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Old 08-09-2011, 04:17 AM
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Default 'Avatar' fans learn to speak Na'vi language

The Canadian Press
Date: Sunday Aug. 7, 2011 12:44 PM ET
VANCOUVER — Na'vi or nerdy?

The hundreds of people around the world committed to learning Na'vi, the language created for the giant blue aliens in the blockbuster movie Avatar, apparently don't really care which they are.

A UBC professor that asked them about their commitment to the fictional language says she was astonished at the hundreds of responses and the variety of places they came from.

Christine Schreyer, whose specialty is actually extinct languages, is working to turn her survey results into a presentation to the American Anthropological Association conference in Montreal in November.

She said people trying to save their own languages could take some lessons from the Na'vi book.

"The fact that they are able to learn to read and write, and they're so dedicated and they have these interesting ways of learning. So too could these endangered language communities pick up on that."

Thousands of people are visiting the Learn Na'vi website where they can teach themselves the Na'vi alphabet, read the dictionary, take part in a Na'vi forum, and even download an application so their GPS can speak Na'vi.

Paul Frommer created the language for the movie with less than 1,000 words, but he said the avid linguists are clamouring for more.

"It's been astonishing to me, the response that it's gotten, really worldwide," said Frommer, a professor emeritus of clinical management communication at the University of Southern California.

Frommer said he started with just 30 words given to him from Avatar director James Cameron, along with instructions from Cameron to "make it sound appealing and make it sound complicated."

It apparently hit the mark for those who responded to Schreyer's survey.

The assistant professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, got the idea while conducting a class that in part dealt with imaginary languages last year.

Hundreds of people, ranging in age from 10 to their late 60s, filled in her questionnaire in English, Russian, German, French, Hungarian and Italian. She even received 11 replies in Na'vi.

"I was very surprised," she laughed. "I've been in shock over the response."

Schreyer said the Na'vi community has been helpful and welcoming and some even volunteered to translate her survey into other languages, including Na'vi, when they saw it on the Learn the Na'vi Language from the film Avatar website.

Avatar is a futuristic movie about mining on the moon of Pandora where the humanoid species of the Na'vi live.

The 2009 movie is the highest-grossing movie of all time, earning 2.8 billion at the box office. Two sequels are in the works.

The Klingon language invented for Star Trek took years to gain a strong following, but now has many fans.

Both Schreyer and Frommer believe the Internet helped the Na'vi language evolve far more quickly.

"Even the English answers I have are from Sweden and Belgium and the Czech Republic and Indonesia and Israel and Jamaica, all over the world," Schreyer said.

Frommer said he gets emails written entirely in Na'vi, and there are comments on his blog written in the language.

"It's not just a game anymore, people are actually using it to communicate," he said. "The big crying need now is more vocabulary."

Frommer gathered a committee of eight top experts in the language last year to help create words and make suggestions.

"It's something that would make a professional linguist proud," he said in a phone interview from his Los Angles home. "It's amazingly detailed stuff and sometimes it goes on for 20 pages."

However, Frommer said he will always be the gatekeeper of the language. Even the website warns about spreading misinformation or conflicting data.

William Shatner, the actor who played Star Trek's Captain Kirk, once joked on Saturday Night Live that nerdy Trekkies needed to "get a life," but Frommer sees Na'vi fans as admirable.

"Language is something that can unite people," he said.

"The fact that people have the interest, that they're coming together, that they're using something and helping develop it as a means of communication is really quite wonderful."

He added that there's a long history of people creating their own languages when groups don't have a common one.

Frommer chuckled bashfully when asked about his own Na'vi skills.

"Well, ah, speaking quite frankly, I'm no longer the best one."

Schreyer's Na'vi vocabulary is limited to just thank you and hello, or irayo and kalxi.

Frommer isn't sure if he'll be working on the movie sequels yet, but said he'll keep working on his blog and the Na'vi language.

Ever the teacher, Frommer ended the interview with "May Eywa be with you."

That's pronounced eh-wah and means world spirit, for those interested in jumping on the Na'vi band wagon.



'Avatar' fans learn to speak Na'vi language - CTV News
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:32 AM
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cool, thanks misstammie for that.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:35 AM
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interesting. Irayo ma tsmuke.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:34 PM
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So proud of the na'vi speakers
I hope to join your ranks when the time is right.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:38 PM
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Na'vi Research Study

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Old 08-10-2011, 02:58 AM
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Nice article

They're right about the internet - it makes me think, that in a few years, Na'vi will be like Klingon now, with genuine fluent speakers
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:09 PM
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I think it's pretty close to being there already, HNM.

Irayo, Miss Tammie, for posting this great article!
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:23 AM
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I agree CyanRachel! Hopefully with some time, I'll be amongst the ranks of fluent Na'vi speakers.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Nice article

They're right about the internet - it makes me think, that in a few years, Na'vi will be like Klingon now, with genuine fluent speakers
Absolutely!! After all it was the internet that brought all of US together along with AVATAR of course.

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Originally Posted by CyanRachel View Post
I think it's pretty close to being there already, HNM.

Irayo, Miss Tammie, for posting this great article!
Thanks Rachel, glad you liked it ma tsmuke.

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Originally Posted by Fiyerwall View Post
I agree CyanRachel! Hopefully with some time, I'll be amongst the ranks of fluent Na'vi speakers.
I hear ya there Fiyer!
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"All I ever wanted in my sorry ass life was a single thing worth fighting for "-JAKE SULLY
ěě.... Srane, ně'it omum futa lu yawne oeru rel arusikx alu Uniltěrantokx!


"Uniltěrantokx rivey txankrr!!!"
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:18 AM
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I wish I had a personal tutor to help me with it. I know I'd learn a lot faster that way. Maybe we could contact Rosetta Stone and ask them to put out a Na'vi version.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:34 AM
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I wish they had a CD ect to listen to when I drive. Or go to sleep with it playing in my head all night. Or just have to sleep.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:49 AM
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Mom i will send u a cd
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:01 AM
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wow very cool! Thanks for that!
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