Mipa aylì’u sì aylì’fyavi New words and expressions

Started by Toliman, April 02, 2021, 07:13:54 AM

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Mipa aylì'u sì aylì'fyavi    New words and expressions
Posted on March 31, 2021 by Pawl

Kaltxì, ma frapo!

We haven't had any new vocabulary in quite a while, so this post will be a small step in that direction. Before anything, however, let me say a few words about lexical expansion in general.

As I consider new vocabulary, my thinking seems to organize itself into three categories:

Category 1: This is the most important one: filling in the gaps. What words and expressions needed for easy and effective communication are still missing? A good way to discover such gaps is for us to take notice every so often of what we're saying and writing during the day, and think about how we would say the same things in Na'vi. We may discover major gaps, where it's difficult or impossible to express something with the existing vocabulary, something for which Na'vi would most likely have a word. Or we may find we can get our thought across but only by using a clumsy circumlocution, where Na'vi would most likely have an efficient way to say the same thing. Of course, in many instances a lexical item needed for a situation on earth would not have evolved on Pandora, since the situation doesn't exist there. (To talk about vaccinations, for example, we'd need to borrow terms from Earth languages or come up with creative workarounds.) But such situations aside, there are still plenty of native Na'vi words to discover that we can use to our advantage.

Category 2: Fine-tuning. One of the advantages of using a language with a huge vocabulary is the ability to fine-tune a thought. Think of how we can express the fact we really like something in English. We might say it's great, excellent, wonderful, incredible, awesome, unbelievable, astounding, stupendous, miraculous, magnificent, superb, breathtaking, amazing, astonishing, fantastic, tremendous, marvelous, . . . Each term has its own particular shade of meaning. It's true that such a proliferation isn't necessary to get the basic idea across. (In George Orwell's famous vision of a frightening dystopia, 1984, "Newspeak" makes do with only three words to express the whole gamut of goodness: good, plusgood, and doubleplusgood.) But having a rich variety of terms in the same semantic range adds color, precision, and individual personality to our expression. While it's not a priority, Na'vi would benefit from more such terms, each with its own set of associations and ranges of applicability.

Category 3: Words and expressions particular to Pandora and Na'vi life and experience, terms not found in other languages. This is perhaps the most interesting, thought-provoking, and fun category. The most obvious examples are the words for flora and fauna found only on Pandora, and for specifically Na'vi body parts like kuru, tswin, and pil. But there are also words for actions, ideas, experiences, and feelings that are particular to the Na'vi: tsaheylu, meoauniaea, 'onglawn, etc. Also in this category are idioms and sayings like na loreyu 'awnampi and Txo ke nìyo' tsakrr nìyol. These words and expressions reflect the environment and culture of the Na'vi and give the language much of its uniqueness.

All that being said, let's move on to today's new words and expressions:

pe'ngay (vin., pe'.NGAY, inf. 1, 1) 'judge, conclude'

This word derives from pe'un 'decide' + ngay 'true.' To draw a conclusion is to decide that something is true. It's used with tsnì:

   Pori keyrelfa oe pole'ngay tsnì ke new ziva'u.
   'From her expression, I concluded that she didn't want to come.'


tìpe'ngay (n., ti.pe'.NGAY) 'conclusion'

(Note: Don't confuse tìpe'ngay with tì'i'a, which is also glossed as 'conclusion.' The former refers to a determination, the latter to a termination. 🙂 )

pe'ngayyu (n., pe'.NGAY.yu) 'judge'

wrrzärìp (vtr., wrr.ZÄ.rìp, inf. 2, 3) 'pull out, extract'

   Pol tstalit wrrzolärìp tstalsenaftu.
   'He pulled the knife out of its sheath.'

This word is the basis for some common idioms:

txe'lanti wrrzärìp 'to greatly move emotionally' (lit.: 'to pull out the heart')

   Oeri peyä aylì'ul txe'lanti wrrzolärìp.
   'Her words moved me greatly.'

tìpe'ngayt wrrzärìp 'infer'

To infer is to pull out a conclusion from something seen or stated.

   Ngey aylì'uftu wrrzärìp oel tìpe'ngayt a lu ngar yewla.
   'From your words, I infer that you're disappointed.'

tìpe'ngayt wrrzeykärìp: 'imply'

Here the causative <eyk> form of the verb is used. To imply is to cause someone to infer something—that is, to cause them to pull out a conclusion from something seen or stated.

   Ngey aylì'ul wrrzeykärìp tìpe'ngayt a lu ngar yewla.
   'Your words imply that you're disappointed.'

Among English speakers, "imply" and "infer," which are not synonymous, are often used incorrectly. Hopefully the distinction is clearer in Na'vi!

lewn (vtr.) 'endure, stand, tolerate'

   Peyä tìrusolit ke tsun oe livewn.
   'I can't stand her singing.'

   Hufwa tìsraw lu txan, tsun ayoe tsat livewn.
   'Although the pain is great, we can endure it.'

ketsuklewn (adj., ke.tsuk.LEWN) 'intolerable, unacceptable'

(Note: Even though ketsuk- is productive, some forms with it are so frequent that they're listed in the dictionary, like ketsuktiam.)

   Tsafnevoìk lu ketsuklewn.
   'That kind of behavior is intolerable.'

tsukanom (adj., tsu.KA.nom) 'available, obtainable'

This word developed from tsuk- 'receptive capability' + kanom 'get, obtain.' Note that kk > k.

   Tsayfasuk tsukanom lu krrka fìzìsìkrr nì'aw.
   'Those berries are available during this season only.'

And something perhaps more likely to be said 'Rrtamì,

   Wä fìsäspxin a 'umtsa leiu set tsukanom.
   Medicine against this disease is happily now available.

ketsukanom (adj., ke.tsu.KA.nom) 'unavailable, unobtainable'

tìtsukanom (n., tì.tsu.KA.nom) 'availability'

The next two terms both refer to a key point of a presentation or argument, but in different senses.

txinfpìl (n., TXIN.fpìl) 'main point'

From txin 'main, primary' + säfpìl 'idea.' This word refers to the primary idea or thesis statement of a presentation or argument.

   Oel ngeyä txinfpìlit mi ke tslam.
   'I still don't understand your main point.'

ngrrfpìl (n., NGRR.fpìl) 'key assumption'

From ngrr 'root' + säfpìl 'idea.' This word refers to a basic assumption that underlies a presentation or argument.

   Nìlaw lu peyä ngrrfpìl fwa Sawtute ke lu mal.
   'His assumption is clearly that the Skypeople can't be trusted.'

sätarenga' (adj., sä.TA.re.nga', colloquially pronounced STA.re.nga') 'relevant, pertinent'

From sätare 'connection' + -nga' 'having, containing.'

   Tsasäplltxeviri asätarenga' irayo.
   'Thanks for that pertinent comment.'

kesätarenga' (adj., ke.sä.TA.re.nga', colloquially pronounced ke.STA.re.nga') 'irrelevant'

letut (adj., le.TUT) 'constant, continual'

lukftang (adj. luk.FTANG) 'constant, continual'

These are two near-synonyms that can be used more or less interchangeably, although lukftang is somewhat stronger than letut.

   Peyä tìpuslltxel alukftang/letut oeti srätx.
   'His constant talking annoys me.'

That's it for now. Hayalovay, ma smuk. And for those who celebrate, Happy Passover, Happy Easter . . . ulte Lefpoma Trr Ayskxawngä a mì Vospxìtsìng!