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March 6, 2010

The one interesting element regarding James Cameron’s Avatar is the Na’vi language in the movie. Paul Frommer, a linguist with the University of Southern California, was chosen to create the language.

In an interview with PBS, he explained how he went about this process.

The first step in creating Na’vi was developing the already existing sound system James Cameron had in mind by deciding which sounds would be in the language and which sounds would not be included.

After that step, he developed rules for combinations of sounds, rules for putting meaningful elements together and syntax rules for “putting words together into phrases and sentences.”

Since Mr. Frommer was the only person on Earth at the time who understood or spoke of Na’vi, he helped coach the actors who had to speak it. I wonder if Mr. Frommer coached Conan and Andy in the following clip.

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