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January 13, 2010

Fictional Languages - Avatar Style

If you think learning a standard language is difficult, try a fictional language. JRR Tolkien created several in his Lord of the Rings series, we heard Klingon in the Star Trek TV and film series, and now there's Avatar...

...with yet another language:Na'Vi.

There are about a thousand words so far (including "skxawng", which means "moron") and a developing grammar. For more details on this development check out http://uscnews.usc.edu/arts/hollywood_calls_usc_linguist_for_help.html.

The developers of this cinematic language based their created language on existing world languages. If you listen closely, you might recognize some linguistic snippets or patterns from a variety of almost familiar earthly languages or dialects. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/hoping-to-out-klingon-klingon/article1405274/

See if you can identify any.

Here are some language lessons - http://scifiwire.com/2009/12/forget-klingon-give-a-lis.php. See how you do!

Klingon, over the years has developed its own grammar and vocabulary.There are Klingon translations of several books of the Bible, some plays of Shakespeare and "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu (of course). We'll see what fans do with this latest version of an alien language. It might be a fun group project - especially if you have a group of students from different language histories - to speak in a language foreign to everyone.

We are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at January 13, 2010 09:41 PM

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