Some Miscellaneous Vocabulary

Here’s the next vocabulary installment, making heavy use of the excellent proposals of the Vocabulary Committee. (Most of the examples and much of the discussion below is taken, with only light editing, from their submissions.)

may’ (vtr.) ‘try, sample, evaluate, check out, test-drive’

[I was impressed with the detailed explanation of this verb provided by the Committee, so the following discussion is theirs, virtually verbatim.]

The verb may’ is used to mean ‘try, taste, sniff, glance’—basically, to quickly or briefly sample something, for any of the senses. [The “Senses Paradigm” is coming in a future post.]

In addition, may’ extends beyond the sensory meaning to also include ‘check out, sample, evaluate, try on, test-drive.’ One could may’ a new bow, an article of clothing, an unfamiliar pa’li, a just-learned dance move . . . In general, it can be used for English ‘try’ when it’s not a synonym for ‘attempt.’  The admonition Mivay’ or May’ ko conveys the notion of “Give it a try!” or “Have a go!”

Also, may’ can be used modally, but how it differs from fmi in this usage requires a little explanation.  Fmi specifically means ‘attempt,’ so you’re trying to perform the action in question.  May’ refers more to trying/sampling the experience of that action.  Compare these two sentences in English:

A. I tried to go to the doctor.
B. I tried going to the doctor.

A suggests you attempted to go to the doctor, but something kept you from succeeding—you got lost, there was traffic, etc.

I tried to go to the doctor [but I couldn’t find her office].

B suggests you did go to the doctor, but it didn’t help with whatever you were trying to accomplish.

I tried going to the doctor [but she doesn’t know what’s wrong with me].

So compare these two sentences in Na’vi:

Fmi mivakto pa’lit!
‘Try to ride a direhorse! (I bet you can do it!)’

May’ mivakto pa’lit!
Try riding a direhorse! (Maybe you’ll like it more than riding a banshee.)’

Win and lose

yora’ (vtr., yo.RA’ – inf. 1,2) ‘win’

snaytx (vtr.) ‘lose’

Yìmora’ Tsu’teyìl uvanit.
‘Tsu’tey just won the game.’

Ayoe snolaytx fìtrr taluna oel rumit tolungzup.
‘We lost today because I dropped the ball.’



tìyora’ (n.) ‘victory, a win’

tìsnaytx (n.) ‘loss’

Note: Don’t confuse tatep and snaytx. They both mean ‘lose,’ but tatep is lose in the sense of ‘have no longer.’

Tìkan tawnatep!
‘Target lost!’ (Line from one of the video games.)

’otxang (n.: ’o.TXANG) ‘musical instrument (generic term)’

Pam fì’otxangä sunu oer nìngay.
‘I really like the sound of this instrument.’

For the general idea of ‘play an instrument,’ we just use pamtseo si fa ’otxang:

Peotxangfa nga pamtseo si?
‘What instrument do you play?’

Pamtseo si fa i’en.
‘I play the i’en.’

skxir (n.) ‘wound’

Oeri skxir a mì syokx tìsraw sengi.
‘The wound on my hand hurts.’

Zene nga yivur pxìm fìskxirit.
‘You must clean the wound frequently.’


leskxir (adj.) ‘wounded ‘

skxir si (vin.) ‘wound ‘

skxirtsyìp (n.) ‘cut, bruise, minor wound’

Taronyu yerikur skxir soli.
‘The hunter wounded the hexapede.’

sloan (vtr., slo.AN – inf. 1,2) ‘pour’

Rutxe slivoan ngal payit oefpi; ’efu väng nìtxan.
‘Please pour me some water; I’m very thirsty.’


emrey (vin., em.REY – inf. 2,2) ‘survive (a life-threatening episode)’

Tsawla palulukanìl oeti ’ìlmeko a krr, Nawma Sa’nok lrrtok seiyi ulte oe emroley.
‘The Great Mother was looking after me when the big thanator attacked and I’ve survived.’


temrey (n.)  ‘survival (in the face of danger)’

lemrey (adj.) ‘surviving (e.g. of entities from a group some of whom have died)’

nemrey (adv.) ‘in a fashion as if one’s life were at stake’

Fwampopä temrey tsatsengmì ngäzìk lu nìwotx.
‘It’s very hard for a tapirus to survive there.’

(If you don’t know what a tapirus is, take a look at this.)

Maw fwa fkol Kelutralit skola’a, lemreya hapxìtul tsasoaiä* txolula mipa kelkuti mì tayo.
‘After Hometree was destroyed, the surviving members of that family built a new home on the plains.’

*The genitive of nouns ending in –ia is just –iä: soaia, Gen. soaiä.

Note that nemrey can be an expression all by itself:

A. Sawtute pìyähängem! Tul ko!
‘The Skypeople are about to arrive!  Run!’

B. *yawn* Kempe leren?
‘What’s happening?’

A. *growl* Nemfa na’rìng, ma skxawngtsyìp! Kä li!
‘Into the forest, you moron [whom I still like anyway]!  Get going!’

B. Slä . . .
But . . .’

‘LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT!!! (Run for your life!)’

wawe (n., wa.WE) ‘meaning, importance, significance’

Both ral and wawe mean ‘meaning,’ but they’re different. Ral refers to meaning in the logical or literal sense:

Ralit faylì’uä oel ke tslivam.
‘I don’t understand the meaning of these words. (I can’t translate the sentence.)’

Wawe, on the other hand, refers to meaning or significance more related to an emotional state:

Waweti faylì’uä oel ke tslivam.
‘I don’t understand the meaning of these words. (I don’t see why they’re significant.)’


Ngari wawe fìvurä lu ’upe?
‘What is the significance of this story to you?’

Waweti ke tsun fko ralpiveng.
‘One can’t explain (or: put into words) wawe.’


txanwawe (adj., txan.wa.WE) ‘personally meaningful, significant’

Nari si!  Tsatsko lu spuwin ulte ke lu mi txur, slä oeri txanwawe leiu. Lu stxeli a sempulta.
‘Careful!  That bow is old and no longer strong, but it means a lot to me.  It was a gift from my father.’

nìwawe (adv.) ‘meaningfully, significantly’

Tsatxon ayutraläo krr a pol oeti nolìn nìwawe, olomeium oel fa keyrel futa lu yawne oe poru.
‘That night beneath the trees when she looked at me meaningfully, I knew by the expression on her face that she loves me.’

keyrel (n., KEY.rel) ‘facial expression’

Nìfrakrr ma oeyä eylan, txo kxeyeyti ayngal tsive’a, rutxe oeru piveng!


Edit 28 Feb. 2014: hapxitu –> hapxitul   Irayo, ma Plumps!

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13 Responses to Some Miscellaneous Vocabulary

  1. Sxkxawng says:

    Tewti, more words 😀

    Tsa’u oeru teya seiyi nìtxan, and makes the language look more intelligent 😀

    Kop, the -ia having an -iä genitive form is totally new, but at the same time it totally makes sense (after all, how stable is iyä?). This means only 2 vowels still have -yä: e and ì.

  2. MikkoWilson says:

    Oel snaytx tsa’u uvan.


    Irayo ma Paul.

    – Mikko

  3. Prrton says:

    Txantsana tìstarsìm aylì’uä amip! Oeri tsalì’u alu may’ lu lor lesarsì nìpxi, slä frapum sunu oeru nìwawe nìtxan. Nìsung, ätxäle si oe pivawm… Hama fìlì’fyaviri oel mìlmay’ futa sung tsatstxolì’uvit alu fra- tsalì’ur alu pum fte slivu frapum, ulte new ätxäle sivi tsnì ftxey tsun tsafya tivam fuke a tsari fko law sivi frapor. Fìlì’uri alu *frapum, fa fwa sar fìfya, ral tseyä slu yey eyawrsì nìtam srak? Rutxe kivar nìprrte’, ma Karyu.

    Faylì’uri seiyi irayo nìwotx, ulte tì’eyngìri suyi irayo nìli nìteng! 🙂

  4. SGM (Plumps) says:

    Irayo ma Karyu,

    tsaylì’u lu lesar nìtxan nìngay!

    Personally, I find skxir mì syokx very interesting. The use of prepositions in languages is a field worth studying in itself, isn’t it? 🙂 In German one says „eine Wunde an der Hand“ (lit.: at the hand).
    Does this count for all body parts in Na’vi? skxir mì hinamtil, skxir mì tìm 😀 ?
    Is there then a difference between ‘a stone in the hand’ and ‘a stone on (top of) the hand’?

    Nìfrakrr, ngengaru irayo nìtxan

  5. Tirea Aean says:

    Oel snìmaytx uvanit.

  6. Tswusayona Tsamsiyu says:

    ohe ngengaru irayo seiyi ma karyu. 🙂
    tsole’a faylì’uti a krr, keyrel oeyä lolatem. faylì’uti mayeiay’.
    nìmun irayo ulte Eywa ngahu frakrr fratsengsì.

  7. Kamean says:

    Irayo ma Karyu! 🙂

    Mipa aylì’u leiu txantsan sì lesar. Sunu oer nìwotx, nìpxi may’/fmi.

    Nawma Sa’nokìl lrrtok siveiyi ngaru ulte tivìng lefpomtokxit nìtxan!

  8. 'Eveng says:

    Irayo ma Karyu iläfipo! Ngengaru lu ‘aw karyu lefpom!! 😀

  9. 'Eveng says:

    Kempe ‘otxang fko i’en lu?
    Ohe ngengaru irayo seiyi ma Karyu Pawl! 😀
    Eywal nong ayngeyä unilit!
    Greetings from Italy!

  10. SGM (Plumps) says:

    It’s been a long time but I just noticed that … lemreya hapxìtu tsasoaiä txolula mipa kelkuti mì tayo. should be hapxìtul because txula is transitive, kefyak?

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