Some Miscellaneous Vocabulary

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Some Miscellaneous Vocabulary
Release date May 25, 2011
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Here's the next vocabulary installment, making heavy use of the excellent proposals of the Vocabulary Committee. (Most of the examples and much of the discussion below is taken, with only light editing, from their submissions.)

Try[edit]

  • may' (vtr.) ‘try, sample, evaluate, check out, test-drive'

[I was impressed with the detailed explanation of this verb provided by the Committee, so the following discussion is theirs, virtually verbatim.]

The verb may' is used to mean ‘try, taste, sniff, glance'—basically, to quickly or briefly sample something, for any of the senses. [The “Senses Paradigm” is coming in a future post.]

In addition, may' extends beyond the sensory meaning to also include ‘check out, sample, evaluate, try on, test-drive.' One could may` a new bow, an article of clothing, an unfamiliar pa'li, a just-learned dance move . . . In general, it can be used for English ‘try' when it's not a synonym for ‘attempt.' The admonition Mivay' or May' ko conveys the notion of “Give it a try!” or “Have a go!”

Also, may` can be used modally, but how it differs from fmi in this usage requires a little explanation. Fmi specifically means ‘attempt,' so you're trying to perform the action in question. May' refers more to trying/sampling the experience of that action. Compare these two sentences in English:

  • A. I tried to go to the doctor.
  • B. I tried going to the doctor.

A suggests you attempted to go to the doctor, but something kept you from succeeding—you got lost, there was traffic, etc.

  • I tried to go to the doctor [but I couldn't find her office].

B suggests you did go to the doctor, but it didn't help with whatever you were trying to accomplish.

I tried going to the doctor [but she doesn't know what's wrong with me].

So compare these two sentences in Na'vi:

1 Fmi mivakto pa'lit! Try to ride a direhorse! (I bet you can do it!) 1
2 May' mivakto pa'lit! Try riding a direhorse! (Maybe you'll like it more than riding a banshee.) 2

Win and lose[edit]

  • yora' (vtr., yo.RA' – inf. 1,2) ‘win'
3 Yimora' Tsu'teyìl uvanit. Tsu'tey just won the game. 3
4 Ayoe snolaytx fìtrr taluna oel rimut tolungzup. We lost today because I dropped the ball. 4

Derivations[edit]

Note: Don't confuse tatep and snaytx. They both mean ‘lose,' but tatep is lose in the sense of ‘have no longer.'

5 Tìkan tawnatep! Target lost! 5

Musical Instrument[edit]

  • 'otxang (n.: 'o.TXANG) ‘musical instrument (generic term)'
6 Pam fì'otxangä sunu oer nìngay. I really like the sound of this instrument. 6

For the general idea of ‘play an instrument,' we just use pamtseo si fa 'otxang:

7 Peotxangfa nga pamtseo si? What instrument do you play? 7
8 Pamtseo si fa i'en. I play the i'en. 8

Wound[edit]

9 Oeri skxir a syokx tìsraw sengi. The wound on my hand hurts. 9
10 Zene nga yivur pxìm fìskxirit. You must clean the wound frequently. 10

Derivations:[edit]

11 Taronyu yerikur skxir soli. The hunter wounded the hexapede. 11

Pour[edit]

  • sloan (vtr., slo.AN – inf. 1,2) ‘pour'
12 Rutxe slivoan ngal payit oefpi; 'efu väng nìtxan. Please pour me some water; I'm very thirsty. 12

Survive[edit]

  • emrey (vin., em.REY – inf. 2,2) ‘survive (a life-threatening episode)'
13 Tsawla palulukanìl oeti 'ìlmeko a krr, Nawma Sa'nok lrrtok seiyi ulte oe emroley. The Great Mother was looking after me when the big thanator attacked and I've survived. 13

Derivations:[edit]

  • temrey (n.) ‘survival (in the face of danger)'
  • lemrey (adj.) ‘surviving (e.g. of entities from a group some of whom have died)'
  • nemrey (adv.) ‘in a fashion as if one's life were at stake'
14 Fwampopä temrey tsatsengmì ngäzìk nìwotx. It's very hard for a tapirus to survive there. 14

(If you don't know what a tapirus is, take a look at this.)

15 Maw fwa fkol Kelutralit skola'a, lemreya hapxìtu tsasoaiä txolula mipa kelkuti tayo. After Hometree was destroyed, the surviving members of that family built a new home on the plains. 15
  • The genitive of nouns ending in –ia is just –iä: soaia, Gen. soaiä.

Note that nemrey can be an expression all by itself:

16 Sawtute pìyähängem! Tul ko! The Skypeople are about to arrive! Run! 16
17 Kempe leren? +yawn+ ‘What's happening? 17
18 Nemfa na'ring, ma skxawngtsyìp! li! +growl+ Into the forest, you moron [whom I still like anyway]! Get going! 18
19 Slä . . . But . . . 19
20 NEMREEEY!!! LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT!!! (Run for your life!) 20

Meaning[edit]

  • wawe (n., wa.WE) ‘meaning, importance, significance'

Both ral and wawe mean ‘meaning,' but they're different. Ral refers to meaning in the logical or literal sense:

21 Ralit faylì'uä oel ke tslivam. I don't understand the meaning of these words. (I can't translate the sentence.) 21

Wawe, on the other hand, refers to meaning or significance more related to an emotional state:

22 Waweti faylì'uä oel ke tslivam. I don't understand the meaning of these words. (I don't see why they're significant.) 22
23 Ngari wawe fìvurä lu 'upe? What is the significance of this story to you? 23
24 Waweti ke tsun fko ralpiveng. One can't explain (or: put into words) wawe. 24

Derivation:[edit]

  • txanwawe (adj., txan.wa.WE) ‘personally meaningful, significant'
25 Nari si! Tsatsko lu spuwin ulte ke lu mi txur, slä oeri txanwawe leiu. Lu stxeli a sempulta. Careful! That bow is old and no longer strong, but it means a lot to me. It was a gift from my father.' 25
  • nìwawe (adv.) ‘meaningfully, significantly'
26 Tsatxon ayutraläo krr a pol oeti nolìn nìwawe, olomeium oel fa keyrel futa lu yawne oe poru. That night beneath the trees when she looked at me meaningfully, I knew by the expression on her face that she loves me. 26
  • keyrel (n., KEY.rel) ‘facial expression'


Nìfrakrr ma oeyä eylan, txo kxeyeyti ayngal tsive'a, rutxe oru piveng!

Hayalovay.