"Learn Navajo one word at a time"

Thumbnail preview of the Navajo Starter Kit Companion E-Book.

Learn Navajo

We made the Navajo Starter Kit to help you learn Navajo.

Learn more



hoh nes zil lih & hoh nes kuz zih

In Navajo, there is a particle that denotes areas or spaces. The little prefix ho- indicates not an object, but a spacial concept which can be physical and figurative (“I have a space in my memory/heart, etc.”).

If you take nizhóní and change it to hózhóní, you’ve now changed the meaning from “it is beautiful” to something like “an area is beautiful/tranquil/clean/neat, etc.”.

We’ve also used the word Hoozdoh (or Hoozdo) in describing Phoenix. It’s a formation of ho- and sidó (meaning it is hot) to create the meaning “the area that is hot”.

This leads to honeezílí, a similar formation of ho- and sizílí (meaning it/that object is warm/lukewarm). The resulting word refers to an area that is warm and, depending on the circumstances (like in the cold winter), sometimes a comfortable place.

On the other hand, we have honeesk’ází (also said hoozk’az) using the same spacial prefix combined sik’az (meaning an object is cold). In this case, the new word refers to an area or space that is cool.

So in short, they each mean this place or space is warm and this place or space is cool.

Original post date: .