Phonology & Orthography Vowels Consonants
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http://www.learnnavi.org/ Version 3.5.1 Updated: 29 January 2010
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Phonology and orthography
Na‟viis an unwritten language. Due to the tsaheylu that connects all life on Pandora, whereupon memories are stored and accessed, there is no need for a writing system. That said, for the purpose of humans learning Na‟vi, a standardized form was developed using Latin alphabet letters coupled with diacritic marks on some vowels. Orthography: There are 22 consonants and 7 vowels that are written usingLatin alphabet characters:
[a ä e i ì o u] [ ʹ f h k kx l ll m n ng p px r rr s t ts tx v w y z]
***Please note that all terms have been transcribed using IPA in the bilingual dictionaries. Stress markings have been added in many of the terms until further clarification has been made upon them.
There are seven simple vowels: Front [i]i [ì] ɪ Central Back [u]u [o]o [e]ɛ[ä]æ [a]a
Close Close-Mid Open-Mid Open
and four diphthongs [aw], [ew], [ay], [ey]. These vowels may occur in sequences, meaning there can be long strings of vowels within a word. However, each vowel counts as a syllable, so that meuia (honor) has four syllables [mɛ.u.i.a]. In addition, the syllabic consonants ll [l̩ ] and rr [r] behave as vowels, as in plltxe [pl̩ .t‟ɛ] "to ̩ speak". Therr 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 it does have contrastive stress: túte [ˈtu.tɛ] "person", tuté [tu.ˈtɛ] "female person". Although stress may move with derivation, as here, it is not affected by inflection (case onnouns, 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 [lo.ˈlu] "was" (l‹ol›u), lolängú [lo.læng.ˈu] "was (ugh!)" (l‹ol›‹äng›u), etc.
There are twenty one consonants in Na‟vi. In transcriptions, the ejective consonants are written with digraphs in x, aconvention that appears to be unique to Na‟vi. Labial [px] p‟ [p] p [f]f [m]m [v]v Alveolar Palatal [tx] t‟ [t] t [ts] ʦ [s] s [z] z [n] n [r] ɾ [rr]r [l] l or [ll] l̩ [y]j Velar [kx] k‟ [k] k Glottal [„] ʔ [h] h [ng] ŋ
Ejective Plosive Affricate Fricative Nasal Flap Trill Liquid/glide
The fricatives, f v s z h, and the affricate, ts, are restricted to the onset of a syllable; the otherconsonants may occur at either the beginning or at the end (though w or 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 the unrestricted consonants (the stops and liquids/glides) apart from(’)making for 39 clusters. Lenition: For some Na‟Vi nouns with strong initial consonants, such as px, t, or k, adding either plural marker ay- or me- with weaken that initial consonant. Theory behind lenition is largely thought to be easier and smoother pronunciation for the mouth. Regardless, the following sounds when found consonant initial are weakened to these following forms: Before pluralmarker px, tx, kx p, t/ts, k „ Examples: tsmuk aysmuk/smuk pxun mepun/pun After plural marker p, t, k f, s, h Ø (deletion) ‘sibling’ kelku ‘home’ ‘siblings’ mehelku/helku ‘two homes/homes’ ‘arm’ ‘two arms/arms’
Na‟vi pronouns encode clusivity. That is, there are different words for "we" depending on whether the speaker is including you or not. There are also special forms...