"Donkey eats a peach."

Translation:Télii yį́yą́ didzétsoh.

October 8, 2018

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This must be a mistake. Other sentences in this skill not only follow the standard SOV order but do so with the exact same [animal] eats [food] example. Noun animacy ranking can't have anything to do with it since donkeys are more animate than peaches. This needs fixing.

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This is my first exposure to Navajo and I do not own any Navajo reference grammar book. The question that I have: Is Navajo a 'standard' SOV language or is it a non-configurational language? If the later, then an expert (or more) needs to clarify the specifics of any given sentence...

BTW, my understanding is that Navajo was used as a coding language during WWII in part because of the language structure was unlike Japanese/German (SOV languages). Of course, there were other reasons (such as lack of written dictionaries).


Regarding the code: it had more to do with its unique sounds than the language structure. The code talkers didn't just speak Navajo to each other. They used Navajo words to represent letters and spelled out much of what they said--in English. You had to be fluent in both languages to be a code talker, and had to learn the code.

The Japanese caught a Navajo who wasn't a code talker and made him listen and he couldn't figure it out (he heard things like "goat uncle apple dog ant..." or rather "tł’ízí shidáʼí bilasáana łééchąąʼí wóláchííʼ...").

(I did a report on the code in Navajo class, and I learned the basics of the code at the time. My sample above is the first few letters of Guadalcanal.)


WALS and Wikipedia (and an old grammar reference book I found on the internet) all claim it is an SOV language. There are exceptions to this which are rule-governed.

As for your coding language point, word order isn't much of a disguise seeing as there are only 6 possible word orders. It was used as a language because a) it was the most spoken native american language, no shortage of translators, b) there was no knowledge of Navajo or any language related to it in Japan and c) it is a very complex language in most respects

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Great, please provide the link to the grammar reference you mentioned. I hope you are not referring to:


NOTE (added after initial reply): "Learning to construct verbs in Navajo and Quechua", states:

"The canonical order of major constituents in Navajo is SOV, or OSV with the object in focus or otherwise ‘outranking’ the subject. (See Creamer, 1974). The verb complex is almost always in sentence-final position..."


It's not the most user-friendly resource in the world but if you're willing to scroll through it it's quite helpful: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/10nzTGJsU-BH3gwg3Y8S_i_-o8_upsggn

(scroll down to navajo, its the yellow one)

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That is a great reference!

Unfortunately, the book says what I was saying earlier, that "11.18. Nouns and other forms sometimes follow the verb," see page 297 of the Navajo Grammar. So, we are back to having experts duke it out...

That said, it could very well be that the author(s) of the course is/are not as knowledgeable as we might think. It would not be the first time around!


I am not able to access the Google doc. Could i somehow get this another way?


Shíyeʼ bee łééchąąʼí. My son has a dog. SVO Shimá béégashii bee hólǫ́ My mother has a cow. SOV télii yį́yą́ didzétsoh Donkey eats a peach. SVO


Regardless of all those above debates, Télii didzétsoh yį́yą́ is not incorrect grammatically and should still be accepted, regardless of other possible correct answers


Télii didzétsoh yį́yą́ - it was marked wrong, but why Télii bilasáana yį́yą́. is correct? Please, explain! Thanks.


Based on the lessons so far, I agree that Télii didzétsoh yį́yą́ should be accepted as an answer, and perhaps should be the main answer.


Yes, the verb should come last. There are cases where the subject can come last, but this is one of them, and at least not in a beginner course.


Is yiya really supposed to be in the middle when it is always at the end?????


'Telii yiya didestsoh' doesn't make sense to me. 'Telii didestsoh yiya' is more accurate


Telii didzetsoh yiya, should have been accepted. Not: telii yiya didzetsoh.


I have to agree with Guomashi, the non configurational thingy is about arguments of the verb, not the verb itself. Cases where verb is not final do exist but are rare, or at least stylistically marked.


Trying to contact people in charge of the navajo...it is FULL of glitches and mistakes!! Not only this - 1 they have nose and jaw sometimes the same 2 they do not accept Łį́į́' as horse 3 ach' or ak' for beginning of elbow...it's awful


itsa beta. betas are "being created and corrected" like beta software https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us


Thing is, the betas are supposed to be improved by following up on user error reports. As I still see the same errors already reported two years ago, clearly this is not happening. This is such a pity!

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I was stuck because my keyboard can either do í or į but not the accent on both top and bottom and same with á or ą. Finally I discovered a work-around: yį'yą' ws accepted.

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Still having no luck getting it to accept any combination for horse though. Łį'į' or łíí' or a number of others not accepted. I had to cancel out of the whole lesson...


I've seen a lot of other example sentences where a verb (like eat) is at the end of the sentence. Why isn't Télii didzétsoh yį́yą́." an acceptable answer here?


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I'm realizing that we're all wasting our time here. It's the blind leading the blind. Either the person who made the course was really sloppy, or (s)he isn't fluent in Navajo. Either way, that is really bad.


Perhaps the original Navajo team is no longer available and Duolingo is looking for new volunteers to continue. Within the 10 languages i now study online, in the 5 years I've been using DL, almost all of them have rotated speakers over time. Part of that may intend to keep things fresh and expand our listening awareness, but I suspect it also indicates that the language teams get tired or busy and move on.

I'm sure it's a lot trickier getting speakers of Navajo interested than it is to find Spanish and French volunteers, por ejemplo.


The English should hav an article: "the donkey" or "a donkey."


In every other example I've been given, the verb for to eat (whether it's I eat, he eats, she eats, etc.) comes at the end of the sentence. was that wrong the whole time, should this sentence actually read "Télii didzétsoh yį́yą́."?


This is not the correct grammer for how the sentence is post to go. Its Telii Didzétsoh yį́yą́

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