What Is Language na’vi

The Na’vi language is the artificial language of the Na’vi, an alien race native to the moon Pandora in the movie Avatar . Created by Paul Frommer , a professor at The Marshall School of Business with a doctorate in linguistics. Na’vi was built to fit director James Cameron’s concept of how the language should sound in the film, so that it can be really learned by the human characters in the film, and so that it can be pronounced by the actors, but that doesn’t resemble any other human tongue. [ 1

Phonology [ edit | edit source code ]

Na’vi syllables can be as simple as a single vowel, or as complex as “idiotic” skxawng or “metal” fngap (both CCVC).

There are certain sounds in Portuguese that do not exist in Na’vi, namely:

  • Bilabial – the equivalents of band p are considered as labial .
  • Labiodental – the fand v equivalents are considered as Alveolar .
  • Dental / Alveolar – the sand z equivalents are considered as Alveolar only .

Vowels [ edit | edit source code ]

There are seven vowel sounds : a ä ei ì or

front posterior
high i [i] u [u]
~ [ʊ]
ì [ɪ]
medial and [ɛ] o [o]
low ä [æ] a [a]

There are also four diphthongs: aw [aw] , ew [εw] , ay [aj] , ey [εj] .

The front vowels of diphthongs represented by ä – é – ì – i – ey – ay would be pronounced with in Portuguese respectively a – e – i (short) – i (long) – ei – ai , while the central vowels and diphthongs and later representations a – o – u – aw – ew would be in Portuguese a – ô – u – au – eu ( more for óu). Note that, while e is half-open, o is half-closed, there is no sound * or. There are no double syllabic consonants functioning as vowels, ll [l̩] and rr [r̩] , as in plltxe [pl̩.tʼɛ]”talk” and prrte ‘ [pr̩.tɛʔ] “pleasure”. The rr is strongly vibrant and the ll is “bright”, as in “light”, it is never “darkened” ( depending on velar ) * [ɫ̩] with a “south”.

The Na’vi vowels may occur in sequences as in the Polynesian languages , Bantu languages and Japanese . [ 2 ] Each vowel is counted as a syllable, so tsaleioae has six syllables, [tsa.lɛ.ioaɛ] and meoauniaea has eight, [ˈmɛ.oaˈu.ni.a.ˈɛ.a] . [ 3 ] Syllabic consonants can also occur in sequence with a simple or diphthong vowel, as in “dangerous” hrrap [hr̩.ap] . Diphthongs before another vowel are not distinguished from consonants y, w between vowels.

Na’vi does not have variations in vowel length or tones , but there are contrasts in tonicity: túte [ˈtutɛ] “person”, tuté [tuˈtɛ] “female person”. Even though the tonicity may shift due to some derivation, as presented before, it is not affected by declension (case in nouns, time in verbs, others). The verb lu “to be” is accentuated in its only vowel, u . No matter what happens, the accented syllable is always in that “u”: lolú [loˈlu] “era” ( l ‹ol› u ), lolängú [lolæˈŋu] “era (ugh!)”.

Consonants [ edit | edit source code ]

There are 20 consonant sounds. There are two different transcripts for the Latin alphabet :

  • One that aims at using one letter per phoneme – the letters cand g for [ts] and d [ŋ] (sounds that have to do with their uses, respectively, in the languages ​​of Eastern Europe and Polynesia ;
  • Another, a modified one used by the actors, such as the digraphs tsand ng (not Spanish ) used for the above sounds.

In both transcriptions, the ejections are written in digraphs in x, a convention created only for the Na’vi language, although in Nambiquara it uses tx, kx transcriptions for glottalization of consonants.

Lip Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Ejeciva px [pʼ] tx [tʼ]   kx [kʼ]  
Plosiva p [p] t [t]   k [k]  [ʔ]
Africada   ts (c) [ts]      
Fricative f [f]
v [v]
s [s]
z [z]
    h [h]
Nasal m [m] n [n]   ng (g) [ŋ]  
Approx.-Net w [w] r [ɾ]
l [l]
y [j]  

In Navi no language according occlusive as [bd ɡ] , but has ejective [p’t’K’] , indicated as px, tx, kx, and fricatives noise [vz] . It also has the syllabic consonants ll and rr .

Fricatives and affricates fv ts szh, are restricted to the internal position of the syllable. The other consonants can occur either at the beginning or at the end of the syllable. (However, wy in the final positions are considered as part of diphthongs , as in ay ey aw ew and can be followed by another final consonant – example: skxawng “imbecile”). In addition to appearing before vowels, f ts s can be part of a consonant cluster with some unrestricted consonants (occlusive and approximate), in addition to forming 39 of these consonant cluster. Other sequences occur in the syllabic limits, as in na’vi [naʔ.vi] “person”, ikran [ik.ɾan] “feminine spirit”, atxkxe [atʼ.kʼɛ] “earth”. Although all sounds were designed to be pronounceable by the human actors in the film, there are unusual consonant clusters like fngap IPA :  [fŋap] “metal”. [ 5 ] and tskxe [tskʼɛ] “stone” [ 6 ] .

The plosives ptk aa affricate ts are Faint, as in French and Spanish . In the final positions they are unfinished stops, as in Indonesian and other Southeast Asian languages . The r is a “flap” consonant, as in Spanish or Indonesian. It sounds like the sounds of “dd” or “tt” in English (latter – ladder words).

The Na’vi combination of ejective and fricative plosives (but not aspirated or sonic plosives) is unusual in human language, although it occurs in the Itelmen language , one of the Chukotko-Kamchatkanas languages .

Sound changes [ edit | edit source code ]

The ng sound tends to be assimilated with a m or n. to follow him. Thus tìng mikyun “to hear” (lit. “to listen”) is usually pronounced as if it were tìm mikyun, and tìng nari “to look” (lit. “to look”) is pronounced tìn nari.

The short vowels of auxiliary (grammatical) words are often reduced or disappear in the presence of lexical words or a sentence beginning with a vowel . Examples:  “e” in s-ayzìsìtä kato “and the rhythm of the years”, or lu “ser (verb)” in a l-ayngakip “that is among you”; idem nì’aw “only” in han’aw txo “then (ha) only (nì’aw) if (txo) “.

Occlusive consonants are reduced after certain prefixes or prepositions . The consonants px tx kx become the corresponding plosives p tk ; the stops and affrications pt ts k become the fricatives fsh ; the occlusive glotals disappear completely. Therefore, the singular forms of the plural of nouns can be quite different.

Lenition [ edit | edit source code ]

So it is called a phenomenon of alteration of the initial consonant of a word, which happens, for example, after the prefixes ay- and minus the formation of the plural and the dual.

original modified
px P
tx t
kx k
P f
ts s
t s
k H

Sample words [ edit | edit source code ]

Sample words: zìsìt “year”, fpeio “ceremonial challenge”, nìawve “first”, aw “um”, muiä “being good”, tiréaióang “animal spirit”, kllpxìltu “territory”, uniltìrantokx “avatar”. [ 7 ]

Grammar [ edit | edit source code ]

Here are the essential elements of grammar. All information is from the learnnavi.org website and the Learn Na’vi Community forum (which has a section in Portuguese)

Pronouns [ edit | edit source code ]

pronoun singular dual trial plural form
I we oe moe pxoe ayoe
we all oeng pxoeng ayoeng (“ayweng”),


you / you / -s nga menga pxenga aynga
he / she / it powder mefo pxefo ayfo fo

Sustainable [ edit | edit source code ]

  • plural ay-
  • dual me-
  • trial pxe-

The three prefixes cause the leniency.

  • male -an
  • female -e

Sex endings can be used in pronouns too (poan = him, poe = she).

Prepositions and cases [ edit | edit source code ]

The case is marked by a termination:

  • Subject (nominative) of intransitive verbs –
  • Subject of transitive verbs (ergative) -l
  • Transitive verbs object (accusative) -t or -ti
  • Dative (for) -ru
  • Genitive (of) -yä
  • Theme marker (topic) -ri, suppress other cases

Preposition and case are not used together. A preposition can appear before or after the noun:

  • ma (vocative)
  • fa (by)
  • hu (com)
  • fpi (because of)
  • ne (a, for, direction)
  • ftu (from source)
  • ok (from)
  • ìlä (via)
  • ka (through)
  • mì (in)
  • eo (in front of)
  • kip (in between)
  • lok (near)

Some prepositions cause leniency (eg mì).

Adjectives [ edit | edit source code ]

Adjectives are invariable. Between the adjective and the noun an a is placed; the adjective can be before or after the noun.

  • ngim-a kilvan = kilvan-a ngim
  • long river = long river

Verbs [ edit | edit source code ]

Verbs are affixed to express different tenses. They do not change according to the person or the number. Example taron (hunt):

  • t-ìm-aron (just hunted)
  • t-ay-aron (going hunting)
  • t-er-aron (is hunting)
  • t-ol-aron (hunted)
  • t-ìrm-aron (was hunting)

The positive and negative aspects are expressed by the affixes ei (positive) and äng (negative):

  • kam-ei-e (likes to see)
  • kam-äng-e (doesn’t like to see)

Questions [ edit | edit source code ]

  • peú, ‘úpe (what a thing)
  • pesu, tupe (who)
  • pefya, fyape (like)
  • pehem, kempe (what an action)
  • pehrr, krrpe (when)
  • pelun, lumpe (why)
  • pesang, tsangpe (where)

Questions that will be answered yes or no end in srak?

Numbers [ edit | edit source code ]

There are only a few numbers so far. The system is based on 8 because the Na’vis have 4 fingers on each hand.

  • ‘aw (um)
  • mune (two)
  • tsìng (four)
  • vofu (16)
  • tsìvol (32)

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