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13 years later the sequel to the blockbuster Avatar: The way of water finally unleashed upon the world, grossing $441.6 million worldwide in its opening weekend. It is the first of four planned sequels by filmmaker James Cameron and cost $350 million, making it the most expensive film ever.

The first Avatar: The action of the film takes place in 2154. After the death of Earth, the RDA Corporation mines the valuable mineral unobtanium on Pandora, a distant moon filled with lush forests inhabited by the Navi, a race of tall blue humanoids. with nature. Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington), a paraplegic ex-Marine, is recruited by the RDA Corporation to participate in the Avatar Project, transforming humans into Navies to explore Pandora. Instead of helping Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) during the human invasion, however, he falls in love with a female Na’vi, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), and ends up leading the Na’vi resistance. In Avatar: The way of waterSally and Neytiri must protect their family and the community on Na’vi Island from Quaritch, the RDA, and predatory whalers.

Avatar: Since its release in 2009, it has become a full-fledged cultural phenomenon, grossing nearly $3 billion at the global box office and earning itself a lot devoted followers.

“It was the first time I can honestly remember feeling like a movie transported me to a whole new reality,” Seth Wright said.

Wright was a freshman in high school when he first saw it Avatar: 2009 Christmas Eve. Now 28, he’s the co-founder of Kelutral (meaning “Hometree” in Na’vi), an organization that describes itself as a “living, growing home” for people. Avatar: community. It was created in 2020 with the mission of spreading the language of the ship.

“After seeing [Avatar] three or four times I started looking for ways to continue with the film outside of theaters,” Wright said. “And one of the things I was interested in was the functional language they used for the Naevi in ​​the movie.”

Scene “Avatar. From the movie “Water Road”.

20th Century Studios

Dr. Paul Frommer, PhD, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California, first created the Na’vi language in 2005. Avatar:. He based it in part on Polynesian languages ​​and about a dozen words Cameron had coined.

“[Cameron] wanted a complete language, with a completely consistent phonetic system, morphology, syntax,” Frommer told NPR. “He wanted it to sound good, he wanted it to be enjoyable, he wanted it to appeal to the audience.”

Creating a new language from scratch is no cakewalk. Frommer initially created a collection of approximately 500 Na’vi words to meet the needs of light conversation Avatar:. The ship’s language gradually developed and reached 1000 words by the time the first film was released. Naturally, people noticed.

In early 2010, Wright joined the Learn Na’vi organization, which was working on reverse-engineering the Na’vi language. From there, Wright and his team worked with Frommer to continue developing the Na’vi vocabulary.

“The language wasn’t really fully published yet. At the time, people were using movie lines that they heard, or there was a little dictionary back then, but it only had 450 words,” says Corey Scheidemann, also known on Discord as Tirea Aean, which means is “Blue”. spirit” in Navi.

Shortly after viewing Avatar:, Scheideman googled the Na’vi language to see if it was real. As more information about it came to light, online Na’vi enthusiasts began to categorize the information into Wikipedia pages and shared online documentation. The language now has a number of grammar documents, a basic dictionary and other study guides. Scheideman has been studying and teaching the Na’vi language for over a decade as part of the Learn Na’vi program.

As the main node Avatar 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 published 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 as well as a feed of all the latest news Avatar: and Na’vi language news are also available on their website. But the definitive authority on the Na’vi language is at Professor Frommer’s Na’ blog. There, language students can make suggestions for creating new words, and Frommer frequently announces new words and grammar changes on the site.

Involved in the Learn Na’vi community for more than a decade, Wright has made friends and connections with like-minded people that led him to realize the need for a space for those interested in learning the Na’vi language.

“The people who actually like to devote themselves to learning an entire structured language, as you can imagine, are much thinner than the people who are just broadly interested in the language itself,” Wright said.

Wright co-founded Kelutral so that ship scientists around the world could expand access and help modernize this unique language.

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

Kelutral is a hub for over 3,000 members to learn and communicate with each other via Discord, with over 30 types of Na’vi language resources available, from the entry-level Na’vi alphabet to in-depth grammar courses and more : .

Like its namesake, Hometree, the sacred sites of Pandora that serve as home to entire Na’vi clans (and sit atop vast reserves of unobtanium), Kelutral is a “vibrant and comprehensive” network, with branches reaching to various parts of the world. . User data shared by Wright shows that Germans are the largest demographic in the Kelutral language community.

“There are people all over the world who don’t speak English but have learned Navi,” Wright says, “I have a common language with them and I 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 heal members of the “Post-Avatar: depression.” People with this undiagnosed syndrome view Pandora as a land so idyllic and awe-inspiring that the real world simply cannot compare.

“I felt it was an amazing dream, but now I had to wake up. I had to come back to reality trying to figure out what I was going to do with my adult life,” says Max Perrin, 24, a digital artist in Texas. Variety from his own experience Avatar:. “I was struggling with depression and I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t have a name for it. I was not allowed to seek mental treatment, psychotherapy or anything like that. My family had religious views that were diametrically opposed to a lot of science and medicine.”

Kelutral meeting in New York in May 2021.

Seth Wright

Perrin and Wright, along with several other Kelutral members, met with documentary filmmaker John Wilson to film an episode for his HBO documentary series. As with John Wilson. In the episode titled “How to Remember Your Dreams”, Wilson joins a Kelutral meeting in New York. Several members explain that the community has supported them not only in learning the language and culture, but also in building connections with each other that affect their daily lives.

Wright and others involved in Kelutral believe that because everyone involved is a dreamer, they can help each other provide comfort and care.

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

The Na’vi community is growing steadily as more and more people join Learn Na’vi and Kelutral. What started as a collection of about 500 words has grown to 2,600. Its popularity has also made the Na’vi language one of several languages ​​selected for a research study at MIT of the human brain’s language networks by McGovern Institute investigator Evelina Fedorenko and doctoral candidate Saima Malik-Moraleda. Others are Esperanto, Klingon (Star Trek:), and Dothraki and High Valyrian Game of Thrones.

According to Malik-Moraleda, language tends to be left-handed, and language regions in the left hemisphere of the brain are highly selective.

“These regions only respond to language and nothing else,” Malik-Moraleda said. “It doesn’t do math, it doesn’t do music, it doesn’t do other tasks.”

This pattern of language processing was discovered by Malik-Moraleda and his team after testing about 45 different languages. But all the languages ​​tested are natural languages, so they also started looking at structured languages ​​like Navi.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) teaches his young Nav son Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the movie “Water Road”.

20th Century Studios

In early November, some Na’vi speakers from Learn Na’vi and Kelutral, including Scheidemann, participated in MIT’s Brains on Conlangs study, where their brains were scanned while listening to sentences spoken in Na’vi. The study is still looking for more Na’vi-proficient participants.

To celebrate the long awaited release Avatar: The way of water, Kelutral will be hosting their 3rd annual virtual event OmatiCon 3 in January. An in-person OmatiCon event is scheduled for next August at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Avatar: fans can gather with other fans from around the world for games, trivia, and panel discussions with special guests, including the head of Lightstorm Publishing, Cameron’s production company, and one of the creature designers from the film’s sequel production team.


Compared to previous online events where members gather for a day to chat and rewatch Avatar:this year’s Omaticon will expand to two days to give fans more time to interact with each other. Avatar: world, including the sequel they’ve been waiting over a decade for.

“It’s a part of our culture that we’re very intent on protecting as we go into sequels and beyond,” Wright said. “But that’s what we are. We are that community. We are a support network for people.”


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