Phonology & Orthography Vowels Consonants Sound Change Grammar Pronouns Nouns & Prepositions Adjectives Numbers Verbs Questions & Demonstratives Changing Parts of Speech Phrases Lexicon 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 5 5 6 7 7 7 9
Phonology and orthography
Na‟vi lacks voiced stops like [b d ɡ], but has the ejective consonants [pʼ tʼ kʼ], which are spelled px, tx, kx when writing them in Latinscript. It also has the syllabic consonants ll and rr. There are seven vowels, a ä e i ì o u. Although all the sounds were designed to be pronounceable by the human actors of the film, there are unusual consonant clusters, as in fngap "metal” and tskxe "rock" Na‟vi syllables may be as simple as a single vowel, or as complex as skxawng "moron" or fngap above (both CCVC). The fictional languageNa‟vi of Pandora is unwritten. However, standardized Na‟Vi is written using the Roman alphaet. Sample words: zìsìt "year", fpeio "ceremonial challenge", nìawve "first" (aw "one"), muiä "be fair", tiréa-ióang "spirit animal", kllpxìltu "territory", unil-tìran-tokx "avatar" (dream-walk-body) ***Please note that pronunciation of all words can be found in the bilingual lexicon at the end of the analysistranscribed using IPA.
There are seven simple vowels: Front [i]i [ì] ì [e]ɛ [ä]ä Back [u]u [o]o [a]a
High Mid Low
and four diphthongs [aw], [ew], [ay], [ey]. Note that the e is open-mid while the o is close-mid, and that there is no *oy. These vowels may occur in sequences, as in the Polynesian languages and Japanese. Each vowel counts as a syllable, so that tsaleioae has sixsyllables, [tsa.lɛ.i.o.a.ɛ], and meoauniaea has eight, [mɛ.o.a.u.ni.a.ɛ.a]. In addition, the syllabic consonants ll [l̩ ] and rr [r] behave as vowels, as in pllte’ [pl̩ .tɛʔ] "to ̩ speak". The rr is strongly trilled, and the ll is "light", never a "dark" (velarized) *[ɫ̩ ]. These may occur directly before another vowel, as in hrrap [hr.ap] "dangerous". ̩ Na‟vi does not have vowel length or tone, but itdoes has contrastive stress: túte [ˈtutɛ] "person", tuté [tuˈtɛ] "female person". Although stress may move with derivation, as here, it is not affected by inflection (case on nouns, tense on verbs, etc). So, for example, the verb lu "to
be" has stress on its only vowel, the u, and no matter what else happens to it, the stress stays on that vowel: lolú [loˈlu] "was" (l‹ol›u), lolängú[loläˈngu] "was (ugh!)" (l‹ol›‹äng›u), etc.
There are twenty consonants. There are two Latin transcriptions: one that more closely approaches the ideal of one letter per phoneme, with the c and g for [ts] and [ng] (the values they have in much of Eastern Europe and Polynesia, respectively), and a modified transcription used for the actors, with the digraphs ts and ng used for those sounds.In transcriptions, the ejective consonants are written with digraphs in x, a convention that appears to be unique to Na‟vi. Labial [px]p‟ [p]p [f]f [m]m [v]v Alveolar [tx]t‟ [t]t [ts]ʦ [s]s [z]z [n]n [r]r [rr]r [l]l or [ll]l: Palatal Velar [kx]k‟ [k]k Glottal [„]ʔ [h]h [ng]ng
Ejective Plosive Affricate Fricative Nasal Flap Trill Liquid/glide
The fricatives and the affricate,f v ts s z h, are restricted to the onset of a syllable; the other consonants may occur at either the beginning or at the end (though w y in final position are considered parts of diphthongs, as they only occur as ay ey aw ew and may be followed by another final consonant, as in skxawng "moron"). However, in addition to appearing before vowels, f ts s may form consonant clusters with any of theunrestricted consonants (the stops and liquids/glides) apart from’ making for 39 clusters. Other sequences occur across syllable boundaries, such as na’vi [naʔ.vi] "person", ikran [ik.ran] "banshee", and atxkxe [atʼ.kʼɛ] "land". The plosives p t k and the affricate ts are tenuis, as in Spanish or French. In final position, they are unreleased, as in Indonesian and other languages of Southeast...