Kaltxì, ma frapo.
As you all know, the new Walt Disney theme park in Orlando, Florida, “Pandora—the World of Avatar,” opened to the public at the end of May. Nìkeftxo, due to family health issues I wasn’t able to attend the Grand Opening. From what I’ve heard from people who were there, however, the park turned out beautifully. Barring any further difficulties, John and I are looking forward to finally seeing Mo’ara in November, at this year’s Avatar Meet-up. I hope to see a lot of you there as well!
The Disney people respected the language and worked hard to get the Na’vi in the park right, which was gratifying to me. There may be a couple of tiny things that still need to be tweaked, but all in all they did a fine job. In this long-overdue post, let me preview some of the Na’vi used in the park and go over some new vocabulary you’ll encounter there.
First, some names:
mo’ara (n., mo.’A.ra) ‘gathering place’
A mo’ara is a designated place where people gather, generally for some specific purpose. When it’s capitalized, Mo’ara is the name of the park itself.
satu’li (n., sa.TU’.li) ‘heritage’
You’ll encounter this word in the name of the main park restaurant, the Satu’li Canteen. What does a restaurant have to do with heritage? It’s simply that this restaurant is almost a museum, with unique exhibits of Na’vi art, artifacts, and cultural items—hand-woven tapestries, bows, cooking tools, jewelry, sketches and photographs . . . Important elements of the Na’vi heritage are on display here, hence the name Satu’li (Heritage) Canteen.
As the name of the bar and refreshment stand in Mo’ara, Pongu Pongu requires some explanation. 🙂 You’re familiar, of course, with pongu as the word for ‘group of people’ or ‘party,’ as in tsampongu, ‘war party.’ As I understand it, this drink location was built by a tawtute who fell in love with Pandora and decided to stay. He was apparently a high-spirited type who loved to have a good time and “party hearty.” He must also have been a bit of a prankster. So even though pongu does not mean ‘party’ in the sense of “Let’s have a party!” he used it for the name of his bar as a kind of cross-linguistic pun, with tongue firmly in cheek.
The most extensive written Na’vi you’ll find in Mo’ara is on a Guide to the Flora and Fauna pamphlet handed out to all visitors. The safety instructions contained in this pamphlet are bilingual in English and Na’vi. I’ll explain some of the new vocabulary first and then show you the Na’vi instructions.
tìkxuke (n., tì.KXU.ke) ‘safety’
This is clearly derived from the adjective kxuke ‘safe.’
emkä (vtr., em.KÄ inf. 2, 2) ‘cross’
This is the verb ‘cross,’ as in ‘cross a barrier’ or ‘cross a river.’ Note that although kä itself is intransitive, emkä is transitive and takes an object. This is of course parallel to za’u (vin.) and emza’u (vtr.).
kxu si (vin.) ‘harm’
Poeru kxu rä’ä si!
‘Do not harm her!’
tswìk (vtr.) ‘suck’
The reason sucking enters the picture is that the Na’vi term for smoking literally means ‘to suck smoke.’
tswìk kxenerit (vin.) ‘smoke’
And now you should have everything you need to understand the Na’vi safety instructions. See if you can figure them out without the Engish, which I’ll include at the end of this post.
FMAL TÌKXUKET NGEYÄ SÌ MO’ARAYÄ
Tengkrr lerang Mo’arat nì’o’ nì’aw,
rutxe ayoeru srung si fte tsivun ayoe fmival
tìkxuket ngeyä sì Mo’arayä fa fwa lek faysänumet:
- Rä’ä yomtivìng ayioangur
- Rä’ä fmivi livok fu emkivä ayekxanit a fkol ngolop
fpi sìkxuke ayfrrtuä sì ayioangä
- Rä’ä fmivi kxu sivi ayioangur fu helkur feyä
- Ke tung Na’vil futa tswìk kxenerit Mo’araka nìwotx
Srake fìtìralpeng sunu ayngar?
Finally, two expressions you’re likely to hear during your visit:
taksyokx (vin., tak.SYOKX inf. 1, 1) ‘clap hands’
This verb is derived from takuk ‘strike’ + tsyokx ‘hand.’
Taksyokx, ma frato!
‘Let’s give (him/her/them) a hand, everybody!’
And when you’ve completed your journey and returned to your starting point, you’ll probably be greeted with:
Tolätxaw nìprrte’! ‘Welcome back!’
Now that things are finally returning to normal here at home, I’m hoping to catch up on my Na’vi backlog, which includes some fine suggestions from the LEP along with quite a few new terms for Pandoran flora and fauna. Nìsìlpey ye’rìn.
One more thing: A while ago, I believe someone sent me an email with their transcription of one of the songs heard in the park, asking me to review it. Tsa’upxaret fwolew oel slä ke tsängun rivun. If whoever sent me that would please send it again, I’ll be happy to take a look at your transcription.
Hayalovay, ma eylan! And for those of you in the States, a very happy Fourth.
Here’s the English for the safety instructions:
KEEP YOURSELF AND MO’ARA SAFE
While you enjoy your exploration of Mo’ara,
please help us put safety first for both you and Mo’ara
by following the guidelines below:
- Do not feed the animals
- Do not attempt to approach or cross any barriers
designed for Guest and animal safety
- Do not attempt to harm the animals or their habitats
- The Na’vi have banned smoking in Mo’ara