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Nemo Há’déést’įį’ is Amazing!

April 23, 2016

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I had the opportunity to attend a screening of Nemo Hádéést’įį’ last month and I loved it. I was very happy the seating chart was filled to half capacity at the ticket counter on arrival and there were more Navajo patrons waiting to reserve their seats.

I was excited but also unsure of what to expect of the event. The SLC Star Wars screening had technical difficulties. I patiently waited for more than an hour for the problem to resolve. No Star Wars, I left disappointed. This time around Finding Nemo had two showings daily for almost a week at the Megaplex Theater in Salt Lake City. In fact, there were screenings available in about nine theaters across three states with other viewing in the works.

What was fun about Nemo Hádéést’įį’ was the opportunity to look up potential vocabulary.  This was a limited preparatory practice for Star Wars. Did you know Garth Wilson’s Conversational Navajo Dictionary has an entry for Turtle? I didn’t until I looked it up. It was interesting to learn turtle ahead of time and  then hear it in the theater. I actually heard it multiple times throughout the movie, even when the turtle was off screen.

The fact that this was an animated film was helpful for me to watch. When I watch dubbed movies in spanish it confuses me a bit. Another example is watching kung fu movies with english dubbing. It kind of kills the experience with the sound and lips not syncing. Dubbing the completed Nemo animation I’m sure had challenges for the script writers, but they did a really good job of syncing navajo dialogue to the animation. There were moments when I forgot I was watching Finding Nemo in another language.  This is hard to explain when I don’t speak or understand navajo fluently. But what I guess I’m saying is that the movie flowed very naturally for not originating in navajo.

Did I learn anything new from the movie? I was surprised by what I could comprehend in navajo. I could not pick out many specific verb conjugations but I really enjoyed hearing some familiar vocabulary. I really wish I had sat in the very back corner seat with paper and pen to take notes, I would have remembered more phrases.

I really want to watch it again, and soon I’ll have that opportunity. The Navajo Nation Museum has started pre-orders for the DVD. Go to NavajoNemo.com(deadlink) to order. I want everyone who is interested in purchasing a DVD to order today. I want the Navajo Nation Museum and Disney/Pixar to know that there continues to be an interest in full-length navajo dubbed films. This can only lead to more entertainment in the navajo language. 

Lastly, I was surprised to hear the end credit song “Beyond the Sea” in navajo, and it is great. I wish it was for purchase somewhere.  It is sung by Fallout Boy vocalist Patrick Stump. You can hear part of it in the Nemo Hádéést’įį’ trailer below.

If you have not seen Nemo Hádéést’įį’ yet, buy the DVD, make some popcorn and invite your elders to watch with you. You will all love it!!!

 

It’s Christmas time

December 7, 2013

Flickr: ClaraTSH

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Well it’s almost Christmas so here are a few phrases with the help of Countryboy79’s website.

Here are a few examples with audio:

Yá’át’ééh Késhmish!

Merry Christmas!  

Yá’át’ééh Késhmish Dóó Baa Hózhǫ́ǫgo Nee Nínáadoohąh!
Merry Christmas & Have a Happy New Year!

Yá’át’éehgo Késhmish Ne’adooleeł!
Have a Great Christmas!

Dahts’ąą’ biyaagi shidááh dííhááł !
Meet me under the mistletoe! 

and lastly, some good all around advice  …

Share these phrases or other pics at Countryboy79 on Facebook and Twitter. Spread the Navajo Holiday cheer!

Yá’át’ééh Késhmish! and Happy Holidays!!

Star Wars is coming to a theater near you!

September 20, 2013
theater navajo

Credit: Fernando de Sousa

The Navajo Nation Museum FB page has posted a list of days and locations of the Navajo dubbed Star Wars screenings for the next few months.

You will have to contact the venue to see what a ticket is going to cost you. Looks like there is plenty of time to fit this into you calendar.

In preparation for the screening I will be watching Star Wars in English maybe 2 or 3 times to familiarize myself with the story line. It has been awhile since I have seen the film.  Warning:  If you are going to see this movie for the very first time and don’t know any Navajo you are going to be bored. A little bit of preparation can help you get the most out of your experience.

 

 

 

Here is the list of shows from the FB page:

Tempe, AZ
Friday or Saturday October 5 , Arizona State University

Phoenix, AZ
Sunday October 6, The Heard Museum

Albuquerque, NM
Friday October 11 The Kimo Theater

Salt Lake City, UT
Friday October 18 Utah Museum of Natural History

Denver, CO
Saturday October 19 Sie FilmCenter

Washington, DC
Friday November 1 National Museum of the American Indian

New York City NY
Sunday November 3 National Museum of the American Indian

San Francisco, CA
Wednesday November 6 American Indian Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA
Saturday November 9 Red Nations Film Festival

Star Wars Dubbing

May 10, 2013

 

galaxy

I was very surprised to see a press release by the Navajo Nation Museum about the dubbing of Star Wars into Navajo! The press release, I believe, can be seen here. According to the release the movie it to premiere at  the Fourth of July Celebration & PRCA ProRodeo in Window Rock, Az. I am going to try and make it to the premiere. Here is a KOAT news report on the Star Wars Auditions held on May 4th.

I am so excited at the prospect of future projects that may come out of this. No mainstream movie has ever been dubbed in Navajo, or any other North American indigenous language that I know of. I really hope that the Navajo Nation will see that there is an interest in Navajo language entertainment. I am glad to see that Director of the Navajo Nation Museum, Manuelito Wheeler, sought out this venture to preserve the Navajo language.

On the choice of movie. It’s an interesting choice, Star Wars. But it is a good choice because everyone is familiar with it. Translating the sci-fi movie will have its challenges. How do you say lightsaber, republic, or Jedi? The real question is… Would you know what they were talking about if you heard the translation? I think this is great opportunity to show how flexible our language is and that we can use it modernly. I hope there are minimal gripes about how this is may “decay the sanctity” of the Navajo language. This is a good, no… great, undertaking.

For future information on the dubbing and screenings visit the Navajo Nation Museum Facebook Page. 

 

Follow these on Facebook

April 17, 2013

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I had the most interesting experience not too long ago on Facebook. I was perusing the Navajo Language Renaissance page for any new information that I could share with everyone when I started reading comments.

I read the post and comments you see to the left. Although I didn’t understand the post completely, I understood what the comment was saying. It’s a simple phrase and I’m sure you can catch the meaning.

I’ve decided that it is a good practice to read through the comments to see the conversation that continues. I pick up new vocabulary this way. Here are a few other Facebook pages and groups you might be interested in:

Dine Bizaad Immersion Camp – Information about upcoming language immersion camp opportunities

Navajo WOTD – Daily words and occasional cultural insight

Navajo Word of the Day – Commonly used words, phrases, sentences

Dine Bizaad – NAU students learning the Navajo language & culture

Waashindoon Dine Bizaad – Navajo language club in the Washington D.C. area

Navajo Language Renaissance – non-profit working to revitalize the Navajo language, provides Navajo-only postings.

Situational, Interactional, and Meta Navajo

March 6, 2013

situational navajoFrom what I have seen in the stats it looks like the resource I am highlighting today does not get the traffic it deserves.

The Navajo Language Academy has made Situational Navajo, Interactional Navajo, and Meta available online. They are part of a collection Professor Ken Hale bequeathed to the Navajo Language Academy, Inc.  I didn’t get a real opportunity to look at these until I had some free time. I am glad I finally did. These are amazing! You would not realize that from the look of it.

These documents are all very useful, but I want to make sure that everyone is especially introduced to Interactional Navajo and Meta Navajo.

The introduction to Interactional Navajo states that, “This is language that might occur in any of a number of different situations  It is the language that enables one to communicate personal wants and feelings to others.” For a beginning Navajo student this will be very helpful, especially if the student is already working with a fluent speaker directly. While there are plenty of examples to draw from Interactional Navajo, I decided instead to give you a sample run down of some of the sections listed in the Table of Contents:

   Expressing Agreement
Expressing Understanding
Offering to Help
Stating Warning
Inquiring about Forgetting
Inquiring Whether Something is Possible
Expressing Need
Inquiring About Difficulty
Expressing Ease
Expressing Pleasure
Expressing Worry
Expressing Surprise
Expressing Sympathy
Stating Want
Expressing Boredom

Now for Meta NavajoMetaNavajo is the interactional Navajo that applies to language. As far as I can see all phrases in this section are associated with language acquisition questions. For example, if someone says something to quickly and you need to ask them to repeat the phrase…. this is where you find that phrase. Or if you want something to be said a bit slower. This is the document to use. Here are a few examples:
.
Dinék’ehjí ádíní /  Say it in Navajo.
______ ha’át’íí(sh) óolyé?   /  What is __ called? or What’s the meaning of__?
ha’át’íísh ááh yiłní? / What is he/she talking about?
hazhóó’ígo ádíní  /  Speak slowly (so I can understand you)
doo nidiists’a’a da  /   I can’t hear you, I don’t hear you.
.
If you are learning Navajo with a fluent speaker I would immediately go download and print this document to keep with you. Be sure to read the introduction. I wish there was a way to improve the format, but this will have to do for now.

“It’s worthwhile to greet people and initiate conversation in Navajo”

February 27, 2013
Credit: kayveeinc

Flickr credit: kayveeinc

My title today comes from the preface of Interactional Navajo. Simply greeting others  to encourage Navajo language usage was a concept I had thought of a few months ago. How many individuals on the reservation actually initiate their conversations in Navajo anymore? 

Referring to my Spanish language experience, if an individual initiates a conversation with Hola, Mucho gusto…. I am inclined to respond in Spanish and the conversation continues in Spanish.  We need more of this in Navajo. Depending on the language ability of the two conversing individuals it will continue for a deferential amount of time.  But the goal is not to see how long people continue, we want to encourage everyone to use the Navajo they do know.

If I ever get the chance I want to initiate some random Navajos in conversation with Navajo salutations. It won’t matter their speaking level or knowledge, I just want to see what their response will be. Will they continue to follow suit? Will they switch to English? If anyone else wants to take this idea and run with it, do it. Let’s experiment.

It makes me think of how different our language situation might be if we all initiated conversations in Navajo.

Note: Sorry for the break in posts. The new year has been interestingly frustrating. I have plenty to continue to share with everyone through Navajo Now, and I should be posting regularly from now on.

Interview with Orson – Wááshindoon Diné bizaad group member

December 29, 2012

Orson J. is originally from the small community of Twin Lakes, New Mexico. He grew up on the rez, attended college at New Mexico Tech then moved to the east coast. He now resides in the Maryland/DC Metropolitan Area where he works as an engineer designing and building satellites and participates in the Wááshindoon Diné bizaad group.

1. What is your earliest memory of the Navajo language?

My earliest memory would be my childhood. Growing up, my family was always talking Navajo.

2. When did you decide to study/learn Navajo? How long have you been learning/studying?

I always wanted to learn/study but decided when I moved away from the “Rez.” I have been studying off and on throughout my life.

3. What kind of challenges do you face as you have been learning?

I can understand it better than I can speak it.

4. What level of fluency did you have when you started studying/learning? What level of fluency do you have now?

Early childhood I could speak and understand but over the years I drifted away from speaking it. When I hear it I can understand it. Now I’m starting out as a beginner.

5. What is your ultimate goal with the language?

To speak it fluently, carry a conversation with my elders.

6. I personally have a wish list of types of media I would like to see mainstream in Navajo, what is something you would want on your Navajo Learning WishList?

More smartphone apps. I rather like to hear/speak it rather than learn the grammar/spelling

7. There are quite a few Navajos wanting to learn Navajo but probably don’t know where to begin. What do you suggest they do to begin?

I am in the same situation. If I was back on the rez it would be easier since family speaks it, but away from the rez I would suggest Rosetta Stone. I am new to it. The Dine Bizaad group, we found that Rosetta stone was an easier way of learning. Then again there are also Navajo classes in college and in high school. I would recommend taking such classes if available.

8. For those who are fluent or have a level of speaking fluency, what do you think they should do to either maintain that fluency or improve it?

I can’t think of any other way to maintain the language other than speaking and hearing it.

9. What kind of materials do you use, etc.?

Now, Rosetta Stone, local Navajo radio stations using the internet, and family. I try to talk to family in Navajo.

10. What should fluent speakers of the language be doing to help this generation who wants to learn?

Back to question 8. Speak it fluently, encourage the younger generation to maintain and keep the language. Teach that it is important to maintain. At one point in our history it helped save this country. We, as a people, have to keep that.

11. What kind of advice or words of encouragement do you have for Navajo language learners?

Keep trying. I am still learning and I still want to learn. I know there are many things I can learn from my elders who only know Navajo.