Kaltxì nìmun, ma frapo!
Another great North American meet-up of the lì’fyaolo’ and the wider Uniltìrantokxolo’ is now behind us. As you know, AvatarMeet 2014 was held in Los Angeles, and so it was a pleasure for my muntxatu alu John (alu Tawtutan aTstunwi) and me to be able to have old and new friends alike over to our house for an afternoon and evening of food, festivities, and fun.
Back at the hotel the next morning, I taught a Na’vi 103 class that picked up where last year’s class left off. Our very talented videographers Alan and Mikko taped the whole thing, and as soon as I let Alan know which misstatements I made that I’d rather not have preserved for posterity, he’ll be once again editing the raw footage into videos that will be posted online. Ngeyä tìkangkemìri atxantsan irayo nìli nìtxan, ma tsmuk!
And now for some new vocabulary. Irayo, as always, to the members of the LEP, whose suggestions are incorporated in some of these words.
First some concrete nouns:
ngoa (n., NGO.a) ‘mud’
Mawfwa zup tompa, lu ngoa atxan fìhapxìmì na’rìngä.
‘After rain, there’s a lot of mud in this part of the forest.’
mawfwa (conj., MAW.fwa) ‘after’
Note: mawfwa and mawkrra are synonymous: they’re both conjunctions meaning ‘after’ and can be used interchangeably.
neni (n., NE.ni) ‘sand’
Neni lew si fìtxayor vay txampay nìwotx.
‘Sand covers this expanse all the way to the ocean.’
fwep (n.) ‘dust (on a surface)’
fwopx (n.) ‘dust (in the air)’
Although English uses the same word for airborne dust and dust on the ground or on a surface, Na’vi makes a distinction. As you may have guessed, fwopx was originally derived from fwep + pìwopx ‘cloud.’
Slärìl ngaʼ fwepit atxan.
‘The cave is very dusty.’
Txewìl ʼolaku fwepit ftumfa kelku sneyä.
‘Txewì removed the dust from inside his house.’
Tsawke slolu vawm talun fwopx.
‘The sun became dark due to dust in the air.’
Next, a useful adverb:
nìyey (adv., nì.YEY) ‘directly, straight to the point; just’
You already know the word nìyeyfya, which indicates actual movement straight ahead or in a straight line. Nìyey, on the other hand, is metaphorical: it describes an action performed in a direct manner, without hesitation or distraction. So the Na’vi version of the famous Nike slogan is:
Kem si nìyey!
‘Just do it!’
You may be thinking, why not say Kem si nì’aw? That’s possible, but there’s a subtle difference in meaning between the two forms.
Ni’aw is ‘just’ in the sense of ‘only.’ It’s used, for example, in a situation where there’s a choice of A, B, or C, and you’re telling people to ignore A and B and only go with C. Pxirit fu swoat näk rä’ä; niväk payit nì’aw. ‘Don’t drink beer or spirits; just drink water.’ So Kem si nì’aw means something along the lines of, ‘If you have several options, one of which is acting, disregard the other options and just act.’
Nìyey is ‘just’ in the sense of ‘directly.’ So Kem si nìyey implies, ‘Don’t hesitate, don’t overthink it, don’t get distracted, just forge ahead and act.’
’al (vtr.) ‘waste’
Rä’ä ’ival syuvet!
‘Don’t waste food!’
tì’al (n., tì.’AL) ‘wastefulness’
Tì’al lu zoplo a tsari ke tsun txoa livu nìftue.
‘Wastlefulness is an offense that cannot easily be forgiven.’
le’al (adj., le.’AL) ‘wasteful (not for people)’
Fwa sar payit fìtxan lu le’al.
‘Using this much water is wasteful.’
nì’al (adv., nì.’AL) ‘wastefully’
srey (n.) ‘version’
Fìsrey pukä alu Horen Lì’fyayä leNa’vi lu swey nìlaw.
This version of the book A Reference Grammar of Na’vi is clearly the best.
lupra (n., LUP.ra) ‘style’
Plltxe frapo san fìfkxile lor lu nìngay sìk, slä oeri ke sunu oer lupra kaw’it.
‘Everybody says this necklace is really beautiful, but me, I don’t like the style one bit.’
(In the above example, note the double use of oeri/oer for emphasis and change of focus: Everybody is X, but as for me, I’m Y.)
The lup part of lupra shows up in compounds:
fyolup (adj., FYO.lup) ‘exquisite, sublime in style’
fe’lup (adj., FE’.lup) ‘tacky, in poor taste’
snolup (n., SNO.lup) ‘personal style or aesthetic, presence’
Por lu snolup a new frapo rì’ìr sivi.
‘He/She has a personal style that everyone wants to emulate.’
’ongop (vtr., ’O.ngop—infixes 2,2) ‘design’
Although on first glance it might look as if this verb is related to ’ong ‘unfold, blossom,’ it’s not. It actually comes from the noun ’on ‘shape, form’ + the verb ngop ‘create.’
Fìtskoti afyolup ’ongolop oeyä sempulìl.
‘This exquisite bow was designed by my father.’
’ongopyu (n., ’O.ngop.yu) ‘designer’
One more thing for now: Earlier this year I was invited to be part of the California Cognitive Science Conference at the University of California, Berkeley. This year’s theme was creativity. The talks are now online. Here’s mine:
This talk was a little different from the others I’ve given; you might find parts of the beginning and end interesting.
Hayalovay, ma smuk.