Author Topic: Aysìpawm sì Aysì’eyng Questions and Answers  (Read 380 times)

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Aysìpawm sì Aysì’eyng Questions and Answers
« on: March 01, 2021, 10:04:57 am »
Aysìpawm sì Aysì’eyng    Questions and Answers
Posted on February 28, 2021 by Pawl

Kaltxì nìmun, ma frapo! Sìlpey oe, ayngaru livu fpom nìwotx.

It’s too late to say Mipa Zìsìt Lefpom, but perhaps not too early to wish you Zìskrrmipaw Lefpom. Spring is officially still three weeks away, but here in Los Angeles it feels as if it’s already arrived. Blossoms and young leaves are on the trees, the weather is warm, and after a horrible start to the year, it feels as if we’re finally ready for a new beginning. The pandemic situation here seems to be getting a little better as well. John and I just received our second shots of COVID vaccine (there are a few advantages to being “of a certain age” 😊 ) and we’re feeling very fortunate indeed. I hope things are improving wherever you are as well.

From time to time, I receive emailed questions relating to Na’vi. Let me share some recent ones with you, along with my answers.

Q: You’ve stated that the patientive (objective) ending after -ey is either -t or -ti. But we’ve seen examples where it was -it. Is that correct as well?
A: No. There are two cases we know of where the t and i were incorrectly transposed. But a word like kifkey is, in the patientive case, either kifkeyt or kifkeyti, not *kifkeyit.

Q: The verb tawng (vin.) is listed in the dictionary as ‘duck, dive.’ Is it (a) ‘dive’ in the sense of jumping into water to swim, or (b) strictly the action of jumping or throwing yourself to the ground?
A: It’s (a). Tawng refers to jumping into water. It could be used for jumping into water from the outside, as Olympic divers do off a diving board, or it could also be used when you’re already swimming in the water and want to dive down deeper. A typical phrase would be, tawng nemfa pay, ‘dive into the water.’

Q: To say, “Hello to my young friend in Germany,” we can say:
(1) Kaltxì oeyä ’ewana eylanur a tok Toitslanti.
But can we also say it this way?
(2) Kaltxì oeyä eylanur a’ewan a tok Toitslanti.

A: Yes. This is an exception to the rule that two “connecting a’s” can’t be on the same side of the noun—that is, that a must be adjacent to the noun being modified. For example, for “five big black cats” we can’t say *mrra palukantsyìp atsawl alayon but rather mrra palukantsyìp atsawl sì layon. However, when a connects not a simple adjective but a relative clause, that clause doesn’t always have to be adjacent to the noun it modifies. We’ve had a number of precedents for this structure. For example: . . . ulte Na’viru set lu nawma eyktan amip a larmu Tawtute, ‘and the Na’vi now had a great new leader who was a Skyperson.’

Q: What is the ordinal form of zam?
A: It’s zave. Here’s a set of reference tables that gives the cardinal and ordinal forms of numbers. For completeness, I’ve also included charts for personal pronouns and verb forms.

4 Tables

Q: Does the rule about sno that you announced in the last post hold up?
A: Unfortunately, no. The situation is more complex than I had initially thought, and the rule needs to be modified. Interestingly, there’s a somewhat parallel situation in Latin (!), which has two possessive pronouns, eius and suus, that correspond to Na’vi’s peyä and sneyä respectively. I asked my friend who’s a noted Classics professor to send me some textbook material on how those words are used and distinguished in Latin; I now have many pages of complicated grammatical discussion, which may throw light on the Na’vi situation. So stay tuned. I hope to be able to clarify the question in the not-too-distant future.

Finally, some of you who attended OmatiCon online early this year may have seen and heard my Zoom presentation on SLA—Second Language Acquisition—which I illustrated with a little sample Na’vi lesson. If you missed it, it’s available on YouTube here: . I enjoyed doing it, and I hope it was fun for the participants.

Hayalovay, ma eylan.


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