Kaltxì nìmun, ma oeyä eylan.
Here’s the third and final part of the conversational material. Ideally I’d space all of this out a bit more, but I wanted to make sure the people would have it who are participating in the Na’vi workshop up in northern California this weekend.
Thanks to everyone for the supportive comments and great questions! Sorry I haven’t yet been able to answer them all.
By the way, if anyone lives in or close to Tulsa, Oklahoma and is free the evening of Thursday, October 7, I’m speaking at the Oklahoma Conference in the Humanities, and it’s open to the public free of charge. Za’u kaltxì si ko!
(If you’re wondering about that structure: Two verbs back-to-back without a conjunction indicates that they’re performed in sequence: come and (then) say hello.)
MORE ON BASIC INFORMATION
To ask someone’s identity (in person, on the phone, etc.):
31. Hi. Who are you? OR Who is this (that I’m speaking to)?
Kaltxì. Ngenga lu tupe / pesu?
This is one place where the honoric form of the pronoun is standard. Nga lu tupe? could be heard as aggressive and challenging; to make it clear the questioner is being friendly, the honorific is used. The response, however, reverts back to the ordinary pronouns: Oe lu Txewì.
As in many earth languages (although not English), to ask someone’s name you don’t normally say the literal equivalent of “What is your name?” In Na’vi that would be Ngari tstxo lu pelì’u? It’s not wrong, but there’s a more idiomatic way to ask the question:
32. What’s your name:
Fyape fko syaw ngar?
Literally, this is, of course, “How does one call you?” or “How do they call you?” The answer is:
33. My name is Txewì.
Oeru syaw (fko) Txewì.
Getting back to age, if someone has asked you how old you are and you’re having trouble calculating it in octal, you can buy a little time with an expression that’s useful in lots of situations:
34. Just a tiny moment. I’m thinking.
’Awa swawtsyìp. Oe fperìl.
It would be a good idea, though, to have that number pre-calculated, since you don’t want people to think you’re not sure of your age. 😉 (Grammar: If you’re wondering why there’s no case marking on swawtsyìp, it’s because the phrase is short for ’Awa swawtsyìp livu oer rather than ’Awa swawtsyìpit tìng oer.)
I’m indebted to Prrton for the material in this section, which I think is particularly rich.
35. Who do you typically hang out with / spend time with?
Nga pesuhu käteng nìtrrtrr?
- käteng [k••äteng] vi. ‘spend time with, hang out with.’ No implication of dating or romance—simply passing time with friends.
The next example introduces the important intransitive verb ’ìn, which is not only used by itself but also has many derivatives. (We already met one of them, kan’ìn, in Part 1.) ’Ìn means ‘be busy, be occupied’ and is neutral with respect to emotional impact. See below for derivatives of ’ìn that are slanted positively or negatively.
36. What’s been keeping you busy lately?
’Ìn nga fyape nìfkrr?
Literally, “In what way are you busy lately?”
Some derivatives of ’ìn:
- sulìn [s•ul•ìn] vi. ‘be busy (positive sense): be engrossed in something one finds especially pleasant and energizing’
37. He is overly engrossed in his music (and I’m displeased about it).
Pamtseori po sulängìn nìhawng.
- vrrìn [v•rr•ìn] vi. ‘be busy (negative sense): be tired out and overwhelmed by an activity that’s keeping one busy’
38. I was completely swamped (overwhelmed) at work.
Tìkangkemìri varmrrìn oe nìwotx.
39. His work is still completely overwhelming him (and I’m glad).
Peyä tìkangkemìl mi veykrreiyìn pot nìwotx.
- tìk’ìn n. ‘free time, the absence of ’ìn’
40. What do you do in your free time?
Tìk’ìnìri kempe si nga?
- säsulìn n. ‘hobby, pleasure-yielding activity’
41. I practice my hobby, which is archery.
Oe tskxekeng si säsulìnur alu tsko swizaw.
To express the idea of fun, we use the adjective ’o’ ‘bringing fun, exciting’ and its derivatives.
42. Sports are great fun.
Ayuvan letokx ’o’ lu nìtxan.
Some derivatives of ’o’:
- tì’o’ n. ‘fun, excitement’
43. What is your favorite way to have fun?
Tì’o’ìri peu sunu ngar frato?
- nì’o’, adv. ‘ ‘funly,’ in a manner that is very enjoyable’’
44. Studying Na’vi is a ton of fun for me.
Ftia oel lì’fyati leNa’vi nì’o’ nìwotx!
Finally, to say you’re good or bad at something, use the respective transitive verbs fnan ‘be good at’ and wätx ‘be bad at’:
45. Are you good at Na’vi?
Srake fnan ngal lì’fyati leNa’vi?
46. No, I totally suck at it, but I still love it to death.
Kehe. Slä hufwa oel (tsat) wätx nì’aw, tsalsungay yawne lu oer nìwotx!
Sìlpey oe, zaya’u trro a tsun awnga nìwotx pivlltxe san fnan oel nìngay lì’fyat leNa’vi sìk!
Kìyevame, ma eylan.