How to Pronounce Navajo: This took forever so please enjoy, cultural tips included
I'm enrolled Shawnee and Anishinaabe, but some of my family is Navajo who speak the language and I also lived and worked on the Navajo Nation where I attended the tribal college (specializing in the language) and used the language while working for tribal government. I love Duolingo so I'm hoping this post answers questions.
Ccf-Uk_2018 included a list of all the Navajo words in the app, which he posted here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32151326
I'm taking the same list and making corrections that I see and offering help in how to say the words. I don't know IPA for Navajo, though, and there are discrepancies between how some people spell/say words, Eastern vs. Western dialects, etc., so this knowledge is primarily based on my experience. I recommend Dine Bizaad and the audio you can get with it, listening to KTNN online, reading God Bizaad - Bible translations (the missions actually provide a lot of early translations), and ordering Rosetta Stone. Of course nothing compares to coming to the Rez, studying, interacting, and immersing yourself in culture and everything else that comes with language. Visit one of the tribal museums if you get the chance and learn about the treaties, the Long Walk, etc. Daybreak Warrior has good YouTube languages online too... Okay, spiel over. Here we go.
Intro LESSON 1 yáʼátʼééh = hello/good/like/likes My notes: Literally this expression means "It is good." You greet people by saying "It is good." "Yes, it is good." You will see it as a verb to describe nouns, too, like "Shimá yáʼátʼééh." - "My mother is good." *Pronunciation: Note first that ' means glottal stop. Should be a slight aspiration and clear distinction between letters, so: YAH' AHT' EY' -- make sure the "t" is very sharp and at the end of the middle syllable.
hágoóneeʼ = goodbye/see you later **Pronunciation: Note first that there are two Os, the SECOND has the accent. This is a FALLING accent. It's sing-songy the way Cantonese is, if you've ever learned a tonal language. Something like a silent H too: Ah-GOoh-neh' - emphasis more in the middle with that sharp end and slight breath at end.
ahéheeʼ = thank you **Pronunciation: Ah-HYE-heh' - emphasis in middle. The accent gives the h kind of a Y sound rolling into the e. Glottal aspiration ending.
shimá = mother My notes: This actually means MY mother. The prefix shi added to amá (which is simply "a mother") makes it "My mother". Other forms include nimá (your mother) and bimá (his/her/its mother). Culturally, this does not have to be your literal mother. Navajos have four clans, one from the mother, the next from the father (which is his mother's clan), then the third from the mother's father (which is HIS mother's clan), and the fourth from the father's father (which is HIS mother's clan). It's a matriarchy traditionally. When people have one or more clans out of these four that are the same (and there are TONS of Navajo clans), they are said to be related. It's a little complicated but basically you don't say my "cousin", for example. Younger generations will say "my cousin sister" and the teacher will say "Hey! you mean sister. Physically your cousin but she's your sister because of your clans." If that makes sense. *Pronunciation: shi sounds like you're about to cuss but stop short. So, shi-MA, emphasize the second syllable, MA sounds like Matilda.
LESSON 2 abiní = morning My notes: Yáʼátʼééh abiní - you'll hear that a lot when you get your coffee. Good morning! *Pronunciation: ah-Bi-Ni ... hard to describe the clean way to say this but the "ah" is less emphasized than the other syllables and the "i" in those is like the i in "is" but very quick.
haash = what **Pronunciation: Pretty easy. The double A sound is long. Haash rhymes with the first syllable of "Caution". That's all you need really to know.
yinilyé = is your name My notes: About verbs. They suck. Navajo is one of those languages that has DUOPLURAL, meaning there's a difference between Singular, Groups of Two, and Three+. This page shows you more: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/woly%C3%A9#Navajo *Pronunciation: yi-Nil-yEh. That short "i" sound again like "is". Mild emphasis on second and last, the last carrying it mostly in the accented E.
dóó = and My notes: You'll hear "adóó" a lot, just adding the "ah" in front. In Navajo you don't exactly have commas, so I learned, so a long list of words have to have a bajillion "ands". Also seen when people pause, like an "um". *Pronunciation: "Dough".
ni = you My notes: Yes, but remember it's a prefix more than anything. You see the pronouns through the context and the complicated verbs. *Pronunciation: "ni" with the "is" i sound.
LESSON 3 Naat'áaniinééz = to Shiprock My notes: Actually this is the name of the town Shiprock, New Mexico. Non-Navajos called the giant monadnock after a boat but it's actually the "Winged Rock" or Tsé Bitʼaʼí in Navajo. The city's name translates to "Tall Boss", in a sense, as "Naat'áani" is seen around as a person in charge and you'll see a lot of people with the last name "Nez", meaning tall. E.g. Jonathan Nez, as I write this he is the President of the Navajo Nation. And he is kinda tall, lol. My understanding is there was a leader years ago in that area who was tall and so that name kind of stuck. *Pronunciation: nut'-Aah-nee-nehz, note glottal stop as well as a FALLING tone. Emphasize the falling tone.
góó = (I) am/(you) are My notes: I'm not sure what context they tried to put this into because I've mostly encountered this as -góó which is a DIRECTIONAL suffix. In English, it would be like me saying "I am going to Phoenix." I would say I am going Phoenixgóó. There is no other way to say that since there is no "to" directional word that stands alone. *Pronunciation: "Go." Pretty easy to remember.
déyá = going My notes: Again, refer to verb charts you can find in some Wiki resources and through actual textbooks. This is only one form of the entire verb. From Navajo WOTD: déyá (I am going) díníyá (you are going) deeyá (he/she/it is going) deet’áázh (we two are going) dishoo’áázh (you two are going) deezh’áázh (they two are going) deekai (we are going – more than two) disoohkai (you are going – more than two) deeskai (they are going – more than two) *Pronunciation: Day-Yah. Equal emphasis. Accent gives the E more of an A quality.
daʼ = you mean/is My notes: What the heck? Da' isn't a word, it's a question marker/tag. So ignore the Duolingo translation unless a speaker knows something otherwise. *Pronunciation: Dah' with a glottal stop.
diníyá = (you are/are you) going My notes: See the other above. *Pronunciation: di-nee-Yah, the first i like is.
Family LESSON 1 shimá yazhí = maternal aunt My notes: Maternal aunt is actually ahimá yazhí. This means My maternal aunt, but literally it means "My-Mother Little". You'll see it as a surname "Yazzie" a lot. *Pronunciation: You know my mother already. The second word is "Yah-Jhi". ZH makes a French J sound like "Je", so I put "Jh" as that. The i is abrupt and short.
shimasaní = maternal grandmother My notes: Literally My woman/old mother (blended with asdzaan). Replace shi with a for non-specific person, or bi, or ni, etc. *Pronunciation: shi-mah-SAH-nee, the i like "is".
shizheʼé = father My notes: Literally MY father. Same as above. *Pronunciation: shi-JHeH'-EH. That short i and that French sound again, plus glottal stop.
nalí asdzaan = paternal grandmother My notes: asdzaan makes this a woman as opposed to simply nalí , which is paternal grandpa (not to be confused with cheii) *Pronunciation: nahl-ee aah(sd)-zaahn, that middle syllable is a little trick. Literally mash all of those s-d-z into one brief sound.
shi = I/my My notes: See ni above. *Pronunciation: See notes near top.
hólǫ́ = it exists/there is - can be used to say "I have" My notes: Yeah, pretty much just to say something is there or that someone has something like a mother (is still alive). *Pronunciation: The tassels under vowels make them NASAL. Think: ❤❤❤-LOAH(N) but that N actually mostly carries through the vowels without an actual N sound at the end.
bee = with/by means of (it) - can be used to say "he/she/it has" My notes: These propositions are important and you will find them embedded in compound words to describe introduced things, but more on that later if it comes up. *Pronunciation: "bay"
LESSON 2 adáʼí = maternal uncle **Pronunciation: ah-DAH'-Ee
shicheii = maternal grandfather My notes: MY maternal grandfather *Pronunciation: shi-Chay - always say the shi, ni, bi the same as explained above.
ádí = older sister My notes: Shádí for example means My older sister. I had younger students in my classes call me that endearingly sometimes. *Pronunciation: Ah-Di
ánaaí = older brother My notes: Shinaaí is My older brother. It literally sounds like Shania Twain without the "a" at the end of Shania and with more of that i sound in Shi. Think of that when getting the sound below. *Pronunciation: Ah-Nye
atsilí = younger brother My notes: I giggled when talking about my little brother, shitsilí. *Pronunciation: At-SIL-li - important to remember the end i is not long but short in these kinds of words.
shíyeʼ = son/my son My notes: MY son, not simply son. *Pronunciation: shee-yeh'
Food LESSON 1 chʼil łitsxooí - orange (fruit) My notes: Ch'il is a great word. It means greenery stuff that just grows, so shrubby, grassy lands. But it also can be modified into different foods. Literally this word is a combination of "Greenery" and "Orange color". Another note is that Orange and Yellow are not always considered different, but sometimes people add the X for extra aspiration to emphasize it is a different kind of Yellow which is what the word Łitsooí means without the X. *Pronunciation: This is where Navajo really starts to tire your mouth. First, "ch'il" is going to need that stop to be emphasized. It's literally like a short abrupt sound: CHT'-ill, with that short i. For orange, we see the L-slash. I believe Welsh is similar here in sounds. It's putting your tongue up in your mouth and blowing air through. Almost sounds like you're about to hiss. Remember, the X makes aspiration from back of throat. The ooí also combines to a funky thing: hhlhits-HHoo-ee. Kind of rhymes with gooey. Together: CHT'-ill hhlhits-HHoo-ee.
hashkʼaan = banana My notes: Actually this is the word for Yucca, but the fruit is similar so the Navajo who first encountered imported bananas gave it the same name. So use it for both banana and yucca fruits. *Pronunciation: Remember how we said Haash? Same sound, but add a K there right on that glottal stop: Haashk'-Aahn.
bilasáana = apple My notes: Not to be confused with bilagáana, the word for white person/outsider. This is actually corrupted from the Spanish word Manzana, meaning apple, likely because they introduced the apple and that was the language they were speaking in the NM/AZ/UT region at that time. *Pronunciation: Bill-la-SAU-na (yes, say it like sauna but with a falling tone). For bilagáana, it's the same just an English G (guh) sound instead of the S.
azeeʼdíchʼííʼ = chili pepper My notes: I don't believe this has a glottal stop in the middle, but remember this language wasn't always written and there is no true uniformity as with any language with dialects. Interestingly, azééʼ actually means "(a) mouth" and díchʼííʼ means "spicy". *Pronunciation: Using azeedíchʼííʼ, I would describe it as: a-Zey-Deecht'-Ee' .. gotta get those ch' harsh sounds down to get the sound.
*1st Edit: New words done below*
bįįh yildeeʼį́ = cherry My notes: I haven't really used this word, but I can see bįįh (which means deer), and so it actually is "deer food" to my understanding. Navajo will create new words from composites a TON. A lot of times the " 'i " is added at the end to show that the new composite should be considered ONE word and not its parts. It's called an "enclitic". *Pronunciation: beeh(n) yil-day-'ee(n) -- note three nasal i sounds. Carry that vowel in your nose. I wrote "beehn" but it doesn't end in an N, it just has that sound across the i's. The first i in the second word is short, so it kind of rhymes with "will" or "bill". Glottal stop before the nasal enclitic.
didzétsoh = peach My notes: You'll see "tsoh" or "tso" or some form a lot. It means "big". Tsosie is a common Navajo last name derived from that word. *Pronunciation: di-dzay-tsHoh - okay I'll break that down. Short i in di. DZ is basically a Z sound but mucked up with that D in the front. You say both in one syllable, kind of like TS syllables. We also have one of those, kind of like "it's" without the i. I put the capital H in there because when people say Big (but not in the name Tsosie) you will hear a throaty H leading into the O. It's not dramatic but it's there.
yishą́ = I am eating My notes: Check out verb charts to learn all the parts. *Pronunciation: yee-SHAH(n) - Emphasis on second more than first. Nasal A.
LESSON 2 naadą́ą́ = corn My notes: There are four sacred Navajo foods: maize (corn), beans, squash, and tobacco (not cigarettes - it's different). They all start with NAA and it's contested whether that originates from the Anasazi presenting these foods to the Navajo or if it's just a really old word that it's pretty original. Remember, maize came from the Mexico area and moved north but the Navajo language follows the Athebaskan linguistic family which is clear into Alaska and is believed to have moved south. *Pronunciation: naah-DAAH(n) - double vowels are long vowels, accent on second, nasal carried across both A sounds. No rising or falling - both are accented.
waaʼ = spinach My notes: Originally, this was a wild spinach. I'm not sure which plant but something that was native to the places where Navajo lived. Waa' is now used in the store to mean the spinach most of us have come to know. *Pronunciation: waah' - pretty straight forward. "Waah" is something people say sometimes that is kind of like an "ugh" so some friends and I used to joke we were complaining about spinach.
chʼééhjiyáán = watermelon My notes: No fun stories behind this one, although once I bought a watermelon from a guy in a truck on the side of the road and the sticker said "from Mexico" lol so much for supporting local farmers. But this is on Wiktionary which may be interesting to you: chʼééh (“in vain”) + jiyą́ (“a person eats it”) + -n- (ligature) + -í (nominalizer). -áán is a contraction of -ání. *Pronunciation: ch' - yEEh - jeh - yAWn : remember, ch' that unique sound; a little Y sound that slips in on that second syllable; high tones.
nímasii = potato My notes: Native to South America but boy are those things everywhere now, huh? You can find some in a good mutton stew. *Pronunciation: NIh-mah-zsee - Short i on the first but the following syllables kind of roll off after the first. A little bit of a Z sounding S.
chʼil Łichxíʼí = tomato My notes: I know "red" as "łichí" without the X but I think that's just an emphasis on the color. If Łichxí (or łichí) is Red and í is an enclitic, and we've seen ch'il before, what does it mean? It literally is "the thing that is a red greenery" - a tomato. *Pronunciation: We already saw ch'il above. Then add HLee-CHee-ee - remember the L-Slash sound we talked about. Typically the X would make it more aspirated but I'm not sure you can really change it that much.
tłʼoh chin = onion My notes: A friend of mine runs a fake news outlet by this name. It's a Navajo version of "The Onion". I think it's mostly on Facebook but anyway it's pretty good. *Pronunciation: TL' - oh - CHin - That probably didn't help much. A harsh CH is good, don't hang on the last IN too much, and the OH is straight forward, but that tłʼ is something you should practice. It comes up in other words. Remember your stop to break off the sound from eliding with the latter, but those two sounds together are more like a CLICK with a little airiness in it. Here, thank WOTD for this: https://navajowotd.com/word/tlizi/ It means GOAT but it's got the same first sound. You can also hear what some of those ending verbs carry like.
daosą́ʼ = eat this (command)/3+ people eat/you all eat My notes: Verb charts. *Pronunciation: dao (like DOW Jones) + SAhn' (nasal, accented, short, stop)
bił = with him/her My notes: Important for saying a lot of things like if something is good in your opinion, "It is good with me". Shił.... and it's also in nił, etc. *Pronunciation: Yay, L slash is back! Short i. End the word with your tongue to the roof of your mouth and with air coming out both sides: bi(LHh)
yį́yą́ = he/she/it is eating My notes: Verb charts. *Pronunciation: YEEh(n)-Yaah(n) - both are accented but I feel it carries more on the first. Nasals.
LESSON 3 naʼahóóhai Bitsįʼ = chicken My notes: This literally means "Chicken Its+Meat", so it's not the animal but KFC. Bitsįʼ will be seen over and over again as its meat to whatever is before it. Atsįʼ is "meat" in general, without being anyone's. And not it's not saying the chicken is eating meat, it's the chicken's actual flesh. *Pronunciation: nah'-ah-HhOO-Hai for chicken, where the HOO is a little bit airy in the throat and the "ai" is a long I making "Hai" sound exactly like "Hi", or hello. Then there's a short i and quick syllable "Bi" + "Tsihn'" where that i is also quick and short, a TS to start it, nasal on the vowel, and stop at end.
dah woozh = strawberry/strawberries My notes: I want to say the woozh part might have to do with describing the surface of the berry as being a little bumpy. I don't know this for certain though. *Pronunciation: dah - woozh - literally just like it is if you have your short A versus long O sounds down and your ZH ending as we discussed before.
tązhii Bitsįʼ = turkey My notes: This comes from English. Tązhii is the animal, turkey. I'm not sure why it came from English since turkey are everywhere but maybe they didn't used to differentiate it or called it by another name, later adapting this one. Tązhii would be the closest sounds to Turkey that they would have been familiar with to replicate the sound, and it stuck. *Pronunciation: TAH(n)-Zheh is how I would say it. Add your Meat after.
bisóodi Bitsįʼ = pork My notes: There are other words for other meat types from a pig, but this is specifically pork. It's from Meso/Central American Spanish pitzote which comes from Nahuatl pitzotl for pig. The Hopi say pitsooti, because they have P sounds but Navajo doesn't. (The only P I encounter is Pa! Pa! Pa! which medicine men say during some ceremonies to push out something, like during a healing ceremony.) *Pronunciation: bi - SOoh - di where the i are all short and the long vowels in the middle are falling. Add Meat.
béégashii Bitsį = beef/hamburger/steak My notes: Cow meat. Believe it or not, béégashii actually comes from vacas in Spanish for cow. Remember... a lot of this stuff was introduced when the Navajo came into the Four Corners at the time it was Mexico and Santa Fe was full of leaders from Spanish origin. They introduced many of these animals which can be seen in the language. *Pronunciation: bay-gah-SHEE - syllables pretty even but emphasis on end. Add meat.
Animals LESSON 1 łóóʼ = fish My notes: Technically, "my fish" would be "shiłóóʼ", but I remember in one cultural course we were told that sounds funny. It's a concept of owning a fish, I guess, or something that is it's own thing. *Pronunciation: LHOW' - that aspirated sound coming into two high tones with a stop.
tązhii = turkey ----- see above
gah = rabbit My notes: Not to be confused with gad, which is juniper. It's the same word in Chipewyan which is an Athebaskan language in Western Canada. Hmmm... makes sense. *Pronunciation: Gah, just as it sounds. Not quite Ha but not quite Haw.
łį́į́ʼ = horse My notes: This is a funny one. We get to "dog" later, but łį́į́ʼ actually derives from "pet". You see, horses are NEW to this continent (except a looong time ago when there were pre-horse horses that apparently migrated/died out/something. It's such a stupid misconception of Native Americans being horse whisperers of old (that being said, the Crow and others are notoriously good at horse handling/roping/etc!). I got in an argument once with a horse therapist who insisted my people were ancient caretakers of the horse when I told her they're from the Spanish. She asked, Then how did they move anything? And I said, Pack dogs. It's true. That's why tipis in the Plains collapse easily and were dragged (originally by DOGS) between camps. This linguistic piece demonstrates that: Go up into Athabaskan places in the northwest of North American and you'll find this word łį́į́ʼ means "dog" - the pet. When Navajo encountered horses, they adapted and used them, now using them as the "pet", the łį́į́ʼ, and they started calling dogs by something less favorable which you will see below. Pronunciation: LHEEEEhn' - all the things that are annoying, right? L-slash into two NASAL HIGH tones with a STOP.
shash = bear My notes: The Na-Dené language of the Ahtna in Alaska calls it "sos". No need for a new word because I'm sure Alaska, the length of Canada, the Pacific NW, and the Rockies all had their share of bears. *Pronunciation: shahsh - not like "sash", the thing you wear, but a longer A sound.
dibé = sheep My notes: While it is known the Spanish brought sheep, some Navajos take offense to that as it is so embedded in the rug weaving culture and butchering (watch Miss Navajo competitions - they have to kill and butcher a sheep in front of an audience as a test to Navajo-ness). It is possible, however, that some of these introduced animals were familiar before in a time long ago and kept in the stories. That being said, not all tribes appreciate you telling them they came from somewhere else. It's something that's done to peoples around the world to undermine their claims. It may be true in some instances if not all, but you should use caution. In Navajo stories, however, migration is a well-known thing. Some might insist they're from the Sacred Mountains or that the point of Emergence was nearby, but that could also be less of a physical and more of a cultural blossoming to the modern Navajo culture. There are many similarities with the way of life in some Mongolian culture, and sheep are part of that. Yurts are much like hooghans (hogans), with east-facing doors. Perhaps they were reunited with some of these animals? Something to chew on. *Pronunciation: di-BAY' - there's no stop at the end but I put one in because ending on a short accent like that ends kind of abruptly. So don't hard stop it but don't hang on the AY sound either.
wolyé = name/called/is it's name My notes: Verb charts. *Pronunciation: wohl-YEh' - same as above, not a hard stop but don't hang on it. Shí éí(ya) Kayla wolyé - My name is Kayla or literally I am called Kayla. the éí(ya) is just a meaningless pause as we discussed but I pretty much always use it here because it's a short sentence and I want you to hear my name before I finish it.
LESSON 2 łééchąąʼí = dog *My notes: To continue our pet/horse story... when the horse came to the Navajo (or was reunited with them?-as I discussed with the sheep section), the pet - or łį́į́ʼ - known as a dog was demoted. The enclitic is on the end, see? Well, the word chąą is the S word in English. This word literally means the Sh Pet. And if you ever go to the Rez, they are definitely all over the place, many wild, and it is said a cat can be inside the hogan but that dogs are not meant to live in the house. A co-worker once helped me learn to say this word better and would have be say each syllable until I realized he was laughing because I was cursing. When you say it today, it's not seen as a cuss word, only if you say that middle word too slowly because that word definitely still is lol. Pronunciation: LHAY-Chaawn-E
béégashii = cow - see above
télii = donkey My notes: If I were to guess, I think this is a horse with a big belly as atéél is belly, lii may come from the "pet" word, and they are kind of frumpy horses lol. Not sure though. *Pronunciation: tay-lee
tłʼízí = goat My notes: Annoying word to say haha. *Pronunciation: Like I said above, just check out WOTD: https://navajowotd.com/word/tlizi/
gólízhii = skunk My notes: I used to think this might be "black rabbit", but the first syllable isn't too certain. Also, łizh means pee ... so that also makes sense if you know a skunk. *Pronunciation: go-li-zhi - not too hard
LESSON 3 dóola = bull My notes: From toro, Spanish for bull. The sound doesn't mock it perfectly but picturing it if you know some Spanish might help. *Pronunciation: DOo-la - emphasize the first, falling oo sound.
bisóodi = pig - see above.
magí = monkey My notes: If you've studied Irish, you might notice moncaí looks like Monkey in English. Again, introduced words. Same is with this one. *Pronunciation: MAH-gee
Numbers LESSON 1
tááłaʼí = one My notes: Sometimes this word is abbreviated more to the middle syllable. I think it has to do with a number one or counting one, that kind of thing. *Pronunciation: taa-HLah'-ee
naaki = two My notes: Similar to the "walk" verb. *Pronunciation: naah-ki (in the throat k sound with short i)
táá = three My notes: don't make it nasal, and it has no glottal stop *Pronunciation: taah
díí = four My notes: These are actually NASAL I's, not sure why they're only high tones. Nasal AND high tones. *Pronunciation: DIIIHH(NN) - it's a high tone so it's sing-songy, plus it's nasal and long
ashdla = five My notes: make sure you get that D in there *Pronunciation: ash-DLaa --- the DL just slide together into the vowel
LESSON 2 hastą́ą́ = six My notes: may sometimes have a high tone at end, but as long as you get those nasals and emphasize the high tones you'll be ok *Pronunciation: has-TAA(HNN) - note also it's not "has" as in "he has a dog", that makes a Z sound in the S. It's straight HAS like HASsel
tsostsʼid = seven My notes: yes all of the S's are said *Pronunciation: tsoh-ts ' id --- so practice tsoh tsoh tsoh, then tsoh-ts and stop. once you get that down, remember the short i and "id". Keep that glottal stop before you say the id and combine the sounds.
tseebíí = eight My notes: another TS that is important to get right *Pronunciation: tsay-bee
náhástʼéí = nine My notes: each syllable pretty evenly emphasized, just get that stop in there *Pronunciation: na-hast ' ay --- the a sound in na and ha are like "ha ha ha"
neezná = ten My notes: not to confuse with the word for dead which is similar *Pronunciation: nez-NA
LESSON 3 łaʼtsʼáadah = eleven My notes: See the "one" at the front? then the conjugate makes it the teens *Pronunciation: HLa ' TS ' a-da
naaki tsʼáadah = twelve My notes: two + teen *Pronunciation: pronounce like 2 and then the TS ' a-da sounds following
táá tsʼáadah = thirteen Same pattern as above
díí tsʼáadah = fourteen See above
ashdlaʼáadah = fifteen ***can pronounce in same patterns as above, or else you can drop the TS but keep the rest the same. Certain ones are accepted this way to make it easier to say.
LESSON 4 hastą́ʼáadah = sixteen See above
tsostsʼid tsʼáadah = seventeen See above examples
tseebíí tsʼáadah = eighteen See above
náhástʼéí tsáadah = nineteen See above: NOTE it should have a glottal stop like the others; this text didn't as copied
naadiin = twenty My notes: This is the new pattern for ten sets. *Pronunciation: naa-deen
LESSON 5 taadiin = thirty **Pronunciation: taa-deen
dizdiin = fourty My notes: "forty"...not sure why it's spelled that way *Pronunciation: diz - deen
ashdlaʼdiin = fifty **Pronunciation: ash-DLa-deen ---- I don't really know if there's a glottal stop
Body Parts LESSON 1 aniiʼ = face My notes: For all body parts, same as any noun. The A in the front means "someone's" or just "a" in general - to make it specific, you need to add those prefixes we mentioned. *Pronunciation: a-nee'
ajaaʼ = ear Pronunciation: a-ja(w)' don't say the W but it's the A in Jaw
aniitsį́ʼ = cheek **Pronunciation: a-nee-TSEE(HN)'
átááʼ = forehead **Pronunciation: a-taaa'
áchį́į́h = nose **Pronunciation: a-chIII(HN) (reminds me of sneezing!)
LESSON 2 atsooʼ = tongue **Pronunciation: at-soo' (creates a sort of TS in the transition at the middle)
azééʼ = mouth **Pronunciation: a-ZAY'
adaaʼ = lip **Pronunciation: a-Daaa'
awooʼ = tooth **Pronunciaiton: a-Woo'
ayaatsʼiin = jaw **Pronunciation: a-YAATS'EEn
LESSON 3 áláshgaan = fingernails My notes: Notice these words all relate to the base word "hand". *Pronunciation: a-lash-gone
álátłʼááh = palm Pronunciation: a-la(TLH) ' aah - this is the click sound like in goat
álátsíín = wrist **Pronunciation: a-laa-TSEEN
álaʼ = hand **Pronunciation: a-laa'
achʼoozhlaaʼ = elbow Pronunciation: aCH' oo-Jlaa' (that French J sound that ZH makes sliding into the laa)
agaan = arm **Pronunciation: a-gone
LESSON 4 akéshgaan = toenails My notes: all related to base word for foot *Pronunciation: a-kesh-gone
akétal = heel **Pronunciation: a-keh-tal
akétsíín = ankle **Pronunciation: a-keh-TSEEN
akeeʼ = foot My notes: fun fact, to say "tire" you literally say "car's foot", chidí bikee' (car its-foot) *Pronunciation: a-keh'
Colors LESSON 1 łichííʼ = red **Pronunciation: HLi-CHee'
łitsxo = orange (colour) **Pronunciation: HLi-TS(HH)Oh (aspirated HH) - the aspiration differentiates it as a shade
łitso = yellow **Pronunciation: above, without aspiration: HLi-TSOh
łizhin = black **Pronunciation: LHi-(JJ)in -- French J for ZH, short i sounds as almost always
łigai = white Pronunciation: LHi-GUY NOTE THOUGH: "Guy" is the sound, but it's more like "GY(yhe)". Listen on YouTube or something to catch the drift.
LESSON 2 tsédidééh = purple **Pronunciation: TSay-di-dyEEh
yágo dootłʼizh = blue My notes: literally Sky+Going Blue *Pronunciation: YAh-go Doo-(TL)'iJJ --- our click is in there and our French J sound
táłʼidgo doołʼizh = green My notes: another form of "blue", blue like leaves now *Pronunciation: TA(LH)'id-go Doo-(TL)'iJJ
dinilchííʼ = pink **Pronunciation: di-nil-cheh'
dibéłchiʼí = brown **Pronunciation: di-BA(HL)-chi'i' (Sheep is inside the beginning)
Money LESSON 1 béeso yázhí = coins My notes: béeso is money, from peso in Spanish. So, "small money" is coin. *Pronunciation: BAY-so yah-(J)i ---- "yah" is like Ja in German
łichííʼ = penny/1 cent My notes: coins named for the color they are in America *Pronunciation: same as "red"
łitso = nickel/5 cents **Pronunciation: same as "yellow"
dootłʼizhii = dime/10 cents **Pronunciation: same as "blue"
gíínsi = 15 cents **Pronunciation: giiin-si
naaki yáál = 25 cents My notes: referencing the 8-bit coin, a bit is a "yáál", and so two bits makes 1/4 of a dollar; this literally means "2 bits" *Pronunciation: naa-ki YAAHL
LESSON 2 béeso = money/dollars See above
dį́į́ yáál = 50 cents *My notes: Four bits. Pronounce 4 + Bit
hastą́ą́ yáál = 75 cents 6 bits - see above
tʼááłaʼí béeso = one dollar One + dollar - see above
dóó biʼaan = and over My notes: meaning how to connect long numbers; you repeat excessively within one single number to combine the parts *Pronunciation: dough bi' - ahn
taadiin dóó biʼaan naaki béeso = 32 dollars My notes: 3 + 2 (32) dollar *Pronunciation: see the components
LESSON 3 ashdlaʼ béeso = 5 dollars See above
neeznáá béeso = 10 dollars See above
di neeznadíín = hundred My notes: I just use neeznadíín *Pronunciation: nehz-nah-deen
tááłaʼí di neeznadíín = one hundred My notes: again, I don't know if using the "di" *Pronunciation: One + Hundred (see above)
Direction *NOTE: you will hear directions in prayers. They represent far more than on a map. LESSON 1 náhookǫs = north Pronunciation: na-who-Ko(HN)s
haʼaʼaah = east **Pronunciation: ha ' ah ' aah
shádiʼááh = south **Pronunciation: sha-di ' aah
eʼeʼaah = west **Pronunciation: eh' eh' aah
Phrases LESSON 1 hózhǫ́ = beauty My notes: a huge part of Navajo philosophy. You can buy books about it. *Pronunciation: hoh-(J)O(HHN)
sitsijiʼ = there is before me **Pronunciation: si-TSi-ji'
shiyaagi = there is below me **Pronunciation: shi-yaah-gi
náhásdlį́į́ʼ = there is again My notes: these are common prayer phrases as well *Pronunciation: na-has-DLII(HHN)
Weather LESSON 1 dííjį́ = today **Pronunciation: deee-jii(HN)
adinídíín = sunny **Pronunciation: a-di-nii-deen
nahałtin = rain **Pronunciation: na-ha(HL)-tihn
éí = is/it is/as for me My notes: it has no meaning; it's a filler sound Pronunciation: "a" like saying the letter in English **you will also see éíyá often, or "a"+"ya" (like German Ja)
UPDATE: Officially went through every word! Hope it helps.
Wow. Thank you so much for your time and input. Your dedication and patience are deeply appreciated. Yá'át'ééh <3 <3 <3
Mastering the more difficult Navajo sounds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxO7lCvOhlU
How to pronounce Navajo consonants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TggTLMwGluY
Navajo vowels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjBPT3yD28U
Let's Speak Navajo - Episode 01 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nccsMkfDauo
Thank you for your post. I'm going to bookmark this to work through as I go through the course (I've only just started) Your message has clarified several things for me already. Ahéheeʼ
Glad to help! It's completed as far as what I had saved for vocabulary now.
The weird hearts that showed up I think are because I typed what could be offensive? lol it was supposed to be h-o-e, or like Santa saying Hohoho.
T’áá íiyisí ahéhee’! If you need any help with the polish language I will glad to help you:)
Sorry you couldn't copy it... not sure why... I wish I was able to make it a little nicer looking but honestly it was a daunting task to start with haha
thank you so much! i've been learning an Alaskan Dené language (Ahtna) and now i'm trying my hand at Navajo for comparison's sake. would like to note, that the word for sheep, dibé is identical in pronunciation to the Ahtna word for sheep, debae, which refers to the wild Dall sheep that are up here. it's interesting how that particular word was preserved
Yes and I think in my notes I mentioned "horse" in Navajo is actually the old word used up north for dog and is related to how introduction to animals and their purposes shifted with time
Thanks for this great post appreciate the time and effort it must of taken .I've only just started the course and was beginning to feel overwhelmed by my lack pronunciation knowledge.your notes have rekindled my enthusiasm .Thanks again