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first, before, wait

u-lth tseh

“And what’s that mean anyway, assay, assay?”

“It’s an ancient Navajo word. It means ‘stop’.”

This exchange took place in the movie Young Guns II, and it is somewhat incorrect.

Sometimes this word is used to mean ‘wait’, as in “hold up” or “hold on”, and that’s about as close to ‘stop’ that it gets.

Other than that, it also means ‘first’ or ‘before’ as in Áłtsé Asdzą́ą́n (Asdzą́ą́; Asdząą) and Áłtsé Hastiin, who are the First Woman and First Man from Navajo tradition.

In some places, the shortened word átsé is also acceptable.

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