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Paul Frommer

Paul Frommer, the linguist who developed the Na’vi language for James Cameron’s film “Avatar,” is Professor of Clinical Management Communication at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

Frommer’s career has taken him from teaching secondary mathematics and English as a Second Language with the U.S. Peace Corps in Malaysia to helping upgrade the English skills of employees of National Iranian Radio and Television in Tehran to a Ph.D. in linguistics at USC, where he completed a dissertation on an aspect of Persian grammar. He followed that with a ten-year sojourn in the business world as a Vice President and strategic planner in a Los Angeles corporation. Returning to USC in the mid-’90s, he joined the faculty of what is now Marshall’s Center for Management Communication, serving as Director of the Center from 2005 to 2008. He currently teaches Advanced Writing for Business and Cross-cultural Business Communication for Non-native Speakers.

In 2005, Frommer was hired by James Cameron to develop an entirely new language for the Na’vi, the indigenous race of humanoids on the moon Pandora in Cameron’s groundbreaking film Avatar. In addition to determining the sound system and grammar of the language, he constructed vocabulary and translated the Na’vi dialog not only for Avatar itself but also for the related video games. He also worked closely with the actors in the film to help them deliver their Na’vi lines convincingly. Since the release of Avatar, Na’vi has attracted a worldwide community of enthusiasts who are assisting Frommer in expanding the language further. In addition to Na’vi, he is now working on the Martian language for Disney’s upcoming film John Carter of Mars.

Frommer is principal co-author, with Edward Finegan, of Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics, the fifth edition of which is scheduled to be published within the year.
 

Several thousand fascinating interviews are available on the web with Professor Frommer talking about various aspects of creating a new language. We recommend a Google search with keywords P Frommer Avatar , or P Frommer Na'vi.

 
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