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Blogging for Navajo Writers and Speakers

August 10, 2011

Well, I have been thinking about blogging in Navajo.

First of all, writing in your target language is very helpful in a language program.  I want there to be more blogs in Navajo. At present I only know about one, Baahane. This blog is not completely in Navajo, but he does have Navajo text at times.

Today, what I want to share are a few tips for when (not if) you are interested in blogging in Navajo.

First, you’ll want to become familiar with using the Navajo keyboard.
Practice. It won’t take more than a few minutes to become acquainted with all the right keys. I would recommend taking an article from the Navajo Wikipedia and try to recreate a few sentences.

Choose a blog host.
There are many different sites to set up a free blog. It wasn’t long ago that an individual who wanted a blog had to have a good amount of technical computer knowledge to set one up. That is not the case today. Many blog sites are very user-friendly. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing where you want your blog hosted. I would recommend checking if you can incorporate audio into your posts. There are some blogs that will allow you to upload audio for free, while others charge. WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, Blogger.com, and these are a few free blog hosts to choose from.

Dealing with the Default Font. 
I will say this about choosing a blog host. Most free blog sites have a default font that posts will appear in. You will have to test the theme you have picked to see if that default font will allow the Navajo vowels to appear correctly. I alluded to this problem in a previous post. I will suggest after you have signed up for a blog….QUICKLY choose a free theme you might want…DON’T PERSONALIZE IT YET. Test the font first before you change everything and find out you might have to switch themes (Note: There is a way around this). Test by copying the following Navajo text into a post:


a ą á ą́ á e é ę ę́ é i í į į́ í o ó ǫ ǫ́ ó ñ Ñ ł Ł Jeeshóóʼ éí Náhookǫsjí kéyah dah siʼánígíí tʼéiyá hólǫ́; áadi éí Hoozdoh Hahoodzo dóó Akééháshį́į́h Hahoodzodi hiná. Nidaʼałkááhí bikʼehgo díí tsídii éí “Gymnogyps californianus” wolyé. Akééháshį́į́h

This is not a problem in some blogging sites. Blogger.com, for example, gives you the option in its settings to choose what font you want your posts to appear in. Now, for a blog site like WordPress.com, themes already have the font written into the coding.

The easy way to get around the default font problem is to insert an HTML code in the text box where you draft your content. I believe there is a way to permanently change the font in the CSS coding, that’s if you can access it….and that will usually cost you.

Start writing!
Write about anything you want; whatever your interests are. But remember everything that goes online is available to the public. There are ways to make your blog private to family and friends only. It’s your personal decision to post what you want, but remember that others will be reading.

For those who don’t want to write, but would rather speak

This is something relatively new to me. If you want to participate as a Navajo blogger, but do not want to write in Navajo…let me introduce you to a few blog features and websites.

Remember, I said you should really consider audio. This is because Navajo is more auditory than it is written, we will need audio. Well, if you are interested in blogging with audio this is what you need to find out. Some sites don’t allow you to upload any audio (ex: Blogger). All sites will allow you to post audio that is hosted on the internet somewhere else…but some sites will need you to upgrade your blog account (that means spend money) to allow you to post audio with your blogging host. There is a free way to do this, but I want to stick with what is easy and free for now. (hint: use Dropbox)

WordPress.com, and Tumblr, have a Post by Voice feature. With this you can call a designated phone number from your phone, talk, and the system will automatically post your audio onto your blog.  I like this option because you can potentially upload a transcript with the audio when you log in at a later time. If transcribing is not your thing and you just want  audio with some text….I am excited to introduce Audiobo.fm  and Cinch.fm.

Cinch.fm and Audioboo.fm are both ways to share audio on the internet. I would look around on their website to see which you would prefer. I think Cinch.fm is ahead because they allow their own “Post by Voice” feature from a phone like I mentioned before. If you have a smartphone, both sites have apps that allow you to record audio from your iPhone. Andriod can only be used with Audioboo. Here is a video by Audioboo, it explains perfectly what they are about. Note: It is fairly close to what Cinch.fm does also.

Intro to Audioboo from Mark Rock on Vimeo.

Wow. There is potential to get a bunch of new Navajo audio content online very easily using these two sites. If you have noticed, what these audio channels really turn into are audio podcasts. Audioboo has an easy format that allows followers to add any channel to their iTunes library as a podcast. Very simple. Cinch.fm can also be added to your personal iTunes library but you have a few more painless steps to make that possible.

If you are a Navajo speaker I would suggest creating an account to write a blog or keep an audio blog. Be creative, and have fun knowing that your writing, or speaking, is potentially helping others learn (or keep) the Navajo language.

When you do please shoot me an email or comment and I will add your blog, audioboo, or cinchcast to my blogroll.

NOTE: There is a lot of information in this post, there is also some information I left out. Please leave a comment if there are any questions or if you run into any problems along the way.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2011 10:49 am

    Yá’át’ééh, I actually started one on word press – hoozdojaan – and introduced my self. it will take me awhile to fully understand blogging, newcomer and all.

    • August 11, 2011 3:37 pm

      Very cool! Just make sure to add at least one tag that is NAVAJO so other people can find your blog. I will add you to my blogroll, unless you have any objections. :) And let me know if you need any help.

      • August 12, 2011 2:29 pm

        tag? how to do that? hmm I will look and see if I can find that.

    • Michaela permalink
      August 27, 2011 7:58 pm

      Northern Light Productions is creating media for the Utah Museum of Natural History. We have some footage of a Navajo woman speaking in Navajo which we are hoping to get transcribed to English as soon as possible. It is not very long and you will be compensated for your work. Please let me know if you are available to transcribe from Navajo to English as soon as possible. We have had trouble finding anyone so your help would be greatly appreciated!

      Also we are wondering if you know any Navajo legends, stories, or myths that you could tell. There is another section in the museum which is supposed to feature stories/legends told in native languages and it would be great to have you participate.

      Many thanks ! I hope to hear from you soon,

      Michaela

      Michaela O’Brien

      Northern Light Productions

      300 Western Ave Fl 2

      Boston, MA 02134

      email: michaela@nlprod.com

      Tel: 617/ 789 4344 x 208

      Fax: 617/ 789 4744

  2. Derek permalink
    August 16, 2011 9:47 pm

    I tweet completely in Navajo at times but write completely in Navajo in my blog but haven’t had the chance to make another blog.

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