Zìsìkrr amip, aylì’u amip—New words for the new season

Kaltxì nìmun, ma eylan. It’s been a while! I hope you’ve all been happy and healthy—and doing interesting, satisfying, fun things. As for me, you can guess what’s been occupying my time more and more. Tìkangkem anawm sngolä’eiyi! Needless to say, I can’t divulge anything about the Avatar sequels except that they’re going to be absolutely terrific. You’ve probably seen this already, but just in case you haven’t, here’s the latest information that’s been released to the public.

Also in the category of things you’ve probably already seen but should see if you haven’t, there’s a beautiful Facebook post in which Avatar fans, including several members of our lì’fyaolo’, express to the filmmakers their thanks for the movie and their hopes for the sequels. You can hear some nice Na’vi in it.

We haven’t had any additions to the lexicon in a long time, so here are some new items—I counted 29—at least some of which I hope you’ll find useful. Several of these new words and examples come from our indefatigable LEP, for which I thank the members sincerely.

kemwiä (adj., kem.WI.ä) ‘improper, unfair, wrong, unjustified’

This is clearly the opposite of muiä. Note that there are two ways to say something is unfair: “Ke lu muiä!” as in Avatar 1 (we now need to distinguish among A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5!), and “Lu kemwiä!”

Derivation:

tìkemwiä (n., tì.kem.WI.ä) ‘unfairness, injustice’

leymkem (vin., leym.KEM, inf 1,1) ‘protest’

You might think the kem part is the familiar word for ‘act’ or ‘deed,’ but in fact it’s a truncated form of kemwiä. So the derivation is leym ‘call out, cry out’ + kem(wiä) ‘unfair, unjustified’—that is, when you protest, you cry out that something is unfair. The verb is intransitive. When you protest something, use the topical case or teri-. To protest that something is unfair, we use the tsnì construction, which as you know is used for complements of certain intransitive verbs, like sìlpey and mowar si.

Oe leymkem! Fìtsamìl Na’vit tìsraw seykayi nì’aw ulte kutut ke lätxayn.
‘I protest! This war will only harm the People and not defeat the enemy.’

Tsayhemìri (OR: Tsayhemteri) po loleymkem.
‘She protested those actions.’

Loleymkem po tsnì fwa Akwey slu olo’eyktan lu kemwiä.
‘He protested that it was unfair for Akwey to become clan leader.’

In colloquial speech, the first m in leymkem often becomes ng by assimilation to the following k—that is, it sounds like leyngkem, even though the spelling doesn’t change.

Derivations:

tìleymkem (n., tì.leym.KEM) ‘protesting, protest (abstract concept)’

säleymkem (n., sä.leym.KEM) ‘protest, instance of protesting’

Eyktanìl ngeyä säleymkemit stolawm ulte paye’un teyngta zene fko pehem sivi.
‘The leader has heard your protest and will decide what must be done.’

A related word is:

leymfe’ (vin., leym.FE’, inf 1, 1) ‘complain’

This word derives from leym + fe’ ‘bad’—that is, to complain is to cry out that something is bad. The syntax is similar to that of leymkem.

Fo lereymfe’ tsnì syuve lu wew.
‘They’re complaining that the food is cold.’

Derivations:

tìleymfe’ (n., tì.leym.FE’) ‘complaining’

säleymfe’ (n., sä.leym.FE’) ‘complaint’

tìleym (n., tì.LEYM) ‘call’

Eywal tìleymit awngeyä stoleiawm!
‘Eywa has heard our call!’

tìtstunwinga’ (adj., tì.TSTUN.wi.nga’) ‘kind (nfp)’

I realize I should have explained this earlier. A kind person is tute atstunwi. Kind words are aylì’u atìtstunwinga’.

Similarly,

tìflänga’ (adj., tì.FLÄ.nga’) ‘successful (nfp)’

A successful plan is tìhawl atìflänga’. A successful person is tute a flolä.

ekxan si (vin., e.KXAN si) ‘exclude, keep out, bar’

Srake fìkxemyo tsun tsayioangur lehrrap ekxan sivi?
‘Can this wall keep out those dangerous animals?’

nìtsleng (adv., nì.TSLENG) ‘falsely’

This word is the opposite of nìngay. And just as you can say Nìngay plltxe nga, ‘You speak truly,’ or ‘What you say is true,” you can also say Nìtsleng plltxe nga, ‘You speak falsely.’ Although the Na’vi do not have a word for “liar” per se, they can express the idea that someone is lying through this construction.

Plltxe nìtsleng! Tsafkxilet ke tolìng ngar Entul!
‘Liar! Entu didn’t give you that necklace!’

kawl (adv.) ‘hard, diligently’

Makto kawl, ma samsiyu, fte tsivun pivähem nìwin!
‘Ride hard, warriors, so you can get there fast!

yawntutsyìp (n., YAWN.tu.tsyìp) ‘darling, little loved one’

This is a tender term of endearment that a parent might call a child, for example. It exists alongside yawn(e)tu, which for some speakers, although certainly not all, carries a romantic or sexual overtone. Yawntutsyìp often reflects parental or familial love.

Semputi rä’ä srätx, ma yawntutsyìp. Tìkangkem seri.
‘Don’t bother daddy, little one. He’s working.’

And on the opposite end of the spectrum:

vonvä’ (n., von.VÄ’) ‘butthole, asshole, dickhead’

This word is highly abusive and vulgar, and is never used in polite society. It’s a strongly contracted form of vitronvä’, which is sometimes heard in that fuller form. The word derives from vitra ‘soul’ + onvä’ ‘bad-smelling, stinking.’ So a literal translation in English might be “stinksoul.” In colloquial pronunciation, the n is often lost and the preceding o nasalized: [võ.VÄ’].

weopx (n., we.OPX) ‘wave (of water)’

Krra hufwe tul nìwin, tsun fko tsive’a ayweopxit a sìn yo payä.
When there is strong wind, you can see waves on the water.’

Note: When viewed from the shore, waves can srer ‘appear, come into view’ and ’ìp ‘disappear, recede from view.’

Derivation:

leweopx (adj., le.we.OPX) ‘wave-like’

Tsayrenur leweopx a sìn neni tìng nari.
Look at those wave-like patterns in the sand.

tsìltsan (n., tsìl.TSAN) ‘good (abstract concept), goodness’

This word evolved from *tìsìltsan, much the same way as *tìsìlpey became tsìlpey.

Tìkawng a sutel ngop var rivey, tsìltsanit pxìm kllyem fkol feyä täremhu.
[See Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.   🙂 ]

lerìn (adj., le.RÌN) ‘wooden, of wood’

letskxe (adj., le.TSKXE) ‘stony, of stone’

These words can be used to indicate the material an object is made from. For example, to say ‘a spear made of wood,’ all of the following are possible:

  • tukru a txolula fkol ta rìn
  • tukru a ta rìn
  • tukru lerìn

mawftxele (adv., maw.FTXE.le) ‘belatedly, in hindsight, after the fact, as an afterthought’

This word is parallel to mìftxele ‘in this regard’ and derived the same way.

Oel peyä ftxozäti tswolänga’, ha poltxe por san ftxozäri aylrrtok ngaru sìk mawftxele.
‘Unfortunately I forgot his birthday, so I said “Happy Birthday” belatedly.’

pìsaw (adj., pì.SAW) ‘clumsy, accident-prone’

This adjective describes a not-very-clever or impractical person. It can also be used as an interjection, for example when you’ve acted clumsily with unintended negative results, often accompanied by a sharp intake of breath.

Po lu pìsaw. Trram toltem venuti sneyä nìtkanluke.
‘He is accident-prone. Yesterday he unintentionally shot his own foot.’

Lu Sawtute wok sì pìsaw nìwotx, na prrnen.
‘The skypeople are all loud and clumsy, like a baby.’

Derivation:

tìpsaw (n., tìp.SAW) clumsiness

Poeyä tìpsawìl txopu sleykolu yerikit ha po hifwo.
‘Her clumsiness scared the hexapede, so he escaped.’

Finally, four expressions relating to Na’vi culture or the Pandoran environment:

Txintseng Sawtuteyä (prop. n., TXIN.tseng SAW.tu.tey.ä) ‘Hell’s Gate’

This literally means ‘The Sky People’s Base.’ It’s how the Na’vi refer to Hell’s Gate.

txintseng (n., TXIN.tseng) ‘base of operations’

lanay’ka (n., la.NAY’.ka) ‘slinger’

You can find a description here.

ilu (n., I.lu) ’ilu’

From the Disney pamphlet ”Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the Valley of Mo’ara”: “The ilu is a large plesiosaur-like sea creature that is the direhorse of the Pandoran ocean. With multiple fins/flippers and a long, streamlined shape, this aquatic pack animal serves the reef Na’vi clans like direhorses serve the Na’vi clans of the forests, jungles and planes.”

sye’otxang (n., SYE.’o.txang) ‘wind instrument’

From syeha ‘breath’ + ’otxang ‘musical instrument.’ This is the generic term for any instrument played by blowing. A pawk is a kind of sye’otxang.

As I don’t have to tell some of you, I still have a considerable backlog of suggestions and questions from the LEP and others that I need to get to. I’ll do that as soon as I can. Tsakrrvay, fpom livu ayngaru nìwotx.

I’ll leave you with a question. Someone recently asked me if srak can ever be used completely on its own. In other words, could someone ever say, simply, “Srak?” I responded that I had never considered that possibility but would think about it. What’s your feeling? Are there any situations in which this could make sense? For example, suppose you’ve asked a question and gotten no answer. If you then said “Srak?” angrily, could it mean, “Well, are you going to answer me or not? Yes or no???” And if you think you could use this question word this way, would it more likely be “Srake?”? Rutxe ayngeyä aysäfpìlit piveng oer!

Ta Pawl

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27 Responses to Zìsìkrr amip, aylì’u amip—New words for the new season

  1. SGM (Plumps) says:

    Tewti,

    faylì’u amip lesar sayi nìtxan nang!

    I never came across that situation where I had to ask for “yes or no?” but if I had to use it, I’d use it as srake? Tì’efumì oeyä, it has a stronger emphasis.

    • SGM (Plumps) says:

      While translating the blog post for our German members I noticed something: First example sentence for leymkem, the translation speaks of ‘enemy,’ while the text says kutut, i.e. ‘enemies’ – is this a mistake or a case of loose translation?

      • Pawl says:

        Neither a mistake nor a loose translation. It was intentional. 🙂 The word “enemy” in the translation is being used here as a collective noun–a noun that appears singular in form but connotes a group, like “class,” “committee,” “company,” “herd,” etc. Military people often use “enemy” this way; if they say “It will take longer to defeat the enemy than we had thought,” they’re not talking about defeating a single individual but rather a whole group. (As a side note, a striking difference between British and American English is that our British friends can use plural verbs with collective nouns, while we Americans generally can’t. So they can say, for example, “The government have announced a change in policy,” while we have to say “The government has …”) Since it’s not clear that Na’vi does this, I thought it safer to use the plural kutut.

      • Neytiri says:

        Mllte nìwotx Pìlumsìhu; kawkrr ke solar tsalì’ut tsafya, slä txo zivene, srey alu srake livu swey. Fìlì’fyaviri, oe poltxe san Srane? Kehe? sìk srekrr.

        Ma Pìlumsì, nì’Ìnglìsì, lì’uri alu enemy ral tsun livu tute a’aw släkop tute apxay—tengfya lì’uri alu Na’vi tsun ral livu tute leNa’vi fu sute leNa’vi.

        Lì’upukta:
        “ a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.
        […]
        • a hostile nation or its armed forces or citizens, especially in time of war.
        noun: the enemy
        “the enemy shot down four helicopters” ”

        Spaw oe, nìNa’vi kxuturi ral lu tute a’aw nì’aw. 🙂

    • Vawmataw says:

      My feeling is that srake fits a bit better. With ”srak”, it feels like you ended the question but without specifying what it was, while srake begins the question and the rest seems suggested. There’s food for though though.

  2. Neytiri says:

    Ninja’d by Pawl. xD

  3. Ikxeru Syoapìwopx says:

    Kaltxì ma Pawl, lu txantsan.

    Krro, txo plltxe oe nawma eyktanhu, tsakrr zene oe pivawm futa san Srake fìkxemyo tsun tsayhetuwong lehrrap ekxan sivi sìk, kefyak? 😀

    • Pawl says:

      Kaltxì ngar, ma Ikxeru! Ulte irayo.

      Kezemplltxe, tsayhetuwong a new eyktan ayoeyä foru ekxan sivi ke lu lehrrap. Lehrrap lu tsaeyktan.

  4. Nick says:

    Irayo fpi mipa aylí’u ma karyu 😀 Tíkangkemíri ngeyä, Sílpey tsní ngaru livu txana tíflä.

  5. Mìtsyan says:

    I think, given the ways in which full thoughts and sentences are reduced to single words in English when the subject of discussion is known, saying just “Srak?” is fully logical. In your example of someone waiting for an answer that’s not immediately forthcoming, even “Well, are you going to answer me or not?” is usually more than you hear in colloquial conversation. It’s usually just a “Well??” So why not just “Srak?”

    And for those of us who have been out of college for a decade or more, can you narrow down the location of the Julius Caesar quote? I’m a little rusty outside of Hamlet. 😉

  6. 'Eylan Ayfalulukanä says:

    Ma Pawl
    Faylì’u txantsan nìwotx lu. Ulte aylì’u lesar sì kerin nìteng.
    Mesrram, lunìl kayin lì’u alu tìkemwät a vingkap re’ot oeyä. Set, lu awngaru.

    Irayo nìtxan nang

  7. Blue Elf says:

    Related to “srak(e)” question, IMHO it depends on how we understand “srak(e)”. It is defined as marker for question, which is answered by simple yes/no. In real, it turns declaration sentence in question, like in:
    Ngaru lu fpom, srak? (are you well?). Without “srak” we have simple declaration, with “srak” it is question. In this context “srak” on its own has no meaning (or meaning of question mark).
    But if we take “srak” as yes or no?, things changes and in this meaning it works perfectly even alone:
    Ngaru lu fpom, srak? (you are well, yes or no?)

    A: Will you come tomorrow? (Srake nga za’u trray?)
    B: …no answer
    A: Yes or no?? (Srake??)
    I’d say, that srake is better here than srak, as others already said. Just my two cents.

    • , says:

      And thank you for your perspective, ma Blue Elf, certainly worth more than two cents! You’re right–srak(e) had its origin as a combination of srane + kehe, but now it’s simply a grammatical marker, which as you say turns a declarative statement into a yes-no question.

      So far the voting is leaning towards srake rather than srak, if the word is to be used alone. We’ll see how this develops.

      • 'Eylan Ayfalulukanä says:

        Voting?

        I seem to remember long ago, either I or someone else asking you whether srak or srake was more “Na’vi-ish”, and your replay was srake was more navi-ish.

        I would agree with both of you though, that as a stand alone word, srake is definitely better.

  8. Pamìrìk says:

    Ma Pawl,

    This is the first (and only) example I have seen of “poeyä”. Up until this point I had thought that poan and poe did not have genitive forms, and instead peyä was used for both. Is this correct? If so, is the correct possessive form of poan “poanä”?

    tìsung,
    tìkangkemìri ngeyä ngar oe irayo si nìtxan. fìlì’fyari oe ftolia vospxìo apukap. mì fìlì’fyaolo’ oe ultxarolun pxaya ‘eylan amip.

    • Pawl says:

      Kaltxì ngar, Ma Pamìrìk!

      Poe and poan do indeed have their own separate genitive forms. The complete paradigms are:

      po
      pol
      pot(i)
      peyä
      por(u)
      pori

      poe
      poel
      poet(i)
      poeyä
      poer(u)
      poeri

      poan
      poanìl
      poanit/poanti
      poanä
      poanur
      poanìri

      Maw vospxì apukap nì’aw, nga nìNa’vi plltxe nìltsan nìngay! Seysonìltsan, ma tsmuk! Ulte fwa ultxarolun pxaya ’eylan awngeyä lì’fyaolo’mì oeru teya si.

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