Category Archives: Words

Naat’áanii

Summary:

I wanted to take today to shed some more light on the Navajo word for “leader” as it is commonly known. As a matter of semantic, the Navajo particle -igii (as in Diné Bizaad yee Nidaazbaa’ígíí) is referred to as a nominalizer. I creates an object, more or less, out of an action or process. That particle […]

Ńchííl

Summary:

Some texts spell this word as níchííl – but the actual pronunciation drops the ‘i’ sound. Ńchííl is another way of saying ‘it is snowing’ in Navajo. This may actually be a more common way of saying it, but it more or less serves as a perfect synonym for yidzaas.

Yázhí

Summary:

Navajo women can call their sons (children – direct descendants and clanwise) shíyázhí or shiyáázh. It’s a term of endearment that can also refer to someone else’s son (niyáázh – your son, and biyáázh – her/its son). Yázhí itself is the Navajo equivalent of “little one” and is applied more broadly. For example “shizhé’é yázhí” […]

Sis Naajiní

Summary:

In Navajo tradition, there exists a number of sacred mountains (dził) that serve as boundary markers for the Navajo people. The traditional homeland is bordered by four mountains, often called the Four Sacred Mountains. Sis Naajiní (also Tsisnaajini, Sis na’jin) today is called Blanca Peak and is located in Colorado. Blanca Peak creates the Eastern […]

Yidzaas

Summary:

Back in the rainy months, we shared the words for “raining” (nahałtin).  Now, it’s time for yidzaas, or “it is snowing.” If you look closely, you might recognize the word for “snow” which is either yas or zas depending on where you’re from. These words work like nouns and they aren’t dependent on their action […]