The Navajo word góyaa describes an action directed downwards or ‘down-along’ (a road), or down into something (like a canyon).

The stem yaa carries the concept of ‘down’, and is in contrast to ‘up’ which is dei.

The pronunciation here is not exact to its spelling. Sometimes góyaa is spelled hóyaa, or hxóyaa, or hwóyaa, or even ghóyaa. All of these spellings mean that the ‘g’ is not hard.

You can practice by keeping your tongue from coming into full contact with the roof of your mouth – as in a hard g. As you go through the motions, air passes through the space between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Differences in pronunciation are regional but are understood between the way Navajo ‘g’s, ‘h’s, ‘s’s are emphasized from one area to another.