03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Avatar LANGUAGE: Full Alien Dialect Created By USC Professor For Movie

This modern era of moviemaking has plenty of peculiar challenges for actors -- on green-screen sets, for instance, they have to watch a ping-pong ball hanging from a string and convince the camera that they actually staring down some magical beastie -- but for the actors auditioning for "Avatar" the biggest challenge may have been reading a sheet of paper with words invented by a USC professor named Paul R. Frommer.

Frommer, a linguistics specialist, was brought in by "Avatar" writer-director James Cameron to create an entire functioning language for the tribe of 10-foot-tall blue aliens who inhabit Pandora, the setting for the film's conflict. Frommer tackled the project with glee -- "How often do you get an opportunity like this?" -- but the actors who had bend their tongues around the invented vocabulary and syntax were slightly less charmed by the experience.

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