Language and History

Unlike human cultures on Earth, the Na’vi seem to have developed only one basic language, which is uniform on a planetary scale, despite wide distribution of population. All regions have their own distinct dialects, but they are unmistakably all variants of a common root. It is not currently understood how the Na’vi have developed on a planetary scale with only one root language. Xenolinguists and xenoanthropologists have hypothesized an exceptionally stable and rigorous oral culture, with the use of mnemonic Song Cords and ceremonial singing to hand down oral culture across many generations. Perhaps related to the phenomenon of a planetary verbal language is the fact that, despite having no written language, the Na’vi have an exceptionally clear and consistent oral history going back 18,000 years. (Read more)
Archaic forms of the language appear in songs, but this proto-language is clearly understandable, bearing the same relationship to modern Na’vi as Elizabethan English does to modern English. It is reported that some Na’vi songs have been handed down unchanged for 18,000 years, complete with complex genealogical information. There is close correlation between historical references in the oral traditions of Na’vi groups who are widely dispersed across the planet, and could not have had contact in thousands of years. It is not yet understood how this is done. The Na’vi use mnemonic storytelling aids called Song Cords, strings of colored beads and bits of stone, bone and plant pieces which, when handled during singing, create a correlation of tactile and visual cues with verbal sequences. Each individual creates a Song Cord that is their personal history, and community Song Cords are created for various social purposes, including family and clan history, genealogy, and even the recording of astronomical and accounting information.
Storytelling is a part of the Na’vi weaving culture as well, and may have a role in recording history as well as myth. Xenoanthropologists have difficulty separating Na’vi myth from history, since all Na’vi stories are considered fact by the Na’vi, although many clearly have outlandish mythic elements. The Na’vi also practice a ritual bonding with certain trees, in which there is some form of biological interaction that is not well understood, as the Na’vi are very guarded about this, forbidding photography. Instrument readings or sample taking. Chemical interaction with the tree’s pendulous tendrils is thought to induce an altered state of awareness, in which the Na’vi have hallucinatory “contact” with ancestors and their deity. Very little data is available on these rituals or the mechanism of this induced state.

Religion: The Na’vi religion is a blend of Animist, Pagan, Pantheist and Monotheist forms. There is one primary deity, a Matriarchal Goddess figure called Eywa, also referred to as the All-Mother or the Great Mother. The Na’vi also believe that all living things have a spiritual counterpart, or animus, which is endlessly recycled into the consciousness of Eywa and then back into living matter. It is an oversimplification to say that the Na’vi worship nature. It is more correct to say that they see all nature as a single connected system, and that system is a manifestation of Eywa, although they make the distinction that Eywa herself resides only in certain trees and plants. Animals and Na’vi are said to express free will, and are not, strictly speaking a part of Eywa, as a child is not a part of the Mother, but owes life to the mother.