AVATAR fans like to casually use phrases from Na'vi (kaltxì for hello, oel ngati kameie for "I see you"), but there's lots more to the language than just the niceties of saying "hi" or "goodbye." James Cameron commissioned USC communications professor Paul Frommer to construct an entire, grammatically consistent language for Avatar's Na'vi to speak, then teach it to seven of the film's actors, as Frommer told USC News. The fan community has picked that language up with remarkable speed.
Consider that it took many years for Klingon to become popular and well-resourced (the Times of London notes an iPhone app, a language institute and even a Klingon version of Hamlet). Na'vi resources, in contrast, sprang up almost overnight, and today the most popular spot for Na'vi on the Web is Learn Na'vi, which includes links to both a concise Na'vi-English dictionary (PDF but also available as an iPhone app) and Na'vi in a Nutshell (also PDF).
Nutshell can look intimidating at first, but start reading it and you quickly discover some simple distinctions; tsmuk is the word for "sibling," but give it the masculine "an" ending and you get tsmukan or "brother." Similarly, the feminine "e" ending gives you tsmuke or "sister."
Sound good so far? Then you might want to proceed to the Learn Na'vi Forums and especially the Introductions board, where a remarkably well-organized group will get you started reading, writing and speaking Na'vi. There's even an activity book (PDF).
Speaking of speaking, you can begin listening to the language now at Tirea Radio as an aid to your practice, including chats among Tirea members, spoken-words by Paul Frommer, and music from the film. For a 16-second clip of Na'vi dialogue that centers on encountering a giant carnivorous plant, see the New York Times.
As they say on Pandora, Ke zene win säpivi. ’Ivong nìk’ong—Take your time, don't rush; slow is fine.
Have you tried to learn Na'vi? And what's your favorite phrase?