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Offline Taronyu

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Some Thoughts
« on: December 27, 2009, 11:06:12 pm »
So, last night I made a new dictionary, available here. While doing this, I ran across no small amount of things I thought were worth noting. I have collected these thoughts here: there are many, and they are not easy to read one after the other, but I didn't want to create a separate thread for each (understandably). So, please have a look if you like.

Notes:

’awve and 'e'al, "first" and "worst", are both superlatives, but don't seem to derive from anything. This is rather interesting, since most languages, as far as I'm aware, have the opposite.

'engeng means "level". Any idea what this means? It's a noun in the dictionary, but I wonder if that refers then to the construction tool?

ìnglìsì - "English". I would suspect that this comes from English - but we have an interesting thing going on in "sì". Is the /s/ part of the loan word, or a marker for the "do, make" verb, si? Or is it possible that the -ì is a loan-word marker of some sort?

aylaru "to the others" - this is stated in the dictionary as a contraction of ay+labe+ru. I think this is wrong: ay+ is obviously the plural, and +ru the dative. la is tricky: but, if one submits an unattested form of *la, as an apposition for otherness, it works. Examples of this in use is lahe, "other"and lapo "others". So, what we have here is a simple "to the others".

There are three words for blue. I find this to be weird. ean is an adj., Omatikaya assumedly means "Blue flute clan", although we're not sure how, while seze means blue flower - but probably not a blue flower. I just though this is interesting, I don't think any conclusions can be drawn.

faketuan "alien" is listed. I think this is wrong - fa, as we all know, is a preposition for "with". ke means "not", "tu"person, and "an" is a masculine marker. Thus - this is really just with-not-person-male - thus, sort of "not us". I assume that the -an is there because the subject was Jake Sully, a male, and they made it a noun by compounding.

This leads me to my most interesting note, I think. ketuwong is alien, but so is kewong. It can be assumed, then, that *wong means something like "local"or "same", and that the tu is unnecessary. Then, if one considers kawng - perhaps this is a contracted form of ke-wong, meaning "not same", and thus "bad, evil". There is another way of looking at kawng, though: submit that *kaw is a stem, an allomorph of not, from kawkrr and kawtu. In this way, kawng would mean "not-inclusive" - not us. Same meaning.

Another interesting form here is keye'ung - literally not - ye? - thing - inclusive - not with us. Perhaps ye comes from y\"a, meaning with? "not with us". Which would match the definition of keye'ung, as "insanity".

fìfya - this is a contraction of fì and fia'o. I want to know why the 'o is lost. While we're on this, I derived the non-solo-attested appositional form *fì to mean "this". pretty straight-forward. \

fko - listed as an adj. for "one". Surely this is merely a changed pronounciated of po? Where is this attested, and is this an allomorph? Same for fo, which is also listed - surely just a lenited form. And yet the definition for fo is plural. I don't understand.

The word for sling: k'nivi or kxnivi? There is a discrepency in the dictionary between the pronunciation and transcription.

kea is listed as an adjective meaning no. Is there a form attested of ake?

Kìyevame must stem from kame. This may have been discussed elsewhere - I don't see how it could with the infixes we know.

kllfriyo is listed as "be responsible" - wouldn't this imply passivity?

Vocalic /ll/ seems to only be possible after p, k, and m. Is this worth noting in the phonology?

Can *mun be derived from mune "two" and muntxe "mated"? How about *nul from nulkrr "longer (time)" Could *'em (above) be derived from ta'em? If *kem can be derived from fìkem and kempe, meaning action. would this be a noun or a particle?

Should ditransitive verbs be marked, suc as pänutìng?

for all affectionate forms, the final vowel goes to a high vowel. Thus sa'nok becomes sa'nu, and 'eveng becomes 'evi. Could this be a phonological/derivational rule?

What is the purpose of sä?

For srake: does yes/no follow the same patterns as in english? I am aware that in other languages yes or no may be the wrong response, especially for negation concerning conditionals.

Sutx seems wrong. "track, lock up"is given - perhaps this should be "trap"?

tawng n. "duck" must simply be wrong, as it also means v. "dive". I've changed this to v. "duck" in my dictionary.

How is te different from ma?

toktor is probably from english Doctor. But then what about tokx? Is this, as well? Would this be the first case of deletion derivation?

Tsahaylu - could this be derived from tsahay + lu? Bond is? Tok would normally be used for the existential copula, but perhaps the equation of na'vi to animal is what is important.

tswayon - shouldn't this be tswon? "fly"

Offline Coda

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 12:26:20 am »
'engeng means "level". Any idea what this means? It's a noun in the dictionary, but I wonder if that refers then to the construction tool?

I doubt it refers to the construction tool, since Na'vi don't do much in the way of precision construction.  I think it's more likely that it refers to levels of a structure, such as a kelutrel, although I haven't found any info to back this up yet.

Quote
ìnglìsì - "English". I would suspect that this comes from English - but we have an interesting thing going on in "sì". Is the /s/ part of the loan word, or a marker for the "do, make" verb, si? Or is it possible that the -ì is a loan-word marker of some sort?

I think the "sì" is a loan word substitute for the "sh" sound in English, given that Na'vi doesn't use that sound at all.

Quote
aylaru "to the others" - this is stated in the dictionary as a contraction of ay+labe+ru. I think this is wrong: ay+ is obviously the plural, and +ru the dative. la is tricky: but, if one submits an unattested form of *la, as an apposition for otherness, it works. Examples of this in use is lahe, "other"and lapo "others". So, what we have here is a simple "to the others".

This one puzzles me, especially since the root word, "aylaberu" contains "be," a sound not normally found in Na'vi.  Do you know the source for this particular word?  It may be an incorrect transcription of the original words.

Quote
There are three words for blue. I find this to be weird. ean is an adj., Omatikaya assumedly means "Blue flute clan", although we're not sure how, while seze means blue flower - but probably not a blue flower. I just though this is interesting, I don't think any conclusions can be drawn.

I'm willing to bet seze is the name for a flower that happens to be blue, and not literally 'blue flower'.  Omatikaya could be similar in that it refers to a flower or something normally called "blue flute," but that's a bit more of a stretch.  

That said, I'm quite interested in the Na'vi concept of color, especially given the range of colors that are predominant in their world.  It's an interesting fact that most paleolithic human societies tend to have just two colors - warm (red-yellow) and cold (green-purple).  Sure enough, in Na'vi we have just two explicitly named colors, rim (yellow) and ean (blue), that correspond with warm and cold.  Is the paucity of colors an intentional choice on the part of Dr. Frommer?  Or are there more that just haven't been revealed yet?

Quote
fìfya - this is a contraction of fì and fia'o. I want to know why the 'o is lost. While we're on this, I derived the non-solo-attested appositional form *fì to mean "this". pretty straight-forward. \

I think the contraction is coherent, as the two roots that are being contracted are fi and fia.  "This" and "way."  Fia'o refers not so much to the abstract concept of a way as it does to a literal path or way for someone to go.

Quote
The word for sling: k'nivi or kxnivi? There is a discrepency in the dictionary between the pronunciation and transcription.

I think they mean essentially the same thing.  After all, outside of Na'vi plosives are usually transcribed as k' p' t' instead of kx px tx.  That said, that's the first Na'vi word I've seen where a plosive is not immediately followed by a vowel.  Odd.

Quote
How is te different from ma?

Do we have any instances of te actually being used?  Or full names, for that matter?  It's idle speculation at this point, but I could see Na'vi using te to denote clan membership along the lines of Omatikaya te Neytiri.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 01:22:53 am by Coda »

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 12:34:40 am »
Quote
’awve and 'e'al, "first" and "worst", are both superlatives, but don't seem to derive from anything. This is rather interesting, since most languages, as far as I'm aware, have the opposite.
No commends on worst, but first I don't see how it's not derived from anything.  I'm not sure what the -ve is, but 'aw is "one".
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Offline Nuruhuine

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 02:05:23 am »
Oel ngati kame ma Taronyu

Thanks for the very hard work you put into that dictionary. I just noticed it a few minutes ago. I will download and read it as soon as I get back from work.

Eywa ngahu ma Taronyu.

-Nuru.

Offline Taronyu

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2009, 08:27:15 am »
Quote
’awve and 'e'al, "first" and "worst", are both superlatives, but don't seem to derive from anything. This is rather interesting, since most languages, as far as I'm aware, have the opposite.
No commends on worst, but first I don't see how it's not derived from anything.  I'm not sure what the -ve is, but 'aw is "one".

Yes, 'awve is from one. But I don't understand why the superlative doesn't have a regular adposition, as one would expect. So that worst would be, for instance, kawngve.

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2009, 09:07:12 am »
'engeng means "level". Any idea what this means? It's a noun in the dictionary, but I wonder if that refers then to the construction tool?

I doubt it refers to the construction tool, since Na'vi don't do much in the way of precision construction.  I think it's more likely that it refers to levels of a structure, such as a kelutrel, although I haven't found any info to back this up yet.

Good call, I hadn't thought of that in my ignorance. Makes sense, considering Hometree.

ìnglìsì - "English". I would suspect that this comes from English - but we have an interesting thing going on in "sì". Is the /s/ part of the loan word, or a marker for the "do, make" verb, si? Or is it possible that the -ì is a loan-word marker of some sort?

I think the "sì" is a loan word substitute for the "sh" sound in English, given that Na'vi doesn't use that sound at all.

That does make sense, phonetically. A sibilant plus a high vowel is a common replacement for the palato-alveolar fricative. That doesn't negate the possibility of ì being a morpheme marker, though.

aylaru "to the others" - this is stated in the dictionary as a contraction of ay+labe+ru. I think this is wrong: ay+ is obviously the plural, and +ru the dative. la is tricky: but, if one submits an unattested form of *la, as an apposition for otherness, it works. Examples of this in use is lahe, "other"and lapo "others". So, what we have here is a simple "to the others".

This one puzzles me, especially since the root word, "aylaberu" contains "be," a sound not normally found in Na'vi.  Do you know the source for this particular word?  It may be an incorrect transcription of the original words.

The source is the pocket guide. I took this entry out in my new one. I'm not sure where he is getting this information: but either he is wrong, or the person who transcribed it, or Dr. Frommer.

There are three words for blue. I find this to be weird. ean is an adj., Omatikaya assumedly means "Blue flute clan", although we're not sure how, while seze means blue flower - but probably not a blue flower. I just though this is interesting, I don't think any conclusions can be drawn.

I'm willing to bet seze is the name for a flower that happens to be blue, and not literally 'blue flower'.  Omatikaya could be similar in that it refers to a flower or something normally called "blue flute," but that's a bit more of a stretch. 

That said, I'm quite interested in the Na'vi concept of color, especially given the range of colors that are predominant in their world.  It's an interesting fact that most paleolithic human societies tend to have just two colors - warm (red-yellow) and cold (green-purple).  Sure enough, in Na'vi we have just two explicitly named colors, rim (yellow) and ean (blue), that correspond with warm and cold.  Is the paucity of colors an intentional choice on the part of Dr. Frommer?  Or are there more that just haven't been revealed yet?

I should have picked up on that, really good point. I just think it's odd, in a language this small, when more words aren't derived from each other. Also, you make a really good point on the colour spectrum of the na'vi. I wonder if they, like the Ancient Greeks, see colour more as shades of light than actual colour? Thus, blue is merely darker than yellow. Might explain why Seze has the name she (he?) does, when the ikrun isn't blue.

fìfya - this is a contraction of fì and fia'o. I want to know why the 'o is lost. While we're on this, I derived the non-solo-attested appositional form *fì to mean "this". pretty straight-forward. \

I think the contraction is coherent, as the two roots that are being contracted are fi and fia.  "This" and "way."  Fia'o refers not so much to the abstract concept of a way as it does to a literal path or way for someone to go.


So you're saying fia'o is derived from a root, fia? What is the nature or 'o? What other words have this root? How do you know about the semantic definition of fia'o?

The word for sling: k'nivi or kxnivi? There is a discrepency in the dictionary between the pronunciation and transcription.

I think they mean essentially the same thing.  After all, outside of Na'vi plosives are usually transcribed as k' p' t' instead of kx px tx.  That said, that's the first Na'vi word I've seen where a plosive is not immediately followed by a vowel.  Odd.

There are others. atxkxe springs readily to mind. In the notation used in the pocket guide, ' stands for a glottal stop, and x for an ejective. I want to know which one is being used in this word.

How is te different from ma?

Do we have any instances of te actually being used?  Or full names, for that matter?  It's idle speculation at this point, but I could see Na'vi using te to denote clan membership along the lines of Omatikaya te Neytiri.

I don't know where the pocket guider got his data, as I've said before. And that'd be a brilliant particle, if you're right.

Thanks for the comments. :)

Offline Coda

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2009, 10:43:35 am »
fìfya - this is a contraction of fì and fia'o. I want to know why the 'o is lost. While we're on this, I derived the non-solo-attested appositional form *fì to mean "this". pretty straight-forward. \

I think the contraction is coherent, as the two roots that are being contracted are fi and fia.  "This" and "way."  Fia'o refers not so much to the abstract concept of a way as it does to a literal path or way for someone to go.


So you're saying fia'o is derived from a root, fia? What is the nature or 'o? What other words have this root? How do you know about the semantic definition of fia'o?

The 'o part I'm not sure about, but fia (or as it seems to be mostly written fya) shows up in a couple of places.  Fya'o - path, fyape - how (what way), fifya - like this (this way), fyawintxu - to guide.  As for the semantic definition of fya'o, I'm basing it on the Wiktionary appendix and pocket guide (each likely from the same source).  Neither are infallible, though, so I could be wrong.

Quote
The word for sling: k'nivi or kxnivi? There is a discrepency in the dictionary between the pronunciation and transcription.

I think they mean essentially the same thing.  After all, outside of Na'vi plosives are usually transcribed as k' p' t' instead of kx px tx.  That said, that's the first Na'vi word I've seen where a plosive is not immediately followed by a vowel.  Odd.

There are others. atxkxe springs readily to mind. In the notation used in the pocket guide, ' stands for a glottal stop, and x for an ejective. I want to know which one is being used in this word.

Whoops - good point.  I don't see either one in the pocket guide, though...maybe my version is out of date?  We really need some kind of rev control on those.  :P

Offline Taronyu

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2009, 11:02:39 am »
Ah, fia'o is from fya. good call!

Yes, I agree with you. That's why I worked on this: http://forum.learnnavi.org/index.php?topic=341.0

Offline Julian Julian

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2009, 12:55:25 pm »
I wanted to point out a possible reason for the variety of ways to say 'blue'.

Just as the Greeks have more than one word to suggest 'love' and the eskimos have a variety of words to describe 'snow', the Na'vi may have taken up a similar line of thinking. This is all theoretical of course, but perhaps Frommer intended their culture to have multiple blues because it has survival value in their envirnoment. That's a bit of a stretch to think about, but when you see branches of the same word in the same category (colours, technology) you begin to wonder why that culture is supporting that, because nothing in a language is random.

Just a thought.

Offline Prrntxe

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2009, 02:48:20 pm »
I wanted to point out a possible reason for the variety of ways to say 'blue'.

Just as the Greeks have more than one word to suggest 'love' and the eskimos have a variety of words to describe 'snow', the Na'vi may have taken up a similar line of thinking. This is all theoretical of course, but perhaps Frommer intended their culture to have multiple blues because it has survival value in their envirnoment. That's a bit of a stretch to think about, but when you see branches of the same word in the same category (colours, technology) you begin to wonder why that culture is supporting that, because nothing in a language is random.

Just a thought.

On the other hand, do we even know whether the Na'vi perceive colors the same way we do?
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Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2009, 04:49:19 pm »
Yes, 'awve is from one. But I don't understand why the superlative doesn't have a regular adposition, as one would expect. So that worst would be, for instance, kawngve.
I'm not a linguist, but wouldn't 'awve be considered an ordinal rather than a superlative?  I mean, worst is of course "most bad" but first isn't "most one", because that would imply others are also one but lesser so.

Even if you do consider ordinals as superlatives (Given that some of the take the same endings in English) when you compare it to English there are multiple endings ordinals can taken on.  And on top of that, some of them aren't even directly rooted in the number they represent.  One = first, two = second, etc.  It isn't until fourth that there's an example of number + suffix.

Now on to superlatives, even in English superlatives are not necessarily based on the same root word, if you consider worst the superlative of bad, for example.

Truthfully, the only Na'vi superlative we have to look at IS 'e'al.  And we don't even know if it's supposed to be the superlative of kawng.  In English "worst" doesn't necessarily mean "most evil", and the impression I get is that kawng is more about being evil than bad.
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Offline Coda

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2009, 05:11:21 pm »
On the other hand, do we even know whether the Na'vi perceive colors the same way we do?

Given that Jake's reaction to waking up in his avatar wasn't "Wow, all the colors have changed," I think it's safe to say that the Na'vi are trichromats sensitive to similar frequencies as humans.

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2009, 05:17:23 pm »
Given that Jake's reaction to waking up in his avatar wasn't "Wow, all the colors have changed," I think it's safe to say that the Na'vi are trichromats sensitive to similar frequencies as humans.
Technically that just tells us avatars perceive colors like us.  They also have five fingers/toes and slightly different facial structures.
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Offline Coda

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2009, 06:15:21 pm »
Given that Jake's reaction to waking up in his avatar wasn't "Wow, all the colors have changed," I think it's safe to say that the Na'vi are trichromats sensitive to similar frequencies as humans.
Technically that just tells us avatars perceive colors like us.  They also have five fingers/toes and slightly different facial structures.

True, but that brings up the question of just how much human had to be mixed in for a human to successfully link with the avatar.  Which is...a whole 'nuther can of worms, really.  It's probably best that we leave that one for another day.  Or another thread, at least.

Offline shiaru

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2009, 07:27:13 pm »
Different thread indeed, though I am considering opening one about the science of Pandora. I wonder what Seabass would say about it.
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Offline Coda

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2009, 07:41:04 pm »
We should probably have a subforum for non-language related topics that are still relevant to the Na'vi and Pandora.

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2009, 08:37:28 pm »
We have two places that could be appropriate, Official Avatar/The Movie (Or etc.), and Avatar Whatever.
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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2009, 10:08:20 pm »
omängum fra'uti -

What a mistake I made. Good call. That is totally an ordinal, not a superlative.

As for the colour spectrum - who knows but Cameron?

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Re: Some Thoughts
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2009, 11:07:19 pm »
Don't worry, I had to look up superlative to make sure I knew what it was, and ordinal to make sure I had the right term.
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