"Donkey eats a peach."
Translation:Télii yį́yą́ didzétsoh.
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.
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).
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
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)
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!
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.
Regardless of all those above debates, Télii didzétsoh yį́yą́ is not incorrect grammatically and should still be accepted, regardless of other possible correct answers
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.
Télii didzétsoh yį́yą́ - it was marked wrong, but why Télii bilasáana yį́yą́. is correct? Please, explain! Thanks.