Jį́į́dą́ą́’

Here is the Navajo word that designates a time in the past, specifically the part of the day that’s already gone.

You’ll notice some similarities to some previous words, like damóo yę́ędą́ą́’ (last sunday, last week) and dííjį́ (today, this day). With jį́į́dą́ą́’ you have the root from dííjį́ combined with the -dą́ą́’ particle to create a meaning that’s like saying “the (part of the) day that’s gone by”.

In conversation, you’ll hear this word commonly said at the beginning of the statement, or “today we did…etc.”.

Jį́į́dą́ą́’ Tségháhoodzánígóó niséyá. (Earlier today I went to [and came back from] Window Rock.)

The month of June is Ya’iishjááshchilí and refers to “little corn tassels”.

You can check out the previous post on the month of June, here.

Yesterday’s post, ńdii’aah (pick it up), has been updated as well with the pronunciation.

Made a handy graphic for those using Irvy Goosen’s Diné Bizaad: Speak, Read, Write Navajo. Or anyone, really.

Match the suffix to the root that was introduced in this post.

Note: “multiple” or -nííł refers to both animate and inanimate objects; -yeeh could refer to a load of wood, sheep. — essentially a load hauled by truck.

Ńdii’aah (pick it up)

Today we’re tackling a part of Navajo that is perplexing to many new Navajo speakers. It has to do with actions, and the objects towards which they are to be directed.

Ńdii’aah means commonly “pick it up (for me)”.

Here, the -‘aah stem implies that the thing that needs to be picked up is solid-bulky. There are other stems for open containers, living objects, mushy stuff, flat objects, slender and stiff, slender and flexible, and more.

The ńdii- part is the prefix for managing an object, as well as a way to determine who is being talked about.

The complexity begins when you need to recognize the different type of objects by listening to the end of the word. For example, ńdiikaah refers instead to pretty much any open container.

It gets more complicated when the prefix changes, thereby changing who the directive applies to. Ńdoh-, instead of ńdii-, is second-person dual – “you two pick it up”.

Then, you must rely on context to pin-point the actual meaning. Ńdii’aah could also refer to choosing or finding something. And, the ńdii- prefix is also the first-person dual form – “you and I pick it up”.

If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, take into account that the -aah stem is only the imperfective form (i.e. in the process of or “present tense”) The perfective (i.e. “past”) and the future forms of these stems remain (-ą́ and -‘ááł, respectively).

Lą’í

The Navajo word lą’í is similar to t’óó ahayóí in that they both refer to a large amount.

Lą’í is similar in sound to lą́’ąą’, which is used as a casual “yep” or “alright then” (in a dismissive manner). It’s important to distinguish between the two.

A common usage is “lą’í nááhai” or “many years”. In a similar vein is “lą’í nááhaiídą́ą́’” which you’ll recognize as “many years ago”.