Tson sì Fpomron—Obligation and Mental Health

Kaltxì, ma frapo.

I have some new vocabulary for you today that I think you’ll find useful. Most of these will be in the categories of obligation and mental health, but there will be some miscellaneous words as well. Thanks as always to our intrepid LEP members and others for some of the ideas I’ve used here, several of which go back quite a while.

Tson: Obligation

tson (n.) ‘obligation, duty, imposed requirement’

A tson is a duty, task, obligation, etc. that’s imposed on you by someone in a position to do so—that is, someone with some kind of authority over you or who is higher than you in some relevant hierarchy. It could be a parent, an older sibling, a boss, a clan leader, Eywa, and so on. The imposer of the obligation is indicated with ta.

Za’u tsatson ta Eywa.
‘That obligation comes from Eywa.’

Längu oeru tson a fìfmawnit piveng ngar.
‘I’m sorry that I’m obliged to tell you this news.’

Lu Neytirir ta Mo’at a tson a kar Tsyeykur ayfya’ot Na’viyä.
‘Neytiri is under obligation by/from Mo’at to teach Jake the ways of the Na’vi.’

Derived form:

nìtson (adv., nì.TSON) ‘dutifully, as an obligation’

Pol vewng fratrr ayevengit nìtson.
He observes his duty to care for the kids every day.’

A verb that often accompanies tson is kxìm:

kxìm (vtr.) ‘command, order, assign a task’

As a transitive verb, kxìm always takes tson or a synonym as its direct object; the person being assigned the task is in the dative.

Ayevengur kxolìm sa’nokìl fìtsonit.
‘Mother imposed this task on the children’ OR ‘The children were assigned this task by their mother.’

To specify what the task is, you would expect tsonit a. That is in fact what you use, except that over time tsonit a has contracted to tsonta. Note that tsonta is NOT derived from tson + ta!

tsonta (conj., TSON.ta) ‘to (with kxìm)’

Ayevengur kxolìm sa’nokìl tsonta payit zamunge.
‘The children were told by their mother to fetch water.’

(Note in the previous sentence that as long as “their” can be understood from the context, it doesn’t need to be expressed in Na’vi.)

Derived forms:

tìkxìm (n., tì.KXÌM) ‘commanding, ordering, assigning tasks’

Sìltsana eyktan zene fnivan tìkxìmti.
‘A good leader must be skilled at assigning tasks.’

tìkxìm si
(vin., tì.KXÌM si) ‘be above someone in a hierarchy, be someone’s superior’

Po tìkxìm si oer.
1. ‘He is above me (in some relevant hierarchy).’
2. ‘I am under him.’
3. ‘He has authority over me.’
4. ‘He is my boss.’

(n., KXÌM.yu) ‘commander, one with authority over another’

Ngeyä kxìmyu pesu?
‘Who’s your boss?’

(Note that in the above sentence, lu has been omitted, which is very frequent in conversation with interrogative words like pesu/tupe, peu/’upe, etc.)

Another way to say the above sentence, of course, is Pesu tìkxìm si ngar?

Finally, note this useful conversational expression:

Kxìmyu nga. ‘Please! Go ahead. You first.’

Literally, this says, “My commander (is) you.” It’s used as politeness formula to tell someone (who doesn’t necessarily have to be above you) to go through a door first, take the last piece of teylu, etc.

And speaking of et cetera:

saylahe (adv., say.LA.he) ‘et cetera’

Saylahe is a contraction of sì aylahe ‘and others.’ In writing, the abbreviation sl. may be used where we would use etc.

Fpomron: Mental health

You’re already familiar with the words having to do with bodily health or well-being: fpomtokx, lefpomtokx, kelfpomtokx. If we substitute ron for tokx in these words (ron is shortened from ronsem, ‘mind’), we get the corresponding words for mental health:

fpomron (n., fpom.RON) ‘health or well-being (mental)’

lefpomron (adj., le.fpom.RON) ‘healthy (mentally)’

kelfpomron (adj., kel.fpom.RON) ‘unhealthy (mentally)’

Pori fpomtokx sì fpomron yo’.
‘His physical and mental health are perfect.’

Ke tsun nga tìkxìm sivi oer. Lu nga kelfpomron!
‘You can’t order me around. You’re mentally unsound!’

Note that the four adjectives lefpomtokx, kelfpomtokx, lefpomron, and kelfpomron are ofp—only for people. If you want to say that something is unhealthful, you need to use the nfp—not for people—forms, which end in –nga’.

fpomtokxnga’ (adj. nfp, fpom.TOKX.nga’) ‘healthful (physically)’

kefpomtokxnga’ (adj. nfp, ke.fpom.TOKX.nga’) ‘unhealthful (physically)’

fpomronga’ (adj. nfp, fpom.RO.nga’) ‘healthful (mentally)’

kefpomronga’ (adj. nfp, ke.fpom.RO.nga’) ‘unhealthful (mentally)’

(Note that in these words, -ronnga’ à -ronga’. Cf. ingyenga’.)

Tsat rä’ä yivom! Ke lu fpomtokxnga’.
‘Don’t eat that. It’s not healthful.’ (I.e., It will make you unhealthy.)

Ma Entu, fìkem rä’ä sivi; lu kefpomronga’.
‘Entu, don’t do this; it’s not healthy (mentally).’

Fwa lawk aysì’efuti ayeylankip lu fpomronga’.
‘It’s healthy among friends to discuss feelings.’

By the way, we used to have this distinction in English: there was “healthy” for a person and “healthful” for things that promoted health. So Alice would be healthy, but the salad she was eating would be healthful. Almost no one seems to observe that distinction anymore; the word ‘healthful’ has declined precipitously.

A note on pronunciation: When an ejective is immediately followed by a consonant, it can be hard to pronounce. In many such cases it’s simply pronounced as a “regular” stop, although there’s no change in the writing. So in particular,

__pxm__  –>   __pm__

__txn__     –>   __tn__

__kxng__  –>   __kng__

in pronunciation only. For example, fpomtokxnga’ is pronounced as if it were simply fpomtoknga’.

Also notice what happens to the pronunciation of kx in fpomtokx sì fpomron in one of the above examples.

And some miscellaneous vocabulary:

srefpìl (vtr., sre.FPÌL—inf. 2, 2) ‘assume’

Srefpìl is stronger than ’en si ‘guess,’ in that it reflects the speaker’s current understanding of a situation from the available data.

Srefpìl oel futa nga lu toktor Lìvìngsìton.
‘Doctor Livingstone, I presume.’

(That’s one of the example sentences that came directly from the LEP. I love it!)

Srefpìl may also be used intransitively with tsnì:

Srefpìl Omatikaya tsnì Tsyeyk kawkrr ke tayätxaw maw kavuk sneyä.
‘The Omaticaya assumed that Jake would never return after his treachery.’

(conj., SRE.fwa) ‘before’

This word corresponds to mawfwa ‘after.’ I was surprised to discover it wasn’t in the dictionary, so here it is.

Srefwa oe hum, new pivlltxe.
‘Before I leave, I want to speak.’

And finally, a pair of “correlatives”—words that go together in pairs.

ken’aw (adv., ken.’AW) ‘not only’

släkop (adv., SLÄ.kop) ‘but also’

Ken’aw is derived from ke + nì’aw; släkop is obviously slä + kop. They’re usually used together, although släkop can appear by itself as well.

Ngeyä tsmuke lu ken’aw lor släkop kanu.
‘Your sister is not only beautiful but also intelligent.’

Frakrr lu ngeyä sìpawm ngäzìk släkop letsranten.
‘Your questions are always difficult but also important.’

If you think these words are very like the corresponding words in English in their structure and use, you’re right. Needless to say there’s no connection between Na’vi and English (other than a few borrowed terms), but sometimes things in unrelated languages develop in parallel ways. This is an example of that phenomenon.

That’s it for now. Ayngari sìlpey oe tsnì ken’aw fpomtokx släkop fpomron yivo’. 🙂 Hayalovay!

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12 Responses to Tson sì Fpomron—Obligation and Mental Health

  1. SGM (Plumps) says:

    Tewti nìyey 🙂

    Fìtxan pxaya lì’u lesar! Irayo nìtxan. Suneiu oer, hufwa lì’upamìri aylì’uä alu fpomtokxnga’, kefpomtokxnga’ … saylahe lu ngäzìk nì’it. Ftxìyä kxakxyu, kefyak? 😉

  2. Pawl says:

    Ngari ftxì vivar lefpomtokx livu, ma tsmuk! 😉

    • SGM (Plumps) says:

      Txe’lan mawey 🙂 Frawzo!

      Thinking about what you said about unrelated languages developing in parallel ways. Of course, you are right. We can see that in many Earth languages. Nevertheless, I’d have expected kikop instead of släkop, especially with the already existing pair ke … ki. 😉

      • Pawl says:

        Well, ke . . . ki is used for pointing out a correct alternative. When you say ke A ki B, you’re saying that A is not correct; it should be substituted with B. Here, though, it’s not a question of alternation but of addition: ken’aw A släkop B means that A is indeed correct but needs to be augmented with B. Kikop would have too much of an alternative sense, I feel.

        What’s the parallel situation in German? If I’m not mistaken, ke . . . ki is nicht . . . sondern (not nicht . . . aber, right?). But what is the equivalent of “not only . . . but also”? Do you use sondern in that structure?

        • SGM (Plumps) says:

          Tslolam. Yes, that’s how nicht A … sondern B works in German as well.

          We use nicht nur … sondern auch for ‘not only … but also’. Judging from the example sentences I would interpret them as:

          ‘Your sister is not only beautiful but also intelligent.’
          Deine Schwester ist nicht nur schön, sondern auch (noch = additionally) klug.
          ‘Your questions are always difficult but also important.’
          Deine Fragen sind immer schwierig, aber wichtig.
          In the second one we wouldn’t use sondern auch but would either put stress on „aber“ or add something like „auch“ to convey the ‘additional’ meaning.

  3. Niri Tawa says:

    GREAT lesson, I will be using tson soon in my Fanfiction.

  4. SGM (Plumps) says:

    In translating this post for the German Community, I noticed two tiny typos… in Ke tsun nga tikxìm sivi oer. *tikxìm should be tìkxìm and a missing glottal stop in ’en si in the comparison to srefpìl.

  5. Markì says:

    It’s embarrassingly late, but the dictionary is now updated. New version is 13.20

    (I plead plenteous work and abject procrastination! 😉 )

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