Navajo language

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Diné bizaad
Native to United States
Region Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado
Ethnicity 266,000 Navajo (2007)[1]
Native speakers
170,000 (2011)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 nv
ISO 639-2 nav
ISO 639-3 nav
Glottolog nava1243[3]
The Navajo Nation, where the language is most spoken
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Navajo or Navaho (/ˈnævəh, ˈnɑː-/;[4] Navajo: Diné bizaad [tìnépìz̥ɑ̀ːt] or Naabeehó bizaad [nɑ̀ːpèːhópìz̥ɑ̀ːt]) is a Southern Athabaskan language of the Na-Dené family, by which it is related to languages spoken across the western areas of North America. Navajo is spoken primarily in the Southwestern United States, especially in the Navajo Nation political area. It is one of the most widely spoken Native American languages and is the most widely spoken north of the Mexico–United States border, with almost 170,000 Americans speaking Navajo at home as of 2011. The language has struggled to keep a healthy speaker base, although this problem has been alleviated to some extent by extensive education programs in the Navajo Nation.

The language has a fairly large phoneme inventory; it includes several uncommon consonants that are not found in English. Its four basic vowels are distinguished for nasality, length, and tone. The language's orthography, which was developed in the late 1930s after a series of prior attempts, is based on the Latin script. Most Navajo vocabulary is Athabaskan in origin, as the language has been conservative with loanwords since its early stages.

Basic word order is subject–object–verb, though it is highly flexible to pragmatic factors. It has both agglutinative and fusional elements: it relies on affixes to modify verbs, and nouns are typically created from multiple morphemes, but in both cases these morphemes are fused irregularly and beyond easy recognition. Verbs are conjugated for aspect and mood, and given affixes for the person and number of both subjects and objects, as well as a host of other variables.


The word Navajo is an exonym: it comes from the Tewa word Navahu, which combines the roots nava ("field") and hu ("valley") to mean "large field". It was borrowed into Spanish to refer to an area of present-day northwestern New Mexico, and later into English for the Navajo tribe and their language.[5] The alternate spelling Navaho is considered antiquated; even anthropologist Berard Haile spelled it with a "j" in accordance with contemporary usage despite his personal objections.[6] The Navajo refer to themselves as the Diné ("People"), with their language known as Diné bizaad ("People's language").[7]


Navajo is an Athabaskan language, and along with Apache languages, make up the southernmost branch of the family. Most of the other Athabaskan languages are located in Alaska and along the North American Pacific coast.

Most languages in the Athabaskan family have tone. However, this feature evolved independently in all subgroups; Proto-Athabaskan had no tones.[8] In each case, tone evolved from glottalic consonants at the ends of morphemes; however, the progression of these consonants into tones has not been consistent, with some related morphemes being pronounced with high tones in some Athabaskan languages and low tones in others. It has been posited that Navajo and Chipewyan, which have no common ancestor more recent than Proto-Athabaskan and possess many pairs of corresponding but opposite tones, evolved from different dialects of Proto-Athabaskan that pronounced these glottalic consonants differently.[9] Proto-Athabaskan diverged fully into separate languages circa 500 BC.[10]

Navajo is most closely related to Western Apache, with which it shares a similar tonal scheme[11] and more than 92 percent of its vocabulary. It is estimated that the Apacheean linguistic groups separated and became established as distinct societies, of which the Navajo were one, somewhere between 1300 and 1525.[12] As a member of the Western Apachean group, Navajo's next closest relatives is the Mescalero-Chiricahua language.[13] Navajo is generally considered mutually intelligible with all other Apachean languages.[14]


Examples of written Navajo on public signs. Clockwise from top left: Student Services Building, Diné College; cougar exhibit, Navajo Nation Zoo; shopping center near Navajo, New Mexico; notice of reserved parking, Window Rock

The Apachean languages, of which Navajo is one, are thought to have arrived in the American Southwest from the north by 1500 CE, probably passing through Alberta and Wyoming.[15][16] Archeological finds considered to be proto-Navaho have been located in the far northern New Mexico around the La Plata, Animas and Pine rivers, dating to around 1500. In 1936 linguist Edward Sapir showed how the arrival of the Navajo people in the new arid climate among the corn agriculturalists of the Pueblo area was reflected in their language by tracing the changing meanings of words from proto-Athabaskan to Navaho. For example, the word *dè: which in proto-Athabaskan meant "horn" and "dipper made from animal horn" in Navaho came to mean "gourd" or "dipper made from gourd". Likewise the proto-Athabaskan word *ɫ-yáxs "snow lies on the ground" in Navaho became sàs "corn lies on the ground". Similarly, the Navaho word for "corn" is nà:-dą: derived from two proto-Athabascan roots meaning "enemy" and "food", suggesting that the Navaho originally considered corn to be "food of the enemy" when they first arrived among the pueblo people.[17][18]

Colonization and decline

General Clayton Barney Vogel's recommendation letter for Navajo to be used by code talkers during World War II

Navajo lands were initially colonized by the Spanish in the early nineteenth century, shortly after this area was "annexed" as part of the Spanish colony of Mexico. When the United States acquired these territories in 1848 following the Mexican–American War,[19] the English-speaking settlers allowed Navajo children to attend their schools. In some cases, the United States established separate schools for Navajo and other Native American children. In the late 19th century, it founded boarding schools, often operated by religious missionary groups. In efforts to acculturate the children, school authorities insisted that they learn to speak English and practice Christianity. Students routinely had their mouths washed out with lye soap as a punishment if they did speak Navajo. Consequently, when these students grew up and had children of their own, they often did not teach them Navajo, in order to prevent them from being punished.[20]

Robert W. Young and William Morgan (Navajo), who both worked for the Navajo Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, developed and published a practical orthography in 1937. It helped spread education among Navajo speakers.[21] In 1943 the men collaborated on The Navajo Language, a dictionary organized by the roots of the language.[22] In World War II, the United States government hired speakers of Navajo to be code talkers – to transmit top-secret military messages over telephone and radio in a code based on Navajo. The language was considered ideal because of its grammar, which differs strongly from that of German and Japanese, and because no published Navajo dictionaries existed at the time.[23]

Despite gaining new scholarly attention and being documented, the language declined in use. By the 1960s, indigenous languages of the United States had been declining in use for some time. Native American language use began to decline more quickly in this decade as paved roads were built and English-language radio was broadcast to tribal areas. Navajo was no exception, although its large speaker pool—larger than that of any other Native language in the United States—gave it more staying power than most.[24] Adding to the language's decline, federal acts passed in the 1950s to increase educational opportunities for Navajo children had resulted in pervasive use of English in their schools.[25]

Revitalization and current status

In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Bilingual Education Act, which provided funds for educating young students who are not native English speakers. The Act had mainly been intended for Spanish-speaking children—particularly Mexican Americans—but it applied to all recognized linguistic minorities. Many Native American tribes seized the chance to establish their own bilingual education programs. However, qualified teachers who were fluent in Native languages were scarce, and these programs were largely unsuccessful.[24]

However, data collected in 1980 showed that 85 percent of Navajo first-graders were bilingual, compared to 62 percent of Navajo of all ages – early evidence of a resurgence of use of their traditional language among younger people.[26] In 1984, to counteract the language's historical decline, the Navajo Nation Council decreed that the Navajo language would be available and comprehensive for students of all grade levels in schools of the Navajo Nation.[24] This effort was aided by the fact that, largely due to the work of Young and Morgan, Navajo is one of the best-documented Native American languages. In 1980 they published a monumental expansion of their work on the language, organized by word (first initial of vowel or consonant) in the pattern of English dictionaries, as requested by Navajo students. The Navajo Language: A Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary also included a 400-page grammar, making it invaluable for both native speakers and students of the language. Particularly in its organization of verbs, it was oriented to Navajo speakers.[27] They expanded this work again in 1987, with several significant additions, and this edition continues to be used as an important text.[22]

The Native American language education movement has been met with adversity, such as by English-only campaigns in some areas in the late 1990s. However, Navajo-immersion programs have cropped up across the Navajo Nation. Statistical evidence shows that Navajo-immersion students generally do better on standardized tests than their counterparts educated only in English. Some educators have remarked that students who know their native languages feel a sense of pride and identity validation.[28] Since 1989, Diné College, a Navajo tribal community college, has offered an associate degree in the subject of Navajo.[29] This program includes language, literature, culture, medical terminology, and teaching courses; includes about 600 students per semester; and produces the highest number of Navajo teachers of any institution in the United States.[30] One major university that teaches classes in the Navajo language is Arizona State University.[31] In 1992 Young, Morgan and published another major work on Navajo: Analytical Lexicon of Navajo, with the assistance of Sally Midgette (Navajo). This work is organized by root, the basis of Athabaskan languages.[22]

A 1991 survey of 682 preschoolers in the Navajo Reservation Head Start program found that 54 percent were monolingual English speakers, 28 percent were bilingual in English and Navajo, and 18 percent spoke only Navajo. This study noted that while the preschool staff knew both languages, they spoke English to the children most of the time. In addition, most of the children's parents spoke to the children in English more often than in Navajo. The study concluded that the preschoolers were in "almost total immersion in English".[32] An American Community Survey taken in 2011 found that 169,369 Americans spoke Navajo at home – 0.3 percent of Americans whose primary home language was not English. Of primary Navajo speakers, 78.8 percent reported they spoke English "very well", a fairly high percentage overall but less than among other Americans speaking a different Native American language (85.4 percent). Navajo was the only Native American language afforded its own category in the survey; domestic Navajo speakers represented 46.4 percent of all domestic Native language speakers (only 195,407 Americans have a different home Native language).[2] As of July 2014, Ethnologue classes Navajo as "6b" (In Trouble), signifying that few, but some, parents teach the language to their offspring and that concerted efforts at revitalization could easily protect the language. Navajo had a high population for a language in this category.[33] About half of all Navajo people live in the Navajo Nation, an area spanning parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah; others are dispersed throughout the United States.[19] Under tribal law, fluency in Navajo is mandatory for candidates to the office of the President of the Navajo Nation.[34]

Both original and translated media have been produced in Navajo. The first works tended to be religious texts translated by missionaries, including the Bible. From 1943 to about 1957, the Navajo Agency of the BIA published Ádahooníłígíí ("Events"[35]), the first newspaper in Navajo and the only one to be written entirely in Navajo. It was edited by Robert W. Young and William Morgan, Sr. (Navajo). They had collaborated on The Navajo Language, a major language dictionary published that same year, and continued to work on studying and documenting the language in major works for the next few decades.[22] Today an AM radio station, KTNN, broadcasts in Navajo and English, with programming including music and NFL games;[36] AM station KNDN broadcasts only in Navajo.[37] When Super Bowl XXX was broadcast in Navajo in 1996, it was the first time a Super Bowl had been carried in a Native American language.[38] In 2013, the 1977 film Star Wars was translated into Navajo. It was the first major motion picture translated into any Native American language.[39][40]


The Navajo Nation operates Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta', a Navajo language immersion school for grades K-8 in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Located on the Arizona-New Mexico border in the southeastern quarter of the Navajo Reservation, the school strives to revitalize Navajo among children of the Window Rock Unified School District. Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta' has thirteen Navajo language teachers who instruct only in the Navajo language, and no English, while five English language teachers instruct in the English language. Kindergarten and first grade are taught completely in the Navajo language, while English is incorporated into the program during third grade, when it is used for about 10% of instruction.[41]


Main article: Navajo phonology

Navajo has a fairly large consonant inventory. Its stop consonants exist in three laryngeal forms: aspirated, unaspirated, and ejective – for example, /tʃʰ/, //, and /tʃʼ/ (all close to the "ch" sound in English).[42] Ejective consonants are pronounced glottally;[clarification needed][does that mean they're not ejective?] Navajo also has a simple glottal stop used after vowels,[43] and every word that would otherwise begin with a vowel is pronounced with an initial glottal stop.[44] Consonant clusters are uncommon, aside from frequent placing /d/ or /t/ before fricatives.[45]

The language has four vowel qualities: /a/, /e/, /i/, and /o/.[45] Each exists in both oral and nasalized forms, and can be either short or long.[46] Navajo also distinguishes for tone between high and low, with the low tone typically regarded as the default. However, some linguists have suggested that Navajo does not possess true tones, but only a pitch accent system similar to that of Japanese.[47] In general, Navajo speech also has a slower speech tempo than English does.[43]

Bilabial Alveolar Palato-
Palatal Velar Glottal
plain lateral fricated plain lab. plain lab.
Obstruent Stop unaspirated p t ts k ʔ
aspirated tɬʰ tsʰ tʃʰ (kʷʰ)
ejective tɬʼ tsʼ tʃʼ
Continuant fortis ɬ s ʃ x () (h) ()
lenis l z ʒ ɣ (ɣʷ)
Sonorant Nasal plain m n
glottalized () ()
Glide plain j (w)
glottalized () ()
Front Back
oral nasal oral nasal
High i ~ ɪ ĩ
Mid e o õ
Low ɑ ɑ̃


Main article: Navajo grammar


Navajo is difficult to classify in terms of broad morphological typology: it relies heavily on affixes—mainly prefixes—like agglutinative languages,[48] but these affixes are joined in unpredictable, overlapping ways that make them difficult to segment, a trait of fusional languages.[49] In general, Navajo verbs contain more morphemes than do nouns (on average, 11 for verbs compared to 4–5 for nouns), but noun morphology is less transparent.[50] Navajo is sometimes classified as a fusional language[49][51] and sometimes as agglutinative or even polysynthetic.[20][52]

In terms of basic word order, Navajo has been classified as a subject–object–verb language.[53][54] However, some speakers order the subject and object based on "noun ranking". In this system, nouns are ranked in three categories—humans, animals, and inanimate objects—and within these categories, nouns are ranked by strength, size, and intelligence. Whichever of the subject and object has a higher rank comes first. As a result, the agent of an action may be syntactically ambiguous.[55] Other linguists such as Eloise Jelinek consider Navajo to be a discourse configurational language, in which word order is not fixed by syntactic rules, but determined by pragmatic factors in the communicative context.[56]


In Navajo, verbs are the main elements of their sentences, imparting a large amount of information. The verb is based on a stem, which is made of a root to identify the action and the semblance of a suffix to convey mode and aspect; however, this suffix is fused beyond separability.[57] The stem is given somewhat more transparent prefixes to indicate, in this order, the following information: postpositional object, postposition, adverb-state, iterativity, number, direct object, deictic information, another adverb-state, mode and aspect, subject, classifier (see later on), mirativity and two-tier evidentiality. Some of these prefixes may be null; for example, there is only a plural marker (da/daa) and no readily identifiable marker for the other grammatical numbers.[58]

Navajo does not distinguish strict tense per se; instead, an action's position in time is conveyed through mode and aspect. Each verb has a mode and an aspect,[59] and these forms are as follows:

For any verb, the usitative and repetitive modes share the same stem, as do the progressive and future modes; these modes are distinguished with prefixes. However, pairs of modes other than these may also share the same stem,[70] as illustrated in the following example, where the verb "to play" is conjugated into each of the five mode paradigms:

  • Imperfective: – is playing, was playing, will be playing
  • Perfective: neʼ – played, had played, will have played
  • Progressive/future: neeł – is playing / will play/be playing
  • Usitative/repetitive: neeh – usually plays, frequently plays, repetitively plays
  • Optative: neʼ – would play

The basic set of subject prefixes for the imperfective mode, as well as the actual conjugation of the verb into these person and number categories, are as follows.[71]

The remaining piece of these conjugated verbs—the prefix na—is called an "outer prefix". It adds no additional meaning; rather, it simply corresponds to the verb base to separate the personal prefixes from previous ones.[72]

Navajo distinguishes between the first, second, third, and fourth persons in the singular, dual, and plural numbers.[73] The fourth person is similar to the third person, but is generally used for indefinite, theoretical actors rather than defined ones.[74] Despite the potential for extreme verb complexity, only the mode/aspect, subject, classifier, and stem are absolutely necessary.[58] Furthermore, Navajo negates clauses by surrounding the verb with doo= ... =da circumclitic (e.g. mósí doo nitsaa da – "the cat is not big"). Dooda, as a single word, signifies the interjection "no".[75]

Classificatory verbs are a set of eleven particles[76] used for transitive verbs to mark the object being acted on.[77] These particles are listed here with their standard names.[76]

For example, Navajo has no single verb that corresponds to the English to give. To say "give me some hay", the Navajo verb níłjool (Non-Compact Matter) must be used, while for "give me a cigarette" the verb nítįįh (SSO) must be used. Navajo also contains a separate system of classifiers to mark whether a verb is transitive in the first place. There are four classifiers: -Ø-, -ł-, -d-, and -l-. The -ł- classifier indicates causation, e.g. yibéézh "it's boiling" (yi-Ø-béézh) vs. yiłbéézh "he's boiling it" (yi-ł-béézh). The -d- and -l- classifiers indicate transitivity, e.g. yizéés "he's singeing it" (yi-Ø-zéés) vs. yidéés "it's being singed" (yi-d-zéés). The -d- classifier is used to transitivize verbs with -Ø-, while -l- is used for verbs with -ł-.[78]


Nouns are not required to form a complete Navajo sentence. Besides the extensive information that can be communicated with a verb, Navajo speakers may alternate between the third and fourth person to distinguish between two already specified actors, similarly to how speakers of languages with grammatical gender may repeatedly use pronouns.[79]

Because so much information is conveyed in the verb, nouns are relatively immutable; for example, most nouns are not inflected for number.[75]

Number marking on nouns occurs only for terms of kinship and age-sex groupings. Other prefixes that can be added to nouns include possessive markers (e.g. chidí – car; shichidí – my car) and a few adjectival enclitics. Generally, an upper limit for prefixes on a noun is about four or five.[80]

Nouns are also not marked for case, this traditionally being covered by word order.[81]

Other parts of speech

Other parts of speech in Navajo are also relatively immutable, and tend to be short. These parts of speech include question particles, demonstrative adjectives, relative pronouns, interjections, conjunctions,[82] and adverbs (both unique ones and those based on verbs).[83] The Navajo numeral system is decimal, and some example numbers follow.[84]

Navajo does not contain a single part of speech analogous to adjectives; rather, some verbs describe static qualitative attributes (e.g. nitsaa – he/she/it is large), and demonstrative adjectives (e.g. díí – this, these) are their own part of speech. However, these verbs, known as "neuter verbs", are distinguished by only having the imperfective mode, as they describe continuous states of being.[85]


The vast majority of Navajo vocabulary is of Athabaskan origin.[86] However, the vocabulary size is still fairly small; one estimate counted 6,245 noun bases and 9,000 verb bases, with most of these nouns being derived from verbs.[80] Prior to the European colonization of the Americas, Navajo did not borrow much from other languages, including from other Athabaskan and even Apachean languages. The Athabaskan family is fairly diverse in both phonology and morphology due to its languages' prolonged relative isolation.[86] Even the Pueblo peoples, with whom the Navajo interacted with for centuries and borrowed cultural customs, have lent few words to the Navajo language. After Spain and Mexico took over Navajo lands, the language did not incorporate many Spanish words, either.[87]

This resistance to word absorption extended to English, at least until the mid-twentieth century. Around this point, the Navajo language began importing some, though still not many, English words, mainly by young schoolchildren exposed to English.[25]

Navajo has expanded its vocabulary to include Western technological and cultural terms through calques and Navajo descriptive terms. For example, the phrase for tank is chidi naa naʼi bee ʼeldǫǫh tsoh, bikaaʼ dah naazniligii ("vehicle that crawls around, by means of which big explosions are made, and that one sits on at an elevation"). Some concepts, such as mobile phones, have no standard Navajo translation, instead being expressed by ad hoc coinages.[37] This language purism also extends to proper nouns, such as the names of U.S. states (Hoozdo, "Arizona"; Yootó, "New Mexico"; hahoodzo, "state") and languages (naakaii, "Spanish").

Only one Navajo word has been fully absorbed into the English language: hogan (from Navajo hooghan) – a term referring to the traditional houses.[88] Others with limited English recognition include chindi (an evil spirit of the deceased),[89] and Kayenta (a place name, from tééʼndééh, "game pit where wild animals fall into deep water").[90] The taxonomic genus name Uta may be of Navajo origin.[91] It has been speculated that English-speaking settlers were reluctant to take on more Navajo loanwords compared to many other Native American languages, including the Hopi language, because the Navajo were among the most violent resisters to colonialism.[92]


Standard ASCII (top) and Unicode (bottom) keyboards for Navajo

Early attempts at a Navajo orthography were made in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One such attempt was based on the Latin alphabet, particularly the English variety, with some Arabic letters. Anthropologists were frustrated by Navajo's having several sounds that are not found in English and lack of other sounds that are.[93] Finally, the current Navajo orthography was developed between 1935 and 1940.[21] The first Navajo-capable typewriter was developed in preparation for a Navajo newspaper and dictionary created in the 1940s. The advent of early computers in the 1960s necessitated special fonts to input Navajo text, and the first Navajo font was created in the 1970s.[94] Navajo virtual keyboards were made available for iOS devices in November 2012 and Android devices in August 2013.[95]

An apostrophe (ʼ) is used to mark ejective consonants (e.g. chʼ, tłʼ)[96] as well as mid-word or final glottal stops. However, initial glottal stops are usually not marked.[44] The voiceless glottal fricative (/h/) is normally written as h, but appears as x after the consonants s, z, and digraphs ending in h to avoid phonological ambiguity.[96][97] The voiced velar fricative is written as y before i and e (where it is palatalized /ʝ/), as w before o (where it is labialized /ɣʷ/), and as gh before a.[98]

Navajo represents nasalized vowels with an ogonek ( ˛ ), sometimes described as a reverse cedilla; and represents the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative (/ɬ/) with a barred L (capital Ł, lowercase ł). The ogonek and the barred L were imported from Polish, while the use of an acute accent for vowels with a high tone was taken from French.[94]

Navajo orthography
a á ą ą́ aa áá ąą ą́ą́ b ch ch’ d dl dz e é ę ę́ ee éé ęę ę́ę́ g gh h hw i í į į́ ii
ʔ ɑ ɑ́ ɑ̃ ɑ̃́ ɑː ɑ́ː ɑ̃ː ɑ̃́ː p tʃʰ tʃ’ t ts e é ẽ́ éː ẽː ẽ́ː k ɣ h/x ɪ ɪ́ ɪ̃ ɪ̃́ ɪː
íí įį į́į́ j k k’ kw l ł m n o ó ǫ ǫ́ oo óó ǫǫ ǫ́ǫ́ s sh t t’ tł’ ts ts’ w y z zh
ɪ́ː ɪ̃ː ɪ̃́ː kx k’ kxʷ l ɬ m n o ó õ óː õː ṍː s ʃ tx t’ tɬʰ tɬ’ tsʰ ts’ w j z ʒ

Sample text

This is the first paragraph of a Navajo short story.[99]

Navajo original: Ashiiké tʼóó diigis léiʼ tółikaní łaʼ ádiilnííł dóó nihaa nahidoonih níigo yee hodeezʼą́ jiní. Áko tʼáá ałʼąą chʼil naʼatłʼoʼii kʼiidiilá dóó hááhgóóshį́į́ yinaalnishgo tʼáá áłah chʼil naʼatłʼoʼii néineestʼą́ jiní. Áádóó tółikaní áyiilaago tʼáá bíhígíí tʼáá ałʼąą tłʼízíkágí yiiʼ haidééłbįįd jiní. "Háadida díí tółikaní yígíí doo łaʼ ahaʼdiidził da," níigo ahaʼdeetʼą́ jiníʼ. Áádóó baa nahidoonih biniiyé kintahgóó dah yidiiłjid jiníʼ ...

English translation: Some crazy boys decided to make some wine to sell, so they each planted grapevines and, working hard on them, they raised them to maturity. Then, having made wine, they each filled a goatskin with it. They agreed that at no time would they give each other a drink of it, and they then set out for town lugging the goatskins on their backs ...

See also


  1. ^ Ichihashi-Nakayama 2007
  2. ^ a b Ryan, Camille (August 2013). "Language Use" (PDF). Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Navajo". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917], Peter Roach, James Hartmann and Jane Setter, eds., English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 3-12-539683-2 
  5. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Navajo". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ Bahr 2004, p. xxxv
  7. ^ Minahan 2013, p. 260
  8. ^ Hargus & Rice 2005, p. 139
  9. ^ Hargus & Rice 2005, p. 138
  10. ^ Johansen & Ritzker 2007, p. 333
  11. ^ Hargus & Rice 2005, p. 209
  12. ^ Levy 1998, p. 25
  13. ^ Johansen & Ritzker 2007, p. 334
  14. ^ Koenig 2005, p. 9
  15. ^ Perry, R. J. (1980). The Apachean Transition from the Subarctic to the Southwest. The Plains Anthropologist, 279-296.
  16. ^ Brugge, D. M. (1983). Navajo prehistory and history to 1850. Handbook of North American Indians, 10, 489-501.
  17. ^ Sapir, E. (1936). Internal linguistic evidence suggestive of the northern origin of the Navaho. American Anthropologist, 38(2), 224-235.
  18. ^ Shaul, D. L. (2014). A Prehistory of Western North America: The Impact of Uto-Aztecan Languages. UNM Press.
  19. ^ a b Minahan 2013, p. 261
  20. ^ a b Johansen & Ritzker 2007, p. 421
  21. ^ a b Minahan 2013, p. 262
  22. ^ a b c d Sharon Hargus, "Review: Analytical Lexicon of Navajo by Robert W. Young; William Morgan; Sally Midgette", Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 38, No. 2, Summer, 1996, JSTOR. Retrieved 2 October 2014  – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  23. ^ Fox, Margalit (June 5, 2014). "Chester Nez, 93, Dies; Navajo Words Washed From Mouth Helped Win War". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c Johansen & Ritzker 2007, p. 422
  25. ^ a b Kroskrity & Field 2009, p. 38
  26. ^ Koenig 2005, p. 8
  27. ^ James Kari and Jeff Leer, "Review: The Navajo Language: A Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary by Robert W. Young; William Morgan, International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 50, No. 1, Jan., 1984. Retrieved 2 October 2014  – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  28. ^ Johansen & Ritzker 2007, pp. 423–424
  29. ^ Young & Elinek 1996, p. 376
  30. ^ Young & Elinek 1996, pp. 377–385
  31. ^ Arizona State University News (May 3, 2014). "Learning Navajo Helps Students Connect to Their Culture". Indian Country (Today Media Network). Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  32. ^ Platero & Hinton 2001, pp. 87–97
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Further reading


  • Blair, Robert W.; Simmons, Leon; & Witherspoon, Gary. (1969). Navaho Basic Course. Brigham Young University Printing Services.
  • "E-books for children with narration in Navajo". Unite for Literacy library. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  • Goossen, Irvy W. (1967). Navajo made easier: A course in conversational Navajo. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Press.
  • Goossen, Irvy W. (1995). Diné bizaad: Speak, read, write Navajo. Flagstaff, AZ: Salina Bookshelf. ISBN 0-9644189-1-6
  • Goossen, Irvy W. (1997). Diné bizaad: Sprechen, Lesen und Schreiben Sie Navajo. Loder, P. B. (transl.). Flagstaff, AZ: Salina Bookshelf.
  • Haile, Berard. (1941–1948). Learning Navaho, (Vols. 1–4). St. Michaels, AZ: St. Michael's Mission.
  • Platero, Paul R. (1986). Diné bizaad bee naadzo: A conversational Navajo text for secondary schools, colleges and adults. Farmington, NM: Navajo Preparatory School.
  • Platero, Paul R.; Legah, Lorene; & Platero, Linda S. (1985). Diné bizaad bee naʼadzo: A Navajo language literacy and grammar text. Farmington, NM: Navajo Language Institute.
  • Tapahonso, Luci, & Schick, Eleanor. (1995). Navajo ABC: A Diné alphabet book. New York: Macmillan Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-689-80316-8
  • Witherspoon, Gary. (1985). Diné Bizaad Bóhooʼaah for secondary schools, colleges, and adults. Farmington, NM: Navajo Language Institute.
  • Witherspoon, Gary. (1986). Diné Bizaad Bóhooʼaah I: A conversational Navajo text for secondary schools, colleges and adults. Farmington, NM: Navajo Language Institute.
  • Wilson, Alan. (1969). Breakthrough Navajo: An introductory course. Gallup, NM: The University of New Mexico, Gallup Branch.
  • Wilson, Alan. (1970). Laughter, the Navajo way. Gallup, NM: The University of New Mexico at Gallup.
  • Wilson, Alan. (1978). Speak Navajo: An intermediate text in communication. Gallup, NM: University of New Mexico, Gallup Branch.
  • Wilson, Garth A. (1995). Conversational Navajo workbook: An introductory course for non-native speakers. Blanding, UT: Conversational Navajo Publications. ISBN 0-938717-54-5.
  • Yazzie, Sheldon A. (2005). Navajo for Beginners and Elementary Students. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Press.
  • Yazzie, Evangeline Parsons, and Margaret Speas (2008). Diné Bizaad Bínáhoo'aah: Rediscovering the Navajo Language. Flagstaff, AZ: Salina Bookshelf, Inc. ISBN 978-1-893354-73-9

Linguistics and other reference

  • Frishberg, Nancy. (1972). Navajo object markers and the great chain of being. In J. Kimball (Ed.), Syntax and semantics (Vol. 1, p. 259–266). New York: Seminar Press.
  • Hale, Kenneth L. (1973). A note on subject–object inversion in Navajo. In B. B. Kachru, R. B. Lees, Y. Malkiel, A. Pietrangeli, & S. Saporta (Eds.), Issues in linguistics: Papers in honor of Henry and Renée Kahane (p. 300–309). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  • Hardy, Frank. (1979). Navajo Aspectual Verb Stem Variation. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Hoijer, Harry. (1945). Navaho phonology. University of New Mexico publications in anthropology, (No. 1).
  • Hoijer, Harry (1945). "Classificatory verb stems in the Apachean languages". International Journal of American Linguistics. 11 (1): 13–23. doi:10.1086/463846. 
  • Hoijer, Harry (1945). "The Apachean verb, part I: Verb structure and pronominal prefixes". International Journal of American Linguistics. 11 (4): 193–203. doi:10.1086/463871. 
  • Hoijer, Harry (1946). "The Apachean verb, part II: The prefixes for mode and tense". International Journal of American Linguistics. 12 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1086/463881. 
  • Hoijer, Harry (1946). "The Apachean verb, part III: The classifiers". International Journal of American Linguistics. 12 (2): 51–59. doi:10.1086/463889. 
  • Hoijer, Harry (1948). "The Apachean verb, part IV: Major form classes". International Journal of American Linguistics. 14 (4): 247–259. doi:10.1086/464013. 
  • Hoijer, Harry (1949). "The Apachean verb, part V: The theme and prefix complex". International Journal of American Linguistics. 15 (1): 12–22. doi:10.1086/464020. 
  • Hoijer, Harry. (1970). A Navajo lexicon. University of California Publications in Linguistics (No. 78). Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Kari, James (1975). "The disjunct boundary in the Navajo and Tanaina verb prefix complexes". International Journal of American Linguistics. 41: 330–345. doi:10.1086/465374. 
  • Kari, James. (1976). Navajo verb prefix phonology. Garland Publishing Co.
  • Reichard, Gladys A. (1951). Navaho grammar. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Vol. 21). New York: J. J. Augustin.
  • Sapir, Edward (1932). "Two Navaho puns". Language. 8 (3): 217–220. doi:10.2307/409655. 
  • Sapir, Edward, & Hoijer, Harry. (1942). Navaho texts. William Dwight Whitney series, Linguistic Society of America.
  • Sapir, Edward, & Hoijer, Harry. (1967). Phonology and morphology of the Navaho language. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Speas, Margaret. (1990). Phrase structure in natural language. Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN 0-7923-0755-0
  • Wall, C. Leon, & Morgan, William. (1994). Navajo-English dictionary. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-7818-0247-4. (Originally published [1958] by U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Branch of Education, Bureau of Indian Affairs).
  • Webster, Anthony K (2004). "Coyote Poems: Navajo Poetry, Intertextuality, and Language Choice". American Indian Culture and Research Journal. 28: 69–91. doi:10.17953/aicr.28.4.72452hlp054w7033. 
  • Webster, Anthony K (2006). "ALk'idaa' Ma'ii Jooldlosh, Jini": Poetic Devices in Navajo Oral and Written Poetry". Anthropological Linguistics. 48 (3): 233–265. 
  • Webster, Anthony K. (2009). Explorations in Navajo Poetry and Poetics. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Witherspoon, Gary (1971). "Navajo Categories of Objects at Rest". American Anthropologist. 73: 110–127. doi:10.1525/aa.1971.73.1.02a00090. 
  • Witherspoon, Gary. (1977). Language and Art in the Navajo Universe. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08966-8; ISBN 0-472-08965-X
  • Young, Robert W. (2000). The Navajo Verb System: An Overview. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-2172-0 (hb); ISBN 0-8263-2176-3 (pbk)

External links