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Comparing Na'vi to human languages



Obviously, Dr. Frommer was inspired by a number of odd features he's seen in the world's language, and I was wondering: just how rare or common are these features? So  I decided to check some of them out at The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Here' some notes on what I found.

Consonant Inventories
 - Languages examined: 563
 - Consonants in Na'vi: 20
 - "The more typical consonant inventory size is in the low twenties, with the mean for the 562 languages being 22.7, the modal value 22 and the median 21. Consonant inventories close to this size (22 ± 3) have been categorized as average, and the remainder divided into the categories small (from 6 to 14 consonants), moderately small (15-18), moderately large (26-33), and large (34 or more consonants)."

Position of Tense-Aspect Affixes
 - Languages examined: 1062
 - "None of the languages examined here appears to use either infixes or stem change as the primary method for tense-aspect, and these types are therefore not shown as types on the map, but, as discussed below, they do combine with other methods in some languages."
 - "For many languages, perhaps even a majority, the morphological indicators of tense-aspect on verbs are rather heterogeneous and do not form a single category within the morphological system of the language. For this reason there are many languages which combine two or more of the first three types or which combine one or more of these with infixing or stem changes. If one type is deemed primary, either because of the number of relevant morphemes in the language or the apparent frequency in usage, then the language is coded on the map according to that primary method. However, there are many languages which are treated here as lacking a primary method; these are shown on the map as languages with a combination of tense-aspect strategies with none primary. The majority of these are languages that employ both prefixes and suffixes."

Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase
 - Languages examined: 1074
 - "Some languages have both prepositions and postpositions.  While there are some languages in which specific adpositions can be used either as prepositions or as postpositions, in most languages of mixed adposition type, some of the adpositions  are always prepositions while others are always postpositions."

Order of Genitive and Noun
 - Languages examined: 1105
 - Genitive-Noun (606), Noun-Genitive (416), No dominant order (83)

Order of Adjective and Noun
 - Languages examined: 1213
 - Adjective-Noun (341), Noun-Adjective (768), No dominant order (101), Only internally-headed relative clauses (3)

Here are some others that may be of interest (warning: descriptions are highly technical). Perhaps we'll want more of these maps as we get more information about Na'vi.
 - Numeral Bases
 - Nominal and Locational Predication
 - Alignment of Case Marking of Full Noun Phrases
 - Alignment of Case Marking of Pronouns


Oel ngati kame ma Prrntxe,
This is quite interesting, I'll have to check this Atlas out tonight.
Thanks for the time you put into this.

Eywa ngahu.



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