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Navajo Lesson 7


Welcome back to another Navajo lesson, we are returning to verbs this time, specifically to the Perfective since last lesson we covered the first of the two Perfective conjugations, today we'll be covering the second and more complex perf. conjugation: the y-P.

The first subject prefix chart for the y-P applies when the S prefix is preceded by a disjunct prefix (remember 'disj. prefix' refers to the outer prefix and 'da' plural slots):

  • 1Sg: VV

  • 1Pl: iid

  • 2Sg: Víní

  • 2Pl: oo

  • 3: VV

Wait, what's this V? V isn't even a letter in Navajo! Well whenever I use it it will refer to 'vowel' (the capital V means high tone, sadly there is no way for me to add an accent onto a 'v'), what this means is that the subject prefix is simply the last vowel of the disjunct prefix lengthened and with high tone (if it didn't already).


  • yá + VV + ł + ti' --> yááłti' = 'I spoke' or 'He/she spoke'

The verb "to speak" takes the outer prefix 'yá'. This lengthened (no need to add high tone since it's already there) giving us 'yáá-' before the ł-classifier and the P-stem 'ti''.

  • da + VV + cha --> dáácha = They cried

Here the 'da' is lengthened AND high tone is added.

  • yá + Víní + ł + ti' --> yéíníłti' = You (sg) spoke

Here Rule-Disj 2 from an earlier lesson applies to turn the 'á' into an 'é', which then becomes the vowel in the Víní 2Sg y-P subject prefix.

Conjunct prefixes meanwhile always end in a consonant, so the chart for the y-P with ø/ł classifiers when preceded by a conjunct prefix (object and inner prefixes) is identical except the Vs are replaced with 'í' (íí, iid, ííní, oo, íí)

  • jíícha = One cried

The 4th person 'j' is a conjunct prefix, therefore the above set of subject prefixes is used.

If there is nothing preceding the subject prefix, then the following chart is used with ø/ł classifiers:

  • 1Sg: yí, 1Pl: yiid, 2Sg: yíní, 2Pl: woo, 3: yí

  • woocha = You (2) cried

Note: when the 'da' distributive plural is used, switch to the s-P conjugation.

To demonstrate this, we'll use a new verb meaning "to dig it out". The I-stem is 'gééd' and the P-stem is 'geed'. It takes the ø-classifier and the 'ha' lexical prefix (which remember carries the meaning of 'out' or 'off'):

  • háágééd = I dig it out (há + VV + geed)

  • hadasiigeed = We dig it out (note the 's' from the s-P conj.)

These are all the charts for the y-P with ø/ł classifier. Note that they are all quite similar. You don't even really need to learn separate tables but can sum up their differences using basic rules. However the l/d classifiers use quite different subject prefixes:

When there is a preceding disjunct prefix:

  • vvsh, iid, Víní, ooh, vv (note small 'v's here mean low tone)

To demonstrate, the verb "to dash up out/to run quickly out (of)" has I-stem 'taał' and P-stem 'táál', it takes l-classifier and the 'ha' outer prefix:

  • ha + vvsh + l + táál --> haashtáál = I dashed up out (note 'sandwich rule' deletes the 'l' here)

When preceded by conjunct prefix:

  • eesh, iid, ííní, ooh, oo

  • ha + j + oo + l + táál --> hajooltáál = One dashed up out (remember 'j' is a conjunct prefix)

When there is no preceding prefix:

  • yish, yiid, yíní, wooh, yi

New verb: "to drink it" - I-stem: dlą́, P-stem: dlą́ą́', classifier: d, lexical prefixes: none

  • yínídlą́ą́' = You drank

  • dayoodlą́ą́' = They drank

And with that we've finished the perfective (for now)! Next lesson will be about object prefixes and we'll be able to build our first sentences utilising conjugated verbs. Until then, Hágoónee'!

February 10, 2019

1 Comment


This 7th lesson is as usefull as always. Thank you really very much, AtomClark! Rules of Navajo are definitively more complex than klingon! That "l/d" part killed me, hahahahah! :D

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