And at the risk of transforming Sci-Fi Squad into "Everything Avatar, All the Time!" Squad, I bring to you one of the more fascinating (i.e., geeky beyond all former definitions of the word) stories to come out of the mounting buzz. The LA Times have a piece on USC linguistic professor Paul R. Frommer, who spent four years developing the language of the Na'vi, the alien race in Cameron's expensive, epic film. It seems that Professor Frommer has big plans for the language of the blue cat-people:
'...Frommer has a bit more than 1,000 words in the Na'vi language, as well as all the rules and structure of the language itself. "I'm adding to that all the time," said Frommer, who says he would like to see the new tongue catch on in the way that Klingon has become a studied language among especially, um, engaged fans of Star Trek.'
It's happened. The gauntlet has been thrown. Na'vi will battle the Klingon language for dominance in the realm of fictional languages. Only one can be the official tongue of science fiction fans the world over, as the other falls into a deep obscurity, never to be spoken again.
Frommer seems unaware that he has planted the seeds of a devastating conflict and even the most ardent Klingon speaker has to admire the sheer amount of time and effort put into creating a fictional language and making it sound, well, like a real language. What strikes me as the most fascinating thing about this article is that it puts the size of a production like Avatar in perspective: four years spent on an element of the film that most audiences won't even think twice about. Movies are hard work, boys and girls.
Of course, people like you and me love attention to detail and will be the ones springing twenty bucks for the eventual Na'vi dictionary. Frommer himself isn't done with the language, promising poetry and a comprehensive "Pandora-pedia" that will teach you everything you want to know Cameron's world.
Click here to read the whole article. Just don't tell the Klingons.