Paul Frommer (born September 17, 1944) is the creator of the Na'vi language, as spoken by the Na'vi people in the movie Avatar. He has a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Southern California (USC), where he is currently a Professor of Clinical Management Communication.
Development of Na'vi
Frommer is the co-author (with Edward Finegan) of Looking at Languages, a linguistics workbook covering elements from thirty different languages. When James Cameron began looking for someone to develop the alien language for Avatar, his production company contacted the USC linguistics department. Finegan, a Professor of Law and Linguistics at USC, thought that the project would interest Frommer and forwarded the request on to him. Frommer at that point had already created (but not developed) an artificial language as a linguistics exercise. When Frommer met with Cameron, he offered the director sample sounds from three possible alien languages: one with rising and falling tones, one with varying vowel lengths, and one with ejectives. Cameron liked the sound of the ejectives, and at the end of their ninety-minute meeting, Cameron hired Frommer to create the language we now know as Na'vi.
Frommer is only fluent in English, but is familiar with at least fifteen languages to varying degrees, of which Persian is his best. He spent a year in Iran in the mid 1970s, and his dissertation is on Persian grammar.
Since June 2010 Frommer has his own blog about the Na'vi language: Na'viteri.org.
Future of the Na'vi Language
Frommer is working on a Na'vi compendium and hopes to turn it in to Fox (the studio behind Avatar) "soon". He has said "If Na’vi ever developed into something like that [a language as widely-adopted as Klingon], that’d be quite a thrill."
(To Do: Mine interviews and articles listed at Resources for other interesting and relevant information to go here)
(Note: Paul Frommer's Wikipedia page has general biographical information; this page is for information specifically of interest to people learning the Na'vi language, information which may not be relevant or appropriate for Wikipedia.)