"Jim Cameron's production department at Lightstorm Entertainment was
looking for a linguist that would be able to help him develop an alien
language," explains Professor Frommer.
"At that time, it wasn't even called Avatar - it was project 880 - but the e-mail was forwarded to me and I saw it and jumped on it. I was very excited about it. A week or two later I was called in for a talk."
The language enthusiast managed to persuade Cameron that he was the man to create a functioning language for a story the director had dreamt up a decade earlier."I spent a wonderful 90-minutes with Jim and at the end of it he shook my hand and said 'welcome aboard,'" says Professor Frommer.
南加州大学的语言学教授Paul Frommer就是那个创造纳美语的人。据称，当时他收到了卡梅隆Lightstorm工作室的邮件，称一个名叫“Project 880”的电影计划正在寻找语言学家帮助开发一种外星人语言。前去应征的他和导演本人畅谈了90分钟后，卡梅隆与他握手说到：“欢迎加入。”
The director had already come up with about thirty words, for the characters' names and body parts. But he was looking to the professor to give the language an authentic but exotic feel.
Crucially, it had to be a language that could be articulated.
"This is an alien language but obviously it has to be spoken by human actors," explains Professor Frommer.
"It has to be sounds that human beings are comfortable producing."
It is a unique language, with its own syntactic and grammatical rules.
Its creator says some of Cameron's original words had "a vaguely Polynesian feel". Others have suggested that it sounds like German or Japanese.
"I met with each of the seven principal actors who use the language beforehand. I helped them with the pronunciation, we broke things down.
"I also created some sound files, MP3 files. I guess some of them downloaded them onto their iPods so they could listen to them at the gym."
"I wish I could speak it fluently," he says.
"As for who at this point understands the grammar and such, I think probably I'm the only one. I wish that eventually that might not be the case."
In fact, one day, Professor Frommer hopes Na'vi will match Klingon, as the "gold standard" alien language.
"There's a translation of Hamlet into Klingon," says Professor Frommer.
"There are Klingon clubs that meet all over the world. There are a very dedicated group of people who meet and try to speak it.
"If anything happened like this with Na'vi I'd be delighted."