Kaltxì nìmun, ma oeyä eylan—
After an unexpectedly busy month, I’m happy to be back to present and discuss more of the excellent suggestions of the vocabulary committee. The members have now given me a lot of food for thought; in the next few weeks I’ll dish out as many choice helpings as I can.
Weather expressions, continued
A. Air and Sky: “steady states”
Na’vi distinguishes between weather states you can feel and those you can see. For the former, we use the frame Ya lu ______ (you feel the air), for the latter Taw lu ______ (you see the sky).
In particular, temperature:
somwew (n.: som.WEW) ‘temperature’
(Compare hìmtxan ‘amount,’ holpxay ‘number,’ tsawlhì’ ‘size,’ ngimpup* ‘length.’ Note, by the way, that the stress is on the second syllable in each case.)
*pup (adj.) ‘short (physical length)’
*ngimpup (n.: ngim.PUP) ‘length’
pesomwew/somwewpe ‘what temperature?’ (The second variant here is the more common one: som.WEW.pe.)
To ask the temperature, you simply say:
‘What’s the temperature?’
Note that you can ask the temperature of things other than the air:
‘What’s the temperature of the water?’ (perhaps asked before swimming)
The answer to Yari somwewpe is, as I mentioned, Ya lu ______. Here are some temperature words that can fill the blank, from very cold to very hot. Some of these adjectives are new; some you’re already familiar with.
txawew (TXA.wew) ‘very cold’
wur ‘cool, a bit chilly’
tsyafe ( TSYA.fe) ‘mild, moderate, comfortable’
txasom (TXA.som) ‘very hot’
For the appearance of the sky, the question is:
Tawri fyape (or: pefya)?
‘What’s the sky like?’
The answer is, Taw lu ______. Adjectives that can go in this blank include:
leyapay (le.YA.pay) ‘foggy, misty’
lepwopx (lep.WOPX) ‘cloudy’
lepwopx nìhol ‘lightly cloudy, just a few clouds’
lepwopx nìpxay ‘heavily cloud-covered, many clouds’
piak ‘no clouds, completely clear’ (This is also the ordinary word for ‘open.’)
tstu ‘completely overcast, covered with clouds’ (This is also the ordinary word for ‘closed.’)
The word for ‘humid’ deserves some comment:
paynga’ (adj.: PAY.nga’) ‘moist, damp, humid’
In this compound, the second component is the transitive verb nga’ ‘contain’:
Na’rìngìl nga’ pxaya ioangit.
‘The forest contains many animals.’
Here, however, nga’ is acting as a derivational suffix, one that turns a noun into a related adjective with the rough meaning, ‘containing the noun.’ Examples:
paynga’ (PAY.nga’) ‘containing water’ = ‘moist, damp, humid’
meuianga’ (me.U.i.a.nga’) ‘containing honor’ = ‘honorable’
txumnga’ (TXUM.nga’) ‘containing poison’ = ‘poisonous’
Note that as an adjective former, -nga’ is less common than le-. It is not freely productive, which is to say you can’t simply coin your own –nga’ words at will: you need to find them in the dictionary. And on occasion the le- and –nga’ forms exist side by side with slightly different meanings. For example:
’akra (n.: ’AK.ra) ‘soil (in which plants can grow)’
’akra apaynga’ ‘moist soil’
’akra lepay ‘watery, saturated soil’
Na’vi uses tìran ‘walk’ and tul ‘run’ with hufwe ‘wind’ to indicate the degree of windiness:
‘It’s breezy (but pleasantly so).’
Hufwetsyìp lefpom tarmìran.
‘A pleasant little breeze was blowing.’
Tul hufwe nìwin.
‘It’s very windy.’
There’s still more to be said about the weather, but that will have to wait for another time.
Some miscellaneous vocabulary
Three useful adverbs:
nìli ‘in advance’
nìfrakrr (nì.FRA.krr) ‘as always’
Poan yawne latsu poeru nìlam.
‘Apparently she loves him.’
Ngeyä stxeliri alor oe new ngaru pivlltxe san irayo sìk nìli. Ke lu oer am’a*, tsa’u polähem a krr, sunu oeru nìtxan.
‘I want to thank you in advance for your beautiful gift. I have no doubt that when it arrives, I’m going to enjoy it very much.’
*am’a (n.: am.’A) ‘doubt’
Nìfrakrr fol ’olem a wutso ftxìvä’ lu nìngay.
‘As always, the dinner they cooked tasted really terrible.’
There’s much more to come, but for now I’ll just say hayalovay.