AMC recently aired the first episode of a series by James Cameron entitled “The Story of Science Fiction”. The episode was about alien contact and speculation on how we could communicate with them. Our own Paul Frommer was featured with some insights on language and how it can define how we think and build our cultures (the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis). The episode can be viewed on the AMC app, and there is an excellent post on the AMC Blog.
Q: People now speak Avatar‘s Na’vi all over the world. What’s that like for you?
A: The thing that has really astonished and delighted me is that people in different parts of the world have embraced the language to the point where they use it for real communication. As I’ve often told people, I get emails written to me that are entirely in Na’vi. I have a blog where people can ask questions and comment and offer suggestions, very often entirely in the language. The fact that it’s not just a curiosity but also a tool people use to communicate has blown me away and made me very proud.
Q: Language is constantly changing. Has Na’vi been molded by the fans in the past ten years that people have been using it?
A: At this point, there’s a core group of people who have embraced the language to the point where they know it extremely well — and so it is continuing to evolve. The most obvious place is that the vocabulary continues to grow. I don’t know exactly how many words we have at this point – I think it’s probably around 2,500 or so — which is not huge, by any means. As native speakers of English, we probably have a passive vocabulary of something like 40,000 words. …But, people want to be able to use the language in all sorts of different contexts, some of which have nothing to do with Pandora. So, for instance, people want to know how to say “download,” how to say “blog,” “telephone,” “computer.” [Laughs] So we are constantly coming up with new vocabulary. It’s not just specialized stuff, but also basic words for everyday activities. It’s an evolving process, so to that extent the language continues to grow.
From the LA Times story…
Fans of “Avatar,” the James Cameron film that became the highest-grossing movie in history, have something to look forward to besides its four planned sequels: a series of books based on the film series.
Penguin Random House announced Wednesday that it will publish “a wide range of books across adult and children’s formats” based on the science fiction movie and its upcoming sequels.
There’s no word yet on when the books will be released; “Avatar 2,” the first sequel to the movie, is filming and scheduled for a debut in December 2020. The film is expected to star several cast members from the original move, including Sigourney Weaver, C.C.H. Pounder, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana.
Director Cameron will collaborate with Penguin Random House in the production of the books, the publisher said in a news release.
“The unprecedented partnership will work to expand and enrich the ‘Avatar’ universe through a multiyear publishing strategy that will begin during the lead-up to ‘Avatar 2’ and continue through and beyond the release of ‘Avatar 5,’” the publisher said.
AvatarMeet 2017 is now history, but it certainly created a lot of memories. From learning Na’vi in Pandora, to visiting the Kennedy Space Center, to volunteering at a local nature preserve, it was a week of fun and camaraderie for old friends and new. And the good news is that nobody got kicked out of the hotel for being too loud playing Cards Against Humanity at midnight!
Attendees were treated to a trip to Pandora, courtesy of Alpha Centauri Expeditions.
Disney and Lightstorm Entertainment have created the amazing experience of traveling to Pandora at the Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. Experiencing this should be on the bucket list for every fan of Avatar!
AvatarMeet 2017 happens soon!
The meet this year is on Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. The multi-day event is November 6th through November 11th. There is also a trip to the Kennedy Space Center planned for a day. Dr. Paul Frommer will host another of his famous Na’vi language lessons – in Pandora!
For all the details and latest news, see the AvatarMeet Website or the latest AvatarMeet Newsletter.
With the filming of the Avatar sequels due to start in September, how would you like to get involved in sending a video message to James Cameron, his cast and crew to let them know we are still here and wishing them well? Deadline for submitting your contribution is August 13, 2017, so don’t delay!
See [this post] in the forums for more info!
UPDATE: Here is the video that was created!