Today’s post provides some new vocabulary, mostly from the A-priority list of the LEP (Lexical Expansion Project), along with a few usage notes.
In the abbreviations indicating parts of speech, VT and VI refer to transitive and intransitive verbs respectively. As you know, transitive verbs are the ones that take objects; with these, the subject is in the agentive or ergative case (L-family endings) and the object is in the objective or patientive case (T-family endings): Oel ngati kameie. Intransitive verbs don’t take objects, and their subjects are unmarked: Po herahaw.
For verbs of more than one syllable, I’ve used the excellent notation I discovered on learnnavi.org (●) to indicate where the first- and second-position infixes are inserted.
|’a’aw||ADJ||‘several, a few’|
|alu||CONJ||‘that is, in other words; used for apposition’|
|fyeyn||ADJ||‘ripe, mature, adult’|
|– fyeyntu||N||‘adult person’|
|– tìfyeyn||N||‘ripeness, maturity, full fruition’|
|hek||VI||‘be curious, odd, strange, unexpected’|
|– nìhek||ADV||‘oddly, strangely’|
|ki||CONJ||‘but rather, but instead’|
|lìng||VI||‘float in the air, hover’|
|– ayRam aLusìng: ‘the Floating Mountains’|
|– muntxatan||N||‘husband, male spouse’|
|– muntxate||N||‘wife, female spouse’|
|newomum||VI||‘be curious (want to know)’ [n●●ewomum]|
|– tìngäzìk||N||‘difficulty, problem’|
|nìsung||ADV||‘besides, additionally, furthermore’|
|Rolun!||CONV||‘Eureka! I found it!’|
|smar||N||‘prey, thing hunted’|
|starsìm||VT||‘gather, collect’ [st●ars●ìm]|
|sunu||VI||‘be pleasing or likeable, bring enjoyment’ [s●un●u]|
|– nìsyayvi||ADV||‘by chance or coincidence’|
|Tolel!||CONV||‘Eureka! I got it! I understand!’|
|zo||VI||‘be well, be intact, be as it should be, work correctly or as nature intended’|
|– zoslu||VI||‘heal, become well, get fixed’ [zosl●●u]|
|– zeyko||VT||‘heal, fix’ [zeyk●●o]|
|– frawzo||CONV||‘All is well; everything is fine or OK’|
Used only with countable nouns (people, plants, rocks, days, ideas, . . . ), not with uncountables (water, air, time, patience, anger, . . . ). Like numbers, ’a’aw is used with the singular of the noun. Example:
Lu poru ’a’awa ’eylan. OR Lu poru ’eylan a’a’aw. ‘He has several friends.’
(These are good sentences for practicing your glottal stops!)
Don’t confuse ’a’aw ‘several, a few’ with hol ‘(only a) few, not many’:
Oel tse’a ’a’awa tutet. ‘I see several people.’
Oel tse’a hola tutet. ‘I see only a few people.’
Note that pxay ‘many’ is exceptional in that it can be used with either singular or plural nouns: pxaya tute and pxaya sute are both allowable. The form with the singular is appropriate for all contexts, while the one with the plural is mainly used colloquially.
’OKROL and ’OKVUR
’Okrol refers to the ancient tribal history of the Na’vi contained in the First Songs; ’okvur relates to more recent events, e.g. oeyä soaiayä ’okvur ‘my family’s history’ or ’okvur Sawtuteyä mì Eywa’eveng ‘the history of the Sky People on Pandora.’
Used mainly for nouns or noun phrases in apposition—e.g. ‘my friend Amhul,’ ‘Eytukan, leader of the Omaticaya,’ ‘Eywa, the Great Mother,’ etc. It comes from a + lu, with a fusing of the two words into one and a change in stress to the first syllable. Example:
Tskalepit oel tolìng oeyä tsmukanur alu Ìstaw. ‘I gave the crossbow to my brother Istaw.’
You can also use alu conversationally as an “explainer,” in the sense of “that is to say” or “in other words”:
Txoa livu, yawne lu oer Sorewn . . . alu . . . ke tsun oeng muntxa slivu. ‘Sorry, but I love Sorewn . . . in other words, you and I cannot marry.’
HAWNGKRR and YE’KRR
These are adverbs, not adjectives:
Hawngkrr rä’ä ziva’u! ‘Don’t come late!’
If you need the adjectives, they’re lehawngkrr and leye’krr: tìpähem leye’krr ‘an early arrival’
This verb conveys the idea of something appearing odd, strange, unexpected, or surprising.
Ngeyä säfpìl Sawtuteteri heiek oer nìtxan. ‘Your idea about the Sky People is very interesting to me (because it seems unusual).’ OR ‘I’m very curious (and delighted) about your idea regarding the Sky People.’
Note that nìhek is a sentence adverbial only, not a manner adverbial . . . alu . . . nìhek is ‘strangely’ in the sense of the speaker making a comment about the situation:
Nìhek fo nìNa’vi plltxe. ‘Strangely, they speak Na’vi.’
If on the other hand you want to say that someone does something in a strange manner, you’d use nìfya’o a hek, ‘in a way that’s strange’:
Fo nìNa’vi plltxe nìfya’o a hek. ‘They speak Na’vi strangely.’
Note the difference between the verb hek and the adjective stxong ‘strange, unfamiliar, unknown.’ Hek is used for something odd, unexpected, or puzzling but not necessarily bad. Stxong is stronger and usually has a negative connotation: it’s applied to something previously unknown or unimagined that appears threatening or dangerous. Example:
Larmu tsatsamsiyuhu tìvawm a lu stxong ayoer. ‘That warrior carried with him a darkness unknown to us.’
Don’t confuse slä and ki. Ki is ‘but’ in the sense of ‘not A but (rather) B.’ (Speakers of German will see the parallel with aber vs. sondern.) Ke and ki form a pair:
Nga plltxe ke nìfyeyntu ki nì’eveng. ‘You speak not like an adult but a child.’
RENG and TXUKX
These words primarily refer to physical depth: kilvan areng, kilvan atxukx. They can’t be applied to people: *tute areng makes no sense. But as in many languages, they are sometimes applied metaphorically to thoughts, ideas, analyses, etc.: e.g. aysäfpìl atxukx ‘deep thoughts.’
Rolun and tolel are conversational exclamations used for “Eureka!” moments. The difference is that Rolun! means you’ve found something, e.g. a lost object, the answer to a question, the solution to a problem, whereas Tolel! means you’ve had a flash of insight and now you “get it”—you’ve received knowledge or understanding.
This word appears in a famous Na’vi proverb:
Ätxäle si palulukanur tsnì smarit livonu. ‘Ask a thanator to release its prey.’ Refers to a futile gesture, an attempt to achieve something that might be desirable but will clearly not happen. In conversation it’s usually shortened to Ätxäle pa(lu)lukanur. (In fast speech, palulukan tends to simplify to palukan, which is acceptable in colloquial style.)
This important verb, which works similarly to Spanish gustar, is used to say you like something:
Sunu oeru teylu. ‘I like teylu.’ (Teylu sunu oeru is also possible.)
Sunu and prrte’ lu both mean that the speaker enjoys something. While sunu is ‘like’ in the general sense, prrte’ lu is generally deeper and more heartfelt; it’s often used in social situations, translating to “It’s a pleasure . . .”:
Furia tsolun oe ngahu pivängkxo, oeru prrte’ lu nìngay. ‘It was really a pleasure to be able to speak with you.’
[Digression: The prrte’ construction can be a bit confusing. Prrte’ is an adjective meaning ‘pleasurable,’ so an alternate way of saying the previous sentence is:
Fwa [fì’u a] tsolun oe ngahu pivängkxo oeru prrte’ lu nìngay. Literally: ‘The fact that I was able to speak with you is really pleasurable to me.’
The structure of the original sentences with furia is more like: ‘As for the fact that I was able to speak with you, (it) is really pleasurable to me.’ Either structure is acceptable.]
Mowan implies physical or sensual pleasure, and often has a sexual connotation:
Plltxe fko san ngaru lu mowan Txilte ulte poru nga. ‘I hear you like Txilte and vice versa.’
Mowan is also used slangily as a general term for ‘like’:
Tìtusaron mowan lu oer nìngay. ‘Hunting really turns me on.’
Syay by itself means ‘fate’ in the sense of one’s destiny—the arc of one’s life:
Tsakrr syay ayngeyä, syay olo’ä oeyä layu teng. ‘Then you will suffer the same fate as my clan.’
Syayvi refers to a “little piece of fate”—that is, chance or luck in a particular situation. For example, the expression for ‘Good luck!’ is Etrìpa syayvi!
Note that nìsyayvi means ‘by chance, by coincidence, as luck would have it’—it does not mean ‘luckily.’ For that you use netrìp.
This stative verb indicates that “all is well” with the subject—something or someone is functioning correctly. Both zo and lu fpom can mean the subject is well, but there’s a difference in usage. Fpom is a noun meaning ‘well-being, peace, happiness.’ Zo is a verb with a narrower scope, usually implying physical health. So contrast these two questions:
Ngaru lu fpom srak? ‘Are you well?’ (Are you experiencing a general sense of happiness and well-being?)
Nga zo srak? ‘Are you well?’ (Have you recovered from your illness? Are you OK after that nasty fall?)
Examples of the derivative verbs zoslu and zeyko:
Oeri nì’i’a tsyokx zoslolu. ‘My hand is finally healed.’
Eywal zeykivo ngat nìwin. ‘May Eywa heal you quickly.’
Frawzo is from fra’u + zo. Compounds with ’u often lose the glottal stop. Here the resulting au combination has changed into a diphthong as well.
Edit 17 July–Two errors corrected: nìhek classed as ADV; glottal stop added to ftxìvä’.