Kaltxì, ma frapo.
We haven’t had much new vocabulary in a while, so here are some aylì’u amip to fill a mektseng or two (see below) that I hope you’ll find useful. Some of these were requests from the Euro-Avatar folks relating to the upcoming May Meet-up in Berlin; some were suggestions from the LEP; one was a request from a journalist who wanted to know how to say “Where’s the bathroom?” in Na’vi. 🙂
txurtel (n., TXUR.tel) ‘rope’
The etymology does not involve the verb tel ‘receive’ but rather the noun telem ‘cord,’ which has been shortened in the compound: txur + telem > txurtelem > txurtel, ‘strong cord = rope.’
ropx (n.) ‘hole (going clear through an object)’
tsongropx (n., TSONG.ropx) ‘hole, cavity, excavation with a bottom (visible or presumed)’
Here the derivation is tsong ‘valley’ + ropx.
If a tree trunk has a hole in it that goes clear through from one side to another, so that you can look into the hole and see daylight out the other end, it’s a ropx. But if the hole only goes partially through the tree trunk, it’s a tsongropx.
Fìfneyayol tsrulit txula mì songropx utralä fte aylinit hivawnu wä sarnioang. Fìtìkanìri ropx ke ha’.Tìng mikyun
‘This kind of bird builds its nest in a tree cavity so as to protect its young from predators. For this purpose, a hole going right through the tree trunk isn’t suitable.’
tsrul (n.) ‘nest; protected area serving as the home of Pandoran fauna’
(If you need to make clear that it’s a bird’s nest, the word, as you might suspect, is yayotsrul (n., YA.yo.tsrul).
lini (n., LI.ni) ‘young of an animal, bird, fish, insect’
tarnioang (n., TAR.ni.o.ang) ‘predator animal’ (from taron + ioang)
rong (n.) ‘tunnel’
swek (n.) ‘bar, rod, pole’
mektseng (n., MEK.tseng) ‘gap, breach’
Tsenga ’awstengyäpem fìmekemyo lu mektseng a tsun fpxiväkìm hì’ang tsawìlä.Tìng mikyun
‘Where these two walls come together there’s a gap through which insects can get in.’
tsenga (conj., TSE.nga) ‘where, place where’
fta (n.) ‘knot’
fta si (vin.) ‘knot, make or tie a knot’
fwi (vin.) ‘slip, slide’
Nari si! Klltesìn lu pay atxan. Fwi rä’ä!Tìng mikyun
‘Be careful! There’s a lot of water on the ground. Don’t slip!’
Txurtelmì fo fta soli fteke ka tsyokx fwivi.Tìng mikyun
‘They tied a knot in the rope so it wouldn’t slip through their hands.’
Poti fweykoli ayoel ìlä rong.Tìng mikyun
‘We let him slide through the tunnel.’
A note on pronunciation: When an ejective at the end of a syllable is followed by another consonant, as in ka tsyokx fwivi above, pìwopxlok, kxitxmaw, etc., the ejective can be quite difficult to pronounce. In these cases, it’s natural for the ejective to be pronounced as if it were a regular stop. For example, pìwopxlok is pronounced as if it were spelled pìwoplok, even though the actual spelling doesn’t change. (Interestingly, this doesn’t happen with words like atxkxe ‘land’ and ekxtxu ‘rough.’Tìng mikyun There the two ejectives coming together are quite pronounceable!)
oìsss si (vin., o.ÌSSS) ‘hiss’
To hiss as someone is oìsss si fkoru:
Nga lumpe oìsss soli por?Tìng mikyun
‘Why did you hiss at him?’
il (vin.) ‘bend’
This verb is used for something straight that bends or hinges at a joint. In fact, the word for joint, til, which you already know, developed from *tìil.
Txo vul ivil nìhawng kxìyevakx.Tìng mikyun
‘If a branch bends too much, it might break.’
kxakx (vin.) ‘break, snap in two’
The causative form of il, eykil, which means ‘bend’ in the transitive sense—i.e., ‘bend something’—can sometimes be used to express the idea of pulling two things together:
Metewit fìswekä eykivil.Tìng mikyun
‘Pull the two ends of this bar together.’
ftumfa (adp-, FTUM.fa) ‘out of, from inside’
This word comes from ftu + mìfa, just as nemfa comes from ne + mìfa.
Riti tswolayon ftumfa slär.Tìng mikyun
The stingbat flew out of the cave.
Reypay skxirftumfa herum.Tìng mikyun
‘Blood is coming out of (literally: exiting from the inside of) the wound.’
sä’eoio (n., sä.’E.o.i.o) ‘ceremony, ritual, rite’
sä’eoio si (vin.) ‘take part in a ceremony, perform a ritual’
Fwa tsyìl Ayramit Alusìng lu sä’eoio a zene frapo sivi fte slivu taronyu.Tìng mikyun
‘Climbing Iknimaya is a ritual that everyone has to perform to become a hunter.’
kur (vin.) ‘hang’
Fkxile pewnta tutéyä kur.Tìng mikyun
‘The bib necklace hangs from the woman’s neck.’
The transitive ‘hang,’ i.e. to hang something on something, is simply keykur:
’Ali’ät vulsìn keykur za’u fìtseng.Tìng mikyun
‘Hang the choker on the branch and come here.’
Note: If you compare kur ‘hang’ with zup ‘fall,’ you’ll notice we have the word tungzup for ‘drop’—i.e., ‘let fall.’ Do we also have the causative form of zup, that is, zeykup? Yes we do. So what’s the difference?
Although there’s some overlap, tungzup is generally used for an accidental or inadvertent action, while zeykup generally implies a deliberate act.
Hìtxoa. Oel tsngalit tìmungzup.Tìng mikyun
‘Sorry. I just dropped the cup (accidentally).’
(We’ll have more about the syntax of tung and tung compounds another time. For now, just observe that tungzup is transitive.)
Ngeyä tskoti zeykup! Set!Tìng mikyun
‘Drop your bow! Now!’
Since it’s unusual to hang something on an object accidentally, a word parallel to tungzup, *tungkur, never developed. In general, however, if you need to specify that an action was either deliberate or accidental and you don’t have pairs like zeykup and tungzup to fall back on, you can use the following adverbs:
nìtkan (adv., nìt.KAN) ‘purposefully, deliberately’
nìtkanluke (adv., nìt.KAN.lu.ke) ‘accidentally, unintentionally’
nui (vin., NU.i) ‘fail, falter, go astray, not obtain expected or desired result’
This word is the opposite of flä ‘succeed.’
Oe fmoli nuängi.Tìng mikyun
‘I tried, but unfortunately I failed.’
Rumit a nolui rä’ä fewi.Tìng mikyun
‘Don’t chase after a foul ball.’
Nui is also used in the sense of ‘mess up’ or ‘do wrong,’ similarly to tìkxey si but stronger. With special emphasis, it’s the usual expression for placing blame:
Nolui NGA!Tìng mikyun
‘YOU failed! It’s YOUR fault! YOU’RE the one who messed up!’
Additionally, nui gives us the important adverb nìnu, which is difficult to translate into English. It indicates an action that didn’t achieve its expected or desired result, that “misfired” in some way.
nìnu (adv., nì.NU) ‘failingly, falteringly, in vain, fruitlessly, not achieving the desired or expected end’
Oeru txoa livu. Poltxänge nìnu.Tìng mikyun
‘Forgive me. I misspoke.’
Kllte lu ekxtxu. Nari si txokefyaw tìran nìnu.Tìng mikyun
‘The ground is rough. Be careful or you’ll trip.’
Note that plltxe nìnu can mean either ‘misspeak’ (i.e., make an error in speaking) or ‘speak in vain’ (i.e., speak correctly but not get the result you were hoping for). Context will usually decide which meaning applies.
tìnui (n., tì.NU.i) ‘failure (abstract concept)’
Fìtxeleri tìnui ke lu tìftxey.Tìng mikyun
‘In this matter, failure is not an option.’
sänui (n., sä.NU.i) ‘failure (particular instance of failure)’
Oeyk tsatìsnaytxä lu apxa sänui tìeyktanä.Tìng mikyun
‘That loss was caused by a great failure of leadership.’
Fìsänuit zene nga tswiva’, ma ’itan. Ke tsranten kaw’it. Am’aluke nì’i’a nga flayä.Tìng mikyun
‘You must forget about this failure, my son. It means nothing. There’s no question that you’ll succeed in the end.’
fngä’ (vin.) ‘relieve oneself; (on Earth:) use the restroom, go to the bathroom’
Fko tsun fngivä’ peseng?Tìng mikyun
‘Where is the bathroom?’ (Literally: ‘Where can one relieve oneself?’)
Edit: In sänui example, zene ngal –> zene nga. Irayo, ma Tirea Aean!