New Year, New Vocabulary

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New Year, New Vocabulary
Release date January 31, 2011
Source Naviteri
Link: 1

Kaltxì, ma eylan oeyä—

As some of you may know, we now have a structure in place whereby members of the community are submitting not only requests for new vocabulary but actual suggestions for new Na'vi words. (You'll find information about the process at I received the first such submission several days ago and was very impressed. A lot of thought and creativity went into the document, not to mention the time and effort it took to put it all together, with illustrative examples, etymologies, grammatical discussions, alternatives . . . Tìkangkem atxantsan, ma frapo! Thanks to everyone involved, and especially to the project's very able coordinator, Lawren. Irayo nìtxan, ma tsmuke!

In looking at the committee's suggestions, I found myself responding in several ways. For example:

  1. Perfect! I love it!
  2. Great idea—I'll just make a few changes.
  3. Interesting and potentially very useful, but I need to think through the ramifications and/or get some clarification before I commit to it.
  4. I see the need, but I'd rather do it differently.

Below you'll find the items in categories 1 and 2. In some cases I've pretty much just cut and pasted from the doc that Lawren sent, since I didn't think I could improve on it. In other cases I've made a few changes. If I haven't included something, it doesn't necessarily mean I've rejected it. Some things will require more time and thought than I've been able to put in in the last few days. So please consider this Part 1, with Part 2 to follow.

And even though 1/12 of 2011 is history, since I haven't yet said it: Mipa Zìsìt Lefpom, ma frapo!

ta Pawl


  • takrra / aKRRta (conj.) ‘since' (temporal)

Aylì'fya yawne leru oer takrra 'eveng lamu.


'Eveng lamu akrrta aylì'fya yawne leru oer.

‘I've loved languages since I was a child.'

Using the imperfective (leru) conveys the sense that the activity is ongoing; if it has ended, use the perfective:

Sawtute zola'u akrrta po ke 'olefu nitram.

‘Since the Skypeople came, she had not been happy [and this has now changed].'

When other time words are used in the sentence, the adposition ta- is sufficient to convey the concept of “since.”

Trr'ongta Txon'ongvay po tolìran.

‘He walked from dawn until dusk.'


2. few (ADP-) ‘across, aiming for the opposite side of'

NOTE: This new adposition is distinct from the existing adposition ka-, which means “across” in the sense of “covering thoroughly” (e.g., “Mother spread frosting across the entire top and sides of the cake.” OR “He wanted nothing more than peace across the entire world.”)

Po spä few payfya fte smarit sivutx.

‘He jumped across the stream to track his prey.'

Utral a lu few payfya a eo kelku oeyä tsawl lu nìtxan.

‘The tree on the other side of the stream in front of my house is very tall.'

~Derived form: FEWtusok (adj.), “opposite, on the opposite side”

Note: In casual speech, the word is often pronounced fewtsok. In writing, however, the full form is used.

Oe kawkrr ne fewtusoka pa'o kilvanä ke kamä.

‘I never went to the opposite side of the river.'


3. SLA'tsu (vtr., infixes 12) ‘describe'

Pol sla'tsu ayioangit a tse'a fkol mì Eywa'eveng*.

‘She describes animals seen on Pandora.'

  • Note: In informal contexts, Eywa'eveng can be shortened to Eyweveng.

~Derived form: tìsla'tsu (n.), “description”


4. 'en (n.) guess (informed guess; hunch; intuition)

Note: This word only covers informed guessing, not a “shot in the dark” sort of guess.

-Pelun fìtsengne nga zola'u fte tivaron?

-Lolu 'en.

‘-Why did you come here to hunt?'

‘-It was a guess (hunch).'

Fìuvanìri lu ngaru pxen nì'aw.

‘You only get three guesses in this game.'

~Derived form: 'en si ‘make an informed guess'

Ke sterawm oel ke'ut mì na'rìng. 'En si oe, Sawtuteol tìlmok fìtsengit.

‘I don't hear anything in the forest. I guess some Skypeople were just here.'

~Derived form: le'en (adj.), “speculative, intuitive” (of an action, not a person)

Eltu si. Hem le'en tsun lehrrap livu.

‘Watch out. Speculative moves can be dangerous.'

~Derived form: nì'en (adv.), “making an informed guess, acting on intuition”

Pol pole'un futa pehem si nì'en.

‘He decided what to do on a hunch.'


5. SÄ'o (n.) ‘tool, utensil'

Na'viri txina sä'o tìtusaronä lu tsko swizaw.

‘For the Na'vi the bow and arrow is the main hunting tool.'

Play Music[edit]

6. pamtseo si (vin.) ‘play music'

To convey that one plays a musical instrument, use the adposition fa-.

Po pamtseo si fa au nìltsan nìtxan.

‘She plays the drums very well.'

Note that one can also use reykol, but this idiom is considered more “poetic,” and perhaps may not apply to all instruments.

Tewti, nga lu tsulfätu i'enä. Ngal tsat reykìmol!

‘Wow, you are a master on the i'en. You just made it sing!'


7. väng (adj.) ‘thirsty'

Menga 'efu väng srak?

‘Are you two thirsty?'

~Derived form: tìväng (n.), “thirst”

Apxa tìvängìl poti steykoli.

‘(His) great thirst made him angry.'


8. sngum (n.) ‘worry'

For verb (worry, be worried, be anxious), uses “lu DAT” construction:

Lu oeru sngum a saronyu ke tìyevätxaw.

‘I'm worried that the hunters will not return (soon, as expected).'

~Derived form: nìsngum (adv.), “worryingly, fretfully”

Swey lu fwa nga fìkem ke sivi nìsngum.

‘It's best that you not do this fretfully.'

(It's best that you don't freak out about doing this.)


9. yaYAYR (n.) ‘confusion'

For verb (be confused, be puzzled), uses “lu DAT” construction (same as sngum)

Sawtuteyä hemìri lu awngaru yayayr.

‘The Skypeople's actions confuse us.'

[I love this word! For some reason it just sounds like confusion.]


10. wäTE (vtr., infixes 22) ‘argue, dispute'

Sawtute lu ayvrrtep nìwotx a säfpìlit oel wäte.

‘I dispute the idea that the Skypeople are all demons.'

~Derived forms:

tìwäte (n.) (dispute, argument)

säwäte (n.) (point of contention, source of argument, thing disputed)

lewäte (n.) (disagreeable, argumentative [of an agent])

nìwäte (disagreeably, begrudgingly)