Greetings & Introductions

Hello, and welcome to the first of a new series of Conversational Na'vi Language lessons! If you haven't already, I highly recommend that you check out the audio clips on the Sounds page to get a solid feel for how the language is pronounced. Here are some of the classic building blocks of getting started with conversation in Na'vi.

Topics

Saying Hello

How are you?

I'm well / not well / so-so

My name is / I am

What's your name?

Goodbye

Dialogue

Vocabulary Learned

Saying Hello

The Na'vi word for hello is kaltxì.

Another popular greeting you may remember from the film is

  • Oel ngati kameie.
  • I see you

A breakdown:

  • oel is a form of I.
  • ngati is a form of you.
  • kameie is a form of the verb to See [in a deep spiritual sense].

You may be asking, "Doesn't that say, 'I you See'?" And you'd be correct; it does say that. In the Na'vi language, the word order is much more flexible than that of English. More about that later. For now, we will keep it simple.

When you want to address someone directly by their name or title, the word ma must be used just before the name. For example:

  • Kaltxì ma Neytiri!
  • Hello, Neytiri!

And one from the film:

  • Ma sempul, oel ngati kameie.
  • Father, I see you.

How are you?

The Na'vi do not really ask, "How are you?", but rather something more like "Do you have peace/well-being?" Here's how it works:

  • Ngaru lu fpom srak?
  • Do you have peace/well-being?
  • Literally: "To you is peace/well-being (yes/no)?"

A breakdown:

  • ngaru is another form of you that means to you.
  • lu is the verb am/are/is/be.
  • fpom is peace/well-being.
  • srak is a word that changes a statement into a yes/no question. It goes at the end of the sentence, or at the very beginning as srake

I'm well / not well / so-so

Since How are you in Na'vi is actually a yes/no question, its answers include the following:

  • Srane. Yes.
  • Kehe. No.
  • Tam ke tam. A phrase that basically means meh or so-so.

To ask the question back to whoever asked you first, you have two options:

  • ngaru lu fpom srak?
  • Do you have well-being?

or

  • ngaru tut?
  • How about you? / What about you?

My name is / I am

Although in Na'vi you could say literally,

  • Oeyä tstxo lu ____.
  • My name is ____.

It's much more Na'vi-like to say it like this:

  • Oeru fko syaw ____.
  • One calls me ____.
  • Literally: "To me one calls ____."

Since the Na'vi language has flexible word order, if the above sentence gives you any trouble, you can change the word order. Perhaps to something like this:

  • Oeru syaw fko ____.
  • or
  • Fko oeru syaw ____.

What's your name?

This question is very similar to its reply, which is found in the previous section. What's your name? in Na'vi is more like How are you called? and is typically worded like this:

  • Fyape fko syaw ngar?
  • How are you called?
  • Literally: "How one calls to you?"

or:

  • Pefya syaw fko ngaru?
  • How are you called?
  • Literally: "How calls one to you?"

Note that Fyape/Pefya are two forms of the same word, and ngar/ngaru are also two forms of the same word.

  • Nice to meet you in Na'vi translates to Smon nìprrte'.
  • Literally: "[you are] familiar [to me] pleasurably"

Goodbye

Here are some popular Na'vi goodbyes:

  • Kiyevame / Kìyevame
  • See you again soon

Either version is fine; Some use the version with i because it's easier, some use the version with ì because it looks cooler.

  • Eywa ngahu
  • May Eywa be with you
  • Literally: Eywa you-with

And another one you may often see:

  • Hayalovay
  • Until next time

Dialogue

Na'vi Transcript

  • A: Kaltxì! Ngaru lu fpom srak?
  • B: Kaltxì! Srane, ngaru tut?
  • A: Oeru lu fpom.
  • B: Fyape syaw fko ngar?
  • A: Oeru syaw (----). Fyape fko syaw ngaru?
  • B: Smon nìprrte'. Oeru syaw (----).
  • A: Smon nìprrte' nìteng.
  • B: Kiyevame ulte Eywa ngahu!
  • A: Hayalovay. Eywa ngahu!

English Translation

  • A: Hello! Do you have peace?
  • B: Hello! Yes, how about you?
  • A: I have peace.
  • B: How are you called?
  • A: I'm called (----) How are you called?
  • B: Nice to meet you. I'm (----).
  • A: Nice to meet you too.
  • B: Goodbye and may Eywa be with you!
  • A: Until next time. May Eywa be with you!

Vocabulary Learned

Na'vi English
kaltxì hello
oel I
ngati you
kameie to See (deeply, spiritually)
ma (word put before names or titles when addressing the person directly)
sempul father
ngaru to you
lu is/am/are/be
fpom peace/well-being
srak / srake (word that creates yes/no questions)
srane yes
kehe no
tam ke tam so-so, meh
(----) tut? what about (----)?
oeyä my
tstxo name
fko one, unspecified person
syaw to call
fyape / pefya how
kiyevame / kìyevame See you again soon
Eywa ngahu Eywa be with you
hayalovay until next time
nìteng too, as well
ulte and
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