If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing.
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
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
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
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.
Copyright © David "Loganberry" Buttery 2004. Updated 06/05/04.