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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 dated April 2011 - December 2011. To access past information please see:

Kawtseng, tsapo and prefixes

Reported by Plumps, May 18, 2011 ([1]).

Ma frapo,
a few minor confirmations.
I asked Dr Frommer about his blessing for kawtseng ‘nowhere’ (with the expected double negation) and tsapo ‘that one’ (with the expected case endings). His reply:
Quote from: K. Pawl, 13 May
Kawtseng and tsapo are fine. Go ahead and announce them, and I’ll try to include them in some of my example sentences as well.
and regarding stress:
Quote from: K. Pawl, 18 May
It’s KAW.tseng and TSA.po.
Also, Inspirata’s question about how prefixes behave that ‘collide’ with the same vowel got me intrigued and I asked about that.
Quote from: K. Pawl, 18 May
As for your other question, the general rule is that when two identical vowels come together, they coalesce into one. So in your examples, the words become fìlva, tsatan, and fnekxan respectively. Of course if the noun begins with a glottal stop, this doesn’t happen. For example, ‘this spiral’ is fì’ìheyu.


Reported by Plumps, August 15 2011 (forum).

Ma frapo,

I asked Karyu Pawl about a confirmation on kurakx since I wanted to use it in a translation and realised that we still don’t know about its transitivity. It’s transitive, infixes 1,2 – no real surprise there … some of you might find the line from Eytukan, that didn’t make it into the movie more interesting though.

Quote from: K. Pawl, 15 Aug
The way you’re using kurakx is fine. Yes, it’s transitive. The infix positions are 1,2. It appeared in a line I translated for Eytukan:
You speak truth. We must understand these Sky People if we are to drive them out.
Nìngay plltxe nga. Ayoengal fte Faysawtutet kivurakx, zene nì’awve ayfot tslivam.

On a follow-up on this sentence, he commented:

Quote from: K. Pawl, 15 Aug
If I were translating it today I might say ayoengìri instead of ayoengal, but I think ayoengal is still OK.

Btw, my translated bit was kurakx ayukit sì sìngäzìkit.

Also, after the little radio play he wrote:

Quote from: K. Pawl, 10 Aug
Sìlpey oe, ’awa trr tsìyevun oe ne Toitsyìlantì [??--how have you been adapting Deutschland into Na’vi?] ziva’u fte ultxa sivi ayngahu nìwotx.

and liked our suggestion of Toitslan (TO.i.tslan) for Germany.

Quote from: K. Pawl, 15 Aug
I like Toitslan. Perfect. Please continue to use it.

Rangal with Tsnì

Reported by Tirea Aean, August 18 2011 (forum).

On Aug 18, 2011 2:25 PM, Paul Frommer wrote:
Kaltxì ma TA!
Rangal is intransitive, so Oe rangal tsnì is the better of the two. But if it's first person ("I wish that . . ."), the best way is just to use the adverb nìrangal.
Ngeyä 'upxaret oel toleiel. Irayo, ma 'eylan! Tì'eyngit fpasye' ye'rìn.
ta P.

Affective Obligation (zenke)

Reported by wm.anns, September 5 2011 (forum).

We know that the modal for "negative obligation" is zenke, as in nga zenke kivä you must not go (Canon#Zenke). It is pretty obviously derived from zene ke. But I was curious how to cope with the 2nd position infixes, since I was uncomfortable with the idea that the ke element would get an infix. So I asked. Here's what Pawl said about it,

Quote from: Karyu Pawl
Zenke. Interesting question. I went back and forth on this one. But since the word is clearly from original *zeneke, there would probably also have been a form *zenängeke with a second-position infix. This one too would evolve to lose the e by syncope:
That is: *zenängeke > zenängke. [Stress remains in the first syllable.]
In the same way: *zolenängeke > zolenängke, *zayeneieke > zayeneike, etc.

Note, however, that with the ceremonial ‹uy› and suppositional ‹ats› the e does not go away, since the resulting syllable would be illegal, so zolenuyeke and zolenatseke.

Topical Position

Reported by wm.annis, September 8 2011 (forum).

I asked him if my strong suspicion about the location of the topical was correct.

Quote from: Karyu Pawl
Ngaru tìyawr. The topical comes at the head of its clause. Poetic syntax, of course, is little indication of the rules for ordinary prose. "I thee wed" and a million other examples in English. ...
I see where the impulse comes from to free the topical from clause-initial position, because on occasion I've been tempted to do that myself. But I've (almost) always found ways around the problem that don't violate that restriction.

Txìng and Hum

Reported by Plumps, October 21 2011 (forum).

OK, about the words for 'leave':
Txìng is transitive: to leave or abandon something.
Hum is intransitive: to leave or depart. It can be used with ADPS like ftu, as you've indicated.
Here are some examples from the Avatar dialog in my files. (Not all the dialog I have made it into the movie.)
Leave the animals! Get outside! Run!
Txìng ayioangit! Hum ne wrrpa! Tul!
Leave animals (obj.) depart to outside run
We gotta get outta here.
Ftu fìtseng zene hivum.
from this-place must leave