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 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!!!
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 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!!
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:
Friday or Saturday October 5 , Arizona State University
Sunday October 6, The Heard Museum
Friday October 11 The Kimo Theater
Salt Lake City, UT
Friday October 18 Utah Museum of Natural History
Saturday October 19 Sie FilmCenter
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
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.
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.
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.