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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:

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

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?