Canon/2018

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The Na'vi language canon is the complete collection of information about the Na'vi language provided by authoritative sources, namely Paul Frommer and the creators of Avatar (James Cameron and Twentieth Century Fox).

The canon comprises two things:

  • words and phrases spoken or written in Na'vi
  • descriptions of the linguistic elements of Na'vi such as orthography, morphology, syntax, and grammar

The Na'vi words and phrases from canonical sources are presented or linked to on the Corpus page (where copyright allows). Documentation, explanation, and analysis of Na'vi linguistics are presented on other Learn Na'vi wiki pages (Phonology, Morphology, Grammar, etc.). This page serves to document the canonical sources themselves. The majority of the examples on this page come from email correspondances with Frommer.



This page includes information from the year 2018. To access past information please see:

sì vs ulte, ka ya vs mì ya, sneyä

Reported by Plumps in this forum post, Jan 23, 2018.

Kaltxì ma frapo,

maybe this is not news for you but I thought I’d let you know. For the German study group last week I wrote a short story for listening comprehension that contained the sentence (as I wrote it):

*Sunu poru syulang sì mauti ulte fwa tswayon yaka.

with the intended meaning “he (i.e. a bird) likes flowers, fruits and to fly through the air.”

There was a discussion about how to say “through the air” and — more importantly — whether ulte was correct here. I had the chance to ask K. Pawl about it and he responded:

Quote

So let me answer your Na’vi questions:
First, I like ka ya better than mì ya. Maybe it’s a bias from English, I don’t know, but flying through the air sounds more appropriate than flying in the air. I guess ka ya is actually “across the air,” but that’s OK too.
As for your other question, I would use in that situation, not ulte.
The thing is it’s really a list of parallel items … flowers, fruit, flying through the air. That is, they’re all noun phrases (the first two of which are the simplest possible noun phrases: just a noun). So they should be tied together with sì. In English, for example, if you say “I like X,” whatever X is is a noun phrase.
Or think of it this way: You have three nouns in parallel: syulang, mauti, fì’u. The last one happens to have a modifying clause attached to it:
fì’u [a tswayon ka ya] = fwa tswayon yaka.
Does that make sense?

sneyä vs. peyä

This is about the sentence from the Disney World of Pandora Pamphlet and the sentence

Rä’ä fmivi kxu sivi ayioangur fu helkur feyä

where I thought it would be a case for sneyä because I interprated it as “his/her/their own” regardless of position in a sentence (and I’ve noticed a lot of learners doing this as well).

K. Pawl clarified:

I think feyä is better in that sentence than sneyä. I'd like to reserve sneyä for cases where a 3rd-person subject (sg. or pl.) interacts with its own possessive, if that makes sense. So this eliminates an ambiguity that can arise in English (and German too?): If I say, "Mark painted his house," I don't know if Mark painted someone else's house (maybe John's house), or if Mark painted his own house. But this ambiguity doesn't arise in Na'vi, since in the first case you use peyä and in the second sneyä. However, that's not what's going on in this sentence, I don't think, since it's an imperative sentence ("Don't harm . . . ") where the (unexpressed) subject is not 3rd person but 2nd (i.e., nga).

Location of the vocative

Reported by wm.annis in this forum post, Feb 26, 2018.

Some of this was guessable from evidence, but it's nice to have confirmation.

When you have a polar question ending in srak, can it
be followed by a vocative, or would the vocative be
before the srak?
Ngaru lu fpom srak, ma <name>? (etc.)
My guess is that's just fine, given how vocatives are, but
some would appreciate an official declaration.
And then there's:
1. Ma <name>, nga plltxe nìltsan.
2. Nga, ma <name>, plltxe nìltsan.
3. Nga plltxe, ma <name> nìltsan.
That is, can a vocative intrude anywhere, as a stylistic
thing?

Paul's reply:

Answers are: yes, yes, yes, and yes. All those forms are fine. Vocatives SHOULD follow srak, but 1, 2, and 3 are fine.