The 2009 science fiction film, Avatar, is one that has both an excellent storyline as well as breathtaking scenes. It still gets great reviews to this day. One could say that it is truly a spectacle. So is the unique Na’vi language from Avatar. And if you haven’t watched it yet, then there’s no time like the present.
Of course, the Day Translations team could not go past the opportunity of sharing with you some fun and interesting facts about the Na’vi language that is deeply rooted in this film as well as the impact it has had in the form of developing a highly-active fan base.
With this in mind, today we’ll explore the Moon of Pandora, the Na’vi people, and the Na’vi language. So, let’s dive right into it.
A Quick Look at the Avatar Storyline
The film is set in the year 2154 where we meet Jake Sully. Sully is a former Marine who is paralyzed from the waist down after traumatic combat. The recent killing of his twin brother due to a bar fight sees Jake being called to take his place on Pandora. This is where he becomes part of the Avatar Program. Jake is assigned his brother’s avatar which is a ‘genetically engineered human Na’vi hybrid’.
Eventually, Jake is plunged into the world of Pandora. Here’, he’s exposed to danger which leaves him stranded from his team and left to the mercy of wild animals and the real Na’vi people.
Eventually, the group accepts him and he learns the ways of the Na’vi as well as the language. Of course, conflict arose which led to a war breaking out between the humans and the Na’vi. Justice is served, however, and the humans were sent back to earth. But Jake stays behind and continues to live on Pandora.
Understanding the Na’vi People and Culture
When translated to English, Na’vi means people. They are very tall beings (approximately 10 feet tall when fully grown) and are sapient beings, which means they share similar characteristics to humans.
The Na’vi have a unique characteristic about them; they are able to connect with or commune with the animals on their planet by simply plugging their braided hair into the animals ‘nerve system’.
The Na’vi are extremely religious people who recognize ‘Eywa’, as the sentient intelligence they worship. Their life also heavily revolves around their ‘Hometree’. This is their habitat where they sleep, eat and commune with each other. ‘Hometree’ is very tall and massive in stature. This means that it is big enough to accommodate each member of the Na’vi clan.
The Na’vi are people who believe in living in complete harmony with each other. They share very close relationships with each other and sleep in hammocks inside their Hometree in large groups as a way to stay comfortable as well as for security purposes.
Na’vi, the Language
The Na’vi language was created by Paul Frommer, a doctor of linguistics at the USC Marshall School of Business. Na’vi was designed in such a way that it is easy to learn and pronounce for Na’ve language learners but also built in a way that doesn’t sound like any other language you’ve heard before. Like many other languages featured in movies, Na’vi is a constructed language.
In the initial stages of its development, the Na’vi language had about a thousand words in its vocabulary. Since then, Paul Frommer has expanded the language to include more than 2600 words.
Today, the Na’vi language has an active speaker base and there are many online groups and growing communities centered around developing and keeping the Na’vi language alive. There are also websites that are dedicated to teaching the Na’vi language.
With this in mind, we’ll now look at a few Na’vi words and their English equivalent, so that you too can be on your way to speaking Na’vi in no time.
Smon niprrte’ Nice to meet you or pleasurably acquainted
zola’u niprrte Welcome or You have come pleasurably
za’u oe ftu I come from
kiyevame See you soon
hayalovay Until next time
ngaru tut? And you?
ole ngati kameie I see you
kea tikin No need to thank or you’re welcome
We hope you had as much fun learning about the Na’vi language and exploring the world of Avatar as we did writing this for you. There is so much more to unearth and if you’re a fan, there’s a whole world of exploration out there waiting for you to conquer.
Like the Na’vi language, here at Day Translations we love languages and we also love exploring their structure. Regardless of whether it’s natural or constructed language. With this in mind let us help you to ease the burden of finding and hiring world-class translators and on-demand interpreters no matter the language or the occasion.
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