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!

Posted in General | 12 Comments

Stxeli Alor: The text

Here’s the text to the listening exercise in the previous post. If you haven’t already, I think it would be a great idea to listen to the narrative several times and try to write out what you hear. Then compare it to the text below.


Tengfya omum aynga, krrka tsawlultxa Uniltìrantokxolo’ä a mì LosÄntsyelesì vospxìam, kaymo zola’u frayultxatu ne kelku moeyä fte yivom wutsot, ftivia nì’it lì’fyati leNa’vi, ulte kiväteng nì’o’. Tsyanìri sì oeri loleiu tsakaym tsyeym angay.

Kaymkrrka tolel moel ta ayultxatu stxelit akosman—nìfkeytongay, mestxelit alu lora merel Tsyanä sì oeyä. Tsun aynga mesat tsive’a fìtseng:

Lu txantsan nìngay, kefyak? Fìmerelit ’ongolop awngeyä tsulfätul reltseoä alu Älìn. Tengfya tsun tsive’a, lupra eltur tìtxen si nìtxan. Relit oeyä ngolop Älìnìl fa hì’ia aylì’u leNa’vi, relit Tsyanä fa hì’ia aysìreyn. (Sunu Tsyanur tìreyn nìtxan.)

Fìmestxeli alor kur set ta kxemyo a mì helku moeyä.

Fìmeuiari seiyi moe irayo nìtxan, ma smuk. Moeru teya si nìngay.


And here’s the English translation:

As you know, during the Avatar Community Meet-up in Los Angeles last month, all the participants came to our house one evening to have dinner, study a little Na’vi, hang out together, and have fun. For John and me, that evening was a real treasure.

During the evening we received a wonderful gift from the participants—actually, two gifts: two beautiful pictures of John and me. You can see both of them here:

They’re excellent, aren’t they? The two portraits were created by our Master of Visual Arts, Alan. As you can see, the style is very interesting. Alan created my portrait out of little Na’vi words; John’s he created out of trains. (John likes trains a lot.)

These two beautiful gifts are now hanging on a wall in our home.

We thank you so much for this honor, brothers and sisters. We’re greatly touched.

One thing to note here is the adverb kaymo ‘one evening.’ As you can see, it’s simply kaym ‘evening’ with the indefinite –o suffix. You can use this same structure to form other such adverbs from many of the other words you know relating to time of day or the calendar:

trro                ‘one day’

rewono        ‘one morning’

ha’ngiro       ‘one afternoon’

txono            ‘one night’

kintrro         ‘one week’

muntrro      ‘one weekend’

vospxìo        ‘one month’

zìsìto             ‘one year’

Don’t confuse, for example, trr a’aw with trro. Both can be translated ‘one day,’ but their use is very different. Trro is an adverb, answering the question, When did it happen?

Po fnarmu frakrr, slä trro poltxe.
‘She was always silent, but one day she spoke.’

Trr a’aw or ’awa trr, on the other hand, is a noun phrase that can be the subject or object of a verb:

Fìtìkangkemviri oel kin ’awa trrti nì’aw.
‘For this project I only need one day.’

Stay tuned for some new vocabulary . . .

Posted in General | 15 Comments

Stxeli Alor–A Beautiful Gift

Kaltxì, ma smuk.

As a little listening exercise, I’d like to tell you about a beautiful gift John and I received.

First, a couple of new words you’ll need:

krrka (adp-, KRR.ka) ‘during’

tìreyn (n., tì.REYN) ‘train’ (borrowed from English)


PF pic 1


JB pic

PF pic 2

Posted in General | 18 Comments

Tsawlultxamaw a Aylì’u—Post-meetup Words

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.’

(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.’

(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.’

(adj., le.’AL) ‘wasteful (not for people)’

Fwa sar payit fìtxan lu le’al.
‘Using this much water is wasteful.’

(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.

(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.’

(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.

Posted in General | 15 Comments

Teri tsalì’u alu nìfkeytongay—About “nìfkeytongay”

I’ve been reminded that I haven’t yet officially introduced this useful word, although I had promised to in a comment in a previous post. So here it is:

nìfkeytongay (adv., nì.fkey.to.NGAY) ‘actually, as a matter of fact’

The word is most often used to contradict something already said or implied—to “set the record straight,” so to speak. For example:


(NUMEYU: Tok pesenget pamrelìl? Tsat ngal tswolänga’ nìlam.

PAWL: Nìfkeytongay ke tswola’ kaw’it. 🙂  )

Our Neytiri nailed the derivation of this word:

nì-[tìfkeytok+angay]—that is, “true situation-ly.” The historical stages along the way might have been:

*nìtìfkeytokangay > nìtfkeytokngay (unstressed vowels dropped) > nìfkeytongay (consonants at the end of syllables dropped, making the pronunciation easier and more flowing)

Posted in General | 1 Comment

Mipa Aylì’u, Mipa Aysäfpìl—New Words, New Ideas

Kaltxì ayngaru, ma eylan! As May comes to a close, here’s some new vocabulary I hope you’ll find useful. Aysämokìri atxantsan, oeyä aymowarsiyuru [see below!] irayo nìtxan!

mowar (n., mo.WAR) ‘advice, bit or piece of advice’

Ma Neytiri, ayoel kin mowarit ngeyä. Nga tsun ayoer srung sivi srak?
‘Neytiri, we need your advice. Can you help us?’



mowar si (vin.) ‘advise’

Tsun oe mowar sivi ngar, slä ke tsun fyawivìntxu.
‘I can advise you, but I can’t guide you.’


As with ätxäle si, ‘request’, we use tsnì with mowar si to introduce a subordinate clause—that is, ‘advise X to do Y.’

Poe mowar soli poanur tsnì hivum.
‘She advised him to leave.’


mowarsiyu (n., mo.WAR.si.yu) ‘advisor’

Lu fraeyktanur asìltsan txantslusama aymowarsiyu.
‘Every good leader has wise advisors.’


kakpam (adj., kak.PAM) ‘deaf’

Kakpam is built on the same pattern as kakrel, ‘blind.’

Hìkrro mefo kakpam larmu mawkrra pxolor kunsìp.
‘The two of them were deaf for a short time after the gunship exploded.’


tìkakrel (n., tì.kak.REL) ‘blindness’

tìkakpam (n., tì.kak.PAM) ‘deafness’

Pori tìkakrel tìkakpamsì kum tsamä lu.
‘His blindness and deafness are a result of the war.’


pxek (vtr.) ‘kick, shove’

Yerikìl nantangit pxolek fte hivifwo.
‘The hexapede kicked the viperwolf in order to flee.’


Note that pxek by itself covers both ‘kick’ and ‘shove.’ If you need to distinguish between these, add pxunfa ‘with the arm’ or kinamfa ‘with the leg.’

Po pxunfa pxek tsakrr mefo zup nekll!
‘He shoved the two of them and they fell down.’


(More literally: ‘He shoved, and the two of them fell down.’ Remember that if tense and aspect will be clear from the context—which is the assumption here, since it’s presumably part of a narrative—the verbs can simply be in their root forms, without infixes.)

kolan (conv., ko.LAN) ‘I mean, rather (self-correction)’

As with tolel, rolun, and tslolam, the -ol- form of kan ‘aim, intend’ takes on a special conversational meaning. Kolan is used when you need to correct yourself. It tells the listener, ‘My intention was not to say X but rather Y.’

Oeri tsyokx tìsraw si . . . kolan zekwä.
My hand hurts—I mean, my finger.

Fo kolä tsatseng fte tivaron yeri . . . ìì . . . kolan talioangit.
‘They went there to hunt hexa. . . um . . . I mean sturmbeast.’


hena (vtr., HE.na—inf. 1, 2) ‘carry’

Rutxe hivena fìepxangit fpi oe. Oeri skiena tsyokx lu leskxir.
‘Please carry this stone jar for me. My right hand is wounded.’



sähena (n., sä.HE.na) ‘container, vessel, carrier’

This is a general term for any object that can be used as a container or tool to carry something.

Ayfol zamolunge awngar ayrina’it fa sähena apxa.
‘They brought us the seeds in a large container.’


Sähena can also be used as a suffix, in which case it contracts to –sena. X-sena is an object that specifically carries or contains X. This suffix is not productive—that is, in general you’re not free to coin your own –sena words; you have to find them in the lexicon.


paysena (n., PAY.se.na) ‘water container’

Tsngal lu fnepaysena.
‘A cup is a type of water container.’


tutsena (n., TUT.se.na) ‘stretcher’

Tutsena is obviously derived from tute+sena, a ‘people-carrier.’ This is the device with which the unconscious Grace is carried to the Tree of Souls in the movie.

tstalsena (n., TSTAL.se.na) ‘knife sheath’

swizawsena (n., swi.ZAW.se.na) ‘quiver (attached to the ikran’s saddle)

In casual conversation, swizawsena is usually contracted to zawsena.


A word about AvatarMeet 2014

As I’m sure you know, this year’s AvatarMeet is taking place right here in my hometown of Los Angeles. Needless to say, I’ll be there! 😉 I hope those of you who are able to attend are as excited as I am. And for those who can’t make it, your aysirea will doubtless be with us.

As in past years, I’ll be teaching a Na’vi class—we’re up to Na’vi 103 now—that will be videotaped through the skill and generosity of our videotech team, Alan Taylor and Mikko Wilson. I’m very pleased that several of our aysulfätu lì’fyayä will be joining me as co-instructors.

We’re working on the content of the class right now. Naturally I have some thoughts about what grammatical points and conversational situations to concentrate on this time, but if you have any feelings along those lines—or if you have any other suggestions about the class—I’d love to hear your ideas! Let me know either in a blog comment or a personal email.

Happy June, everyone. Hayalovay!

Posted in General | 8 Comments

Value and Worth

Kaltxì, ma frapo,

Last time we looked at expressions for barter and exchange using the adposition yoa. This time we move to a related semantic domain and consider how to talk about value and worth. Like the last post, this one introduces a single important root, ley.

ley (vin.) ‘be of value, have some positive value, be worth something’

To say Fì’u ley is to say that the thing in question has some amount of positive value; this could be by virtue of its usefulness, beauty, history, association, etc. Fì’u ke ley means that the thing has no value—i.e., is worthless.

To specify the extent of the value, you need to add qualifiers like nìtxan, ke . . . kaw’it, and so on.

Here are some examples, most of which were contributed by the LEP:

Fì’u ley nìtxan nang!
This is super valuable!’

Tsaw ke ley kaw’it pak!
That’s not worth a thing!’ OR: ‘That’s just worthless junk!’

Tsasrä anawnekx ley nì’it nì’aw.
That burnt cloth is of little value.’

Fìfnerìn ke ley krra slu paynga’.
This kind of wood is worthless when it gets damp.

Flä ke flä, ley säfmi.
‘Whether you succeed or not, the attempt has value.’ (proverb)

säfmi (n., sä.FMI) ‘attempt’

Note that in the following example, the comparison does not require nì’ul, just as we say Po oeto lu tsawl ‘He’s taller than I am’ rather than *Po oeto lu tsawl nì’ul.

Oeri tsaw ke ley fì’uto.
I don’t value that over this.’

To inquire about something’s value, use pìmtxan or hìmtxampe ‘how much, to what extent’ along with ley:

Fìnikroi ley pìmtxan?
How valuable is this hair ornament?’

To say that A is as valuable as B, use ley with nìftxan/nì’eng and na:

Masat oeyä ley nìftxan na pum ngeyä.
‘My breastplate is as valuable as (OR: worth as much as) yours.’

Use this same structure to express monetary value ’Rrtamì:

Oeyä eltu lefngap ley nì’eng na ewro azafu.
‘My computer is worth 70 euros.’

In casual or informal contexts, nìftxan/nì’eng may be omitted:

Oeyä eltu lefngap ley na ewro azafu.
‘My computer is worth 70 euros.’

Sìlpey oe, fìpostì lilvey ayngaru nìwotx!


Edit 01 April: nì’eyng –> nì’eng (3X) Irayo, ma Plumps!

Posted in General | 23 Comments

Barter and Exchange

Kaltxì, ma eylan.

Well, 2014 has gotten off to a slow start for me. But here’s a brief post, just under the wire for February, with more to follow soon.

This post introduces an important new word: yoa.

yoa (adp-, YO.a) ‘in exchange for’

Yoa is an adp-, i.e. an adposition that does not trigger lenition, used to describe an exchange of items. In particular, it’s used in talking about trade—trading X for Y. The verbs we typically find in yoa sentences are those relevant for giving (tìng), receiving (tel), getting or acquiring (kanom), offering (stxenutìng), accepting (mll’an), etc.

A few examples contributed by the LEP will make the use of yoa clear:

Oel tolìng ngaru tsnganit yoa fkxen.
‘I gave you meat in exchange for vegetables.’ OR ‘I traded you meat for vegetables.’

Fol kolanom pota aysrokit fayoangyoa.
‘They acquired beads from him in exchange for fish.’ OR ‘They bartered fish with him for beads.’

Tayel Tsenul pxeswizawti yoa munsnahawnven.
‘Tsenu will receive three arrows in exchange for a pair of shoes.’

The next two examples are a bit more complicated.

Here, one of the “items” participating in the exchange is in fact an action performed by someone—that is, a clause:

Käsrolìn oel nikroit Peyralur yoa fwa po rol oer.
I loaned Peyral a hair ornament in exchange for her singing to me.’

And this example merits careful examination:

Futa ngata tel pxenyoa srät, mll’eian oel.
‘I’m happy to take cloth from you for finished garments.’

(Question: If A = agent, P = patient or object, and V = verb, what’s the basic word order of this sentence—APV, AVP, PAV, PVA, VAP, or VPA?)

Here ’Rrtamì we can adapt kanom + yoa in a natural way to talk about buying things. After all, when you purchase something, what are you doing but acquiring it in exchange for money? All we need are some loan words for earthly currency:

txolar (n., TXO.lar) ‘dollar’

ewro (n., EW.ro) ‘euro’

Poel hawre’tsyìpit kolanom yoa txolar amevol.
‘She bought a little cap for $16.’

Kìmanom oel mipa eltut lefngap yoa ewro.
‘I just bought a new computer.’

In the previous example, note that even when you don’t specify how much you paid, you still need to mention that you acquired the item in exchange for some kind of currency.

Finally, here’s a little listening exercise. I recently composed a short paragraph in Na’vi for a special occasion. Listen and see if you can figure out what the occasion was.

You’ll need to know one new word:

lawnol (n., LAW.nol) ‘great joy’


Posted in General | 10 Comments

Mipa Zìsìt Lefpom! Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year, my friends! May 2014 bring health, peace, and joy to you all.

NìNa’vi . . . 

Posted in General | 15 Comments

Na’vi 102 Videos!

Ma Eylan,

Lu hasey! Videos of the Na’vi 102 class that it was my pleasure to teach at AvatarMeet 2013  in Shenandoah National Park are now available on YouTube. Descriptions and links to the six videos are below.

Irayo nìtxan to everyone who helped in this endeavor: to Leonopteryx who provided the video projector, speakers and amp; to Mikko who contributed the spiffy digital white board; to DJ Makto who recorded the lessons; to Lightstorm Entertainment who supported the cost of the room rental; and to all the aynumeyu whose enthusiastic participation made the class lively and fun. Most of all, a huge thank-you to Alan, our brilliant videographer, for his time and talent in putting these videos together so beautifully.

Although the material is elementary, I hope that even for our sulfätu these lessons will have some interest, and that you’ll find them useful for teaching others.

Sìlpey oe, faysänumvitsyìp lesar lìyevu ayngaru nìwotx.

Na’vi Class 102 – Part 1
Running Time: 14:35
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puuuDGYgSss
Introduction and classroom phrases to help learners ask and respond to questions in Na’vi during the class.

Na’vi Class 102 – Part 2:
Running Time: 16:27
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCNWYDMT-pk
A dialogue piece: questions and answers about identity and age.

Na’vi Class 102 – Part 3:
Running Time: 18:36
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIY5PCOzBLA
The topical for nouns along with the Na’vi octal numbering system.

Na’vi Class 102 – Part 4:
Running Time: 16:01
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ps1LYPAVcM
A dialogue for describing families large and small.

Na’vi Class 102 – Part 5:
Running Time: 18:28
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SEsL0nbMYM
Exploring lenition and plurals.

Na’vi Class 102 – Part 6:
Running Time: 21:29
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaK7rBnxW9k
The question of ‘What are you doing?’ and its answers reveal the changes that occur to agent and patient words.

Posted in General, Na’vi 101 | 4 Comments