Kaltxì, ma eylan. ’Ok oeyä lu ayngar srak? Furia txankrr fìtsengit ke tarmok, oeru txoa livu.
Since it’s still a couple of days until the Summer Solstice, we’ll can call this Spring Vocabulary, Part 3. Irayo, as always, to the hardworking and extremely patient LEP folks and all the rest of you who have contributed ideas.
ftxulì’u (vin., ftxu.LÌ.’u—inf. 1,1) ‘orate, give a speech’
The etymology of this word goes back to täftxu ‘weave’ + lì’u ‘word,’ the original thought being that to give a speech is to weave words together.
Mawkrra Tsyeyk ftxolulì’u, tslam frapol futa slu po Olo’eyktan amip.
‘After Jake spoke, everyone understood that he had become the new Clan Leader.’
ftxulì’uyu (n., ftxu.LÌ.’u.yu) ‘orator, (public) speaker’
säftxulì’u (n., sä.ftxu.LÌ.’u) ‘speech, oration’
Fnivu! Säftxulì’uri ke tsun oe stivawm.
‘Hush! I can’t hear the speech.’
tìftxulì’u (n., tì.ftxu.LÌ.’u) ‘speech-making, public speaking)
Oeri lu tìftxulì’u ngäzìk nìtxan. Wätx nì’aw.
‘Public speaking is very difficult for me. I’m hopelessly bad at it.’
slantire (n., slan.ti.RE) ‘inspiration’
Etymology: slan ‘support’ + tirea ‘spirit’
slantire si (vin.) ‘inspire’
Säftxulì’u Tsyeykä Na’viru slantire soli nìwotx.
‘Jake’s speech inspired all the People.’
kum (n.) ‘result’
Kem amuiä, kum afe’. (Proverb)
‘Proper action, bad result.’ (Said when something that should have turned out well didn’t. Can include the idea, “Well, my/our/your/his/her/their heart was in the right place.”)
The importance of kum lies in the derived conjunctions kuma/akum, which are used in result clauses:
kuma / akum (conj., KUM.a / a.KUM) ‘that (as a result)’
Lu poe sevin nìftxan (OR: fìtxan) kuma yawne slolu oer.
‘She was so beautiful that I fell in love with her.’
Note a couple of things there. First, nìftxan and fìtxan are used interchangeably as the equivalent of English ‘so’ in these sentences. Second, the difference between kuma and akum is that kuma precedes the result while akum follows it. So another form of the previous example sentence is:
Poe yawne slolu oer akum, nìftxan lu sevin.
‘She was so beautiful that I fell in love with her.’
Such a structure is rather marginal in English, although you sometimes hear it in poetry: “I fell in love with her, so beautiful was she.”
And notice one more thing: the word order in result clauses is somewhat constrained. The rule is that kuma/akum must be contiguous with niftxan/fìtxan.
Tsatsenge lehrrap lu fìtxan kuma tsane ke kä awnga kawkrr.
‘That place is so dangerous we never go there.’
Keep in mind that the short form tsane ‘there’ is used with verbs of motion: it’s the place to which one goes. The full form is tsatsengne.
A final note on kuma/akum: These words may be used independently of fìtxan/nìftxan:
Pxeforu oe srung soli, kuma oeru set pxefo srung seri.
‘I helped the three of them, so they’re now helping me.’
Used in this way, kuma/akum overlap somewhat with ha ‘so’.
fyel (vtr.) ‘seal, cement, make impervious’
This word signifies making something tight and secure, so that it is unlikely (or at least not intended) to be broken, whether it refers to a hole in a boat’s bottom, a food container to be stored, or a wound from a viperwolf tooth.
Txo fkol ke fyivel uranit paywä, zene fko slivele.
If one does not seal a boat against water, one must swim.
Fyel, however, is not used in the sense of bringing something to completion. For that, use hasey si ‘complete’:
Sätswayon a’awve tsaheylur hasey si; ke tsun nga pivey.
‘First flight seals the bond; you cannot wait.’
zey (adj.) ‘special, distinct’
Zey, keteng, and le’aw all indicate that one thing is different from another. Of the three, keteng ‘not the same’ is the most neutral; le’aw ‘only, sole’ is the strongest.
Kelutral lu fneutral azey.
‘Hometree is a special kind of tree.’
vll (vin., vtr.) ‘indicate, point at’
Vll eykyu nefä fte pongu fäkivä.
‘The leader signals the party to ascend by pointing upwards.’
eykyu (n., EYK.yu) ‘leader (typically of a small group)’
Both eykyu and eyktan mean leader; the difference is one of scope and responsibility. An eykyu is the often temporary leader of a small group, for example the person in charge of a hunting party; an eyktan is a higher and more permanent position, the representative leader of a sub-community within the clan. The Olo’eyktan, of course, leads the entire clan.
Getting back to vll, note that some of the inflected forms have special spellings. The <ol> form is vol (compare poltxe from plltxe), and the “positively oriented” <ei> form is veiyll. That’s because a syllable cannot begin with ll or rr.
Utralti a tsauo Loak wäparman pol vol fa kxetse.
‘She used her tail to point out the tree Loak was hiding behind.’
Vll can also be used metaphorically in the case of one thing, not necessarily animate, pointing to or indicating another:
Txopul peyä vll futa kawkrr ke slayu tsamsiyu.
‘His fear indicates he’ll never become a warrior.’
am’ake (adj., am.’A.ke) ‘sure, confident’
This word is related to am’a ‘doubt’ in roughly the same way that kxuke ‘safe’ is related to kxu ‘harm.’ It’s used with ’efu:
Tsaria pol awngati ke txayìng oe ’efu am’ake nìwotx.
‘I’m entirely confident that he won’t abandon us.’
nam’ake (adv., nam.’A.ke) ‘confidently’
Tukeru poltxe Akwey nam’ake, omum futa ke tsun poe stivo.
‘Akwey spoke to Tuke confidently, knowing that she couldn’t refuse.’
Don’t confuse nam’ake with am’aluke (am.’A.lu.ke), ‘without a doubt’—although both are adverbial expressions, they’re used in different ways. Nam’ake is a manner adverbial—that is, it qualifies how something is done. In the above example, it indicates the manner in which Akwey spoke to Tuke. Am’aluke, on the other hand, is a sentence adverbial—it represents the speaker’s feeling about what he or she is saying:
Am’aluke snayaytx Sawtute, yayora’ Na’vi.
‘Without a doubt the Sky People will lose and the People will win.’
And speaking of sentence adverbials, here’s a word I think you’ll find useful:
kezemplltxe (adv., ke.zem.pll.TXE) ‘of course, needless to say’
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s a contraction of ke zene pivlltxe ‘not necessary to say.’
New Va’ru tskot Eytukanä zasrivìn. Kezemplltxe paylltxe san kehe.
‘Va’ru wants to borrow Eytukan’s bow. Of course he’ll say no.’
tare (vtr., TA.re—inf. 1,2) ‘connect, relate to, have a relationship with’
Säplltxel karyuä ke tolaränge tìpawmit kaw’it.
‘The teacher’s statement in no way pertained to the question. Drat!’
(Question: Which syllable in tolaränge should be stressed? )
Txilte Rinisì täpare fìtsap nìsoaia, slä tsalsungay ke nìolo’ takrra Rini muntxa slolu.
‘Txilte and Rini are related by blood, but nevertheless not by clan since the time Rini got married.’
nìsoaia (adv., nì.so.A.i.a) ‘(together) as members of a family’
nìolo’ (adv., nì.o.LO’) ‘(together) as members of a clan’
sätare (n., sä.TA.re) ‘connection, relationship’
Nìngay leiu oer sì sempulur sätare asìltsan.
‘Father and I really have a good relationship; it’s nice.’
Also note the following useful conversational expression:
‘It’s irrelevant.’ OR ‘It doesn’t matter.’
sloa (adj., SLO.a) ‘wide’
snep (adj.) ‘narrow’
Tsautralìri tangek lu sloa nìtxan; ’evi ke tsun tsyivìl.
The trunk of that tree is very wide; the kid cannot climb it.
slosnep (n., slo.SNEP) ‘width’
peslosnep (q., pe.slo.SNEP) or slosneppe (slo.SNE.pe) ‘what width? how wide?’
Kilvanìri tsatseng slosneppe?
‘How wide is the river there?’
hoet (adj., HO.et) ‘vast, broad, expansive’
’Rrtamì a tampay lu hoet.
‘The oceans on Earth are vast.’
nìhoet (adv., nì.HO.et) ‘widely, pervasively’
Run fkol teylut nìhoet.
‘You find teylu everywhere.’
so’ha (vtr., SO’.ha—inf. 1,2) ‘be enthusiastic about, show enthusiasm for, be excited about’
Note that in Na’vi, being enthusiastic is transitive.
Oel so’ha futa trray ngahu kä
‘I’m excited about going with you tomorrow.’
Tsenul so’ha teylut nìhawng nì’it, kefyak?
‘Don’t you think Tsenu is a bit too into teylu?’
Sawno’ha ioit kolaneiom oel uvanfa!
‘I got (won) the prized piece of jewelry in the game!’
This word can also be used on its own as an interjection:
A: Leiam fwa Txewì Rinisì muntxa slìyu.
A: ‘It looks like Txewì and Rini are about to get married.’
B: ‘That’s great!’
tìso’ha (n.) ‘enthusiasm; having a good attitude’
nìso’ha (adv.) ‘enthusiastically’
leso’ha (adj.) ‘enthusiastic, keen’ (only for persons)
* * *
On a personal note, John and I are leaving on Friday for SETIcon II, the annual SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) conference being held in Santa Clara, California. I’ve been honored to be asked to take part as a panelist and interviewee. Marc Okrand, who as you know is the creator of Klingon, will be there too, as well as several members of the Lì’fyaolo’. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the most creative minds in SETI—for example, Frank Drake of the famous Drake Equation. Am’aluke fìultxa ’o’ layu nìtxan.
And finally, I got a kick out of this cartoon in a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine and thought you’d like it too:
(If it makes no sense to you at all, take a look at this.)