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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

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

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.

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!