Common Mistakes

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Here are a few mistakes commonly made by beginning Na'vi learners.

Noun Cases

Example: Oe-yä-ri ikran tse'a nga
Attempted meaning: My ikran sees you.
Correct: Oe-yä ikran-ìl tse'a nga-ti

If you find yourself wanting to stack up more than one noun case, then you need to rethink what the noun cases mean. In this example sentence, there are two things wrong.

  • The suffixes on oe. Either -ri (About me; Ikran sees you) or -yä (My ikran sees you) would work in this case, but not both.
  • The lack of suffixes on the nouns. Na'vi has free word order. Whereas English sentences are usually subject-verb-object (SVO) and Japanese sentences are usually subject-object-verb (SOV), the words in Na'vi sentences can be in any order. Subjects and objects are distinguished by using suffixes, not by which comes first. The example sentence has no suffixes on the nouns, so there's no way to know whether the ikran sees you or you see the ikran. For a transitive verb like "see", you need the ergative (subject) marker and accusitive (object) marker, "-l" and "-t" respectively.

Example: Nga-l t<ay>erkup
Attempted meaning: You will die.
Correct: Nga t<ay>erkup

The ergative and accusative only work for transitive verbs. "Die" is, however, intransitive. Na'vi is a tripartate language. In layman's terms, that means the subject and object of a transitive verb are indicated differently than the subject of an intransitive verb. Note: Just because you only use one noun in a sentence does not make the verb transitive. If you want to say "I see" (as in "Look over there, see the Ikran?" "Yes, I see.") you would still make it Oe-l tsa'e.