02: The Past Tense; Measuring Time Every instant of time is a pinprick of eternity. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations) What I have called "the past tense" corresponds to the English "I sang", "they ran" and so on, though in fact the structure I am describing here is more like the imperfect ("I was singing" etc). This is the main way of expressing events in the past in colloquial Lapine. We saw in Unit 01 how to form the present tense by means of the verb lay, "to be". The "past marker" in Lapine is the ending nt and (unlike practically every other language around!) lay is regular, meaning that "was" translates as laynt. We already know the personal pronouns (for a reminder, see Unit 01), so it's a simple matter to form past tense sentences. Before we do that, though, let's look at something else: time. Rabbits don't have clocks, of course, but we do need to know how to measure the passage of time, and indeed Lapine has quite a complex system of such words and phrases. Here is a selection of the most common words we'll meet others later in the course:
The words than, ni- and fu refer to "before", "mid-" and "after" respectively. Note that ni-, unlike the other two, attaches itself to the following word, so that we have ni-Frith, "midday", but fu Frith "morning" (lit. "after sunrise"). Than is what is known as a "false friend", a word which appears, but is not, the same as one in English. Remember to pronounce it with the hard "th" of "think"! These words can be put together: fu ni-Frith - afternoon ni-fu ni-Frith - mid-afternoon or even than fu ni-Frith - before [the] afternoon! There are a few special cases: thanléao - evening (literally "before night") fuléao - dawn ("after night") nInlé (note spelling) - midnight (Actually, nInlé really ought to mean "at the zenith of the moon", but it actually means "midnight", and can in fact refer to any time which would be described as "the middle of the night".) Now then, a load more vocab for you: neorsé - a little while fu neorsé - after a little while hithra - a long while léao - night hyao - day Hyao can also mean "once [upon a time]", and is often seen in the set (and fossilised) phrase hyao, ver sie methai, meaning (roughly) "once, so they say" (meth means "to speak, to say"), which is the traditional way in which to begin a story. hrudao - year Inlérao - month (not Inlé-rah, which is a different kettle of fish entirely!) marlao - week You might be surprised to learn that rabbits do have a word for "week" - marlao. This literally means "doe time", because does are particularly receptive for mating about every seven days. If you add u before most of these words, combining with a past tense sentence, you can convey an idea of how long ago something happened - u Inlérao can mean "a month ago", and so on. Finally, here are the names of the seasons - the derivations should be fairly obvious but I've explained them anyway: Nangeer - spring ("leaf season") Fritheer - summer ("Frith's season") Hombeer - autumn ("fox season") Eleer - winter ("evil season") Note that u Eleer can mean "in the winter" or "a winter ago", depending on context. Now for some sample sentences - from now on, I'll generally only give the colloquial translation to save space. Some of the sentences are a bit nonsensical, but they'll give you the idea. English - Lapine [LISTEN] After a little while (before midday), he ate the nice groundsel - Fu neorsé (than niFrith), e laynt flay u sayn narn [LISTEN] In the spring, the cats watched at night - U Nangeer, u pfeffil laynt hay u léao [LISTEN] Stinking winter! [A favourite catchphrase] Embleer Eleer! (Remember: embleer precedes the noun see Unit 01) [LISTEN] Once upon a time, a badger said "Great Frith!" Hyao, ver sie methai, lendri laynt meth "Frithrah!" [LISTEN] After a week, they saw a tharn pheasant - Fu marlao, ai laynt hay hawock tharn [LISTEN] I saw a small pike a day ago [ie yesterday] - A laynt hay aydir roo u hyao Note that hay can mean "watch" as well as "see". Next time, we'll be looking at how to form the future tense. Until then, it's Frithaes!
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 03: The future tense; More about Time Enough, if something from our hands have power To live, and act, and serve the future hour. (William Wordsworth, The River Duddon) Many languages, among them French and English, have a very simple way expressing a future idea without having to use a separate tense at all: by means of the verb "to go". For example, we can say "tomorrow, I am going to swim" - let's use this as our example for Lapine too. Colloquial Lapine also makes heavy use of such a construction. You'll remember from Unit 02 that the phrase u hyao, literally "the day", can express the idea of "yesterday" when used with a past-tense sentence. Similarly, it can mean "tomorrow" when used with the future tense. The verb "to go" in Lapine is zayn, and "to swim" is hla, so our example sentence looks like this:
[LISTEN] u hyao, a lay zayn hla - tomorrow, I'm going to swim This use of the same word, hyao to express opposite ideas may seem confusing, but this sort of thing also happens in English: compare "in the spring, I swam" and "in the spring, I'm going to swim". However, because of the potential for confusion, it's very common to borrow these more precise forms from inflected Lapine: hyaont - yesterday hyaones - today hyaoth - tomorrow léaont - last night léaones - tonight (present) léaoth - tonight (future) Note that the last two convey slightly different ideas of time broadly, you should use léaones if it is already night time, otherwise léaoth. With all six of these words, the preceding u is entirely optional, though it often occurs because of the influence of the colloquial tongue. One other borrowing from inflected Lapine which is very common is layth, "will be". This is considered a little more formal than the zayn formation, and is not used as much as lay zayn in very casual chatting, though it certainly does occur. To illustrate the point, I've taken a simple sentence - "tonight, you (pl.) will feed above ground" and rendered it in several ways, with increasing formality: [LISTEN] u léao, es lay zayn silflay [LISTEN] léaoth, es layth silflay [LISTEN] léaoth, silflayesth Note the "sth" combination in the most formal example - this sequence is very unusual in English, and in one of the few common words containing it "asthma", is not usually fully pronounced. Remember, in Lapine, all letters are pronounced - listen to the MP3 to see what I mean. Right, everybody, I'll let you off early this time, as we've got a lot of work to get through in our next unit. I want to see evidence of revision, you hear? =;) recent". For example, "a fox ate the last doe" is Homba laynt flay u marli kimthile, but "last week, a fox ate the doe" is u marlao, homba laynt flay u marli. e) Ordinals, like most adjectives, follow the noun (unless extra emphasis is needed) - u aydir ethile, "the first pike"; u ethile aydir!, "the first pike!". Now then, time for some really useful vocab - about rabbits! One or two words in this list you'll already have met, but I'm putting them all in the same list for simplicity: naylte - rabbit (in general) tarli - buck marli - doe rooli - kitten nos - big roo - small mar - long, tall tar - fat, wide noroo - middle-sized Notes a) Rooli is almost exclusively applied to rabbit kittens - a cat kitten is simply pfeffa roo ("a little cat"). b) Remember that oo is pronounced as in English "crow", not as in "moo". c) The literal meanings of marli, tarli and rooli are "tall-head", "fat-head" and "small-head" respectively - does generally do have longer faces than bucks. d) The usual word for "big" is nos - the word rah is restricted to a few special circumstances where great respect is intended. e) If you need to specify a kitten's sex, use rooli marli or rooli tarli. f) Rooli Roo, "Little Kitten" is the star of a series of very simple stories used for teaching kittens Lapine. The phrase rooli roo can also be used affectionately,
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 04: Numbers; Talking about Rabbits(1) According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number. (Numbers, 15:12) As we all know, rabbits can count up to four, any higher number being "many", or as it is generally translated into English, "thousand". Here are the Lapine numbers, both cardinal and ordinal: [LISTEN] eth, ethile - one, first si, sithile - two, second des, desthile - three, third kes, kesthile - four, fourth hrair, hraithile - thousand, thousandth kimthile - last Notes a) There is no word for "zero" you can use nahl ("no") instead. b) Note that "thousandth" is hraithile, not hrairthile. c) There's that sth combination again! (See Unit 03.) d) Be careful with kimthile - it means "last" only in the sense of "final", not in the sense of "most
very roughly in the manner of "baby" in English. Hey presto - sample sentences are back! There are only a few more words you need to know for these - koi means "to have" (as in "to possess"), hray is the very common verb "to run", los is "water" and hahean means "enough" (it goes before the word it qualifies, whether noun or verb). Also note that that versatile word flay can mean "drink" as well as "eat" or "feed": Lapine - English [LISTEN] U hyao, u tarlil zayn flay u flayrah ethile Tomorrow, the bucks will eat the first flayrah [LISTEN] Thlayli laynt u naylte kimthile flay u los - Bigwig was the last rabbit to drink the water [LISTEN] U roolil roo lay koi hahean flay? - Do the little kittens have enough food? [LISTEN] Hray, u hraithile! Run, for the thousandth time! Note that the last sentence translates literally as "run, the thousandth!" - this is quite sufficient to convey the required idea. Also note the similarity between hrair and hray - this is completely coincidental, but it makes it a good idea to pronounce the "r" at the end of hrair if there is likely to be any possible confusion. I think that's enough for now - next time around I'll have a bit of a surprise for you! Unit 05: U Methrah Rooli Roo ao Pfeffil Those who tell the stories rule society. (Plato) Well, look at that - our first unit with a Lapine title! You should be able to work out most of it by now, but two things will need explaining: firstly, that "and the", which by rights should be a u is usually condensed to ao for easier pronunciation; and secondly, the word methrah. This one we'll leave until a little later on in the unit, though you might well be able to guess its meaning already. It's very nearly time, then, to reveal the surprise I promised at the end of Unit 04, but first... yes, folks, you've guessed it, it's off to vocab corner once more! Pay close attention to this list, as it contains several extremely common and useful words: vahl - yes nahl - no an - but aisi - or asith - with na - (in order) to il - to(wards) hlienes - home Notes a) Remember my comments earlier on about how Lapine contained quite a few elements reminiscent of Welsh grammar? Well, one infuriating thing about Welsh is its lack of simple, universal words for "yes" and "no". Lapine, thank goodness, has more sense. b) The word asith derives from a sithile, "and second". c) It is very important to distinguish between na and il although they can both be rendered as "to" in English, they convey very different ideas. Note also that you must use il if moving towards a destination is implied - so that "I'm going home" is a lay zayn il hlienes. d) Yes, aisi and asith are rather similar, aren't they? Be careful! All right - the wait is over. Time to reveal the secret. And it is... our very first Lapine story! Not a very exciting one at all - in fact, it's the sort of thing infant kittens tell each other - but it's a start. I said in Unit 04 that the use of rah was restricted to those situations in which a respectful tone was necessary. And we'll meet one such special circumstance now. We've already met meth as a verb, "to say, talk, speak", but in fact it can also be used as a noun to mean, if you like, "a piece of language" - a similar idea to our own noun "a saying". It is a measure of the high regard in which stories are held by rabbits that the Lapine for "story" is methrah, literally "a great saying". Time for the story itself, then - see if you can work out most of the Lapine (which is simply naylte, "rabbit" in Lapine, by the way) without looking at the following English translation. Settle down, and lie your ears flat. Here we go! [LISTEN] U methrah Rooli Roo ao pfeffil (NAYLTE) Hyao, ver sie methai, Rooli Roo laynt hay si pfeffil - pfeffa nos a pfeffa roo. "Es lay elil?" e laynt meth. "Nahl, nahl," laynt meth u pfeffa nos. "I lay zayn flay asith mon, aisi nahl?" "Vahl," laynt meth u rooli, ar ai laynt zayn silf na flay. An fu neorsé, u pfeffa roo laynt meth. "A lay zayn flay
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mi, naylte roo," e laynt meth... an u rooli laynt hray il hlienes! The story of Rooli Roo and the cats (ENGLISH) Once, so they say, the little kitten saw two cats - a big cat and a small cat. "Are you elil?" he said. "No, no," said the big cat. "Are you going to feed with us, or not?" "Yes," said the kitten, and they went outside to feed. But after a little while, the small cat spoke. "I'm going to eat you, little rabbit," he said... but the kitten ran home! Notes a) A ("and") before a vowel often expands to ar for easier pronunciation (as with ao, mentioned above). This also happens in a few other circumstances for the same reason - for example, "you (sg.) and me is usually ir a ma rather than the strictly correct i a ma. b) Aisi nahl means "or not" literally "or no", which is occasionally used in English, and in fact appears in Watership Down itself, when Richard Adams speaks of Fiver being "...more than ever governed, whether he would or no, by the pulse of that mysterious world...". Well done! As I said before, this might not be a very interesting story, but that's not really very important. In the warren, a kitten's first story is a rite of passage to compare with a human baby's first tooth, so you've achieved something really quite significant in this unit. I think you can now justify making up a huge banner screaming to all the world that "a lay meth Naylte!" ("I speak Lapine!"). Home page Lapine Overview Unit 06: Adjectives and adverbs; Qualification When in the chronicle of wasted time I see descriptions of the fairest wights, And beauty making beautiful old rime, In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights (William Shakespeare, Sonnet 106) Rather important parts of speech, adjectives and adverbs, and happily they're generally very easy to form in Lapine, though as usual Englishspeakers will find things slightly restrictive on occasion. We've already met quite a few adjectives in previous units, but let's have a few more now you'll see that these words come in related pairs, which makes things easier: vao - good nao - bad éan - old néan - young hraray - fast bray - slow Notes a) The general word for "good" is vao - narn is confined to occasions where English would use "pleasant" (eg when talking about the tastiness or otherwise of food). You can generally use vao for meanings covered by narn, but not usually vice versa. There is no direct opposite of narn - use nao. b) The e-acute which starts éan indicates that the letters should be pronounced separately. c) Although néan is the correct word for young, roo ("little") is very common, especially when referring to non-rabbits - as I mentioned back in Unit 04, the usual way of referring to a cat kitten is pfeffa roo, "a little cat". d) Hraray derives from hray, "to run". The phrase hray hraray ("fast runner") is dreaded by those of us who can't roll our Rs properly! e) Be careful with bray - it's another "false friend". That should be enough to allow some illustrative examples dray (another false friend!) means "to hop" (rabbit-style, not bouncing up and down on one leg!): [LISTEN] U homba lay flay u hawockil néan - The fox is eating the young pheasants [LISTEN] U lendril laynt éan, a laynt embli - The badgers were old, and stank [LISTEN] Layth hray hraray! Be a fast runner! (lit. "Going to run fast!") - a traditional blessing on kittens [LISTEN] Thlayli lay meth methrah nao - Bigwig is a poor storyteller (lit. "Bigwig tells a bad story") [LISTEN] Hlao-roo laynt dray bray il hlienes- Little Pipkin hopped home slowly Notes a) The adjective must directly follow the verb or noun it refers to - *Hlao-roo laynt dray il hlienes bray would translate as "Little Pipkin hopped to slow home"! Not at all difficult, is it? And it gets easier still, because the distinction between adjectives and adverbs in Lapine is almost non-existent - bray, for example, is used for both "slow" and "slowly", so that we have (remember that layth, "will be" is
a slightly formal version of lay zayn, "is going to"): [LISTEN] U Naylte Rah lay tarli bray - the Chief Rabbit is a slow buck [LISTEN] U Naylte Rah layth silflay bray léaoth fu Inlé - the Chief Rabbit will silflay slowly tonight (future) after moonrise Qualification Perhaps we want to make it clear that something was very big, or that someone was not very fast. And it would also be handy to be able to say that something was fairly small. We can accomplish all these things in Lapine by means of three suffixes, which are attached to the adjective/adverb in question - they are nyt, "very"; ryt, "a little, slightly" and byt, "fairly". (Don't confuse nyt with ni-!) Once more unto the examples, dear friends: [LISTEN] U pfeffa ethile laynt nos-byt - The first cat was fairly big [LISTEN] Sayn lay narn-nyt Groundsel is very nice [LISTEN] Nahl (u) nayltil laynt éan-nyt - None of the rabbits were very old [LISTEN] U nayltil laynt néanryt - The rabbits were a little young Notes a) You can use nahl to mean "no", "not" or "none of the", according to context. U is optional in this case - it shouldn't really occur, as nahl covers it, but you do quite often hear it, especially when it aids pronunciation. b) Compare the different effects of the only slightly different in language sentences 3 and 4. Unit 07: Questions; Plant (and Rabbit!) Names And have they fixed the where and when? And shall Trelawny die? Here's twenty thousand Cornish men Will know the reason why! (RS Hawker, The Song of the Western Men) We've already seen the most simple way to ask questions in Lapine: merely by changing the tone of one's voice: Sayn lay narn, marli! Groundsel's nice, mother! Sayn lay narn, marli? - Is groundsel nice, mother? However, this only allows us to ask certain types of question (at least, without a good deal of roundabout phrasing), so we need to learn the Lapine for the most common basic question words: "where?", "why?" and so on. Here they are: bleth? - what? pli? - who? yao? - where? hloth? - why? ureth? - which? lung? - how? lungeth? - how many? blair? - when? Notes a) British readers are allowed All right, folks, that'll do us for today. More on parts of speech next time around - and we'll (finally) have some plants other than that embleer groundsel, too! one "humorous" remark at blair then you can stop sniggering, all right? Let's move straight on to some examples - all the vocab here has been mentioned either in previous units or in Watership Down itself: [LISTEN] Blair laynt Hrairoo hay u yona? - When did Fiver see the hedgehog? [LISTEN] Hloth lay u Rah asith u marlil? - Why is the Chief with the does? (hey, I said no sniggering!) [LISTEN] Ureth nayltil lay éannyt? - Which (of the) rabbits are very old? [LISTEN] Pli laynt meth "i lay embli"!? - Who said "you stink"!? [LISTEN] Lungeth roolil lay hraray? - How many kittens are fast? No need for any explanatory notes here, I think - it all looks pretty obvious to me. (As ever, tell me on the watershipdown Yahoo Group if you disagree.) That means that we can go on to something really important: plant names. As I'm sure you're heartily sick of being told by now, sayn is groundsel. Two very common and useful words to learn are preen, "tree" (careful not to pronounce it in the English way!) and efath, "plant" (in general). Onto the names themselves then - you might just be able to work out my main criterion for selection! In general, bucks are named after plants and does are given more poetic or descriptive names, and although there are exceptions to this rule (Fiver and Clover, for example) it's fairly reliable. Given the importance of most of these words to all of us, I'm conscious of a considerable
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responsibility in getting this bit right, so please let me know if I've done something stupid here. I've decided to make the list rather longer than it might have been, for reasons which will become apparent: threar - rowan thrennion - rowan berry flayfath - grass (lit. "food-plant") kothen - hazel kothennion - hazelnut dahloi - dandelion brek - bramble brekennion - blackberry tardrayn - buckthorn mayth - oak maythennion - acorn hehlant - speedwell duhreth - hawkbit syrién - strawberry (plant) syriénnion - strawberry (fruit) kranahl - cowslip hleengar - holly pathun - bluebell preenahlarny - laburnum Notes a) To get the word for the fruit, nut etc of a plant, add the ending (e)(n)nion. The double N is a bit of an oddity for a (more or less) phonemic language, but Adams introduced it, and I can hardly contradict the Great Man! b) The word for "rowan berry", thrennion, is slightly irregular this is just one you have to learn. Plurals are formed as per usual, so that "cowslips" is kranahlil and "acorns" is maythennionil. The buck Strawberry is named after the fruit, so that he is saddled with one of the longest names in Lapine, the fivesyllable Syriénnion - something of a reminder of his decadent origins, perhaps. (But see note e below!) c) We are told in WD itself that "laburnum" translates as "poison-tree". We can see this if we break down Preenahlarny into its constituent parts: preennahl-narn-nyt, literally "tree-notnice-very" (nahlarny is indeed Lapine for "poison"). d) We are, of course, still missing one name from the original party, "Silver". His Lapine name is Thlaynlé, literally "fur-moon". e) What, me? Nice of you to ask. As it so happens, I share with Strawberry the distinction (if such it can be called) of a fivesyallable Lapine name: Loganberry translates as Brekytennion, which literally means "fruit of the nearlybramble". My decadence or otherwise is probably not for me to comment on! Here are the second lot of example sentences for this unit new words are thayrte, "river" and ven, "in(side)" - note that the opposites silf and ven are not a "matched pair" (see Unit 06): [LISTEN] Dahloi lay zayn meth mon methrah syriénnionil nosnyt! - Dandelion's going to tell us a story about giant strawberries! [LISTEN] Laynt Preenahlarny naylte vao aisi nao? - Was Laburnum a good or bad rabbit? [LISTEN] Blair Kothen-rah ao hrair me laynt hla u thayrte? When did Hazel-rah and his crowd (lit. "the thousand of him") swim the river? [LISTEN] Hloth lay nahl Tardrayn a Pathun ven u Owsla? - Why aren't Buckthorn and Bluebell in the Owsla? Notes a) The fourth sentence is something of a "lesson by stealth" - if you read carefully, you'll see that you now know how to form possessive adjectives (eg "my") - there'll be a proper section on this later on, but suffice it to say that the noun followed by the relevant object pronoun generally does the trick. b) "His crowd" is an approximate translation; you might equally say "his lot" or similar. It's a slightly informal usage, even by colloquial Lapine standards, but very useful. And finally, a question that you ask entirely at your own risk! I can accept no responsibility for ripped ears, random maimings (what? See efrafa.org) etc resulting from this part of the unit: [LISTEN] Yao lay hrair, Kranahl? - Where is everybody, Cowslip? Phew! This unit's been quite a slog in places, hasn't it? You deserve a rest now. Until next time, then, it's Frithaes from me. (And it's Frithaes from him... this joke makes no sense whatsoever unless you know the BBC TV series "The Two Ronnies".)
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 08: Possessives. Prepositions What thou art is mine. (John Milton, Paradise Lost) If you read Unit 07 carefully, you'll have noticed that, almost in passing, I mentioned that possessive adjectives ("my", "his" etc) were formed very simply: by following the noun with the relevant object pronoun. Here's the full set, then - and you'll also note that there are two words for "father" - dialectal variants; they mean exactly the same thing. Parli is preferred by
the great majority of Watership Down RPGs, so it's best to use that word in those circumstances, but aside from that, the two words are entirely interchangeable: parli ma - my father tarli mi - your (sg.) father tarli me - his / its father parli mo - her father parli mon - our father tarli mes - your (pl.) father parli mai - their father Easy or what? But what happens if we want to use the possessive pronoun instead - "mine", "yours" and so on? Well, luckily enough that's straightforward too. The word ol means "of" or "from", and though it's not used in Lapine as much as in English (because it can be left out in some cases - u zen fuléao, "the dew of dawn"), you'll often see it used here. It attaches itself to the beginning of the object pronouns as follows: olma - mine (lit. "of me") olmi - yours (sg.) olme - his / its olmo - hers olmon - ours olmes - yours (pl.) olmai - theirs We're rattling through this at a fair old rate, aren't we? Time for the first few example sentences. Sarlil means "parents", by the way, and remember that layth is a slightly more formal way to express the future than lay zayn (refer back to Unit 03 if required). [LISTEN] Sarlil pli lay Hyzenthlay a Kothen-rah? Olmon! - Whose parents are Hyzenthlay and Hazel-rah? Ours! [LISTEN] Flayfath mi lay silf Your (sg.) grass is outside [LISTEN] Roolil mo layth hray hraray! - Her kittens will run fast! [LISTEN] A lay ven u Owsla - u kranahlil lay olma, nahl olmes! - I'm in the Owsla - the cowslips are mine, not yours (pl.)! More prepositions We already know a few prepositions - we saw ven, "in", used in the last example sentence, for example. But they're very common words, so a few more would be extremely useful. As usual with common vocab, there's no real rhyme or reason to the word structure you just have to put in the revision. ven - in, inside, into silf - out, outside, out of thaf - on, on top of isth - under, beneath hlow - in front of hrow - behind Notes a) Make sure you don't mix up hlow and hrow - apologies to any Japanese readers here! b) "Without" doesn't have a word of its own - use nahl asith, "not with". "Next to" is also without its own word - asith is used here too. At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, context is all. All right, then, as I'm feeling really generous, I think I'll give you a present... another load of sentences! Quite a few new words to learn first, though, so concentrate: bryhl - hill bryhlath - down (as in Watership Down, not the opposite of up!) éath - valley éathyhl - combe preetar - hedge ithé - man paf - to stamp Notes a) The word for "down" comes from bryhl flayfath, "hill of grass", and that for "combe" (which, in case you don't already know, is a valley cut into the side of a hill) derives from éath-bryhl or "valley-hill". You can, of course, use the usual modifiers to give words such as bryhl nos, "mountain" and so on. c) Rabbits don't usually distinguish between the human sexes (or ages), so ithé is usually used for all humans. If you need to be specific, you can use ithé marli and so on. d) Paf is a nice satisfying word, isn't it? Onomatopoeic, of course. Right then, here we go with Return of the Killer Sentences. Some of these are rather longer than previously, as we can make more complex sentences now: [LISTEN] Hrairoo, marli me Vilthuril a roolil mai laynt thaf u bryhlath, flay flayrah! - Fiver, his doe Vilthuril and their kittens are on the down, eating flayrah! [LISTEN] Fu neorsé-nyt, Brekennion laynt paf. "Elil, elil!" e laynt meth. "Si hombil lay hray il mon hrow u preetar!" - an instant later, Blackberry stamped. "Elil, elil!" he said. "two foxes are running towards us behind the hedge!" [LISTEN] Thlayli laynt hay ithé hlow u preen roo ven u éathyhl - Bigwig saw a man in front of the little tree in the combe. [LISTEN] U Threarah layth silflay asith mon ni-Frith. Sai ma isth u hleengar than. - The Threarah will be silflaying with us at noon. Meet me under the holly beforehand. Notes a) Notice in the last sentence that than on its own can mean
"beforehand". Equally, fu on its own can mean "afterwards". This has been a long, hard Unit I know, but I think you'll agree that it was worth it, and that the words introduced this time have given you the capacity to write something approaching a connected narrative for the first time. Frithaes! os - if kan - because zoth - therefore, then, so As in English, the word zoth can sometimes be omitted altogether (new word: flayeer, "hungry"): Os a lay flayeer, [zoth] a lay flay - if I'm hungry, [then] I eat Finally, we're going to look at how to say "here", "there", "this" and "that". Here are the words you'll need: um - this, these thum - that, those hli - here thli - there Notes a) Even though "this" and "that" work like adjectives, they go before the noun - um nayltil nos, "these big rabbits". b) As in English, phrases such as "there are" can also be formed using thli etc - thli lay aydiril ven u los, "there are pike in the water". Compare French, where you have to decide whether to use il y a or là-bas. c) There are no separate plural forms of um and thum. Before we get to the final lot of sentences for this unit, there are two new bits of vocab to introduce. The first is the verb zyz, which is an onomatopoeic word like paf ("to stamp"). You can probably guess that it means "to sleep"! The second new word is less straightforward, as it doesn't have a direct English translation. Veheer is an adjective meaning, very roughly, "having the gift of second sight" its etymology is ven-hay-eer, literally "inner seeing", and as it has no exact English version, I propose to "adopt" it into English from now on, as with other peculiarly Lapine concepts such as tharn. Incidentally, it's fairly common to see veheer used as a noun, as in o lay veheer, "she's a veheer", which means that you'll encounter the plural form, veheeril. Strictly speaking, though, o lay naylte veheer, "she's a veheer rabbit" is more gramatically correct. [LISTEN] Frithaes, Hlao! A lay tring zyz um fu ni-Frith! - Bye, Pipkin! I want to sleep this afternoon! [LISTEN] Syriénnion a Hleengar laynt veth hray hraray-nyt thaf u flayfath roo Strawberry and Holly could run very fast on the short grass [LISTEN] "Ithé lay hli! Nahl the, hrair - e lay asith thum preenil" - "A man's here! Don't move, anyone - he's beside those trees" [LISTEN] Hloth on lay drao hla um thayrte? Kan Hrairoo u veheer laynt meth - Why do we have to swim this river? Because Fiver the veheer said so. That's all for today. Next time we'll have another full story for you, and this time it'll be considerably longer than the last one - and I'll be reading the MP3 at full speed! You shouldn't have any trouble in coping with that, though, as you've learnt a lot these last four units. Here we are, pioneering a whole new language - actually rather exciting, isn't it?
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 09: Ability and compulsion Must! Is "must" a word to be addressed to princes? (Queen Elizabeth I [attrib.]) You may remember, way back when (actually, it was at the end of Unit 05), that I told you that the phrase a lay meth Naylte meant "I speak Lapine". And so it does, but what we really mean in this case is "I can speak Lapine", so we need the verb "to be able to". This is veth. While we're at it, it would be handy to learn the related verb, "to have to", which is drao. And finally, let's have tring, "to want (to)", as well. As usual, these can be used in all three tenses: A laynt drao zayn il hlienes - I had to go home A lay drao zayn il hlienes - I have to go home A lay zayn drao zayn il hlienes - I will have to go home Not hard at all. Now then, conjunctions. We already know two of the commonest, a, "and", and an, "but". A few more would come in very useful, though, so here we go again:
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 10: U methrah Rooli Roo ao Flayrah Ithé And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. (Luke 24:11)
And so we reach double figures! Welcome once again to what Kehaar might call "Stories vith Meester Dando". In today's thrilling instalment, our hero's showing off lands him (as it usually does) in big trouble. You'll notice I've changed his name slightly, from u rooli roo to simply Rooli Roo, "Little Kitten". I think we know him well enough by now to give him a proper name, don't you? =;) Anyway, before we start there are four items of vocab to be learnt: yen now, immediately. Also "suddenly" uthow to hear, listen -kyt nearly. This is a suffix, like nyt etc. sisi again (lit. "two-two") Right then, let's get going. As in Unit 05, I'll give the Lapine story first, followed by an English translation. It's considerably longer than the previous tale over 200 words - and this time, I'll be a little more idiomatic in the English, so don't expect an exact word-for-word match. I'm sure you're capable of working things out, though - Watership Down readers are, by definition, the most intelligent people on the planet in any case! The MP3 is split into two parts for convenience - the asterisks mark the break. [LISTEN - part one] [LISTEN part two] U methrah Rooli Roo ao Flayrah Ithé Hyao, ver sie methai, Rooli Roo laynt zyz ven hlienes. An fu hithra-nyt, e laynt zayn silflay. Maythennion a Pathun laynt thli, flay flayfath. "Hay il ma, es si!" laynt meth Rooli Roo. "A lay zayn flay u flayrah ithé, ar a lay zayn thli yen!" "Nao, Rooli Roo," laynt meth Maythennion. "Nahl zayn thli, Rooli Roo!" laynt meth Pathun. "Ithéil lay elil-nyt. Nahl zayn!" An Rooli Roo laynt nahl uthow, a laynt meth, "es nahl lay veheeril. A lay veth zayn, a lay tring zayn, ar a lay zayn zayn!" Zoth, u naylte roo laynt hray il flayfath nos ithé, laynt hay u flayrah, a laynt flay. A flay. A flay. Fu neorsé, e laynt zyz asith brek. *** Yen, e laynt uthow paf. "Rooli Roo! Rooli Roo!" E laynt Maythennion. "Thli lay hrair ithéil thli!" "Yao? Yao?" laynt meth Rooli Roo, kan e laynt nahl veth hay u ithéil - an e laynt veth uthow mai, meth a hain. "Isth u kothenil. Nahl the, Rooli Roo!" Rooli Roo laynt tharn-kyt yen, an fu hithra u ithéil laynt zayn il hlienes, ao naylte roo laynt hray il Maythennion a Pathun. "O, o, o!" laynt meth Rooli Roo. "Es si laynt vao, ar a laynt nao-nyt! A lay zayn uthow il mes yen!" An fu neorsé-nyt, e laynt zyz... sisi! The Story of Little Kitten and the Man's Flayrah Once upon a time, Little Kitten was asleep at home. But eventually he went to silflay. Acorn and Bluebell were there, eating grass. "Look at me, you two!" said Little Kitten. "I'm going to eat the man's flayrah, and I'm going there now!" "No, Little Kitten," said Acorn. "Don't go, Little Kitten," said Bluebell. "Men are serious elil. Don't go!" But Little Kitten would not listen, and said, "you're not veheers. I can go, I want to go, and I'm going to go! So, the little rabbit ran to the man's lawn, saw the flayrah, and ate. And ate. And ate. After a little while, he fell asleep by a bramble. *** Suddenly, he heard stamping. "Little Kitten! Little Kitten!" It was Acorn. "There are hrair men there!" "Where? Where?" said Little Kitten, because he couldn't see the men - although he could hear them talking and singing. "Under the hazel trees. Don't move, Little Kitten!" Little Kitten was almost tharn by now, but after a long while the men went home, and the little rabbit ran over to Acorn and Bluebell. "Oh, oh, oh!" said Little Kitten. "You two were right, and I was very wrong! I'm going to listen to you now!" But almost immediately, he fell asleep... again!
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 11: Comparatives and Superlatives; Attributes I have been studying how I may compare This prison where I live unto the world. (William Shakespeare, Richard II) In English, there are two ways in which we can form comparatives and superlatives, either by
means of the suffixes "-er" or "est", or by the insertion of a modifier: "more", "most", "less", "least" or "as ... as". In general, choosing the correct one depends on the length of the adjective, so that we say "harder" but "more difficult", "hugest" but "most miniscule". Of course, there are a few words which can go either way - for example, you might see either "unhappiest" or "most unhappy" - but in general the rule holds. In Lapine, only the modifier route is permissible. Here are the five words required: voir - more voith - most loir - less loith - least rul - the same as, as ... as, equally These modifiers all precede the verb, and suffixes such as -nyt can be attached. A few sample sentences to give the idea (new verb: yayn, "to find"): [LISTEN] A nahl lay flay thum embleer flayfath - e lay rul nao preenahlarny! - I'm not eating that embleer grass - it's as bad as laburnum! [LISTEN] Hlao lay loir-nyt roo Kothen, an Thlaynlé lay voirryt nos me - Pipkin is much smaller than Hazel, but Silver is a little larger than him [LISTEN] Hrairoo, zayn na yayn Dahloi a Brekennion - ai lay u nayltil mon voith hraray Fiver, go and (lit. "in order to") find Dandelion and Blackberry they're our fastest rabbits [LISTEN] Pathun laynt u naylte ethile hray ol hlienes me, kan e laynt u loith tharn - Bluebell was the first rabbit to run from his home, because he was the least tharn Attributes What I refer to as "attributes" here are the nouns that pertain to given adjectives - for example "speed" and "sloth" are associated with "fast" and "slow", "intelligence" and "stupidity" are associated with "clever" and "stupid", and so on. Such words are indicated in Lapine by the simple addition of the suffix -alt (without the hyphen), so that "speed" is hrarayalt and "sloth, slowness" is brayalt. You can apply this rule to any adjective you want, so that you can even have words which don't exist in English, such as tharnalt ("tharn-ness"). For example: [LISTEN] Nayltil ven u Owsla lay drao koi hrarayalt-nyt Rabbits in the Owsla need (lit. "have to have") a lot of speed [LISTEN] U brayalt Dahloi laynt kan tharnalt me - Dandelion's slowness was because of his "tharn-ness" Bonus extra bit! We haven't had one of these for a while (since Unit 01, in fact!), but as there's a bit of space here, let's learn a few more words: thyhl - to start, begin zyhl - to finish, end kyhl - to continue, to carry on skuf - to dig aythi - primrose Here are a few more sample sentences: [LISTEN] U Owsla lay tring zayn il thayrte hyaones, Threarah. On lay veth thyhl? The Owsla want to go to the river today, Threarah. Can we start? [LISTEN] Vao-nyt. Kyhl, Thlayli - Certainly. Carry on, Bigwig [LISTEN] Nahl nayltil laynt veth skuf ven Efrafa - No rabbits were allowed to dig in Efrafa [LISTEN] U aythil laynt zyhl The primroses were over Notes a) You'll see that veth serves for both "can" and "may", as "can" does in colloquial English. b) You might just recognise that last sentence from somewhere! Note that zyhl should be used here, and not zorn, as the latter implies some terrible catastophe. I suppose it might be appropriate if someone had come along and actively destroyed the whole lot of them... perhaps with a zorn-off shotgun? (No, I can't believe I just wrote that either!)
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 12: In the Warren; Talking about Rabbits (2) Rabbit underground, rabbit safe and sound. (Richard Adams, Watership Down) Unsurprisingly, there are many Lapine words dealing with life within the warren. One that we've already met is hlienes, "home". This derives from the word for "warren", which is hlien. So the English sentence "my house is my home" would translate as hlien ma lay hlienes ma. Of course, we need quite a few more words to give us anything approaching a useful vocabulary in this department. Some words to describe direction would be handy, too - and I've also included a very useful verb I'd completely forgotten about!
tuhl - hole leading to the outside world swith - hole within the warren, ie a burrow entrance flow - burrow, chamber floroo - a scrape (from flow roo, "small burrow") flarli - a doe's den (from flow marli, "doe's burrow") hrayao - tunnel, run, passageway hrarli - a doe's stop (from hrayao marli, "doe's run") hristh - down (opposite of up, not Watership etc); floor, bottom; earth, dirt, ground hlaf - up; roof, top sith - side hlang - left thrang - right vesth - along; forwards nesth - backwards dayn - to come Notes a) Quite often, ao at the end of a word will convey the idea of a specific place, either in time or space - think back to words such as hrudao ("year"). So hrayao implies "a place to run". b) There are no words for "to bring" and "to take" - use "to come with" and "to go with" instead. c) Note the similarity between some of these words and related prepositions - eg hristh, "floor (etc)" and isth, "under(neath)". d) Flow is a "false friend" in that it doesn't mean "flow" - liquids "run" (hray) in Lapine, as they can do in English. e) Remember to put the adjectives (hlang etc) after the noun unless doing the special emphasis thing. And now it's time for those pesky sample sentences to rear their ugly heads again! Some quite complicated ones here, so pay attention. I've spaced things out a little to help you: [LISTEN] Ai laynt skuf florooil ven u hristh - They dug scrapes in the earth [LISTEN] Ven u hlien nayltil thaf u bryhlath, thli laynt si tuhlil, ureth zayn il hrayaoil, a hrair flowil. Eth flow laynt yao Duhreth a Maythennion laynt zyz - In the rabbits' warren on the down, there were two entrance holes, which led (lit. "went") to runs, and many burrows. One burrow was where Hawkbit and Acorn slept [LISTEN] "Hray voir hraray, u hraithile!" laynt meth Thlayli. "Es hrair, Owsla mon? Frith ven thayrte! Yen, vesth ar il hlienes! Hlang, thrang, hlang, thrang!" - "Run faster, for the thousandth time!" said Bigwig. "You lot, our Owsla? Frith in a river! Now, forward and homeward! Left, right, left, right!" [LISTEN] Syriénnion laynt dray bray vesth hrayao sith, a fu neorsé, e laynt dayn il u swith u flow Hrairoo - Strawberry hopped slowly along a side run, and before long, he arrived at the entrance to Fiver's burrow Notes a) In the last sentence, I've translated dayn il as "arrived at", though its literal meaning, "came to", would have fitted in fine too. Similarly, the Lapine for "to leave" is zayn ol, "to go from". (If you're using the word on its own without "to" or "from", then you can leave out the preposition so "she arrived" would be simply o laynt dayn, "she came".) b) In the sentence featuring Bigwig, note the use of ar instead of a to mean "and", to aid pronunciation. As I've said before, it's not strictly correct, but is very common - and I don't imagine that Bigwig spends too much time polishing up his grammar! c) Note that the plural of floroo is florooil - that's because double final vowels are not removed before adding -il. Talking about Rabbits (2): Mates and Mating Mating, of course, is tremendously important to lapine life, so it might be expected that there would be a large number of words to learn on this topic. Well, there are quite a few, but many of them are only used in very specific circumstances which we can ignore for the most part here. In the everyday colloquial language, most ideas connected with the subject can be expressed by means of just one word, émar, which means "mate" as both noun and verb. You will notice its similarity to marli, "doe". Some idea of the versatility of émar can be gleaned from a few examples (new word: mailon, "clover"): [LISTEN] Hleengar lay u émar Mailon - Holly is Clover's mate [LISTEN] Hleengar lay émar asith Mailon - Holly is mating with Clover [LISTEN] Kothen a Hyzenthlay lay émaril - Hazel and Hyzenthlay are mates [LISTEN] Vilthuril laynt émar asith Hrairoo, a o laynt koi roolil - Vithuril mated with Fiver, and she had kittens [LISTEN] Ven Efrafa, Hyzenthlay laynt nahl veth émar asith Thlayli, kan e nahl laynt marlao mo - In Efrafa, Hyzenthlay couldn't mate with Bigwig, because it wasn't her mating time Notes a) Note the difference in meaning between the first two sentences - it's quite important! b) I've been gramatically correct this time, using a o instead of ar
o in the Vilthuril/Fiver example. c) In the last sentence, marlao mo literally translates as "her week" (because does are particularly fertile about every seven days) - it's rather reminiscent of the English expression "her time of the month", though marlao mo has a different meaning, and is in no way a euphemism. Okay then, that's a wrap for today. My original plan for this Unit has grown to the extent that I'm having to split it in two, so I'll see you in a while at the next lesson, where you'll learn something very important indeed to all rabbits. Frithaes! nalant - to forget bralth - to foresee Akirith - Honeycomb blao - a place (in general) bralrah - to pray loseer - to rain atha - heart u hyaontil - the past (lit. "the yesterdays") u hyaothil - the future (lit. "the tomorrows") As well as the above, there are a few more things you'll need to know for the story: firstly, hay vesth a nesth means "to look around" (literally "to look forwards and backwards"). Secondly, sithile, "second", can also mean "(an)other" (u tarlil sithile, "the other bucks"). And finally, you may remember that in Unit 06, I said that a traditional blessing on kittens was lay zayn hray hraray. Actually, in most reasonably formal contexts, lay zayn would be replaced by layth. It's also worth noting that layth in this usage is generally followed directly by a verb, so that "may Frith hear you" is layth uthow Frith ma, rather than the more obvious *layth Frith uthow ma. All right then, let's get on with the show - 1000 words of Lapine coming up! As usual, there's an English translation afterwards. Because of the length of the story, I haven't got room for an MP3 of the whole thing, so I've done three short pieces - the first section (up to the asterisks) and the two poems. [LISTEN] U METHRAH ROOLI ROO AO METHAIN MARLI -----------------------------------Hyao, ver sie methai, u vahra mon Rooli Roo laynt mark ven u flow me. Vahl, sisi... an um hyao, e laynt nahl zyz! E laynt hahean zyz. Nahl, blair u methrah mon lay thyhl, u naylte roo laynt meth hithrabyt il Maythennion. "O Maythennion," laynt meth Rooli Roo, "a lay bralnao-nyt um thanléao, blair a lay zayn drao meth u methnos ma il hraeth. E lay u methnos ethile ma, ar a lay nahl lan bleth mul!" "Nahl bralnao," laynt meth Maythennion. "Hrair nayltil lay bral, u methnosil mai layth nao-nyt. I layth vao. An bralant hay il u Naylte Rah blair meth u Vaorah. A lay bral e layth Hyzenthlay-rah hyaones." (Hyzenthlay, émar Kothen, laynt Rah asith me ethsi Inléil.) *** U thanléao laynt dayn, a hraeth laynt zayn il u Akirith. Hrair nayltil laynt thli, a e laynt hithra than Rooli Roo veth day il u blao yao e laynt zayn meth. Yen, Hyzenthlay laynt meth. "Vahril ma," o laynt meth, "on lay hli um thanléao kan eth ol mon lay yen hahean éan meth u methnos ethile me il u hlien. A lay lan, hrair laynt tring uthow Rooli Roo hithra-nyt, zoth a layth zyhl meth. Rooli Roo, layth meth vao, a layth uthow Frith mi." U rooli laynt hay il u Rah me, a thyhl asith um methrooil: "O Hyzenthlay-rah, a lay dayn asith u Vaorah ol Frith il Elahrairah, ureth lay meth il nayltil u hyaontil, u hyao ao hyaothil." Fu, e laynt hay vesth a nesth u Akirith, fu il Hyzenthlay sisi, a laynt thyhl meth ven Naylte Éan: "Laythe hraeth ela mi, Elil Hrair Rah, a blaeth m'hlalthai, m'zyhlthai.
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 15: U Methrah Rooli Roo ao Methain Marli This blessèd plot, this realm, this earth, this England. (William Shakespeare, Richard II) Hello, everyone. The main focus of this Unit will be on the story of Rooli Roo (I don't think we need to translate his name any more), as it's a far longer one than anything we'll have encountered previously; uncharted territory ahoy! So I shan't go into great detail on the vocab list, beyond pointing out (as usual) that there are some very useful words here: just read and learn: mul - to do keth - to ask val - to help zyzay - lazy; sleepy methain - poem (from methhain, "speak-song") bralant - to remember
An m'draothai ethile hlal-" Yen, e laynt zyhl. "Kyhl, kyhl," laynt meth Hyzenthlay il me. An Rooli Roo laynt nahl veth kyhl - e laynt nalant u methrooil u Vaorah! "An m'draothai ethile hlal," e laynt meth sisi, bralvao bralant. An nahl methrooil laynt dayn, ao li me laynt kyhl natal. "O nahlan, nahlan!" laynt meth Rooli Roo, éneernyt. "Val ma, O Frithrah, val ma!" Fu neorsé, e laynt veth uthow Thlayli, meth il naylte sithile, "Frith ven tuhl, hloth lay on drao uthow um silfessil ulé ai lay nahl veth meth Naylte vao?" Rooli Roo laynt drao hay il u Naylte Rah me, a meth, "U methnos ma lay zyhl, Hyzenthlay-rah. A lay lan, nahl layth bralant me. An a layth meth um: hyaoth, a layth dayn hli sisi, blair a layth meth methnos u voith vao i aisi Kothen aisi u hlien layth uthow!" A fu, e laynt hray silf. *** Silf, thaf u bryhlath, e laynt loseer - loseer-nyt. Rooli Roo laynt silflay neorsé, an than hithra u los laynt hray vesth u flayfath, u hristh, u efathil... ao thlay me. E laynt voir a voir éneer. "Hloth laynt i meth thum il Hyzenthlay-rah?" e laynt bral. "A laynt tring-nyt meth u methnos ma vao, an... a lay nahl veth meth vao, a pli lay zayn uthow il roolil pli lay nahl ulé meth Naylte vao? Bleth lay veth a mul?" Rooli Roo laynt dray bray ven. E laynt nahl tring zayn il u flow me, zoth e laynt dray vesth hrayao hling ol olme. Fu neorsé, e laynt thyhl uthow meth - meth marli, meth Thethuthinnang. O laynt meth methrah il u roolil mo. An nahl... nahl methrah; e laynt methain. Rooli Roo laynt uthow: [LISTEN] Ven u hlien, Hrayntai bralvaoil ma vesth u hrayao. Roolil mon, M'haynton hayuhlil hy ven u léao. An lungeth Laythai hrayessil, uthow methrahil? Kan u hyao Nayothe il mai, vatal u elil. Rooli Roo laynt nahl meth Naylte Éan vao-nyt, an e laynt lan um methain. E laynt "U Methain Marli", eth u methainil nayltil u voith éan. E laynt bralrah marli il Frith hay u roolil néan mo. Rooli Roo laynt dihraw ven u hrayao, nahl the, u atha me hrarail. U methrooil marli laynt hray a nayo ven u li me. E laynt nahl veth Thethuthinnang (aisi nayltil sithile) hay me, zoth e laynt dray bral ol mo, a zayn sisi il u flow me. Thli, e laynt zyz. *** U hyaoth, u rooli laynt zayn hay Dahloi, pli e laynt lan a varu hithra. Dahloi laynt silflay hristh u preenil mar. Rooli Roo laynt tring keth me bleth mul. "Frithaes, Rooli Roo," e laynt meth. "Bleth lay mi tring?" "A lay tring lan, lung i lay mul blair i lay meth methrahil, Dahloi?" laynt meth Rooli Roo. "Nahlan hloth, an yen a lay bral éveer-nyt ol u methnos sithile ma um thanléao... an a lay drao koi seth methrooil ol mi ol thum. I layth val ma?" "Vahl-nyt," laynt meth u naylte sithile. A e laynt thyhl meth il u vahra néan me... Fu hithra-byt, Rooli Roo laynt zayn sisi il u Akirith. E laynt hay Thlayli ao Owsla hlow u nayltil sithile. Rul u hyaont, e laynt hay il Hyzenthlay, a, rul u hyaont, e laynt thyhl meth u Vaorah. An hyaones, e laynt bralant u methrooil. Éveer, e laynt meth il u Rah me: "Laythe hraeth ela mi, Elil Hrair Rah, a blaeth m'hlalthai, m'zyhlthai. An m'draothai ethile hlal, skufessi, uthowessi, hrayessi, paf hraray rah. Laythi kasrahalt, a vatal kasrahil, a laythai nayltil mi nahl-nyt zorn!" E laynt hay vesth a nesth u Akirith, rul-nyt e laynt u hyaont, an hyao e laynt lan, hraeth layth vao. "Yen," laynt meth Rooli Roo, "a lay drao meth voir. An nahl methnos: methain! A lay an naylte néan a nahl kasrahalt-nyt, zoth e lay ven Naylte Hyao, an a lay bralvao, es layth varu me." A e laynt thyhl: [LISTEN] "U naylte Rooli Roo lay ma, U hlienes ma preen isth. A lay varu zyz ven u flow Mark hithra thaf u hristh. U nayltil sithile lay meth A lay rooli zyzay, An blair vahril ma lay drao koi Il mai layth a hraray!"
Rooli Roo laynt hay vesth a nesth, a hay u hlolil éveer u vahril me. E laynt mul me! Hyzenthlay laynt meth, "vahlnyt, Rooli Roo. I laynt vao thum laynt methnos vao-nyt. A vahl, hraeth layth bralant me hithra-nyt. A, a lay yen meth, i layth u Methainessi Roolil mon ven um hlien!" U ZYHL the best speech you or Hazel or the warren will hear!" And then, he ran outside. *** Outside, on the down, it was raining - raining a lot. Rooli Roo silflayed for a little while, but before long the water was running along the grass, the soil, the plants... and his fur. He was more and more unhappy. "Why did I say that to Hyzenthlay-rah?" he thought. "I really wanted to say my speech well, but... I can't speak properly, and who's going to listen to kittens who can't even speak Lapine properly? What can I do? Rooli Roo hopped slowly underground. He didn't want to go back to his burrow, so he hopped along a run to the left of his own. Soon, he began to hear a voice - a doe's voice, the voice of Thethuthinnang. She was telling a story to her kittens. But no... not a story; it was a poem. Rooli Roo listened: In the warren, My hopes ran along the run. Our kittens, We saw their eyes shining in the dark. But how many Will be runners, listen to stories? For tomorrow Will leap at them, full of danger. Rooli Roo didn't speak Old Lapine very well, but he knew this poem. It was "The Doe's Poem", one of the oldest poems of rabbits. It was a mother's prayer to Frith to watch over her young kittens. Rooli Roo squatted in the run, unmoving, his heart racing. The doe's words ran and leapt in his head. He didn't want
"My friends," she said, "we are here this evening because one of us is now old enough to give his first speech to the warren. I know many have wanted to hear Rooli Roo speak for a very long time, so I'll stop speaking. Rooli Roo, may you speak well, and may Frith hear you." The kitten looked at his Chief, and began with these words: "Oh Hyzenthlay-rah, I come with Frith's Blessing to El-ahrairah, which speaks to rabbits in the past, the present and the future.". After this, he looked around the Honeycomb, and began to speak in Old Lapine: "All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you-" Suddenly, he stopped. "Go on, go on," said Hyzenthlay. But Rooli Roo couldn't continue he'd forgotten the words of the Blessing! "But first they must catch you," he said again, hoping to remember. But no words came, and his head remained empty. "Oh I don't know, I don't know!" said Rooli Roo, terrbily unhappy. "Help me, oh Lord Frith, help me!" After a little, he could hear Bigwig saying to another rabbit, "Frith in a hole, why do we have to listen to these outskirters even when they can't speak Lapine properly?" Rooli Roo had to look at his Chief Rabbit, and say: "My speech is over, Hyzenthlay-rah. I know that none will remember it. But I will say this: tomorrow, I will come here again, when I'll give
The Story of Rooli Roo and the Doe's Poem -----------------------------------Once upon a time, Rooli Roo was lying in his burrow. Yes, again... but on this day, he wasn't asleep - he'd slept enough. No, when our story starts, the little rabbit had been talking for a fair while to Acorn. "Oh Acorn," said Rooli Roo, "I'm really frightened about this evening, when I'm going to have to make my speech to everyone. It's my first speech, and I don't know what to do!" "Don't worry," said Acorn. "Every rabbit thinks that their first speech will be awful. You'll be fine. But remember to look at the Chief Rabbit when saying the Blessing. I think it'll be Hyzenthlay this evening." (Hyzenthlay, Hazel's mate, had been Chief alongside him for a few months.) *** Evening came, and everyone went to the Honeycomb. A lot of rabbits were there, and it was a long time before Rooli Roo could get to the place where he was going to speak. Suddenly, Hyzenthlay spoke.
Thethuthinnang (or other rabbits) to see him, so he hopped slowly away from her, and went again to his burrow. There, he fell asleep. *** The next day, the kitten went to see Dandelion, who he'd known and liked for a long time. Dandelion was silflaying beneath the tall trees. Rooli Roo wanted to ask him what to do. "Hello, Rooli Roo," he said. "What do you want?" "I want to know, how do you behave when you tell stories, Dandelion?" said Rooli Roo. "I don't know why, but now I feel really happy about my second speech this evening... but I need some words from you about that. Can you help me?" "Of course," said the other. And he began to speak to his young friend... After a fair while, Rooli Roo went once more to the Honeycomb. He saw Bigwig and the Owsla in front of the other rabbits. As on the day before, he looked at Hyzenthlay, and as on the day before, he began to say the Blessing. But today, he had remembered the words. Happily, he said to his Chief: "All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people shall never be destroyed!" He looked around the Honeycomb, exactly as he had done the day before, but this time he knew everything was The rabbit Rooli Roo am I, My home the trees beneath. I like to sleep in the burrow Lie a long while on the earth. The other rabbits say I am a lazy kitten, But when my friends have need To them I'll be fast! Rooli Roo looked around, and saw the happy faces of his friends. He'd done it! Hyzenthlay said, "excellent, Rooli Roo. You were right - that was a wonderful speech. And yes, everyone will remember it for a very long time. And, I now declare, you will be our Kittens' Poet in this warren!" THE END right. "Now," he said, "I must say more. But not a speech: a poem! I am only a young and not very clever rabbit, so it's in Colloquial Lapine, but I hope you will like it." And he began: léeth - north freth - south fuleth - east theth - west The -eth termination on each of these words comes originally from sith, "side", though the i has become an e. The literal meanings of the words are, respectively, "night-side", "sunside", "dawn-side" and "eveningside". Note that léeth should be pronounced as two distinct syllables, to rhyme with the archaic English word "sayeth". Another important factor to rabbits is the weather, which governs life to an extent almost unimaginable to urbanised humans. There are any number of words available here, but it would seem sensible to restrict ourselves for now to a smallish collection of the most common remember that -nyt and so on can be used as modifiers wherever useful. Some of these words we've already met, but I'll put them in for convenience: Frith - the Sun Frithyeer - sunny hral - cloud hraleer - cloudy los - water, rain loseer - wet, rainy yera - snow, ice yereer - snowy, icy nahlay - fog, blindness nayeer - foggy anisth - wind, breath anistheer - windy Notes a) Be careful not to mix up Frithyeer ("sunny") and Fritheer ("summer"). If you prefer, you could say Frith lay hy ("the Sun is shining") instead. b) Note the secondary meaning of nahlay (originally from nahl hay, "not seeing"). This word is used in the phrase Nahlay Hy,
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 16: Weather and the Environment Give not a windy night a rainy morrow. (William Shakespeare, Sonnet 90) As is the case for any wild animal, weather and conditions in the "outside world" are of vital importance in lapine life. A very basic example of this is in knowing what humans would refer to as "points of the compass" - in Lapine, the position of the Sun is of prime importance:
"White Blindness", ie myxomatosis. c) Anisth can also be used as a verb, meaning "to breathe". All right then, time for those lovely sample sentences once again... two new nouns, and handy ones too: nayilf means "hare" and rowf means, as you might have guessed, "dog". [LISTEN] Homba laynt hray u léeth u Bryhlath - A fox ran [along] the north [side of] the Down [LISTEN] Os e layth Frithyeer hyaones, on layth zayn yayn dahloil - If it's sunny today, we'll go and find dandelions [LISTEN] A lay bralnao, u Efrafanessil layth dayn sisi blair e layth nayeer I'm frightened that the Efrafans will come again when it's foggy [LISTEN] U Rah nahl laynt éveer-nyt, u nayilfil laynt hay me... kan rowf nos laynt hrarail mai! - The Chief wasn't very happy that the hares had seen him... because a large dog was chasing them! Notes a) Remember the -essi suffix from Unit 13? You can use this to indicate residents of a particular place, too, as here with Efrafanessil, "Efrafans". The Watership rabbits are Bryhlathessil, "Downers". As we're on the subject of weather, let's round things off for this Unit with a rather well-known saying on the subject - it's a very old one, and therefore in Naylte Éan: [LISTEN] Brale'th hral etheth One cloud feels lonely A little bit of explanation is probably necessary here. The word etheth, meaning "alone", "lonely", "solitary" etc, is straightforward enough, as is hral itself, but what of the first word? Well, as this is Naylte Éan, it's likely to be an inflected verb, which it is. Bral, as we already know, means "to think, feel". We're in the present tense, so no tense-marker is required, but as "one cloud" is an "it", we need the -e person marker. The word for "one" is of course eth, but that would give us the slightly awkward phrase Brale eth, and this being Naylte Éan aesthetics tend to override straightforwardness. Thus, the words are run together as Brale'th, which creates a "balanced phrase", with two syllables on either end "pivoting" about the central word (both literally and figuratively) hral. Actually, the whole phrase trips off the tongue rather easily, doesn't it? have an example - the same idea expressed first in the normal active voice, and then in the passive. Remember from Unit 12 the special word hrarli, meaning a doe's stop (not to be confused with the ordinary verb "to stop", which is of course zyhl). Here's the sentence: [LISTEN] U marli laynt skuf hrarli - The doe dug a stop [LISTEN] Hrarli laynt skufant ol u marli - A stop was dug by the doe Let's have a look at what's going on here. Firstly, as in English, you can see that the word order has been turned about. Also, ol, "of", can also mean "by". That's easy, and so are the first two words - hrarli laynt literally means "(a) stop was". Then it gets a little more complicated, because when you form the passive, again as in English, you have to "shift back" one tense."Was dug" is actually one tense "back" from "dug". In English, we say "I dig; I dug; I have dug". The difference is more obvious in some other verbs, for example: "I sing; I sang; I have sung". So, "A stop was dug..." is one tense "further back" than "The doe dug...". But we're already using laynt, and as there are only three real tenses in ordinary Lapine, what can we do? Well, we borrow (in a much simplified form) something from Naylte Éan. In that dialect, the past tense is marked by adding the suffix -nt to a verb, together with various "person markers", so that "the rabbit saw" is haynte u naylte while "the rabbits saw" is hayntai u nayltil. However, we don't need to worry about the "person markers" at all in the colloquial language, but simply
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 17: The Passive Voice; Reporting Speech Speech is the small change of silence. (George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel) We're going to get a little more advanced this time, by introducing a couple of concepts which aren't actually required to produce correct Lapine, but which will allow you to come across as more fluent and natural in the language. First, we'll look at the passive voice, a very useful device for adding a bit of variety to your Lapine. And it's very easy to form, too. Explaining why it happens is a little involved, but doing it in practice is not at all hard. Let's
add -nt alone. Hang on a minute, though... There's a slight problem here. Doing that would give us *skufnt, which is not exactly easy to pronounce! Luckily Naylte Éan comes to the rescue again - in such a case, you simply add an intervening -abefore the -nt, so what we end up with is, as it should be, skufant. In general, the -a- is used when the base word ends in a consonant other than Y. This is maybe not the easiest idea to explain in grammatical terms, so let's press our beloved sample sentences into service once again. Two new words silisi, "snake", and nildel, "hawk": [LISTEN] Duhreth laynt hrarailant ol Thlayli - Hawkbit was chased by Bigwig [LISTEN] U ithé éan laynt thraynt ol u silisi nos - The old man was bitten by the big snake [LISTEN] U nildro laynt zyhlant ol u desthile pfeffa, nahl u sithile! - The blackbird was killed by the third cat, not the second! [LISTEN] U rowf roo laynt flaynt ol u nildel nos-nyt - The little dog was eaten by the huge hawk Notes a) When a word ending in a vowel is followed by one starting in the same vowel, as with ithé éan in the second sentence, you might hear them run together into something like ithéan. However, it is strongly recommended that you avoid this as it tends to cause a lot of confusion. b) Note the changed word order in the third sentence - as we saw way back in Unit 01, adjectives move from following to preceding the noun when special emphasis is required (and, remember, embleer always appears before the noun). Reporting speech Note, reporting, not reported. The latter is something like, "Acorn said that he was fast," (which is Maythennion laynt meth, e laynt hraray), whereas here we're using direct quotes. Okay then. Up till now, except when we've been using Naylte Éan, we've always stuck with the basic form for quotes, so that we have something like this: [LISTEN] Hrairoo laynt dayn ven. "Vahl," e laynt meth Fiver came in. "Yes," he said There's nothing at all wrong with this, and in everyday speech it's what you'll hear. But it's maybe just a little cumbersome to have to put in that e laynt meth time after time - in the average story, it'll turn up again and again and again. Luckily, you don't actually have to, as there is a special form of meth reserved exclusively for this sort of thing. If you know Welsh, then it is done in a fairly similar way to the Welsh word meddai. All you have to do is use the word methant, which is the "base" inflected past form of meth. (No, you don't need to understand all that; just trust me on this one!) So our example sentence could just as well be written as: [LISTEN] Hrairoo laynt dayn ven. "Vahl," methant. Much tidier, eh? Here's a rather longer example: [LISTEN] "Frithaes, Thlayli," methant Kothen. "I lay éneer?" "Vahl," methant Thlayli. "Um hlien lay nao-nyt." Kothen laynt hay vesth a nesth. "Hloth?" methant. "Nahlan," methant Thlayli. "An a laynt meth il Thlaynlé hyaones, ar e laynt meth il ma, e laynt éneer asith." "Frithaes, Bigwig," said Hazel. "Are you unhappy?" "Yes," said Bigwig. "This warren is terrible." Hazel looked around. "Why?" he said. "I don't know," said Bigwig. "But I was talking to Silver today, and he said to me that he was unhappy too." Notes a) The person speaking goes after methant, so that "he said" is methant e, and not *e methant. Note that this is the other way around from the usual speech form - e laynt meth etc. b) Note that I didn't use methant inside Bigwig's inverted commas. That's because it is (in Colloquial Lapine, anyway) almost exclusively a written form, and would just look silly in speech. c) Remember a couple of handy colloquialisms from earlier on: hay vesth a nesth is "to look around", and nahlan is a contraction of a lay nahl lan, "I don't know". Think of it as roughly equivalent in effect to English's "Dunno" and you won't go far wrong. d) If the person speaking is already known, as in the third line, you don't even need to mention them again, but can just use methant on its own, as you can see. It's not incorrect to say methant e in this case, but it's not necessary. Bonus extra bit! Ooh, I am spoiling you today. But it's a useful bonus, so listen
up. We already know the Lapine for "father" (tarli or parli) and "mother" (marli). "Child" is the same as "kitten" - rooli. But it'd be handy to know a few of the other words for relations. And so here we are: rooliti - son roolimi - daughter rusati - brother rusami - sister rusasi - sibling Notes a) The etymology of brother/sister/sibling is straightforward. A brother is someone who shares your parents, in other words a "sameparents-buck". That literally translates as rul-sarlil-tarli, but being such a common word it's been compressed a great deal (cf vahra), and so has achieved its present form. Much the same applies to the other words b) The words for "son" and "brother" are always spelt with Ts, even by rabbits who say parli for "father". c) To add a generation, you simply use the familiar emphatic suffix -nyt, so that, for example, "grandson" is rooliti-nyt, and "great-grandmother" would be marli-nyt-nyt. Theoretically you could have up to four -nyts (any more wouldn't be distinguishable from each other, the number being stuck at hrair), but in practice more than two is exceptionally unusual. To make out that something was a very long time ago, you can say ven u hyao marli-nyt-nyt, "in greatgrandmother's day". One other comment about this you might have seen in Appendix 1 the saying u vahra ma, rusati [rusami] ma, ven atha ma, meaning "my friend, my brother [sister], in my heart". This is not a casually uttered saying, as it implies the other party is, or has become, the speaker's "heart-brother/sister" (rusatitha/rusamitha). It's a great honour to be considered a heart-brother/sister, and the responsibilities that go with it are to be taken with the utmost seriousness. Right, folks, that's all for now. It's been a bit of a slog, but I think it's been worth it. Next time, we'll be taking a look at a slightly esoteric, but quite interesting topic: the little differences between the Lapine of various warrens. And yes, Woundwort's Efrafa looms large among them! =:O from Sandleford, it's unsurprising to find that there are very few differences between the speech of the two warrens. However, the resolutely old-fashioned nature of the Threarah's society led to the preservation of one somewhat archaic feature - the use of the plural forms to, by and about the Chief Rabbit, eg: [LISTEN] Layth i dayn asith ma, Kothen-rah? Vahl, a layth dayn - Will you come with me, Hazel-rah? Yes, I'll come (Watership) [LISTEN] Layth es dayn asith ma, Threarah? Vahl, on layth dayn - Will you come with me, Threarah? Yes, I'll come (Sandleford) [LISTEN] I laynt hay u Rah? E lay thli - Have you seen the Chief? He's [over] there (Watership) [LISTEN] I laynt hay u Rah? Ai lay thli - Have you seen the Chief? He's [over] there (Sandleford) This idea closely parallels that of the "Royal We" in human societies, but is subtly different, in that the reason for its use is not the superiority, real or imagined, of the Chief - the "rah" suffix takes care of that but because he is considered to be the personification of all the rabbits in the warren. 2. Cowslip's Warren The most notable feature of this warren's language is the almost taboo status of the word "where?" and the concepts relating to it, because of the unspoken pact amongst its rabbits never to mention the shining wires. However, as will be apparent with a little thought, there are occasions, generally trivial, for which the word is necessary - and, as Strawberry himself mentions, there are
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 18: Dialectal Variations Most of their discourse was about hunting, in a dialect I understand very little. (Samuel Pepys, Diary) As can be seen by the examples of the hutch rabbits and, particularly, Blackavar, in Watership Down itself, rabbits from one warren have no real difficulty understanding those of another, but nevertheless there are some notable differences in their speech, which I thought it might be interesting to consider here. I intend to use the speech of Watership as our "base" dialect, and compare aspects of Watership Lapine to that of the other warrens encountered in the story. 1. Sandleford (extinct) Of course, as almost all the Watership rabbits (excepting only Strawberry) are originally
tightly defined areas - stories and poems - where the proscription does not apply (except, of course, insofar as only certain types of story are welcome in the first place). All this means that there are in fact three forms of the word "where?" that may be encountered in Cowslip's warren. Firstly, the ordinary word, yao, which is extremely unwelcome in any context, and generally met by a complete non-sequitur in response: [LISTEN] Yao lay Hrairoo, Kranahl? - Where's Fiver, Cowslip? [LISTEN] I lay varu flayrah yen? E lay narn-nyt - Would you like some flayrah now? It's very tasty Secondly, for stories and poetry, the word thyao is employed. This is a deliberate corruption of the archaic word yaoth, meaning "wherever". Yaoth is to yao exactly as blaeth is to blair - see Unit 13. An interesting point here is that while elsewhere yaoth is used only in Naylte Éan, in Cowslip's warren the terror of using the ordinary word means that thyao is used for any type of story or poem, no matter how trivial - even the simplest stories of Rooli Roo: [LISTEN] Rooli Roo laynt hay vesth a nesth. "Thyao lay ma?" methant - Rooli Roo looked around. "Where am I?" he said Of course, using this word safely requires a very distinct pronunciation of the th- prefix, and so rabbits tend to shy away from it altogether in casual speech. In fact, poets such as Silverweed are often judged as much on their diction as on their imagination, and if any one word could be said to be a shibboleth in this regard, then thyao is it. Lastly, there are some occasions on which asking about the location of something is harmless - for example, asking where the sun is in the sky, for assessing time. Again, however, the word yao is forbidden, and instead a roundabout method is employed using the phrase blao vao,"right place": [LISTEN] Frith lay ven u blao vao? - Is the Sun in the right place? U sith thanléao, hrow u preetar - The evening side, behind the hedge It is perhaps a little surprising that "place" is allowed while "where" is not, but this does seem to be the case. However, even this usage is absolutely not permitted to be used of rabbits, and doing so can be extremely dangerous. 3. Hutch rabbits Watership Down mentions that Clover and her fellow hutch rabbits - two Himalayans and two Angoras - spoke in "slightly strange but perfectly intelligible Lapine". All domestic rabbits are the same species - Oryctolagus cuniculus - as British wild rabbits, so this is not that surprising. Given that they are domestic breeds, it seems very unlikely that they had ever spoken to a wild rabbit before Hazel and Pipkin arrived, and so their language had presumably developed in isolation, passing down the generations from the time when their ancestors had run free. Very little is imparted to us in WD about exactly how the hutch rabbits' Lapine differed from that of Hazel's band, but we know that they "had learned a great deal about elil from some soure or other" (ch. 24), so the words for such creatures, which might have otherwise been lost, were presumably well known - pfeffa of course being a special case, as the farm cat had been known to come and stare at them through the hutch's mesh. However, despite this, it seems reasonable to assume that concepts such as long-distance reconaissance would mean little to them. Overall, though, two points stand out: the hutch rabbits' almost total ignorance of Naylte Éan, and their accents. The latter are the most notable things about them, in particular a tendency for the ao diphthong to become simply a throughout - so that "evening" is pronounced as thanléa, and "tomorrow" becomes hyath. The word u ("the") is also very often dropped completely - which means, of course, that ao as a word ("and the") also becomes just a. 4. Efrafa As might be expected of a warren kept under such rigid discipline and where contact with other rabbits is largely confined to violent confrontation, Efrafan Lapine developed several unique aspects under General Woundwort's rule. Perhaps the most interesting of these is the fa suffix, as seen in Owslafa and of course in the name of the warren. In fact, the name "Efrafa" is itself an invention of Woundwort's. He chose it as being reminiscent of the words eth-fran, meaning "one-fight". The idea behind eth was that Efrafa should be considered not as a warren of individual rabbits, but as a single entity under a single, unquestioned command. The fran element of the name
referred to both the militaristic nature of Efrafa and to the never-ending fight against the worst and most dangerous of all elil - man. Woundwort liked clearness and order, and so it seemed to him obvious that his subordinate groups should be named logically. Like any other warren, there was an Owsla. However, there was also a small group of experienced rabbits who worked as a sort of "Cabinet". These were the Council, known in Efrafan Lapine as the Owslathaf or "above the Owsla". Off to one side, as it were, came the justly feared Council Police, of which Vervain was the head. These were the Owslafa, which can be roughly translated as "fighting Owsla". Of course, in Woundwort's Efrafa, all Owsla officers had to be determined fighters, so the term also carries with it the sense of their being the warren's "enforcers". This -fa suffix came to be applied quite widely within the warren. For example, flayfa was food reserved for those officers training for battle or Wide Patrols. The Patrols themselves were hrayfil (singular hrayfa), literally "fighting runs", and an officer was simply known as a naylfa, a contraction of naylte fa. Perhaps most chillingly of all, ordinary does were referred to as marlifil (singular marlifa), here having the sense of "does of the struggle" - in other words, rabbits whose only functions were to assist the military ambitions of Efrafa by producing litters and providing recreation for the Owsla. Does who were considered unsatisfactory in either of these areas might expect a visit from the Owslafa, and in some cases this might be the last event of their lives. On a less unpleasant note, the accent of Efrafa is also worthy of mention. Blackavar's accent, as we see in Watership Down, becomes noticeably more pronounced when he is feeling under stress, and the same phenomenon occurs throughout Efrafa. Its most obvious manifestation is a tendency to use the object forms of personal pronouns universally, so that we might see: [LISTEN] Ma lay uthow il mi! Me am listening to you! [LISTEN] Mon laynt zayn il u preen - Us went to the tree The defeat of Woundwort and his replacement as Chief Rabbit by Campion left the warren's language somewhat in a state of flux. The Owslafa were abolished, and the Owslathaf reformed, but the name "Efrafa" itself was kept, although now with more of a sense of lapine solidarity than war. Campion himself, of course, had held high office under Woundwort, and the warren remained rather more rigid in both its social and linguistic structures than Watership; with the hrayfil, for example, being retained. (Vleflain, incidentally, took linguistic elements from both sides, but in general tended to err on the side of Watership as the victorious warren, which is why I have not treated it separately here.) Now, I know what you're about to say here, which is this: "Oi, Loganberry! You keep saying that Lapine doesn't have a conditional tense!" And indeed you're right - but that isn't to say that such ideas cannot be expressed in the language; we just have to use other means. Consider the following pair of English sentences: I will go if you come with me. I would go if you came with me. As you can see, in the first sentence we use "will" and "come", whereas in the second one we use "would" and "came". Now, there's no way of saying "would" in Lapine, but there's no problem at all with the past tense, and in fact this is the method used to express conditional structures in Lapine. Now then, it's time for those wonderful sample sentences to make their appearance once again. Let me hear you say, "Yay!" =:P [LISTEN] A layth zayn il hlienes os i layth asith ma - I'll go home if you're with me [LISTEN] A layth zayn il u hlien an os Stihrath nahl laynt thli I'd only go to the warren if Woundwort weren't there [LISTEN] Dahloi lay veth hray hraray-nyt blair e lay éveer Dandelion can run very fast when he's happy [LISTEN] Os e laynt fu Inlé, Kothen-rah laynt nahl veth zyz silf - If it were after moonrise, Hazel-rah could not sleep outside [LISTEN] On layth flay hli os thli layth flayrah - We can eat here if there is flayrah [LISTEN] Thum marli layth Rah os o laynt voir nos - That doe could be Chief if she were bigger
Home page Lapine Overview Unit 19: Conditionals; More Plant Names If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing. (Henri Poincaré)
Notes a) In the first sentence, what uses the present tense in English ("...if you are with me") requires the future (layth) in Lapine, as what's actually meant is "...if you will be with me." (Note also the necessary il to express movement towards something.) b) Why use layth in the fifth sentence? Simply because the idea being expressed here is in the future - what's actually meant is "We will be able to eat here if there will be flayrah." It can't mean "We are able to do this eating now as there is flayrah," because then the conditions would be known, and it would be kan rather than os. Context is the key, folks! =;P c) It's important to realise the difference between the fourth and sixth sentences. In the former, we are considering something happening in the past, in other words using "could" as the past of "can", and so we use laynt throughout. In the latter example, though, the idea under consideration is not a past event, and so we need to use layth the first time around. All the above might take a little while to become second nature, but in fact it is considerably simpler than English once you get used to it, as there are only three possible words to use anyway (lay, laynt and layth), and there is generally only one way to arrange the words that is correct, whereas in English there's often a choice. This also makes Lapine-to-English translations considerably easier. Now, time for a little more vocab, I think, starting with some plant names, the first couple of which may be somewhat familiar to you!: zethin - campion vreka - vervain sairoola - cabbage sainosla - lettuce blefath - onion thlayath - carrot dangath - potato marath - parsnip tarath - turnip daynith - bring vaynith - give zaynith - take, steal plat - try, attempt lavatal - clever lanatal - stupid os varu - please vaoril - thanks; to thank Notes a) Blefath is a contraction of embleer efath, ie "stinking plant." This is a reference both to its strong odour and to the fact that onions are unpalatable to rabbits. b) The phrase os varu, literally "if like", is very reminiscent of the French s'il vous plaît, while vaoril (which has no singular form, incidentally) comes originally from vaorahil il mi, "blessings to you." c) "Please" and "thank you" are used less freely in Lapine than in English, and it would be thought rather odd to say os varu every time one asked a small favour, for example. Rabbits generally don't use these words unless there are quite strong emotions involved or unless they're being respectful. d) Note that the -ath suffix for vegetables generally indicates a root of some kind. The generic word for "a root" is venath. And a few sample sentences to end with: [LISTEN] Plat nahl flay u blefathil, roolil lanatal! - Try not to eat the onions, you stupid kittens! [LISTEN] Thlayli, zyhl blel ma, os varu - a lay Duhreth, nahl elil! - Bigwig, stop cuffing me, please - I'm Hawkbit, not elil! [LISTEN] El-ahrairah laynt zaynith u sainoslil u Rah ven u methrah - El-ahrairah stole the King's lettuces in the story [LISTEN] O Frithrah, on lay vaynith u vaoril mon ol u hlien mon - O Lord Frith, we give our thanks for our warren [LISTEN] Zethin laynt naylte lavatal pli rah hrair Hrayfil na zaynith venathil. E layth nahl nalantant ven u hlien mon Campion was a clever rabbit who led many Wide Patrols to steal roots. He will not be forgotten in our warren Notes a) The word blel, literally "paw" is used to mean "cuff." b) In the fourth sentence, "for our warren" is better thought of as "about our warren" than "towards our warren", and hence ol is better here than il.
Home page Lapine Overview Unit A1: Lapine Proverbs and Sayings Conversation is a game of circles. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles) In this Appendix Unit, we'll be looking at some of the most common sayings, idioms and so on that you're likely to come across in everyday Lapine. The emphasis here will simply be on recognition, so little formal grammar or vocabulary will be taught.
1) Let's get underway immediately with one that you will have seen, in another context, before: [LISTEN] Hraeth ela mi! This, of course, is from the opening part of Frith's Great Blessing, which you can read in full in Unit 13. These few words simply mean "Everything your enemy!" and are often used as a sort of exasperated sigh by a rabbit for whom everything seems to be going wrong today, rather as a human might say "Oh, why me?". 2) Next, another saying taken from the Blessing: [LISTEN] Kasrahalt, kasrahil! This is a contraction of laythi kasrahalt, a vatal kasrahil, which means "be cunning, and full of tricks". This saying is used as a reminder to rabbits to play to their strengths in using their trickery against elil, who are generally physically stronger. For example, it might be said as a good-luck charm to a party about to set out on a garden raid. 3) Of course, weather is of vital importance to rabbits, as we saw in Unit 16. So it's no surprise that there are Lapine sayings on the subject. One of the best known is "one cloud feels lonely": [LISTEN] Bral'eth hral etheth 4) All rabbits feel at their safest underground, of course. The English version of the following saying is "rabbit underground, rabbit safe and sound", but the original Lapine is much snappier: [LISTEN] Naylte ven, naylte yen This literally means "rabbit in, rabbit now". Ven, as we know, can mean underground. Yen here is used to mean "alive in the here and now". Think of how the English word "live" is used in broadcasting, and you'll probably see why. 5) Sadly, death is a regular part of lapine life. There are usually no formal "funeral" services for rabbits - it is believed that the best way to honour a fallen comrade's memory is in a story. However, it is quite common for the following sentence to be uttered as a mark of respect: [LISTEN] Sainte atha ma u Hrair, kan zyhlante hray u vahra ma hyaones You're probably ahead of me here... yes, it means "my heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today." 6) A well known human saying is that someone is "young at heart". The equivalent idea exists in Lapine, in the saying: [LISTEN] Pelil éan, atha néan which means "old legs, young heart". 7) Here's another saying that makes reference to the heart. Loyalty and honour mean a lot to rabbits. So friendship is deeply valued, as the following saying shows: [LISTEN] U vahra ma, rusati ma, ven atha ma This means "my friend, my brother, in my heart" and is an expression of deep and serious 10) Above all else, rabbits believe that Lord Frith is watching over them wherever they may go, and that thanks to his promise to El-ahrairah, the race can never be destroyed. As the proverb has it: [LISTEN] Frith lay ven, Frith lay silf, Frith lay ven u li or, "Frith is underground, Frith is outside, Frith is in the head". friendship, not uttered lightly. To be called a rabbit's "heartbrother" (rusatitha) is a high honour indeed. The word for "sister", incidentally, is rusami, and so "heart-sister" is rusamitha. 8) In spite of all the dangers they have to face, rabbits as a whole are quite an optimistic lot, and dislike seeing anyone unhappy. To someone who seems depressed, one may say: [LISTEN] Bralvaoil lay u zyhl éneeralt which is "hopes are the death of unhappiness". 9) Naturally, running is extremely important to rabbits: for mere survival, of course, but also for the sheer exhilaration of racing across the fields with the wind in our fur. So one of the most common wishes a rabbit may bestow on another is: [LISTEN] Layth hray hraray! which means "may you [they, we etc] run fast!". It's often said by a mother to her newborn kittens, for example.
Home page Lapine Overview Unit A2: Translating into Lapine Curled minion, dancer, coiner of sweet words! (Matthew Arnold, Sohrab and Rustum) I've had a number of requests to translate things into Lapine over the months, and while I always enjoy the challenge, some readers might like some guidance on how to go about it for themselves. So what we'll do in this (rather long) Appendix is to look at a complete poem that I was asked to translate. The poem, Devotion, is by Whitney Nellé, who has kindly given permission for me to use it here. It's not, by Whitney's own admission, anything exceptional, but it's interesting enough to present a challenge. I've added line numbers for easier reference later on. Please be aware that I have no qualifications whatever in the field of translation - doing it professionally is an extremely skilled and difficult job, and I'm nowhere near that standard. I'm merely trying to give a basic idea. The poem seemed to me to have something of the air of a myth about it, and so I felt it would be best rendered into Naylte Éan. 5 Are to rule too. 6 A devotion so great 7 Will not be broken. 8 Jeptum and Harrow 9 Own the sky to the sea. 10 Without Frith 11 This still would be. 12 A devotion so great, 13 Not only to each other, 14 But every breathing individual. 15 Owls to snakes to foxes: 16 Everything belongs in their devotion. rabbits involved are well-known characters such as Hazel or Clover, it's clear what to do, but here there's no such precedent to go on. In the end, I felt that they should be left as they were, partly because I didn't have a clue what "Jeptum" meant! *cough*. Line 3: The big issue here was how to translate "great". Literally, it should be rah, but as we've seen throughout the course, that word is far more restricted in usage than in English, so here I interpreted "great" as "big", and used nos. I also reversed the order from "their devotion so great" to "so great their devotion". Line 4: NÉ's general strangeness comes into play here. "To raise/grow" is hlathe. But we can't just say *Laythai u roolil, ai layth hlathe, because... well, because it looks bad. And in NÉ, such things matter. What we do is to inflect hlathe as well, and move ai to the end of the line. Except that we then have a line ending in hlathai ai. That's just asking to be contracted, but we can't lose ai entirely as we need to know who's doing the raising. So we use hlathai'i. You'll never hear such a word in ordinary speech, but it does happen here. Line 5: Another bit of quirkiness. Usually, the word for "too" in the sense of "as well" is asith, but as you may remember from Unit 13, there's something of a prejudice against it in NÉ, on the grounds that it's ugly. Why this word should have been singled out, I don't know, but there we are. Casting about for an alternative, what presents itself is sithile - it means "second", so the kittens are the second rulers after Jeptum and Harrow
Title: Titles can be very difficult to translate, especially when they include puns or concepts which don't exist in Lapine. I don't have that problem here, though: the title is a single word, so it's best to try to translate it as exactly as possible. The closest approach Lapine has to "devotion" is bralusi, which literally means "together-feeling" (usi is "together"), so I used that. Line 1: This is where we come up against our first real difficulty. Whitney has used the word "lovers", but the concept of romantic love is simply absent from lapine society, so no direct translation is possible. The closest approach, it seems to me, is the idea of being a good mate, so I decided to use émaril, "mates". The word "than" doesn't need to be specifically translated - the different word order in Lapine to that in English ensures that there is no confusion. There is a special word, etha, meaning "one another", and "each other" is pretty much the same concept. Line 2: Our first verb, and this being Naylte Éan (NÉ), it has to start the line. Names always present a problem - should they be "Lapinised" or not? If the
Devotion 1 No better lovers than each other, 2 Jeptum and Harrow run together, 3 Their devotion so great. 4 The kittens they raise
themselves. Rah as a verb means "to lead, rule", but there was a slight hiccup with working out the relevant inflected form. Rahathai seemed slightly easier to pronounce than rahthai, but the latter might occur. Line 6: Very straightforward, except that the "will" from the next line has to be moved to the start of this one for NÉ reasons. Line 7: I had a difficult choice to make here. Normally, nahl precedes the verb it modifies so it might have preceded laythe in line 6, but here I've left it with zyhl (which I used because "broken" was used in the sense of "ended"), as I think the aesthetics of the line work better that way. Line 8: Koiai looks somewhat strange, because you would never get four successive vowels in a word in the colloquial language, even though it's really two sets of double vowels, and pronounced as such. Koi, "to own, possess, have", is a common word, so this often crops up in NÉ. Line 9: "Sky" is hlafalt, literally "upness". "Sea" is a word I had to fiddle a bit, as it's clear from Watership Down itself that before the arrival of Kehaar the Watership rabbits had no comprehension of the concept. Still, it's pretty obvious what to use - losnos, literally "big water"! Lines 10-11: Here, I bent the rules a bit, as one is surely entitled to do in poetry. The "to be" in line 11 should, strictly speaking, have been inflected and put at the start of line 10, but I felt that this would have robbed this section of its impact and necessitated compressing two lines into one (something like laythe um layth nahl Frith, which personally I think looks horrible). Instead, I changed the English words a bit to "even without Frith, this will be". (Not "would"? No, because Lapine doesn't have conditional tenses.) Putting Um layth as a line on its own seemed effective. Line 12: In English, this is exactly the same as line 6, but here we don't have a verb to mess around with, so the lines are slightly different when translated. Line 13: A very straightforward line - the only point of any note is that an can mean "only" as well as "but". (As it can in English "he was but a child.") Line 14: I inserted a "to" before "every" to make the line a little more balanced. "Individual" is simply "one", or eth. "Every" is oten translated as hrair in Naylte Hyao, but in NÉ you don't get that choice, and hraeth it is. Line 15: "Owl" in Lapine is "night-hawk". That's nildeléao, then. Of course, the Lapine words are (except for hombil) longer than their English equivalents, so the line was in danger of overbalancing the whole poem. The way I got around that was to remove the two occurrences of "to", and replance them by commas. Line 16: The final line of a poem, like the title, always needs a good deal of thought, and I tried several possibilities here. After careful consideration, I decided that I would turn the English order about - rather than say "everything belongs in their devotion", I would render it as "their devotion owns everything". That's a less attractive line than the original in English, but much better in Lapine - one of the things that makes translation so difficult is the need to appreciate the cultural differences involved as well as the merely linguistic. And it means we get to use lots of vowels again - in this case, koie! Note that the line could be read as "everything owns their devotion" - from context, it's clear that it doesn't mean this, but I found the slight air of uncertainty a rather attractive note on which to end. So, having done all that, we now have a complete Lapine poem, ready to be published. And here it is:
Bralusi [LISTEN] Émaril nahl voir vao etha, Hrayai Jeptum a Harrow usi, Rul nos bralusi mai. Laythai u roolil hlalthai'i Rahathai u sithile. Laythe bralusi rul nos Nahl zyhl. Koiai Jeptum a Harrow U hlafalt il u losnos. Ulé nahl Frith, Um layth. Bralusi rul nos, Nahl an il etha, An il eth hraeth anisth. Nildeléaoil, silisil, hombil: Koie hraeth u bralusi mai. Devotion copyright © Whitney Nellé 2003.
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