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Avatar: is Na’vi a real language?

It's easy to forget how long James Cameron spent developing the Avatar films but did he really create a whole Na'vi language for his science fiction movies?

Avatar: is Na'vi a real language?

Is Na’vi a real language? It’s easy to forget how long James Cameron spent planning his first Avatar movie. He spent a literal decade developing the project, waiting for visual effects to catch up to his imagination, and in that time, he built a whole world in his head.

That world became Pandora, one of the most cohesive and well-developed fictional worlds in the history of science fiction movies. Don’t believe us? Just go to the Avatar wiki, and you’ll learn more than you thought possible about why humans can’t breathe on Pandora and all the differences between the Na’vi and avatars.

However, one of the most impressive things about the first Avatar was the Na’vi language. But surely James Cameron didn’t go and create a whole language alone, did he? Is Na’vi a real language?

Is Na’vi a real language?

Yes, Na’vi is a real constructed language similar to Elvish and Klingon. It was created by the linguist Doctor Paul Frommer a professor at the University of Southern California who was asked to come up with a language that humans could speak but sound completely alien.

According to Frommer, James Cameron gave him several Na’vi words as a basis for the language, and the professor took it from there. Frommer used several Polynesian languages to build Na’vi and created about 1,000 words for the first film. Over time Frommer has slowly expanded the Na’vi vocabulary to around 2,600 words and shared the grammar so anyone can learn the language.

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If you loved The Way of Water, then check out our Avatar 2 review. We’ve also got guides on the Avatar 2 filming locations, the Avatar 2 runtime, and an Avatar 2 ending explained.

If that’s not enough, we’ve broken down the Avatar 2 cast and even taken a look into the future to bring you everything we know about the Avatar 3 release date.