WEAK AND STRONG
If you’ve read any information about Lakin and Lakinna, it is likely you are
a) confused beyond belief (or was that just me?)
b) familiar with the terms, ‘weak version’ and ‘strong version’
When writing the rules for Arabic grammar, someone decided that Lakin should be called the weak version of 'but', and Lakinna should be called the strong version of 'but'.
If someone can decide that, then I can decide to create a Hammock of Freedom. So I did. Figure 1.
LAKIN (لكن): WEAK
Naturally, the Hammock of Freedom is where Lakin spends most of his days. When he’s not obliged to be sat in a sentence.
Hammocking makes for a calm nervous system, but it doesn’t do a lot for building muscles. As you’d expect (and as it says in the heading of this paragraph), Lakin is weak. That’s just science. And we’re all about that.
Lakin lives for the long weekends and the holidays. The closest Lakin gets to exercising is incidental shavasana (yoga corpse pose) when the hammock is completely still.
LAKINNA (لكنَّ): STRONG
In contrast, Lakinna is more committed to sweating and muscle building. Lakinna actually considered being a yoga teacher before pursuing a life-long calling to be a contrasting particle. Despite following a different vocational path, Lakinna still practices yoga daily. And every Thursday he does 90 kettlebell swings.
Just to be sure we're all on the same page with spelling, let's look at the visual differences between the words Lakin and Lakinna.
Lakin has a sukoon resting on his end, which is a tiny circle that creates a signal to stop making sound. It is a reminder that there's no vowel sound following the ن. It's a very small stop sign. But it's round, not hexagonal. The sukoon turns into little boxes of does-not-compute on some browsers, so I've left it out to save people wading through reminders of improper rendering support. The sukoon is drawn on the image in figure 2.
Instead of a sukoon, Lakinna has a shadda (and usually a fatHa). A shadda is a little w.
While the sukoon is saying, 'shh! stop making noise now', the shadda (tiny w) is saying, 'repeat that sound, go again!'.
This tiny w acts as a double consonant. Akin to saying bookcase: the k sound stays in the mouth and is pronounced twice.
To remember the visual differences, it can be helpful to picture Lakinna with his arm outstretched being a shadda.
Lakin would have to move past his inherent laziness to raise his arms above his head, so there's unlikely to be any confusion.
INDEPENDENT AND DEPENDENT
LAKIN (لكن): INDEPENDENT
As you’d expect from a word with his out-of-office reply always turned on, Lakin isn’t the most reliable.
Lakin is a self-sufficient independent personality, but he’s not the word you’d ask to water your plants when you go away.
His independence seems like a strength, but in fact it makes Lakin emotionally weak. ‘Relationally challenged’, you could say. The master of the Irish Goodbye.
He is not very reliant on the clauses within a sentence, nor are the clauses reliant on him. When Lakin sits in a sentence, he sits between – and contrasts – two complete sentences.
If Lakin were to be removed, the two sentences either side would still make sense.
Example: clause 1 & 2
I have a giraffe, but I don't have a dolphin.
Example: clause 1
I have a giraffe.
This still counts as a sentence.
Example: clause 2
I don't have a dolphin.
Shocking. This also passes as a sentence by itself.
Lakin can also begin a sentence. Nothing says independent like introducing a new topic.
But who's interested in my giraffe anyway.
LAKINNA (لكنَّ): DEPENDENT
Lakinna is our strong (fig. 4, 5, & 6) and dependable version of 'but'. Lakinna isn’t off at the beach when you need to create a sentence. Lakinna’s strength can hold sentences together. That’s the power of planking.
When Lakinna plants himself in a sentence, the subject of the second clause develops a dependence on Lakinna to exist. Hang on, what? Let’s get our Mr Potato Head skills on and build a sentence together. Initially we start with the first clause – the first piece of information that tells us something. In this first clause there are two things going on. There is the explicit information: the words that are actually said out loud or written on paper. Then there is the implied information: the assumption that is created by the words that were said or written.
Example: clause 1
My giraffe has a neck
Explicit: the person speaking has a giraffe and the giraffe has a neck.
Implied: the giraffe's neck is probably long. It is probably yellow and brown. You may also assume this person is a bit odd, or a zookeeper.
After adding Lakinna, we introduce the second clause.
The second clause has one job in life: to deny the implied information and provide a replacement. Just when your brain has processed the first clause and built an assumption, the second clause comes along and says, ‘nope, replace that assumption with my information’. The explicit information remains untouched. MC Hammer style.
Example: clause 1 & 2
My giraffe has a neck, but it isn't very long.
Clause 1: My giraffe has a neck (nothing changes)
Clause 2: it isn't very long (denial of implied information).
Unlike Lakin, if Lakinna is removed and the sentence is split in half, the second clause can’t stand alone as a complete sentence. It would make no sense. The second clause needs the strength (and information) of Lakinna to lean on.
Example: sentence 1
My giraffe has a neck.
This sentence makes sense and is quite established. It could probably get its driving licence next month.
Example: sentence 2
It isn't very long.
This sentence doesn't make a lot of sense without context. What is it, and were we expecting it to be long? Is it referring to a thing or a period of time? Is it capable of understanding the concept of time? Is anyone?
WORDS THAT FOLLOW
Back to the Hammock of Freedom – the place where the chilled words hang out. Lakin, Mumkin, La Mushkela … etc
These words are pretty relaxed about the company they keep.
Can Lakin be followed by nouns? Sure. Verbs? No problem. Unattached pronouns? Absolutely.
What about attached pronouns? I’m afraid not. Lakin has great intentions, but he is simply too weak to support needy suffixes.
All dependent words are asked to line up behind Lakinna.
Lakinna is very supportive, but a little more selective. Lakinna can only be followed by nouns and attached pronouns. If we throw our minds back a few paragraphs, we’ll remember that Lakinna is deeply revered by the subject of the second clause. And a subject has to be a noun or pronoun. You can’t Myriam something. Or go for a leisurely Thermos.
Let’s talk about verbs for a minute.
Even though attached pronouns are attached (it’s all in the name) to Lakinna, they are still to be treated as words following Lakinna. Sooner or later in life, you will witness Lakinna with an attached pronoun, immediately followed by a verb.
You might shout, ‘Hark! There’s a verb following Lakinna – I thought that wasn’t allowed!’. To which I’d say, ‘pipe down. The verb isn’t technically following Lakinna, the attached pronoun is following Lakinna and the verb is following the attached pronoun following Lakinna’.
And depending on how ridiculous I’m feeling I might continue saying, 'the word after the verb after the attached pronoun after Lakinna is something something fish paste’.
All that to say get amongst the attached pronouns with Lakinna. It’s Lakinna’s job to herd the needy words, and attached pronouns are needy to the maximum.
As we’ve all gathered by now, Lakin isn’t exactly an active member of society (or the gym). Case is no exception to this observation. Lakin has no effect on case whatsoever. Lakin can enter a sentence and nobody is terribly bothered. All the words keep their case and everyone has a nice time.
Lakinna, on the other hand, causes mild disruption in the case department when joining a sentence. Any time Lakinna enters into a sentence, the subject following Lakinna starts fretting. Until this point, the subject is in the nominative case. As soon as Lakinna arrives, the subject becomes accusative.
Lakinna is a life-long member of The Sisterhood of Inna. Membership involves monthly meetings and the provision of a suitcase full of replacement fatHas to make words accusative. Lakinna makes it his personal mission to confiscate and replace dammas and double dammas. Essentially, the members of the sisterhoods are budding thieves. More on Lakinna’s hassling preferences and case changing techniques here.
Thankfully Lakkina’s strength leaves him unfazed by carrying around a suitcase filled with case changing equipment.
So while Lakin is the perfect word to take on those domestic flights with no baggage allowance, Lakinna is your companion on the road to case ending havoc.
No one wants this article to be any longer, so we’ll save Bal and Bainama for another day.
For the brain archives, Bal and Bainama also mean ‘but’. Because having two variations of but wasn’t complicated enough. Thanks Arabic.