This is my first post of the new year, but it should have been my last post of the last year. I'm so lazy when I have to write in holidays...
Last week I went to the cinema to watch Avatar, the latest film by James Cameron. And I have to say that it is a great film. On the one hand, I agree that it's just a futuristic version of Disney's Pocahontas, with basically the same plot. On the other hand, I found the film quite amazing. The design of the background and the different species in Pandora is stunning (though I don't understand the biological strategy of shining at night. Isn't it easier to avoid predators when they cannot see you?). The plot is not bad, and the religion and philosophy of the Na'vi seem coherent to me. But the thing I liked most of the film was the language.
That's it. From the point of view of a translator, I enjoyed this film. One of the most nteresting details of the plot is that Jake Sulley (the main character) has to learn the Na'vi language and customs.
I liked how he had problems with sentences that have double meaning ("I see you", meaning that I can see inside your soul) and how a interpreter was needed at the end of the film for Jake's speech being understood by the Na'vi. There are not many films in which translation is an important part od the plot. Even in The Lord of the Rings almost everyone seems to understand elvish, though in the original book only a few non-elvish characters are able to speak Quenya.
Preparing this post I looked for some info about the Na'vi language, and, surprise! I found out that it is an actual language, created for the film by the linguist Paul Frommer, which is means it's not a random pack of sounds, but it has its whole vocabulary, grammar and syntax.
Now I know this fact, I like the film even more. This reminds me of another constructed languages, like Quenya, Esperanto, or Klingon (I have a friend who wants to learn Klingon, task in which I wish good luck to her). They are well-known, and lots of people learn and speak them around the world (yes, we are geeks). I can almost see "Do you speak Na'vi language?" as a new question in the Geek Test, and although I'll not try to learn it for now (I'm saturated with German, thanks) I'll support it. Go Na'vi!
And yes. The first time I heard the word Na'vi in the film I thought about this.
Kìyeváme! (which means "see you soon" in Na'vi).