NEW THING ALERT!
The NavajoWOTD ClanMaker (beta) is a way for you to make simple Navajo Clan charts. Put in your clans (including Bilagáana, Naakai Łizhinii, and Kiisáanii) and get a picture you can download.
On the roadmap: better ways of sharing, more heritages, a more complete introduction, and more awesomeness. It’s in beta, so please don’t break anything :D
NEW THING ALERT
The NavajoWOTD Lexicon is here for you to peruse. On the roadmap: more topics, words, pronunciations, pictures (OOooo!), interactivity, and awesomeness.
The Navajo word naashá is a 1st Person Singular verb that means “to walk around”. You’ll remember it from the “Introducing Yourself in Navajo” post.
Most Navajo action words have 9 different forms (12, if you count the ‘second’ third person form) that reflect the point of view and the quantity of those engaged in the action. Additionally, there are different conjugated forms of the same action depending on “tense”, or more specifically the state of an act - not started, started and ongoing, started and completed, repeating, and so forth.
Here is the conjugated verb “to walk around” - which is an ongoing act (like English “present tense”):
The earlier post is an example of one of it’s uses. With “[place]-di dę́ę́’ naashá” you can express where you are from. You’d literally be saying “From [place] I walk around”.
"Phoenixdi dę́ę́’ neiikai." (From Phoenix she walks around; She is from Phoenix.)
Try sounding them out on your own and then we’ll update with post with the full pronunciation later.
Part of the new Navajo Pronunciation Collection are a few lines to introduce yourself in front of groups. In Navajo, it wasn’t very common for people to include their name when they met new groups of people. Much more relevant then, as is now, are the clans and the homesite.
Starting the introduction off is a greeting:
Following that is usually the name of the person (we’ll use Fenton as an example here):
The name you say should always be your real name; any nicknames or titles shouldn’t be included. Following this are the clans.
In Navajo culture, every person has four clans in the following order: the mother’s first clan, the father’s first clan, the maternal grandfather’s first clan, and the paternal grandfather’s first clan. In English, many people will shorten this part to just “I am ___(mother’s clan)___ born for ___(father’s first clan)___.”
The pronunciation clip demonstrates how this is said in Navajo (the italicized words are clans):
And then following all of this is the phrase:
The feminine version is:
If one has a heritage that is not part of the clan system, that clan can be substituted with the word a different heritage. For example, Naakai Łizhinii refers to those of African descent - literally it means ‘the black/dark ones that walk about” - or Bilagáana (white people), Naakai dine’é (Mexican people), Kiis’áanii or Oozéí (Hopi), or any other heritage.
The way this clan system is structured results in the mother’s clan being carried forward always, whereas the father’s clan cycles out after two generations.
Towards the end are the places one is from. This is commonly expressed in two ways: where one currently lives, and where one is originally from. The pronunciation presents it in this way (place names are italicized; -di means “at”):
(These two statements are joined by ndi, which equates to “but…”)
And then to close off the introduction is:
This is the basic introduction in Navajo.