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dah naat'a'í


dah nah tah ih

This is the Navajo word for “flag.”

The first fragment of this phrase, dah, is in reference to something that is elevated, or in a relatively stationary position high up. You’ll hear it if someone tells you to hang something up in Navajo.

The second part, naat’a’í, is a way of saying something is moving above you. Similar words in English for this would be flying, or rising. For example, chidí naat’a’í (car that is flying) is the word for airplane.

The translated version of the Pledge of Allegiance (USA) begins like this: “United States of America bidah naat’a’í …” You’ll notice dah became bidah, in which bi- denotes “its” flag.


to go

deh yah

This is a useful verb that translates to “to go” or “to be going.” It’s a fully conjugated verb so the form changes depending on who you’re talking about.

  • déyá (I am going)
  • díníyá (you are going)
  • deeyá (he/she/it is going)
  • deet’áázh (we two are going)
  • dishoo’áázh (you two are going)
  • deezh’áázh (they two are going)
  • deekai (we are going – more than two)
  • disoohkai (you are going – more than two)
  • deeskai (they are going – more than two)

As an example, you can say the following:

Bii’nda’a’néhégóó deet’áázh. (Me and him are going to the gym.)

To use this verb, add -góó to the end of the place word and follow it by the correct verb form. It’s easy, because this can be done to English names as well.

Washingtongóó déyá.

Phoenixgóósh dishoo’áázh?

[The NavajoWOTD post for bii’nda’a’néhé - gym]

baa dloh hasin

it is funny

bah dlo hus sin

This Navajo phrase introduces three unique words, but is used together to mean “it is funny,” or “it is something to laugh about.”

The first word, baa, is part of a group of words that means “about (it).” This is the third person form of the word shaa (about me). The second person (about you) would be naa.

Dloh is the word that denotes laughter, or in some cases, smiling.

And the final part of the phrase, hasin, is the verb meaning “there is.” It may seem like an awkward verb to use, but it’s versatile and is used to validate the existence of many things which may not be purely physical (like humor, in this case).

Say it with a smile and you’ll be understood.



mun dah gee yah

If you’re familiar with the Navajo alphabet, a red flag should’ve gone up right off the bat with this word. That’s because there’s an ‘m’ in there, and the Navajo language doesn’t have very many words that do.

Mandagíiya is an adopted word from the Spanish language, specifically the word ‘mantequilla.’ In both languages it refers to butter.

What does it say about the butter trade in the early days that Navajos adopted the Spanish word instead of the American word?

[Related: View ‘The Navajo Alphabet’ post]# March 2012


day, to become daytime

yoh-lth kah-lth

Yoołkááł is the Navajo word for “to become day(time).”

Combined with the Navajo word for “today” (dííjį́, or dííshjį́), you can say the following:

Táá’ts’áadahgóó yoołkááł dííshjį́, nda’iiníísh. (Today is the 13th, Friday.)