In an attempt to capitalize on the success of James Cameron’s Avatar, the small island nation of Vanuatu has announced that it will be replacing its official languages of Bislama, English and French with a unifying language, which was spoken in the movie by the Na’vi, the tall blue-skinned inhabitants living on the moon of Pandora.
Sources inside the government, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the announcement, said that President Iolu Abil is making this change in order to increase tourism by luring the huge fan base to come to a country “where they can really experience the language.”
Social scientists are excited to study what will happen as this transition takes place. One linguist said, “To change an entire country’s language with one that was created for a movie is unfathomable. It will certainly be a historic move of unprecedented levels.”
Linguists from all over the world plan to study how the language evolves, while sociologists are interested in studying how residents adjust to this change.
Vanuatu will change its motto from “Long God yumi stanap,” which means “We stand with God,” to “Oe-l nga-ti kam‹ei›e,” which means “I see you,” the Na’vi phrase for greeting someone.
Economists believe changing the official language to Na’vi will generate a boom to the local economy not only just from tourism, but from the job creation that comes along with it. Signs will have to be replaced, new books will have to be written, language classes will have to be taught and so forth; all of which will increase the demand for labor.
Some residents are skeptical about the change though, but the government is expected to enforce it. Avatar fans who are fluent in both the spoken and written form of the Na’vi language have already been flown in to start teaching Vanuatu citizens. Residents who do not cooperate during the transition have been warned that they will face the wrath of Eywa.