Vomuna Lì’u Amip—Ten New Words

Kaltxì nìmun, ma eylan!

It’s been quite a while, I know. Takrra postì asok frato solalängew txana krr. I’ve had a lot of distractions recently, some good, some bad. But things are settling down, and I hope to post some useful new vocabulary before the year is out. This brief post is a start.

Thanks, as always, to the LEP contributors for their creativity. Some of the words below derive from their suggestions.

zum (n.) ‘object, thing (physical or tangible)’

We already have the familiar word ’u, of course, which means ‘thing’ in a number of different senses: a physical object, a fact, or an abstraction. So ’u can refer to a rock, or to bravery, or to the fact that Jake loves Neytiri. In contrast, zum is exclusively a physical or tangible object—something you can see or feel.

A. Fayzum lu peu?
‘What are these things?’
B. Ke omum, slä rä’ä tìng zekwä! Lam lehrrap.
‘I don’t know, but don’t touch them! They look dangerous.’

hìpey (vin., HÌ.pey—inf. 2,2) ‘hesitate, hold back for a short time’

This verb derives from hì’i ‘small’ + pey ‘wait.’ It differs from fpak in that fpak refers to suspending an action that’s already in progress, while hìpey is deferring the start of an action.

Hìpey taronyu, hifwo yerik.
‘The hunter hesitates and the hexapede escapes.’
(Proverbial expression. Cf.: “He who hesitates is lost.”)

Note the syntax for ‘hesitate to do something.’ Also note that as in English, hìpey can imply a reluctance to begin or accomplish an action, for whatever reason.

Furia peng fmawnit Eytukanur po hìpoley.
He hesitated to tell Eytukan the news.


tìhìpey (n., tì.HÌ.pey) ‘hesitation’

Tìhìpey tsun krro krro lesar livu.
‘Hesitation can sometimes be useful.’

Sar tsalìʼut a fìʼuri lu oeru tìhìpey nìʼit.
‘I’m a bit hesitant about using that word.’

lehìpey (adj., le.HÌ.pey) ‘hesitant, in a state of hesitation’

Taronyul lehìpey kan smarit nìlkeftang slä ke takuk kawkrr.
‘A hesitant hunter will aim at a prey forever but never hit it.’

hìpey (adv., nì.HÌ.pey) ‘hesitantly’

snäm (vin.) ‘rot, decay, degrade over time’

Snäm can refer both to the physical decaying of an object—say, a piece of meat—and also to the degrading of something abstract, like a skill.

Fìtsnganur a snoläm längu fahew akxänäng.
‘This rotten meat has a putrid smell.’

Zene fko tsko swizawit sivar nìtrrtrr fteke fìtsu’o sniväm.
‘One must use a bow and arrow regularly to prevent this ability degrading over time.’

kllrikx (n., kll.RIKX) ‘earthquake’

Txewì plltxe san kllrikx txewm lamu sìk.
‘Txewì says that the earthquake was frightening.’

A couple of derivations of latem ‘change’:

sälatem (n., sä.LA.tem) ‘change (instance of), edit, modification’

’Onìri tskoä lu tìkin sälatemä ahì’i.
‘The form of the bow requires a small change.’

tìlatem (n., tì.LA.tem) ‘change (abstract concept)’

Pxaya suteri, tìlatem lu ngäzìk.
‘For many people, change is difficult.’

txatx (n.) ‘bubble’

Yosìn kilvanä lu tatx.
‘There are bubbles on the surface of the river.’

Finally, I never provided the text and translation for the little listening exercise in the last post. Here they are:

Kaltxì, ma eylan. Sìlpey oe, ayngaru livu fpom nìwotx.

Narmew oe piveng ayngar teri mehapxìtu amip soaiä Tsyanä sì oeyä. Lu hì’ia mefalukantsyìp a syaw fko mefor Palu sì Lukan. Mefo lu tsmukan sì tsmuke. Fpìl oel futa tsun aynga tslivam teyngta tsamestxo za’u ftu pesim. Lu law, kefyak?

Lukan (alu tsmukantsyìp) sì Palu (alu tsmuketsyìp) mi lu prrnen, ulte leiu lor sì hona nìtxan. Slä längu kop nim, stum loreyu ’awnampi. Polähem ne kelku moeyä txonam, ulte kezemplltxe fìtsenge amip sì mesutan amip nìteng lu meforu stxong nìtxan nì’aw. Fitrr mì tampxì krrä wäperan. Sìlpey moe tsnì slìyevu ye’rìn tstew fìtxan kuma tsun wrrziva’u uvan sivi moehu. Fwa ’efu mawey sì nitram mì pawngip amip krrnekx, ha moe zene maweypivey.

Hayalovay, ma smuk.

Hello, friends. I hope you’re all well.

I wanted to tell you about two new members of John’s and my family. They’re two little cats named Palu and Lukan. They’re brother and sister. I think you can understand what source those two names come from. It’s clear, isn’t it?

Lukan, the little brother, and Palu, the little sister, are still babies, and I’m happy to say they’re very beautiful and cute. But unfortunately they’re also shy, almost like a touched helicoradian. They arrived at our house last night, and needless to say the new place and likewise the two new men are very strange to them. For most of the time today they were hiding. We hope they’ll soon become brave enough to come out and play with us. Feeling calm and happy in a new environment takes time, so we have to be patient.

Until next time, brothers and sisters.

Mìftxele, I’m pleased to say that Palu is now much less shy than she used to be, and Lukan is bold and fearless! They’re both doing beautifully and are very happy to accept all the love we’re bestowing on them. Here they are. (Lukan, the male, is the one with white between his eyes; Palu, the female, has black in the same place.)

Thanksgiving 2015 portrait--a




More soon! Hayalovay!

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19 Responses to Vomuna Lì’u Amip—Ten New Words

  1. SGM (Plumps) says:

    Kaltxì ma Karyu,

    aylì’uri amip irayo ngaru nìtxan!

    Mefalukantsyìp alu Palu sì Lukan hona nìtxan nìngay! 🙂

    • SGM (Plumps) says:

      Nìvingkap, you mentioned fpak in comparison with hìpey. How does fpak work? Is it transitive? Is there maybe a cut line from the movie?
      Oe smon ngar 😉 Lu oe leno.

      • Pawl says:

        Srane, ma tsmuk, nga smon oer! Ulte furia lu nga leno oe ‘efu nitram nìtxan.

        As for fpak . . . good question! It’s actually INtransitive, like hìpey. And no, there’s no cut line from the movie. Thinking about it, I realize the syntax is a bit tricky, so let me ponder this a while and I’ll get back to you.

  2. Vawmataw says:

    Faylì’u lesar seiyi. 😀 Irayo.
    Kop, mengeyä mefalulukantsyìp leiu hona. 😀

    Nì’i’a sìlpey oe tsnì ngaru liyevu lefpoma ayftxozä. 🙂

  3. 'Eylan Ayfalulukanä says:

    lì’uteri amip a fì’uri, Irayo nìtxan!

    (The lack of an easy way to say ‘for’ is challenging 😉 )

    Mefalulukantsyìp mengeyä lu txantsan! Falulukan (fne’Rrtanä)/falulukantsyìp leyku tìrey slayu sìltsan!

    A question about zum : You say this word is for physical objects. Does this include all physical objects, or only inanimate physical objects? If it is useable for living things, does it work the same for microbal/plant/animal/sute?

  4. 'Eylan Ayfalulukanä says:

    Nìvingkap:, it took me a second to catch why the names of your cats was interesting; I now figured it out, and this will probably get used on the next cats I acquire 🙂

  5. Blue Elf says:

    Ma karyu Pawl, furia sästarsìmit aylì’uä amip awngal tolel ngata ‘efu oe nitram. Lì’upuk tsawl slu nì’it nì’ul nìmun 🙂

    I’ve found this example of yours very interesting:
    Taronyul lehìpey kan smarit nìlkeftang slä ke takuk kawkrr.

    Kan is defined as “to aim” with no other explanation and so far it was used modally in meaning of “to intend (to do) something” + controlled verb. But your example gives it also second meaning “to ​point a ​weapon towards something you ​want to ​hit” (what is the same behaviour as in English, compare with http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/aim). So should we extend definition of kan this way in our dictionary? Personally I would write that sentence like this:

    Taronyul lehìpey kan tivoltem smarit nìlkeftang slä ke takuk kawkrr.
    What do you thing about this example?

    Nìvingkap, mefalulukantsyìp ngeyä hona lu nìtxan! Lam fwa Lukan tsun niväk naerit nìtengfya na sute ulte sunu poru tskxepay 😉 Lu sìlronsema ioang. (BTW can we use sìlronsem for living objects? According dictionary we shouldn’t… but such word would be useful).

    • SGM (Plumps) says:

      Wasn’t it always defined as aim, intend to? My earliest dictionary by Tarnonyu (v12.381) has these defitions plus vtrm. which makes it a normal transitive verb, same as new. dict-navi.com lists as its source the dictionary as early as v9.5

      We also have this example:
      Fwa kan ke tam; zene swizawit livonu.
      ‘To aim is not enough; one must release the arrow.’

      • Blue Elf says:

        Well, this example sheds light on, really kan has both meanings, so it would be useful to improve dictionary definition (currently only aim is stated).
        Oh Plumps, where we were without your detailed knowledge of all examples? 🙂 Tìoeyktìngìri seiyi irayo.

    • Pawl says:

      Srane, ma Blue Elf. Lu Lukan kanu nìtxan. [Kanu is the word we have so far for living objects, parallel to sìlronsem. The dictionary gives the meaning as ‘smart, intelligent.’ I agree, however, that that’s not quite the same as clever, so perhaps we’ll have a word for that in the near future. 🙂 ] Krro krro fpìl oel futa lu po oeto kanu.

  6. 'Eylan Ayfalulukanä says:

    I’m beginning to question if kan is even a modal verb at all. In all the examples here, it is used like an ordinary transitive verb. Usually, when you aim, you are aiming an object, not an action. There may be some use of kan where you aim an action, at which point being modal makes some sense. But I can’t think of any such usage. Do we have a canon example of a modal usage of kan?

    I would make the section definition “to direct a weapon or other object at an intended target”, as I seem to think Pawl intends a wide usage for this word.

  7. Pawl says:

    Irayo, everyone, for your thoughts and comments. (And glad you like our kitties!)

    So . . . about kan!

    The dictionary definition does indeed need to be expanded. The word in fact has three different uses.

    1. As a modal verb, with the meaning ‘intend.’ This is the usage already indicated in the dictionary by the notation vtrm. Examples (found in William’s Horen and in Stefan’s dictionary):

    Oe kan kivä. ‘I intend to go.’

    Oel kan futa po kiva. ‘I intend him to go.’

    2. As a transitive verb with the meaning ‘aim, point a weapon towards something.’ The object of kan in this sense is a weapon of some sort, like tsko. This usage is found in the video game dialog (which I’m sure is completely familiar to everyone 😉 ). Here the object aimed at is indicated either by ne ‘towards’ or ‘against.’

    Neytiril tskoti keran ne yerik. ‘Neytiri is aiming her bow at a hexapede.’

    Pol tskoti kolan wä kutu. ‘He raised his bow against the enemy.’

    3. As a transitive verb with the meaning ‘aim at.’ The object in this case is what is going to be felled by the unmentioned but understood weapon. This is the usage in the example above, beginning Taronyul lehìpey kan smarit . . .

    It should be straightforward to distinguish the “aim” from the “aim at” use of kan. If the object of kan is a weapon, the translation is simply “aim.” If it’s something to be attacked, the translation is “aim at.”

  8. Tanri says:

    Ma Karyu, mipa ’upxarel ngeyä ’eykefu oeti nitram.
    Zerok oel futa nga li poleng ayoeru teri mefalulukantsyìp, ulte fayrelìri oe seyi irayo.
    Ken’aw Lukanur sunu wura naer, släkop po slayu tsulfätu lì’fyayä – pol ftalmia aylì’uti nìhawng nìfya’o a ’efu po ngeyn ulte zene hivahaw mìkam melì’upuk. 🙂

    Furia ngal oeyktolìng awngar kemlì’uti alu kan, irayo seiyi oe nìteng. Fìtìoeyktìng ralnga’ lu nìtxan.

  9. Markì says:

    Dictionary updated to show vtrm. and vtr uses for kan

  10. Sasa says:

    Rolun, j’ai trouvé !
    Every one seems to know what is a modal verb. But it was an enigma for me.
    Historical account of my quest :
    [ 1 ] Harrap’s shorter (27,5 X 18 X 8 cm3) modal = N Gram verbe m modal ADJ Gram, Phil & Math modal
    But Sister Odile-Marie never used that word. Actually it was in the middle of the 5ties, but evolution of grammar is slow enough to avoid such innovations.
    [ 2 ] Le Petit Larousse illustré ( 23 X 15 X 7,5 cm3 , common and proper nouns)
    MODAL, E, AUX adj. 1. LING. Qui se rapporte aux modes du verbe. Formes modales. 2. MUS. bla bla 3. PHILOS. bla bla bla
    [ 3 ] Horen Lì’fyayä LeNa’vi ( 67 A4 pages ) Index, modal 43.
    There a list of modal verbs and verbs with modal syntax is given. Thanks.
    [ 4 ] Le Robert ( 30 X 22 X 5,5 cm3 X 9 books, common nouns only)
    MODAL, ALE, AUX adj. ~ 1546 Philos. bla bla Log. bla bla bla Ling. Auxiliaires modaux, ou, ellipt., modaux : auxiliaires du verbe qui expriment les modalités logiques (nécessaire, probable, contingent ). Pouvoir, devoir sont des auxiliaires modaux. (Mus. & Statist. Bla bla)
    So, these verbs express necessity, probability, contigency, but about grammar rules, they are perfectly normal.
    And then came the illumination : vernacular language of our beloved kariyu being english, an english grammar book could be usefull. Despising the balance in my budget, I bought the « Bescherelle, anglais, les verbes » ( 2€, used book, 19,5 X 14 X 1,2 cm3). And I met these [censored] verbs which have ruined my teenage. I always used a wrong one, I still mix them up but, since half a century, with some non-school serenity.
    In Southern Europe and Latin America this μ-subtlety matters only for experts.
    In the other part of these continents, there is a small cluster of verbs selfishly using their own syntax.
    In Na’vi language, there is a lot of verbs, kindly able to wellcome other ones, which like to be followed by the iv infix. Now, I prefer think about them as ivophilous or ivaddict.
    Have a sunny winter, the four of you.

  11. Tirea Aean says:

    Mefalutsyìp hona leiu fìtxan nang!!

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