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Offline Toliman

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Tìpusawm, Tì’useyng, sì ’Okvur a Eltur Tìtxen Si—Asking, Answering, and an Interesting Story
Posted on May 28, 2020 by Pawl

Kxì ma frapo,

Today’s post has three things I hope will be of interest: first, a discussion about asking and answering; next, a (possibly) new way of asking about someone’s well-being; and finally, another contest-winning entry.

Asking and Answering

Through some private discussions, I realized it might be a good idea to summarize some of the grammatical structures related to asking and answering questions in Na’vi. There’s not a lot of new information here, but I hope that collecting it all in one place will be useful.

pawm (vtr., vin.) ‘ask’

Pawm is both a transitive and an intransitive verb.

Transitive use:

   Pol polawm tìpawmit.
   ‘He asked a question.’

The only thing you ever ask is a question, so the object of transitive pawm is always tìpawmit. But that word can be modified:

   Pol polawm tìpawmit angäzìk.
   ‘He asked a difficult question.’

   Pol polawm tìpawmit a eltur tìtxen si.
   ‘He asked an interesting question.’

   Pol polawm tenga tìpawmit a li oel palmawm trram.
   ‘He asked the same question that I had already asked yesterday.’

And note:

   Pol polawm tìpawmit oeta.
   ‘He asked me a question.’

We use ta here rather than the dative case (oeru). Think of asking as a request for something from someone.

Intransitive use:

   Po polawm san srake Ralu holum.
   ‘He asked, “Did Ralu leave?”’ OR ‘He asked if/whether Ralu left.’

Alternatively, san . . . sìk in the above sentence may be omitted, with the same meanings:

   Po polawm, Srake Ralu holum?

   Po polawm oeta san srake Ralu holum.
   ‘He asked me whether Ralu left.’

   A: Mefo muntxa slolu srak?
   ‘Did they get married?’
   B: Oe ke polawm.
   ‘I didn’t ask.’

   Txo nga ke ivomum, pawm oeta.
   ‘If you don’t know, ask me.’

’eyng (vin.) ‘answer, respond, respond to’

Unlike pawm, ’eyng is always used intransitively. So the “object” of ‘answer’ is in the topical:

   Oeyä tipawmìri po ’oleyng.
   ‘He answered my question.’

Other examples:

   Ngeyä tìleymìri Eywa ’oleyng.
   ‘Eywa has answered your call.’

   Sìpawmìri sneyä aynumeyuä karyu ’eyng.
   ‘The teacher responds to his students’ questions.’

   Karyu ’eyng sneyä aynumeyur.
   ‘The teacher responds to his students.’

   ’Eyng oeru set!
   ‘Answer me now!’

   Tsatìpawmit oel alo amrr polawm, slä po ke ’oleyng.
   ‘I asked the question five times, but he didn’t answer.’

Now for the conversational expression:

We’re all very familiar with Ngaru lu fpom srak? as a polite conversational formula for asking about someone’s well-being. Along these lines, there’s another useful question, which you might anticipate from makto zong—literally, ‘ride safely,’ which uses zong ‘save’ as a shorthand expression for nìzawnong ‘safely,’ an adverb that obviously comes from zong. In conversation, it means ‘Take care,’ ‘Travel safe,’ ‘Stay well,’ etc. The related question is:

Makto fyape?

Literally, this means ‘How ride?’, or in better English, ‘How’s the riding?’ The difference between this and Ngaru lu fpom srak? is that Makto fyape? is more general. It doesn’t necessarily ask about you yourself but rather about your whole situation, corresponding to colloquial English questions like “How are things?” “How’s everything going?” “How are you doing?”

Responses are often single adverbs, such as:

Zong.             ‘Well.’ (Again, short for nìzawnong, implying ‘Everything’s OK.’)
Nìltsan.           ‘Well.’
Nìksman.        ‘Wonderfully.’
Nìksran.          ‘So-so.’
Nìfe’.              ‘Badly.’
Nìfpxamo.       ‘Terribly, horribly.’

A typical little dialog:

   A: Makto fyape?
   B: Zong. Ngari tut?
   A: Nìksran. Oeru lu fpom, slä oey ’itan lu spxin.

   A: How’s everything?
   B: Good. You?
   A: So-so. I’m fine, but my son is sick.

And finally, here is our third contest-winning entry, a beginners-level story by Tseyla. If you’ve ever wondered how the Na’vi came to live in Hometree, this historical narrative may provide the answer. Sivunu ayngar!

Eywa’evengä sì Eywa’evengä Helku Utralä ’Okrol

ta Tseyla

‘Awa trr pxaya zìsìkrram, tute LeNa’vi kämakto ftu sneyä kelku fte pivlltxe sneyä tsmukanur atxkxeteri a kolämunge ftu po. Mesmukanä olo’ wäte ulte wemwä fìtsap pxaya vospxì. Fo ke ftang vaykrr ‘awa tsmukan tolerkup. Eywa tsole’a futa tsmukan tspang tsmukan ulte tsngawvìk, peyä tsngawpay zolup mì Eywa’eveng pxaya zìsìkrr. Tsakrr ‘awa trr krra na’rìngä kllte lew si mì pay, ‘ewana tute leNa’vi slamele kxamlä narìng ulte tswala utralit run.

Pol slele ne’ìm peyä ne soaia ulte plltxe san oel ukxoa tsengit akxuke run a awnga tsun kelku sivi. Sneyä tsmukan a ke spaw poti plltxe san nga ke perlltxe tìngay.

Tsmukanur po plltxe san Oel tìngayit perlltxe. Nong oeti ulte oel ngaru fìtsengit wayìntxu. Ha tsmukanìl ewana tutet leNa’vi nong ne’ìm ne utral ulte plltxe san nga lu eyawr fìkrr. Tsakrr mesmukanìl slele ne’ìm ne feyä soaia ulte zamunge foti utralur a slayu Eywa’evengä nì’awve kelku utralä. Mesmukanä olo’ kelku si mì tsakelku utralä pxaya zìsìt vaykrr sawtutel za’u ne Eywa’eveng ulte skola’a tsautral.

Akrrmaw pxaya zìsìt sì pxaya sam, mesmukanìl sawtuteti kurakx srefwa tsyolul tìsop feyä mipa kelkune utralä. Pay ‘olìp ulte ayzìsit solalew. Olo’ tsawl slu frato ulte tuteo leNa’vi holum fte rivun lahea kelku utralä. Krra sawtute zola’u ulte ska’a helku utralä olol foti kurakx. Tsakrr olol mipa helkuti utralä rivun nìmun.

Set ayzìsìkrr mawkrr, Eywa’eveng lew si helkumì utralä ulte olo kelku si fomì. Slä tìvawm lìng mi Eywa’evengio pxel vawma pìwopx. Nga pivawm san pe’u fìtìvawm lu sìk slä tì’eyng awngaru ke lu.

Makto zong, ma eylan.

Offline Vawmataw

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I'm glad to have partly caused this post.

The pawm/'eyng thing comes from the question I sent to Karyu Pawl about the transitivity of 'eyng.

Here's more information I have about it:

Quote from: Me
This is a very interesting answer. So I guess "vin teyngta" would be complementary to pawm due its restriction.
My only question about 'eyng for now: How do we build a construction like the following: He answered that he doesn't know him.

Quote from: Karyu Pawl
Yes, vin teyngta is fine:

Fol volin teyngta Tsyeykìl tok pesenget.

This means essentially, "They wanted to know where Jake is." In terrible English, but more literally: "They requested the where-is-Jake answer." 😊

As for "He answered that he doesn't know him," I'd simply say:

'Oleyng po san po ke smon oeru sìk.

'Eyng here can be considered a verb of speaking like plltxe, and so it takes san . . . sìk.
Fmawn Ta 'Rrta - News every weekend IN NA'VI ONLY (Discord) editor

Offline Toliman

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I'm glad to have partly caused this post.
That is nice!

Thanks for adding of those here!


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