Author Topic: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee  (Read 14252 times)

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Offline wm.annis

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Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« on: November 26, 2010, 08:08:53 pm »
tl;dr summary for graphophobics: To speed up the process of extending Na'vi vocabulary, Frommer invited the attendees of the language workshop to form a committee to make a fixed number of word suggestions to him per month.  Unlike the LEP, we will be not simply requesting words, but creating new Na'vi words for his approval.

During the Na'vi language workshop that occurred in October 2010, Frommer made a proposal on Saturday afternoon regarding Na'vi's vocabulary.  His idea was for us to provide him with some number of words for his approval each month.  Instead of simply saying, "we need a word for 'thunder'," though, we will be allowed to suggest the Na'vi word for our request.  That new word could be derived (by adding an affix, tì-, -tu and so on), formed from a compound, or could be a new word altogether.  And instead of saying, "the word for 'thunder' is ngrrpxo" or whatever, though, we will have to include examples and appropriate details about using the word correctly.

This is an experiment.  We will first try this process for a few months.  If Frommer doesn't think it's working, the committee will be suspended.

Frommer has left the details of the committee to us.  We're still working out the fine details, but the big picture is clear enough that we're announcing this now, even though it'll be a bit yet before we're ready to start our work.  A few major points —

Everyone can offer words.  It's the job of the committee to tidy up suggestions, to filter them for egregious errors, and work with Frommer if he has questions.  This is like the original LEP.  The committee members will necessarily be fairly advanced in Na'vi, but the barrier to making good word suggestions is less a burden.  The committee will have access to some of Frommer's own tools and data for keeping track of new word roots.

Anonymous suggestions.  All word suggestions to the committee will be anonymized.  This is for two reasons.  First, it avoids any hint of favoritism in either the committee or Frommer.  Second, you have to waive your intellectual property rights to the suggestion you make.  Neither Frommer nor Lightstorm Entertainment want to deal with a lawsuit if one of your words occurs in a future Avatar film and you decide you want compensation.

Cultivate detachment.  We're going to start with 25 words per month to Frommer.  That means the committee will have to prioritize suggestions (which will also need to be balanced against backlog from the original LEP).  So, your word may not make it through the committee to Frommer as quickly as you like.  The committee itself may make some tweaks if a suggestion has overlooked some grammatical or lexical issue that might cause conflicts.   Finally, Frommer gets the final word — he may reject, seriously alter, or accept a suggestion as he thinks best.  So, you need to be able to cope with his and the committee's decisions when you make a suggestion.

The Committee.  We have the basic design of the committee more or less worked out.  The first few versions of the committee will have people who attended the original Workshop (whether in person or electronically), but it will be open to the general LN.org membership once we've worked out some details on selection.  The committee terms will be overlapping so there won't be a completely new committee every new term.  There are also two levels of committee membership, normal and senior editors, basically.  The senior editors have longer terms, again to provide continuity from month to month.  The senior editors will be the ones interacting directly with Frommer.  In the future, every senior editor will have to have been a regular editor for at least one term.

Communication. There will be some combination of public, read-only and private subforums here for discussing vocabulary suggestions.  We've nearly got that hammered out, but not quite yet.  If you see new forums appearing in the "Language Updates" subforum, you now know why.

The end product. Suggestions that get Frommer's approval (whether directly, or with some modifications) will appear on his blog.  If it doesn't appear there, it isn't official.


As I said above, there are still details to be worked out.  But we thought it best to announce this sooner rather than later.  We will of course keep you informed as plans firm up.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 08:23:38 pm by Payoang »
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Offline Meynari Ke'nawm

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2010, 09:58:20 pm »
That's so cool to be able to shape a new language like that. I wish I went to the workshop... With the whole community involved, we'll have a HUGE vocabulary! Yay!
P.S. There needs to be words for "swim" and "climb", plus it's kind of weird that they don't actually exist yet, considering how common verbs are.
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Offline Ekirä

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2010, 10:11:11 pm »
If you know, how is it possible to join the committee? Would it meet in person, or be strictly online?
How many people? I know it's still taking form, but how many people is Frommer wanting?
Please post more information.

One of your questions has already been answered, anyway.

Quote
The first few versions of the committee will have people who attended the original Workshop (whether in person or electronically), but it will be open to the general LN.org membership once we've worked out some details on selection.

__________________

This is such an awesome idea. ;D I wish I could think up words I need/want/desire, but right now I can't think of any......all those words I've wanted have completely left my brain. ;) But I'll keep this awesome project in mind.

Offline Nìwotxkrr Tìyawn

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 11:00:29 pm »
This is precisely the sort of thing I have been waiting for. I'm really excited to hear about this hope to be able to make useful contributions.   :)

I have one question though. I get the whole premise of the anonymity but does it mean that you are never able to mention to anyone that you came up with the word ever or is it simply meant so that you can never 100% prove you came up with it if you were to claim it?

I have one last question actually. What type of format will suggestions have to be made in?

I would just like to note to all readers; don't just spam suggestions hoping for one to stick, it won't help anyone. Try to have reasoning of why you think your word would be a good word other than "it sounds cool". A little research never hurt anyone.. except maybe Galileo.. but that's not the point.  ;)
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Offline Skxawng

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2010, 11:46:36 pm »
If you know, how is it possible to join the committee? Would it meet in person, or be strictly online?
How many people? I know it's still taking form, but how many people is Frommer wanting?
Please post more information.

Frommer did not specifically ask for a certain number of people, merely a number of words submitted per month. We want to insure that the words submitted are well thought out and high quality, and thus likely to be used by Frommer, thereby expanding the lexicon, and we also want to make sure that the submitted words are relevant and necessary ( the verb 'to share' vs the word 'jelly' for example.) Furthermore, we want to make sure that the words submitted are correctly formed (no illegal consonant clusters or letters.) so as not to waste Frommer's time.

As far as joining the committee is concerned, the specifics of that process are still being hammered out. 

 
This is precisely the sort of thing I have been waiting for. I'm really excited to hear about this hope to be able to make useful contributions.   :)

I have one question though. I get the whole premise of the anonymity but does it mean that you are never able to mention to anyone that you came up with the word ever or is it simply meant so that you can never 100% prove you came up with it if you were to claim it?
Well we're not going to be able to prevent you from talking about it to your friends :P but boasting about how many words that you suggested that made it into words will probably be frowned upon. It is primarily to insure that no legal action can be taken.

 
I have one last question actually. What type of format will suggestions have to be made in?

We're looking into a few options of word submissions, based around a set of child forums and form submissions.  We want to make it as simple as possible while at the same time encouraging critical and creative thinking.  Most likely though you'll submit a word, with it used in a sentence, a definition, and a small explanation of the etymology behind it, if you have it. We don't want to send Frommer 25 huuge page long documents, that he'll tire of reading, but we also don't want to send him small chunks of thoughtless words.




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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 01:17:18 am »
Tewti

Sp if I understand this properly, those of us in the general community will submit word ideas to the committee in our native language? Say for instance, I was looking for a word for 'moleskin'. Would I submit 'moleskin' with appropriate supporting documentation, or some Na`vi word suggestion I think might be good for 'moleskin'?

Will the committee be working through the LEP lists as well?

When the appropriate time comes, I am interested in being involved.

Lastly, I love ngrrpxo!

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Offline Puvomun

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2010, 02:07:48 am »
This is wonderful! When I read the announcement, my smile almost split my head in two.
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Offline Plumps

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2010, 06:50:38 am »
Great news, that the idea comes to life :D

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Offline Eyamsiyu

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2010, 08:04:27 am »
As far as the legal action goes, I can understand that they would want that, but TBH, isn't it already enough that you would have come up with a word that was added into the lexicon of an ever-growing language?  I feel like that would be payment enough, if you ask me.

As for the overall idea, I think it's fantastic!!  However, I think we should be wise as to which words to consider making.  For example, there's always the argument of what is used more often in a language, and I feel like this should be the course of action more than anything, and as we create these necessary words, we will go down the list.

So, words like "thunder," "ocean," or "plains" would probably take precedence over words like "Big Mac" or "M-16 semi-automatic rifle."  Granted, we would take wm.annis' words and provide examples as to how it is used and how it would interact with the grammar rules already in place.

Again, fantastic idea!! I'll be checking this thread regularly.


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Offline überdoodlet

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2010, 08:11:06 am »
This idea is really cool. The fact that "we" can make a difference in something as big as AVATAR is amazing. Just think... What if a word you made shows up in a film. That would be awesome!

Offline wm.annis

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2010, 09:21:28 am »
I have one last question actually. What type of format will suggestions have to be made in?

Probably a web form which will send email to the committee secretary.  The form won't be super strict, but it will require you to log in so the secretary can get back to you if the committee has questions and to prevent spamming.  Other than that, there won't be too many fields to fill in.  We're still working on the details, but our goal is to make sure we get the best submission from people possible without being a complete nuisance.

Quote
I would just like to note to all readers; don't just spam suggestions hoping for one to stick, it won't help anyone. Try to have reasoning of why you think your word would be a good word other than "it sounds cool".

Based on the behavior of the forum members during the big LEP, I really don't think this will be a problem very often.  Most people were realistic about the priority of the word they requested (the editors almost never needed to adjust priorities), gave good examples (once convinced they should do that :) ), and were thoughtful in any discussion that their words brought up.  So, I really doubt we'll get too many frivolous suggestions.

My biggest concern, and this also played out during the LEP, is the impulse some people have to "alienate" Na'vi.  That is, not just make sure it isn't too much like English or their native language, but to try to make it maximally strange compared to their native language.  During the LEP, this often resulted in suggestions I had little idea what to do with.  We know a lot more about Na'vi and have a better feel for its character than we did during the LEP, so there are fewer open spaces to fill in with completely novel mechanisms.  But I'm sure a few people will try. ;)
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2010, 09:24:48 am »
Sp if I understand this properly, those of us in the general community will submit word ideas to the committee in our native language? Say for instance, I was looking for a word for 'moleskin'. Would I submit 'moleskin' with appropriate supporting documentation, or some Na`vi word suggestion I think might be good for 'moleskin'?

Right.  I don't think the submission form will require people to create a new Na'vi word.  The committee can do that if someone either isn't sure about the phonotactics or if they don't really care about the word shape, just the idea.

Quote
Will the committee be working through the LEP lists as well?

That is currently in discussion, and some people are working on creating a LEP list that is cleaned of words Frommer has since given us.  I expect there will be a lot of LEP words in our first requests to Frommer, though they'll probably be worked out in more detail.

Quote
When the appropriate time comes, I am interested in being involved.

Excellent.

Quote
Lastly, I love ngrrpxo!

Well, don't get too attached.  That still has to go through the normal committee process.  ;)
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Offline Night Raider

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2010, 01:29:03 pm »
Wow, this is super news! Congratulations!
Is this right? I just write whatever in the signature box?

Offline Carborundum

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2010, 03:38:52 pm »
This is great news! More community involvement with the creation of the language is always welcome.
I've been expecting something like this for at while. I imagine that coming up with vocabulary is the most tedious part of creating a conlang, so it makes sense for Frommer to delegate the task to us, the devoted and competent community  8)
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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2010, 04:51:27 pm »
Тhis is really cool news! I hope that this idea works. Thousand thanks Karyu Pawl for this! :)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 04:54:10 pm by Kamean »
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Offline Myttrah

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2010, 06:25:22 pm »
It's so wonderful that we can influence on the Na'vi language!
I already prepared some needed words. As for now, I have to consult that with my polish friends. ;D

Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2010, 10:40:38 pm »
REEEEAAAAAL eye-catcher:

Quote
Learn Na'vi committee — REAL ALL ABOUT IT!

*wonders if he can join in at some point & suggest useful words...*

;D

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Offline Will Txankamuse

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2010, 08:57:34 am »
Great news!

Will
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Offline Mithcoriel

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2010, 09:14:01 am »
I'm so gonna try to make words. *rubs hands*
Please tell us as soon as the submission form-or-whatever is up and we can start making suggestions!
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Offline archaic

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Re: Na'vi Vocabulary Committee
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2010, 04:34:13 am »
OK, here's my two cents.

The Na'vi are a pre-stone age people, who have had extensive contact with a technologically advanced and very unpredictable alien race, with whom the can communicate.

There will be two distinct types of words.
One is indigenous words, mainly for stuff that they would know before the tawtute came.
The other, words that would not have been known before their arrival, and are derived from Na'vicization of tawtute words.
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