Kaltxì nìmun, ma smuk. Sìlpey oe, ayngari nìwotx sngilvä’i zìsìt amip nìltsan nìtxan nì’aw.
I hope 2013 has gotten off to a fine start for all of you.
Here are a few new vocabulary items and some grammatical discussion as well. Thanks as always to the LEP for the competent and creative suggestions.
rengop (vtr., RE.ngop—inf. 2, 2) ‘design’
This verb is derived from renu ‘pattern’ + ngop ‘create.’
Ngeyä tsafkxilet tupel rengolop? Tì’efumì oeyä lor lu nìtxan. Tìng mikyun
Who designed that necklace of yours? I think it’s very beautiful.
tìrengop (n., tì.RE.ngop) ‘design (the act or art of designing)
Tìrengopìri ioiyä lu sempul peyä tsulfätu. Tìng mikyun
Her father is a master designer of ceremonial adornments.
särengop (n, sä.RE.ngop) ‘design (a particular instance of designing)’
Faysärengopit avä’ oeru rä’ä wìntxu nìmun, rutxe. Ke sunu oer keng nì’it. Tìng mikyun
‘Please don’t show me these ugly designs again. I don’t like them one bit.’
ingyen (n., ING.yen) ‘feeling of mystery or noncomprehension’
Lu oer ingyen a Ìstaw nim lu fìtxan kuma pxìm wäpan. Tìng mikyun
‘It’s a mystery to me why (or: I’m puzzled that) Ìstaw is so shy that he frequently hides.’
Note: The syntax here—that is, lu oer(u) ingyen a . . . —is comparable to lu oer sngum a ‘I’m worried that . . .’ and lu oer yayayr a ‘I’m confused that . . .’ All three nouns—sngum, yayayr, and ingyen—represent internal subjective states, that is, things you feel.
If, however, you want to talk about the things in the world that bring about these states, you use different forms of the words:
sngumtsim (n., SNGUM.tsim) ‘worrisome matter, source of worry’
yayayrtsim (n., ya.YAYR.tsim) ‘something confusing, source of confusion’
ingyentsim (n., ING.yen.tsim) ‘mystery, riddle, enigma, conundrum’
These N + tsim compounds, where the general meaning is ‘source of N,’ cannot be created freely—they have to be learned separately and entered in the dictionary. But if you encounter a tsim-compound you haven’t seen before, you should be able to guess its meaning pretty accurately.
With these forms, we have a second syntactic structure to express ideas like worry, confusion, and mystery:
These mean essentially the same thing. A literal translation of A into clumsy English would be, “I have a feeling of worry that he didn’t come.” B would be: “It’s a source of worry to me that he didn’t come.”
One advantage of the –tsim forms is that they allow you to make general statements without specifying the experiencer:
Fwa po ke zola’u lu ingyentsim. Tìng mikyun
‘It’s a mystery that he didn’t come.’
ingyentsyìp (n., ING.yen.tsyìp) ‘trick, sleight of hand, clever/special methodology’
This word should properly be ingyentsimtsyìp, but it evolved naturally to the shorter form and is always used that way.
Loakìl pänutolìng futa kar oeru fya’ot a ’ìp fko nemfa ewll. Tìng mikyun
Poltxe po san lu ingyentsyìp azey. Tìng mikyun
‘Loak promised he’d teach me how to vanish into the bushes.
He said there’s a special trick to it.’
ningyen (adv., NING.yen) ‘mysteriously, in a puzzling fashion’
This adverb is obviously a contraction of nì + ingyen.
Oeyä tskalep ’olìp ningyen. Ke omum teyngta pesengit terok. Tìng mikyun
My crossbow has mysteriously disappeared. I don’t know where it is.’
ingyenga’ (adj., ING.ye.nga’) ‘mysterious, puzzling, enigmatic’
This word evolved from ingyentsim + nga’ , i.e. ‘containing a source of mystery.’ As in ingyentsyìp, however, the tsim part dropped over time, and then ingyen + nga’ became simply ingyenga’.
Peyä aylì’u aingyenga’ lolu sngumtsim ayoeru nìwotx. Tìng mikyun
‘His mysterious words worried us all.’
Parallel to ingyenga’ we also have:
sngunga’ (adj., SNGU.nga’) ‘worrisome, troubling’
yayayrnga’ (adj., ya.YAYR.nga’) ‘confusing’
Note: This word is often pronounced colloquially as yayaynga’, although in writing the r is retained.
Tsatìoeyktìng ayayayrnga’ srung ke soli oer fte tslivam teyngta kempe zene sivi. Tìng mikyun
‘That confusing explanation didn’t help me understand what I have to do.’
yrr (adj.) ‘wild, natural’
Yrr refers to something in its original, unmodified, untampered-with natural state. As such, it has various translations, depending on the context.
Ikranìri krra hu tute tsaheyl si, ftang livu yrr. Tìng mikyun
‘When an ikran bonds with a person, it ceases to be wild.’
Lu tsafnepayoang ftxìlor frato krra lu yrr. Tìng mikyun
‘That kind of fish is most tasty when eaten as sashimi.’
Txepìri, yrra rìnti rä’ä sar, ma skxawng. Tìng mikyun
‘Don’t use that green wood for a fire, you fool.’
nìyrr (adv., nì.YRR) ‘naturally, without tampering with or changing the nature’
Fkxenti pxìm yom fkol nìyrr. Tìng mikyun
‘Vegetables are often eaten raw.’
The opposite of yrr is:
zäfi (adj., ZÄ.fi) ‘modified, interfered with, no longer in a natural state’
Zäfi does not specify how the natural state of something has been interfered with, only that it’s no longer in its original state. The nature of the modification depends on context.
Oel yom tsnganit azäfi nì’aw. Tìng mikyun
‘I only eat cooked meat.’
Here, talking about food, the usual interpretation of “no longer in its natural state” is “cooked.” If you wanted to be more specific, you could of course say tsnganit a’awnem.
Tsaikranìri taluna new ngati tspivang, law lu fwa mi ke lu zäfi. Tìng mikyun
‘Since that ikran wants to kill you, it’s clear it’s still not tame.’
syor (vin.) ‘relax, chill out’
Syor, ma ’eylan, syor. Ke lu kea sngumtsim. Tìng mikyun
‘Relax, friend, relax. There’s nothing to worry about.’
New oe rivun asim tìfnunga’a tsengit a tsaro tsun syivor tsivurokx fte späpiveng. Tìng mikyun
‘I want to find a quiet place nearby where I can chill out and rest to get my head back on straight.’
tìfnunga’ (adj., tì.FNU.nga’) ‘quiet (nfp)’
Also, notice in the above example how speng ‘restore’ has been used metaphorically: späpeng = ‘restore oneself,’ that is, ‘get one’s head back on straight.’
Fìuvanìl oeti syeykor nìtxan. Tìng mikyun
‘I find this game very relaxing.’
tìsyor (n., tì.SYOR) ‘relaxation’
Krra fko taron ke lu kea skxom tìsyorä. Tìng mikyun
‘When one hunts there’s no opportunity for relaxation.’
’anla (vtr., ’AN.la—inf. 1,2) ‘yearn for’
Tìng nari! Tsayeriktsyìpìl li ’anla sa’nokit a fkol tspìmang. Keftxo! Tìng mikyun
‘Look! That little hexapede is already yearning for its mother that’s just been killed. How sad!’
sä’anla (n., sä.’AN.la) ‘yearning’
Oeru tìng mikyun, ma Ralu. Fìsä’anlal Neweyä ngati sleykayu lekye’ung! Poti tswiva’! Tìng mikyun
‘Listen to me, Ralu. This yearning for Newey is going to drive you crazy. Forget her!’
lie (n., LI.e) ‘experience’
Kop oeru lolängu lie a hapxìtu soaiä terkup. Tìng mikyun
‘Sadly, I too have had the experience of a family member dying.’
You’ve already seen lie as part of the important adverb ’awlie, which we’ve glossed as ‘once (experiential).’ When used in yes-no questions, ’awlie is best translated as ‘ever.’
Srake kolä nga ’awlie ne Nu Yorkì? Tìng mikyun
‘Have you ever been to New York?’
Kehe, slä kolä ’awlie ne Wasyìngton. Tìng mikyun
‘No, but I have been to Washington.’
We now have two ways of talking about having the experience of doing something:
These both mean, ‘I once ate teylu.’ B, however, is somewhat more formal than A.
By the way, don’t confuse ’awlie and ’awlo. Although they both mean ‘once,’ ’awlie refers simply to having an experience, while ’awlo emphasizes that the experience occurred once and once only, not twice (melo) or thrice (pxelo).
Oel yolom teylut ’awlo nì’aw. Tìng mikyun
‘I’ve only eaten teylu once.’
And now for some expressions involving ‘hope’:
tsìlpey (n., tsìl.PEY) ‘hope (abstract idea)’
This derived from original *tìsìlpey.
Tsìlpeyìl tok txe’lanit. Tìng mikyun
‘Hope lives within the heart.’
Tsìlpeyluke ke tsun kawtu rivey. Tìng mikyun
‘No one can live without hope.’
säsìlpey (n., sä.sìl.PEY) ‘hope (particular instance)’
Krra wätut tse’a, peyä säsìlpey a yora’ ’olìp. Tìng mikyun
‘When he saw his opponent, his hope of winning vanished.’
One derivative of sìlpey that you already know is nìsìlpey, ‘hopefully.’ This word requires some explanation, since we also have the word nìrangal, glossed as ‘I wish; oh that.’ What’s the difference between nìrangal and nìsìlpey?
Both words are used with the subjunctive, but there’s a semantic distinction. Nìsìlpey simply expresses a hope that something is true. The speaker doesn’t know what the truth is, but hopes that something is, was, or will be the case.
Poel nìsìlpey tivok fìtsengit. Tìng mikyun
‘I hope she’s here.’
Poe nìsìlpey zìyeva’u trray. Tìng mikyun
‘I hope she’ll come tomorrow.’
Poe nìsìlpey zimva’u (or: zilva’u) trram. Tìng mikyun
‘I hope she came yesterday.’
With nìrangal, though, the speaker knows that something is not the case but wishes it were. (For those who like fancy grammatical terminology, nìrangal is used for counterfactuals.)
Poel nìrangal tirvok fìtsengit. Tìng mikyun
‘I wish she were here.’ (But I know she’s not.)
Poe nìrangal zìyeva’u trray. Tìng mikyun
‘I wish she were coming tomorrow.’ (But I know she isn’t.)
Poe nìrangal zimva’u (or: zilva’u) trram. Tìng mikyun
‘I wish she had come yesterday.’ (But she didn’t.)
(If you find any of this confusing, I have to admit I once confused the two words myself. In my post of July 24, 2011, I wrote nìrangal zìsìtay when I meant nìsìlpey zìsìtay, ‘hopefully next year.’ I’ve since corrected the error.)
One more thing: nìsìlpey (but not nìrangal) can function as a manner adverbial as well as a sentence adverbial—that is, it can mean ‘in a hopeful way.’ (Roughly speaking, manner adverbials tell you how things are done; sentence adverbials allow the speaker to comment about what she or he is saying. If I say, “Obviously Carlson stole the money,” I’m saying that it’s obvious—to me or anyone else—that Carlson was the thief. That’s using “obviously” as a sentence adverbial. But if I say, “Carlson stole the money obviously,” I’m saying that he did it in an obvious way—he didn’t hide the theft. For some reason he wanted people to see him doing it. That’s using “obviously” as a manner adverbial.)
Tsyeyk ätxäle soli nìsìlpey tsnì livu por Uniltaron. Tìng mikyun
‘Jake hopefully requested the Dream Hunt.’
A NOTE ON CASE ENDINGS WITH DIPHTHONGS
As you know, Na’vi has four diphthongs: aw, ay, ew, ey. If a noun ends in a diphthong, there are a few things to keep in mind with some of the case endings.
The t-case for objects (also known as the patientive case):
With nouns ending in ey, the -it ending becomes simply t. Example: keyeyt ‘errors’ (not *keyeyit). With nouns ending in ay, the –it ending may become t: wayt or wayit ‘song’—both forms are possible. For the other two diphthongs, the –it ending does not change: fahewit ‘smell,’ ’etnawit ‘shoulder.’
For all four diphthongs, the ti- form is also possible: keyeyti, wayti, fahewti, ’etnawti.
The r-case for indirect objects (also known as the dative case):
With nouns ending in ew, the -ur ending becomes simply r. Example: fahewr ‘to/for a smell’ (not *fahewur). With nouns ending in aw, the –ur ending may become r: ’etnawr or ’etnawur ‘to/for a shoulder’—both forms are possible. For the other two diphthongs, the –ur ending does not change: keyeyur ‘to/for errors,’ wayur ‘to/for a song.’
For all four diphthongs, the ru- form is also possible: keyeyru, wayru, fahewru, ’etnawru.
* * *
In closing, I want to say that I’m really looking forward to attending the Euroavatar meet-up in Berlin! For the last two years I was there via Skype, but this year John and I will be there in person. It should be wonderful! The dates are May 11 through May 17. Nìsìlpey tsìyevun oe ultxa sivi hu pxaya hapxìtu lì’fyaolo’ä awngeyä tsatsengmì!
Hayalovay, ma eylan.
Edit: ke srung soli –> srung ke soli. Irayo, ma Kemaweyan!
Edit: Fìsä’anla –> Fìsä’anlal. Irayo, ma Neytiri!
Edit: zìlva’u –> zilva’u (2X), zìmva’u –> zimva’u (2X). Irayo, ma Plumps!
Edit: tivok –> tirvok (with nìrangal). Irayo nìmun, ma Kemaweyan!