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

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

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

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!