Learn Na'vi > Beginners

For people to get other people interested in Na'vi

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Ftiafpi:
So, I was chatting with some of my friends about Avatar and they were wondering how easy it is to learn Na'vi and I came up with the following write-up and figured some people on here would be interested or would like to share this with other interested friends of theirs.

All this has been said before but I wanted to keep it as brief as possible (leaving out a lot, I know). If I made any gross mistakes or left any pertinent details out let me know and I'll revise.

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I'd say Na'vi is easier to learn than most languages but only because, like programing and other "made-up" languages, it has strict rules and it follows them explicitly. No weird things such as "i before e, except after c and except for a bunch of weird words that violate this rule". It does have some interesting features though. This will get a little long winded so forgive me.

Na'vi is essentially a conglomerate of many Earth languages and has some very interesting features. The biggest being word order, as in there is none. Normal English, and most other languages, follows a noun verb subject format (such as "I see you") but Na'vi does not. It uses what's called an ergative accusative format. Thus, I can say "see you I" or "I see you" and as long as I put the proper affixes on the right word to denote what is the agent of the verb and which is the object and it will mean the same thing.

Another is that in English, and most languages, you have words for different tense (I see you, I saw you, I will see you), but in Na'vi you not only have affixes for different tense but also affixes for different aspect. In a nutshell perfective aspect describes an event as a whole while imperfective aspect describes an event as ongoing, habitual, repeated, or generally containing internal structure.  As a simple example, if you were saying you were hunting with someone without going into detail, you could include the perfective aspect, because you are talking about the entirety of your hunting trip in the abstract.  But if you are telling a hunting story and started "While we were hunting..." you would use the imperfective aspect, because hunting is an ongoing aspect of what you are saying, not something that happens at some point. This can be quite hard to get at first. Also, there are more tenses, not just past, present, future but past, immediate past, present, immediate future, and future (for example I will see you soon is future, I will see you in a minute is immediate future). Oh, and there's also affixes for mood, "I see you (and am happy about it)", but these are fairly easy.

Now, while hard to learn at first the affixes present a distinct advantage for a new language in that you don't need much base vocabulary to make words of different tense, aspect, etc. unlike English (such as I be, I am, I was, I will, etc.).

There's some other interesting things but for the most part those are the biggest trip-ups. The only other would be pronunciation, Na'vi is very similar to Polynesian (if I recall correctly) language with a little African and a few others (or so I'm told). It lacks some sounds such as b and d but has some non-English sounds such as trilled r's (like in German) and it also has edjectives (px, tx, and kx) which sounds like clicks (similar to the clicks in African Swahili), and it also has ì and ä vowels.

All that said though, I've gotten a pretty good hold on the grammar in only 5 days and I'm working on my vocab now, so, in short, yes, it is pretty easy to learn and we have a great group of helpful people and over 1000 members in our forum trying to learn it. Good fun. If you are ever interested in learning head over to www.learnnavi.org or just hit me up and I can teach you a few of the more memorable movie phrases (they're great for scaring off telemarketers :P)

Tsun oe ngahu nìNa’vi pivängkxo a fì’u oeru prrte’ layeiu, kìyevame
Literally: be able I you-with ADVERB-Na'vi chat that this thing I-DATIVE pleasure will be, see you soon
It will be a pleasure to be able to chat with you in Na’vi, goodbye.

Mako:
Sìltsan! Wow! And yeah, when I'm telling people how easy Na'vi is to learn, I mention the verbs.

Atanä mungeyu:
euh,sadly none of my good friends(the ones that won't find me ridiculous for learning na'vi) really likes avatar...

MonocleO.Q:
First off, unil, thant is a tragedy. All of my friends loved it and my English teacher was impressed with my dedication to the language!

Secondly, Ftiafpi, I love this and will use this with all of my inquiring friends, should they show interest. Thank you!!

Jaysc:
Even though i was interested in learning before. I saw the "Come learn Na'vi at learnnavi.org" youtube video as it surprised me on how you can learn a fictional language! It sound really impressive.

Reading the post, it makes me think i can actually succeed in learning =) So thanks. One of the main downside of learning any language though is where to start.

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