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Paul R. Frommer
Born (1944-09-17) September 17, 1944 (age 70)
New York City, New York, United States
Education Doctorate in linguistics, 1981, University of Southern California
Occupation Communications professor at University of Southern California
Known for Constructed languages

Paul R. Frommer (/ˈfrmər/; born September 17, 1944) is an American communications professor at the University of Southern California (USC) and a linguistics consultant. He is the former Vice President, Special Projects Coordinator, Strategic Planner, and Writer-Researcher at Bentley Industries in Los Angeles, California. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Director of the Center for Management Communication at the USC Marshall School of Business.[1]

Youth and education[edit]

Frommer was born in New York City.[2] Interested in astronomy from an early age, he changed his college major from astrophysics to math, graduating from the University of Rochester with a bachelor of arts in mathematics in 1965. He soon taught English and math in Malaysia in the Malay language with the Peace Corps. He had studied languages earlier, but this experience switched his focus to linguistics. He began a doctoral program in linguistics at the University of Southern California (USC). During the program, he taught English in Iran for a year in the mid-1970s and studied Persian.[3] He earned his masters degree and doctorate in linguistics at USC in 1981 under Bernard Comrie; his doctorate was on aspects of Persian syntax and entitled "Post-verbal Phenomena in Colloquial Persian Syntax".[1]


Frommer taught for several years and then moved into business, becoming a Vice President, Special Projects Coordinator, Strategic Planner, and Writer-Researcher at Bentley Industries in Los Angeles. Frommer was also a writer for the 1989 film Step Into the Third Dimension.[4] In 1996, he returned to USC as a full professor of clinical management communication at the Marshall School of Business. In 1999, he co-authored a linguistics workbook called Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics.[5] From 2005 to 2008, he served as Director of the Center for Management Communication at Marshall School of Business.[1]

After a search by James Cameron, writer and director of the 2009 film Avatar, Frommer was chosen to create a language for the Na'vi, the film's fictional alien race of sentient blue humanoid inhabitants of the moon Pandora.[6] Frommer says that his process for creating the language began with phonetics and phonology: "The sound system has to be all nailed down first, so that there is consistency in the language". The morphology, syntax and vocabulary followed. Cameron had already created several dozen words that he wanted to incorporate into the new language. That gave Frommer "a sense of what kinds of sounds he had in mind". Cameron also told Frommer that he "wanted the language to be pleasant sounding and appealing to the audience."[5] "When you create a language, you experience the joy of rolling sounds around in your mouth, hearing unusual sounds, playing with the sounds and structural properties of language – it's a process that took about six months for the basics".[3]

Frommer based some Na'vi grammar on Polynesian languages and used consonants such as ejectives and word-initial velar nasals that do not occur in Western languages, while omitting common Western sounds like "b", "d" and "g". He placed verb modifiers in the middle of words, instead of at the beginning or end of them. Cameron wrote some songs for the Na'vi characters that Frommer translated into a poetic form of Na'vi language, and he then coached the singers on pronunciation.[7] He then worked personally with the actors who needed to speak the Na'vi language in the film and created MP3 files for them to use to study it. The actors' voices were not altered in the film, as Cameron wanted the Na'vi characters to have human-sounding voices.[3] Since the film opened, Frommer has received numerous e-mails from fans with suggestions for expanding the language[7] and websites have grown up devoted to the study and use of the language.[2]

Frommer also created the Barsoomian language for the Disney film John Carter.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Marshall Faculty Directory: Paul Frommer". USC.edu. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b McCally, Karen (March–April 2010). "Avatar of Language". Rochester Review 72 (4). 
  3. ^ a b c Andrews, Susan (January 20, 2010). "Paul Frommer Sounds Off on Avatar Language". USC News. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  4. ^ Paul R. Frommer at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ a b Milani, Matteo (November 24, 2009). "An interview with Paul Frommer, Alien Language Creator for Avatar". Unidentified Sound Object. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ Jensen, Jeff (January 15, 2007). "Great Expectations". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Genlen, Larry (April 19, 2010). "How to say 'ass' in Na'vi". New York Post. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Meeting with Avatar Na'vi language creator in L.A.". 2M Language Services. April 6, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Frommer — Please support Wikipedia.
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6275 videos foundNext > 

Paul Frommer: Sweet Nothings in Na'vi

Whether you are communicating with a comely blue soul mate on Pandora or chatting up a potential date here on "Rrta (Earth), expressing your ardor in Na'vi i...

Professor Paul Frommer discusses the Na'vi language

A message from Paul Frommer

A massage, which Paul Frommer sent to the Na'vi-Comunity @ learnnavi.org I didn't wrote the translation, I took every thing from "learnnavi.org" The whole Te...

Paul Frommer | The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

To view more videos from Secret Life visit our website: www.pbs.org/nova/secretlife.

30 Second Science: Paul Frommer

We give Paul Frommer 30 seconds to explain his science, and he uses language to talk about language.

A Haiku with Paul Frommer

Paul Frommer reads a haiku written by the winner of a contest among Na'vi enthusiasts.

California Cognitive Science Conference 2014: Paul Frommer

Sixth Annual California Cognitive Science Conference 2014 Creativity: The Inspired Mind May 3, 2014 http://cssa.berkeley.edu/conference.php Presented by UC B...

Paul Frommer: What Matters to Me and Why

Visit USC on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/usc Learn more about the University of Southern California: http://www.usc.edu Paul Frommer, creator of the Na'v...

10 Questions | Paul Frommer | Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers

Learn more at www.pbs.org/nova/secretlife.

Professor Paul Frommer discusses Na'vi Language

Paul talking about what language avatars speak in the world of Pandora so keep watching.

6275 videos foundNext > 

3 news items

Rondônia Dinâmica

Rondônia Dinâmica
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:22:30 -0700

"Parte da motivação dessas pessoas é o desafio de dominar algo novo e difícil", disse ao UOL Paul Frommer, linguista da Universidade do Sul da Califórnia que criou o idioma na'vi, do filme "Avatar", para o diretor James Cameron. "Às vezes, há um ...

Hobby Consolas

Hobby Consolas
Thu, 02 Oct 2014 23:17:45 -0700

Del mismo modo que Marc Okrand creó el Klingon para Star Trek o Paul Frommer el Na'vi para Avatar, David J. Peterson se ha convertido en un célebre inventor de idiomas gracias a su trabajo en Juego de tronos. Tanto que el próximo 7 de octubre el padre ...
Merkur Online
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:34:23 -0700

In gemeinsamen, aber auch in Soloauftritten glänzten die talentierten Musiker mit Stücken von Josef Fiala, Paul Frommer, Fridrich Zipp und Luigi M.Tedeschi. Konstantin Riedl trug mit beachtlicher voluminöser Baritonstimme, begleitet von Bartmann am ...

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