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