Kaltxì, ma smuk.
I considered beginning this post with:
Tswìlmayon oe ftu Wasyìngton ne kelku. Tewti! Mepunìri oe ’efu ngeyn nìngay!
But I’m not sure old-time American vaudeville humor translates culturally into Na’vi.
John and I did indeed just get back from the east coast, however, after attending AvatarMeet 2013 in Na’rìng Syenentoayä (the Forest of Shenandoah, i.e. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia) followed by a couple of days playing tourists in Washington. (The Air and Space Museum is enthralling!)
And an excellent meet-up it was. We had about two dozen attendees, including five from across the Atlantic. Jon Landau made a virtual appearance just before the showing of the extended version of Avatar, which received a very enthusiastic response, and LEI (Lightstorm Entertainment Inc.) contributed refreshments and funded the use of the room. I taught two Na’vi classes—an informal 101 refresher held at the campsite, with all of us sitting in a semi-circle on the grass (and with the occasional interruptions of close-by yerik ’Rrtayä that stole the show), followed the next day by a “hi-tech” 102 class indoors, complete with PowerPoint and a virtual whiteboard. Mikko and Peter set up the technology perfectly, and Alan recorded it all for posterity. Both kinds of classes had merit, I think, so I’ll keep that in mind for the future.
A highlight of the meet-up was the hike on Sunday to Dark Hollow Falls, a beautiful spot deep in the forest. We had five tute aean along, who scampered across streams and struck poses on rocks. As you might suspect, there were many encounters between the Na’vi and the startled Sawtute who had never before met them up close and personal. I can’t wait to see the pictures.
All in all, it was a wonderful meet-up. Irayo to Mikko, Alan, Peter, DJ Makto, and everyone else who had a hand in making it a success. Irayo for the thoughtful and generous gifts presented to John and me. And of course, irayo to everyone who came. For those who couldn’t make it this time, nìsìlpey alo ahay.
And now a bit of vocabulary, some of which was inspired by the tsawlultxa:
srä (n.) ‘cloth: a piece of cloth woven on a loom’
A srä is created by warp and weft weaving.
Furia txula tsalewti lu srä sìltsan to fngap.Tìng mikyun
‘For constructing that cover, woven cloth is better than metal.’
srok (n.) ‘bead (decorative)’
’En si oe, lora tsafkxileri apxayopin solar Tsenul srokit avozam.Tìng mikyun
‘I would guess that Tsenu used a thousand (lit. 512) beads for that beautiful multi-colored bib necklace.’
pxayopin (adj., PXAY.o.pin) ‘colorful, multi-colored, variegated’
Finally, ‘chocolate’ and ‘pineapple’ both came up for discussion. Since the Na’vi only encountered these food items through contact with the Sawtute, it’s natural that in talking about them they would borrow the English terms, filtered through the Na’vi sound system. So:
tsyoklìt (n., TSYOK.lìt) ‘chocolate’
paynäpll (n., PAY.nä.pll) ‘pineapple’
It’s interesting to speculate whether these terms would evoke associations among the Na’vi, consciously or unconsciously, with common words in their language. For example, tsyoklìt sounds a bit like tsyokx ‘hand’ + litx ‘sharp (as a blade).’ And paynäpll might bring to mind pay ‘water, liquid’ + nän ‘decrease’ + plltxe ‘speech.’ Chocolate as a sharp hand? Pineapple as liquid that decreases speech? If nothing else, these might be the source of Na’vi puns and wordplay.
Hayalovay, ma eylan.
Edit 3 Aug.: Syenendoayä –> Syenentoayä. Irayo, ma Tìtstewan!