“Avatar: The Way of Water”: Meet the real-life Na’vi community

13 years later, Blockbuster sequel Avatar: Water Road It was finally released worldwide, and grossed $441.6 million worldwide in its opening weekend. It is the first of four planned sequels directed by James Cameron and cost $350 million, making it the most expensive motion picture of all time.

the first symbol picture The film is set in the year 2154. With Earth dying, the RDA Corporation has been mining the precious mineral unobtanium on Pandora, a remote moon dotted with lush forests inhabited by the Na’vi, a race of tall, blue humanoids who are one with nature. Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington), a paraplegic ex-Marine, is recruited by RDA to take part in the Avatar Program – converting humans into the Na’vi to explore Pandora. Instead of helping Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) conquer the humans, he falls in love with a Naytiri woman (Zoe Saldana), and eventually leads the Na’vi resistance. in a symbol picture: water waySully and Neytiri must protect their family, and the community of Navy Islanders, from Quaritch, the RDA, and a group of greedy whalers.

symbol picture It became a full-blown cultural phenomenon upon its 2009 release, grossing nearly $3 billion at the global box office and earning itself Extremely Custom follow up.

“It was the first time I honestly remember feeling like a movie had transported me in such a way that I entered a whole new reality,” said Seth Wright.

Wright was a freshman in high school when he first saw it symbol picture on Christmas Eve 2009. Now, he’s 28 and the co-founder of Kelutral (meaning “Hometree” in the Na’vi language), an organization that describes itself as a “living, growing home.” symbol picture social communication. It was created in 2020 with the goal of spreading the Na’vi language.

“After seeing [Avatar] Three or four times, I started looking for ways to continue to engage with the film outside of theaters, Wright said. “And one of the things that intrigued me was the functional language they used of the Na’vi people in the film.”

A scene from the movie Avatar: The Way of Water

Twentieth Century Studios

Dr. Paul Frommer, PhD, professor of linguistics from the University of Southern California, created the Na’vi language in 2005 for the first time. symbol picture. He bases it in part on the Polynesian languages, and a dozen or so words coined by Cameron.

“[Cameron] Frommer wanted a complete language, with a perfectly consistent phoneme, morphology, and syntax,” Frommer told NPR. “He wanted it to sound good — he wanted it to be interesting, he wanted to be appealing to an audience.”

Creating a new language from scratch is no cakewalk. Frommer first created a collection of about 500 Na’vi words to meet the needs of light-hearted conversations symbol picture. The Na’vi language gradually evolved and reached 1,000 words at the time of the first film’s release. It is normal for people to notice this.

In early 2010, Wright joined Learn Na’vi, an organization that works on reverse engineering the Na’vi language. From there, Wright and his team worked with Frommer to further develop the Navi lexicon.

“The language hasn’t really been released publicly yet,” said Corey Scheidman, also known on Discord as Tirea Aean, which means “blue-soul” in Navi.

Soon after watching symbol pictureScheidemann googled the Na’vi language to see if it was a real language. As more information became available about them, online Na’vi fans began categorizing information into Wikipedia pages, and exchanging documents online. The language now contains a wide variety of grammar documents, a master dictionary, and other learning workbooks. Scheideman has been learning and studying the Na’vi language for over a decade as part of Learn Na’vi.

as the main hub for Gods An online community, Learn Na’vi provides each member with a wealth of Na’vi resources to immerse themselves in the language. Anyone interested can access the Na’vi dictionary, which is posted on the site in 10 different languages ​​(including Na’vi, of course). There are other learning resources such as vocabulary, grammar, phonics, phrases, and numbers. A link to their Discord chat, along with a feed of all the latest symbol picture and Na’vi language news, also available on their website. But the ultimate authority of the Na’vi language is found on Professor Frommer’s blog, Na’viteri.org. There, language students can make suggestions for creating new words, and Frommer frequently announces new words and grammatical changes on the site.

With over a decade of involvement in the Learn Na’vi community, Wright has made friends and formed relationships with like-minded people, which has made him realize that there is a need for space for those interested in learning the Na’vi language.

“People who really like to devote themselves to learning a fully constructed language, as you can imagine, are slimmer than people who are broadly interested in the language itself,” Wright said.

Wright co-founded Kelutral so that Na’vi scholars around the world could expand access and help modernize this unique language.

“If you can’t do it with the tools at hand, you have to create your own, and that’s how Kelutral came about,” Wright said.

Kelutral is a hub for over 3,000 members to study and communicate with each other via Discord, and where over 30 types of Na’vi language resources are available, from beginners Na’vi alphabets to in-depth grammar courses and other materials.

Like the Hometree of the same name, sacred sites on Pandora that serve as home for entire Na’vi clans (and sit atop a large supply of unobtanium), Kelutral is a “vital and all-encompassing” network with branches that reach out to different parts of the world. User data shared by Wright indicates that Germans are the largest demographic group for the language-neutral community.

Wright said, “There are people all over the world who don’t speak English, but they’ve learned the Na’vi, and I have a common language with them and can communicate with them even though I may not speak their native language.”

In addition to serving as a space where people can communicate with each other through the Na’vi language, Kelutral also helps members heal from “Post-symbol picture Melancholia.” People with this undiagnosed syndrome view Pandora as a land too idyllic and awe-inspiring to compare to the real world.

“I felt like this was a wonderful dream, but now I had to wake up. Max Perrin, a 24-year-old digital artist in Texas, said diverse from his visionary experience symbol picture. “I was suffering from depression and I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t have a name for it. I wasn’t allowed to seek psychiatric treatment or psychotherapy or anything like that. My family had religious views that were completely at odds with a lot of science and medicine.”

Kelutral meetup in New York City in May 2021.

Seth Wright

Perrin and Wright, along with a few other Kelutral members, met with documentary filmmaker John Wilson to shoot an episode for his HBO documentary series How do you do with john wilson. In the episode titled “How to Remember Your Dreams,” Wilson joins a Kelutral rendezvous in New York City. Many members explain that the community has shown them support in not only learning the language and culture, but also in forming connections with each other that affect their daily lives.

Wright and the other Kelutral participants believe that because each person involved is a dreamer, they have the power to help provide comfort and nurture one another.

He said, “I know in my heart that our society is open, welcoming, and inclusive.”

The Na’vi community is growing exponentially with more and more people joining Learn Na’vi and Kelutral. What started as a collection of about 500 words has grown to about 2,600. Its popularity has also made the Na’vi language one of the few selected in an MIT research study of language networks in human brains conducted by McGovern Institute researcher Evelina Fedorenko and doctoral candidate Saima Malik Moralida. . The others are Esperanto and Klingon (Star Trek) and Dothraki and High Valyrian from game of thrones.

According to Malik-Moraleda, language tends to be left-oriented and the language areas of the left hemisphere of the brain are highly selective.

“These areas only respond to language and nothing else,” Malik Moralida said. “He doesn’t do math, he doesn’t do music, he doesn’t do any other tasks.”

This pattern of language processing was found after testing about 45 different languages ​​by Malik-Moraleda and her team. But all of the languages ​​tested are natural languages, so they start looking at created languages ​​as well, such as the Na’vi.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) tutors his young son, Navi, in “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Twentieth Century Studios

In early November, some Na’vi speakers from Learn Na’vi and Kelutral, including Scheideman, took part in MIT’s “Brains on Conlangs” study, having their brains scanned while listening to sentences spoken in Na’vi. The study is still in the process of finding more experienced Na’vi participants.

to celebrate the release Avatar: Water RoadKelutral will host the third annual OmatiCon 3 virtual event in January. An in-person OmatiCon event is scheduled to take place this August at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, where symbol picture Fans can gather alongside other fans around the world for games, trivia, and group discussions with special guests, including Head of Publishing for Lightstorm, Cameron’s production company, and one of the creature designers from the film’s sequel production team.

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Compared to previous online events where members meet for a day to chat and rewatch symbol pictureThis year, the Omaticon will expand to two days to give fans more time to connect with each other on the topic symbol picture the world, including the sequel they’ve spent over a decade waiting for.

“It’s a part of our culture that we’re very intent on protecting as we move into later parts and beyond,” said Wright. “But that is exactly who we are. We are this community. We are a supportive network of people.”


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