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Dec 19

New Na’vi Info…From Frommer!

Posted on Saturday, December 19, 2009 in Film

Paul Frommer, the creator of the Na’vi language, has posted a guest posting at Language Log. He provides much more detail than we’ve seen before concerning his new conlang.

Some highlights of Na’vi


Dec 12

The Buzz

Posted on Saturday, December 12, 2009 in Film

The big buzz in the conlang community right now is about James Cameron’s film Avatar due to be released on December 18. Of course, the reason for the buzz is the language of the Na’vi created by University of Southern California professor Paul Frommer. The language has only been glimpsed briefly from articles and interviews, but the known corpus is growing. Here is a collection of articles and websites to whet your appetite. Whether you plan to see the movie or not, Avatar has definitely brought artlangs front and center again. Personally, I get a kick out of the authors of some of these articles falling all over themselves in fascination that someone can create an “entirely alien language”. 😉 What a shock!

What can we say from a wordlist?
The language of Avatar revealed
Skxawng! You don’t matter!
USC professor creates an entire alien language for ‘Avatar’
Brushing up on Na’vi, the Language of Avatar
USC professor gives Avatar aliens a voice

Jun 7

Pakuni on the Big Screen

Posted on Sunday, June 7, 2009 in Film

With the release of the new Land of the Lost, based (loosely) on the original children’s TV series from the early 1970s, I’ve been reminded of one of my early conlang influences: Pakuni. While I haven’t seen the movie (yet), I was heartened by this article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Here is an excerpt highlighting “Pakuni”:

Sticklers for detail, the Kroftts hired a UCLA linguist to create a language for Chaka and his kin. It’s called Pakuni, and it was spoken on TV. Taccone learned the 300-odd words and speaks them, although the script calls for him to only grunt or jibber.
[Anna] Friel [who plays Holly] translates what he is saying in the movie.
“Based on her translation I would go back to the Pakuni dictionary and make up sentences that go with her translation. What Anna translates is much more eloquent than what I am saying. But I am definitely trying to speak it correctly,” says Taccone, joking that he went to all that trouble for “the five people out there who will notice.”

(Here’s a video interview with Jorma Taccone. The section on Pakuni starts around 2:48)

While recently watching some re-runs of the original series, I was disappointed to see that Chaka simply spoke halting English in the final season. Thank you to Jorma Taccone from the way more than “five people out there who will notice” that Pakuni is back!