User:Erimeyz/Beginners' Guide: Lesson Four - Simple Sentences

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Revision as of 14:01, 30 January 2010 by Erimeyz (talk | contribs) (Some potential vocab words)
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Note: This beginner's guide is a work in progress. There is still a lot to be done before it gets released. Feedback from everyone is welcome, including from beginners and experienced Na'vi learners. Please add your comments on the Beginners' Guide talk page, or post to one of the Beginners' Guide threads on the Learn Na'vi forum (such as the Letters and Sounds thread), or send a forum PM to Erimeyz.

Learning to say "Hello" and "Goodbye" and that bit about demons is all well and good, but to learn Na'vi you'll have to move beyond memorizing phrases from the tourists' guide. You'll have to learn what the actual words mean, and you'll have to learn how to put them together into meaningful sentences of your own. And you'll start doing that in this lesson, right now.

Britannia Est Insula

[To teach: copulas, free word order, lack of articles, a handful of nouns and adjectives]

Here is your first Na'vi sentence:

Ikran lu apxa.

Ikran is the Na'vi word for the winged animal that the Na'vi bond with and ride. Humans biologists have named them banshees, but in this guide we'll simply use the word "ikran". Lu is the Na'vi word for is, or more generally the verb to be (including am and are). And apxa (note the ejective!) means large. So the sentence above means "The ikran is large." Pretty simple, right?

The following sentences also mean "The ikran is large":

Apxa lu ikran.
Ikran apxa lu.
Lu apxa ikran.

In fact, no matter how you arrange those three words into a sentence, it still means "The ikran is large." This demonstrates one of the most interesting features of Na'vi: it has free word order. In simple sentences like these the words can be arranged in any order without changing the meaning of the sentence.

This is not the case in English. The ikran is large is a statement, Is the ikran large is a question, The ikran large is is ungrammatical nonsense, and Large the ikran is is from a different movie. But in Na'vi, any combination of those words is grammatical and they all have the same meaning.


Neytiri A Na'vi woman's name
Tsu'tey A Na'vi man's name
ikran banshee
tawtute human
skxawng moron
taronyu hunter
tsamsiyu warrior
uniltìranyu dreamwalker (avatar pilot)
vrrtep demon
'itan son
'ite daughter
eyktan leader
karyu teacher
'eylan friend
toktor doctor (human scientist)
txur strong
mawey calm
txen awake
sevin pretty
pxan worthy
alaksì ready

[More to come...]

Go on to Lesson Five.