The Secret Language of 'Avatar'

The Na'vi language was created for the Oscar-nominated movie.

ByABC News via logo
March 4, 2010, 3:54 PM

March 5, 2010— -- Trekkies have Klingon, "Lord of the Rings" watchers have Elvish and now "Avatar" fans have their language, Na'vi.

In the Academy Award-nominated film , it is the native language of the blue humanoids from the planet Pandora. But while the film's story is fictional, the Na'vi language is not.

The language was actually created by linguists specifically for the movie. It has rules on proper grammar and pronunciation, and now it is being spoken by more and more people across the country.

"[Director] James Cameron asked me to create a language for the movie and I jumped at the chance," said Paul Frommer, a professor of clinical management communication from the University of Southern California.

It took Frommer four years to develop the language, which has a 1,000-word vocabulary, verb structure and a consonant pronunciation called "ejectives."

It is an unwritten language. According to the Web site, that is because of "the tsaheylu that connects all life on Pandora, whereupon memories are stored and accessed; there is no need for a writing system."

Although the language was not an instant blockbuster like the film, which became the highest grossing movie ever, it is growing in popularity. There are Na'vi chat rooms on Skype and grammar lessons on YouTube.

"It's rather amazing. I've heard stories of people who don't actually speak the same language but both speak Na'vi being able to send e-mails...and communicated on the Web form," Bryce Homick, a Na'vi language enthusiast said.

Click here for more on the Na'vi language.

Since Na'vi is an unwritten language, you don't normally see it in print. But below are a few phrases and words to help you start learning, from

"Kaltxì. Nga-ru lu fpom srak?:
Hello. How are you?"

It's a pleasure to be able to chat with you in Na'vi."

"F-ay-vrrtep fì-tsenge lu kxani:

These demons are forbidden here."










Want to learn more Na'vi? Click here to see the Pandorapedia.

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