Ulte ayyora’tu leiu . . . And the winners are . . .

Started by Toliman, August 16, 2021, 07:53:43 AM

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Ulte ayyora'tu leiu . . .           And the winners are . . .
Posted on August 15, 2021 by Pawl

Kaltxì, ma frapo!

The Great Na'vi Proverb and Idiom Contest is now history, and I'm delighted with the results! The insight and creativity that went into so many of the submissions impressed me to no end.

Irayo nìtxan to everyone who entered. I received a total of 19 forms, with the coding system working perfectly to ensure the anonymity of the entrants. Here are the codes, in numerical order, so you can check to make sure I saw your entry: 0003600, 301176, 1108012, 1211194, 1211948, 1983228, 2142013, 2154828, 2220182, 3264728, 3605005, 4152006, 4301986,4835789, 4974523, 5295292, 5305412, 7418529, 199454510

Below are the submissions I was particularly impressed with, the ones I thought best reflected Na'vi and Pandoran life and/or used the language the most creatively, and were also the most striking. These can now appear in any officially approved list of proverbs, idioms, or useful phrases. If your entry is among them, Seykxel sì Nitram! But if not, please don't feel discouraged. Judging such contests is necessarily subjective, and different judges might well come up with different results. Also, since I now see how easy it is to set up such things, there will be other such contests. (I already have one in mind!) So if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. (Hmm. What would the Na'vi equivalent of that be?)

I'll list the winners in each category in random order, including the code numbers, with no hierarchy implied. If your entry is here and you'd like to identify yourself either publicly in the comments or privately to me in an email (my-last-name AT marshall DOT usc DOT edu), please do so! Tìftxey pum ngeyä—the choice is yours, i.e., it's up to you.

I should add that in a few cases I took the liberty of slightly altering the original submission and/or explanation. In those instances, I kept the original thought but tweaked the Na'vi a bit for better word usage, clarity, conciseness, or what I thought was improved rhythm and flow. I hope the authors won't mind the editing. 😊 Also, I want to mention some things to a couple of the entrants, which I'll do in the comments by addressing the code numbers.

Irayo nìmun, ma smuk! Ayngeyä tsulfä tìyawnsì fìlì'fyayä awngeyä oeru teya si.

ta P.


Kxìm utuftu fnawe'tu.
Entrant code: 0003600
Author's explanation:
A coward commands from the canopy. That is, a real leader will have "boots on the ground" and will help out, whereas a coward will only tell people (from afar) what to do. Can be used to say, "If you're not gonna help, then shut up!" with someone who is being extra bossy.

'Uori hìpey, kxawm ngaru ke ley.
Entrant code: 4835789
Author's explanation:
If you hesitate doing something, it might not be important to you.
Of course, we often hesitate with things that are in fact important to us, because we're afraid to fail. So this proverb is more meant/used as a motivation for someone hesitating, or even as a teasing to get someone into action: "Hey, if it's important for you, then you have to just do it, even though it's hard! If you don't start now, maybe you don't care enough."

Spä skxawng sìn 'ana aflì.
Entrant code: 301176
Author's explanation:
A fool jumps onto a thin vine.
Don't engage in an unpromising and/or potentially risky cause. Example: Tsayerik terul ne 'awkx. Spä skxawng sìn 'ana aflì. 'That hexapede is running toward the cliff. Only a fool jumps onto a thin vine.' This is a hunter telling their partner there is no use in pursuing the hexapede, since the danger is too great and the chance of success too small.

Hahaw nì'aw txo palukan smivon ngar.
Entrant code: 2220182
Author's explanation:
Only sleep if you are familiar with the Thanator.
Don't think you're safe unless you're aware of the danger. (It could create a false sense of safety.)

Ke kur fko fa kxetse.
Entrant code: 3605005
Author's explanation:
One can't hang by a tail.
Don't rely on something/someone untrustworthy or useless, just as a Na'vi tail can't be relied on to bear weight.

Idiomatic Expressions

(na) fwampop fkip fìwopx
Entrant code: 199454510
Author's explanation:
(Like a) tapirus in the clouds
"Fish out of water"; something or someone out of their usual element or comfort zone.

'Awsiteng lu mefo lanay'ka.
Entrant code: 5305412
Author's explanation:
They are a slinger (together).
A slinger is a Pandoran predator that's actually not a single organism. It's two creatures in a symbiotic relationship. One acts as the head, the other as the body. Calling two people a slinger praises how well they work together and complement each other: Tolaron mefol mesalioangit! Tewti, 'awsiteng lu mefo lanay'ka. 'They hunted two sturmbeest? Wow, they work very well together.'

(na) lanay'ka luke re'o
Entrant code: 2154828
Author's explanation:
Like a slinger without a head—i.e., completely lost. Po maw kxitx muntxatuä 'amefu na lanay'ka re'oluke. 'After the death of his spouse, he felt completely lost.'

zawr (a) mì na'rìng
Entrant code: 1983228
Author's explanation:
an animal cry in the forest
"Old news", i.e., you can't pass off an animal cry in the forest as something newsworthy because it's present almost all the time. A: Srake ngal stolawm futa Tsenu Ralur mowan lu nìtxan? 'Have you heard that Ralu has the hots for Tsenu?' B: Zawr mì na'rìng, ma tsmuk! Tsat omum oel kintrro. 'Old news, brother! I've known it for a week.'

Kxetse kì'ong!
Entrant code: 7418529
Author's explanation:
Slow tail! [Short for Ngari kxetse kì'ong livu.]
That is, "Don't get angry." When the Na'vi get angry, their tails whip around, so "slow down your tail" is another way to say calm down.

yerik (a) mì yrrap
Entrant code: 2142013
Author's explanation:
Hexapede in a storm: a metaphor or simile representing extreme panic, anxiety or timidity.