"Donkey eats a peach."
Translation:Télii yį́yą́ didzétsoh.
31 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
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
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!
How do I report an issue with the course? There are two types of issues you can report when it comes to language courses. You can report specific sentences, or you can provide feedback about the language course in general.
When you have feedback about errors in specific sentences and translations, please follow the steps aligned here: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204752124-How-do-I-report-a-problem-with-a-sentence-or-translation-
This feedback goes directly to the course contributors, and they collect these reports to fix mistakes and add possible translations to the phrase.
If you have general feedback about a course or language (such as the voice used, grammar questions, or just praise for the team), please communicate directly with the Incubator team for that course. You can contact them via their course specific forum:
TO POST FEEDBACK SUGGESTIONS DIRECTLY TO CONTRIBUTORS: 1. Click on the Discuss button on the top part of the page: 2. To the right, you will see a list of forums that you are following. You can click on one to isolate it and post new questions and feedback. You can manage the list of subscriptions by clicking on the "EDIT" button on the sidebar. 3. A pop-up window will appear. Select the forums you want to follow by clicking "Subscribe". Click anywhere outside the window to close the subscription pop-up. 4. Select the appropriate forum and post your feedback directly to contributors and fellow learners!
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.