It’s been about two weeks (as of this writing) since the video “The Storm” from TheFatRat and Maisy Kay was released. If you have found LearnNavi.org after hearing the lyrics and want to know more about the Na’vi language, then welcome! We’re glad you’re here!
The Na’vi constructed language was first heard in James Cameron’s Avatar in December of 2009. For the last ten years, a dedicated community of fans has worked with Na’vi’s creator, Dr. Paul Frommer, to help document the language and to develop and expand the vocabulary. That work continues to this day and Na’vi continues to be vital and growing. It is heard in the Cirque du Soleil show Toruk – The First Flight, at Disney’s Pandora – The World of Avatar in Orlando, Florida, in comic books from Dark Horse Comics, in the mobile video game Avatar – Pandora Rising, and soon in four Avatar sequels that are even now in production.
As you may imagine, it is pretty exciting to long-time fans of the Na’vi language to hear it in a music video, especially one from such popular and well-known artists as TheFatRat and Maisy Kay. It is just as exciting to see so many visitors wanting to know more about the language and finding us here at LearnNavi. Although the pronunciation of some of the words in the video was not precise and others got a little rushed to fit the music, the translation posted on Maisy’s Instagram is reasonably accurate (with the exception of an apparent typo of ‘ftu‘ as ‘fru‘ in the Instagram post that is being repeated around the internet – ‘fru‘ is not a word). Astute fans of Na’vi will recognize several lines from the Weaving Song, which was first seen in Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide, published back in November, 2009.
Please feel free to look around the LearnNavi site. There are Na’vi language reference and learning materials in the Media section and Wiki, and also community interaction via the forums and Discord server. Although the number of active fans is not what it used to be, those here are dedicated to Na’vi and are happy to share their expertise with all who wish to learn.
nìNa’vi: za’u oe [ftu] iknimaya
nìftxavang ting mikyun, ting nari
tompayä kato, tsawkeyä kato
sì ‘ekong te’lanä oeru teya si
English lyrics from Maisy Kay’s Instagram: “I come from the stairway to heaven
With all your heart listen, look
The rhythm of the rain and sun
and the beat of the hearts fills me”
This is a music video from TheFatRat and Maisy Kay. Some of the Na’vi lyrics are from the Weaving Song and some are original. Although it’s nice to see the language get recognition, there’s some trouble with pronunciation and use.
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.
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!
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!