Skip to content

My One Minute of Navajo – 8.14.2012

August 14, 2012


Here’s my one minute of Navajo in response to my challenge: One Minute Navajo 8.14.2012 

If a correction is needed, which I’m sure I might need, please post a video response in YouTube. Thanks.

Code Talker’s Daughter – An Interview

August 8, 2012

Zonnie Gorman
photo credit: Nicola Majocchi

I’ve come across an interview with Zonnie Gorman that is applicable to our appreciation of the Navajo language. I am grateful I came across it, especially with Navajo Code Talkers Day just around the corner (August 14).

Zonnie Gorman is the daughter of Carl Gorman who was one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. She is a recognized historian on our beloved Navajo Code Talkers. She was interviewed on March 12, 2012 by Dr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette,  At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research.

More information on where and when Gorman will be lecturing next is posted on her website:

The interview audio can be downloaded at:
nterview begins at 7:07

One Month Until One Minute Navajo

July 14, 2012

One Minute Navajo is in one month – 08.14.2012

I have a  suggestion.

Say the day of the month and day of the week in your introduction. With a little help from that’s so easy. Hint: replace Táá’ts’áadah and nda’iiníísh with 14 and Tuesday.

From Yoołkááł is the Navajo word for “to become day(time).” Combined with the Navajo word for “today” (dííjį́, or dííshjį́), you can say the following:

Táá’ts’áadahgóó yoołkááł dííshjį́, nda’iiníísh. (Today is the 13th, Friday.)

New Lyrics Page

June 30, 2012

Hey everyone, I’ve started a page for Sharon Burch lyrics under Resource Links.

The lyrics have been typed out with the Navajo keyboard for your convenience. My suggestion would be to use these lyrics with Learning With Text.  They can also be added to your iPod library to accompany your Sharon Burch music. The diacritical marks, as you can see, are displayed correctly when you pull up the lyrics in an iPod or iPhone.

So far I have transcribed the Yazzie Girl and Colors of My Heart albums. I’ll be working on one other this week.


From Font to Keyboard – Converting Navajo text

June 3, 2012

Have you been in this situation? You want to copy and paste Navajo text from some website only to find out that it is fine when you read it on the internet, but it is a jumbled mess in Microsoft Word. This is because the website was using the Navajo Font to make the diacritical marks. When you paste the text into Word the font is not defaulted to read it in Times New Roman Navajo, just Times New Roman.

If you are aware of how to use the Navajo Keyboard you can go in and change each letter manually. I did this a time or two until I found a better way.

Step One: Obtain your text by copying and pasting it into Notepad. I prefer Notepad because I have found I make fewer mistakes with it. You can also use Excel and Word.

Step Two: Open a new window to:   or refer to this screenshot.

You want to become familiar with the numbers and characters that account for the diacritical marks.

Step Three: In Notepad go to EDIT>REPLACE. You should see the Replace window pop-up. It is Ctrl + H as well. Ctrl +H is also the same shortcut if you use Word or Excel.

Step Four: You will need to input the appropriate numbers and characters in the Find what  and Replace with fields. Most often you will have to input a number into the Find what field and the matching diacritical mark using the Navajo Keyboard in the Replace with. Here is an example with the first number 1, that is supposed to be á. After you have entered the right characters in the right fields, click on find next. You should see the first 1 highlighted.

At this point you can hit Replace. You should find that the 1 that was highlighted has now been changed and that the next 1 in the text is now highlighted.

From here you can replace each 1 by clicking Replace until you’ve gone through the entire text. You might ask why not just Replace All? It’s faster, right? Well yes, but if your text has any numbers that represent actually numbers like in a numerical list, those numbers will be replace as well.  I’ve had to start everything all over after I realized I had changed actually numbers. If there are not a lot of real numbers you can just type them out (one, two, three, etc) and when done, Replace All. When I can I like to Replace All, but only after I’ve made sure there are no actual numbers.

After you have changed the last 1, that is pretty much the entire process. Move onto the next number and diacritical mark. In this case 4 is next.

In Notepad the numbers that have been changed will look smaller than usual. This is normal. Watch out for the number zero. It looks so much like the letter o in some fonts. I would make sure to look out for : ! @ # $  % ^ & * ( ) _ + { }, these might be capital letters with diacritical marks.

After you have scanned and are sure you got everything, make sure to save your work. 

When everything looks fine I like to copy and paste the completed text into Word to make sure I can copy and paste everywhere.

I hope this helps. If there are any questions leave a comment below.

Going to use old media

May 11, 2012

I have a night class four days a week. This daily commute gives me an opportunity to listen to Navajo.

It is hard to listen to Navajo lately. Having so many choices between my favorite radio programs and some new music I’ve downloaded, it really is a tough decision. The option to listen to Navajo always crosses my mind, and I will act on that thought maybe one in four times. That’s not enough. So I’ve decided to make cassette tapes with Navajo content on it.

I have defined my barriers and I’ve decided this is the best plan of action. First, this will save my iPod battery. Second, it is the best possible way to refrain from listening to anything else on my iPod. The added bonus is that I can get in my car and go, no idling. The tape will pick up where I left off when I switch off the ignition. This is good safety-wise. Usually, I’ll sit for a minute to plug in my iPod, find a playlist or podcast, adjust the volume, then get on the road. This is not a good practice when my class gets out at night.

I also know all the rewind, fast forward  and volume buttons and knobs on my car stereo by touch. I don’t have to take my eyes off the road to search for a song or rewind to catch a phrase. No need to unlock my device then search for a song I wanted while on the road.  I know my iPod has a voice command function, but my iPod will rewind to the beginning of tracks instead of by a few seconds.

I see nothing but positives. I can only store up to 90 minutes of audio on a tape, but I usually listen to only a few stories repeatedly anyway. I am thinking about making one side full of dramatized children’s stories and the other side with more adult listening like Navajo Radio Network broadcasts. Did I also mention I found my old Yazzie Girl tape in the closet yesterday?  =)

So how am I going to do this? I have a 3.5 mm to AV cable I use for connecting my iPod to our house stereo. If I run the 3.5mm end to my laptop, run the AV to the house stereo, open a Navajo playlist in iTunes (or open videos on YouTube) and hit record on the stereo….it works like a charm. Quick and easy recording.

To close out, I would like to say that I am catching on to some of the Navajo I am listening to. I listen to the Caterpillar Story repeatedly, and on a recent drive home I recognized all the days of the week, some repeated of sections, and some other vocabulary I know. When I started listening to this story I thought it was a little quick for me to catch individual words. Now I’m starting to catch individual words and phrases. It helps to have the video for a visual reference, and I have watched it a few times, but I usually just listen. I am not able to understand everything, but I am pretty sure I could write a rough transcription. This is an exciting milestone for me.

Navajo Anki Deck Available

May 3, 2012

ImageI’ve taken the opportunity to collect all the Navajo flashcards from Quizlet and Flashcard Exchange to create a shared master Navajo deck to be used with Anki. There are 814 facts (flashcards) in the deck, plenty of flashcards to keep a beginner busy. These are all formatted to show a Navajo term or phrase first, then show the English translation second.

If you are not familiar with Anki, go the Anki website to see what it is and what it can do for you as a language learner. I would recommend visiting the Documentation link for User Manual and Introductory videos. You can watch this short video about using Anki:

The program will need to downloaded onto your computer to access the shared Navajo deck I’ve uploaded. I believe you can download decks directly to a cellphone with Droid, here is the video on how.

Once you have installed and opened the program go to: File>Download>Shared Deck

In the new window, search for: Navajo
You should find the deck listed there under Master Navajo deck

Click OK and the deck will load in the main window. Then start studying.

There are so many other features of this program, this is a quick start guide to get to the Navajo deck I’ve shared. If you have any questions leave a comment or email me. I wish I had a more in-depth post on Anki, but this will have to do for now. I really wanted to make everyone aware of the availability of the Navajo deck. And when I think about, you’ll learn more by actually using the program. If you are curious about SRS or Spaced Repetition Software I would read this Wired Magazine article that introduced me to SRS and another SRS program like Anki called Supermemo.

Learning With Text – Navajo Reading

April 26, 2012

A language learning program has come out called Learning With Text. This software helps with reading in what ever language you are learning. I’ve started to use the program to read in Spanish and I enjoy it very much. Of course, I wanted to know if it could be formatted to be used by Navajo language learners. I am here to tell you, it can.

The main interface of the program looks like this:

There are four boxes that the computer screen is divided into. You’ve got one screen for your text, another for translation notes, another for a dictionary, the last window is more or less a main menu.

The left bottom screen displays any text you are reading. My sample shows text from a Dine College Multimedia book, Chidi Nimazi. In other mainstream languages it is easy to find text to copy and past into the program, but with Navajo you will most likely have to type the text you want to read. This won’t be much of a problem if you are just starting out, you’ll want to stick with children’s books as a beginner and work your way up anyway. This is where your knowledge of using the Navajo keyboard comes in handy. I have been getting text from the Dine College Multimedia books, the UNM Digital Library, and also Sharon Burch lyrics.

The top right window will open with a series of fields when a word in main text is selected. This is where you can add tags, set learning levels, and provide a translation for the word or phrase you selected. Learning levels range from 1 to 5, with an option to choose a Well Known or Ignore option. When you enter a translation for the word you select the LWT program stores the data. So when you read another text these words will already be highlighted with the appropriate learning level along with the English translation you entered the first time. Smart program. This way you know how much of the text you don’t know automatically, it saves you so much time without having to look up the word again.

The bottom right window displays a dictionary in the language you are reading. Navajo does not have an official online dictionary, however has an extensive glossary/dictionary he has developed. In the Navajo setup this window opens to his Dine-English Dictionary. It would be great if this window was automatically directed to the word selected, this is how it works with other languages, but this is a simple work around that works great. It might be necessary to keep another dictionary on hand because’s dictionary is not extensive.

The top left window has some info about what text you are reading, # of unknown words, navigation menu, and audio navigation if you have uploaded audio for your text. Yes, audio! Audio will be rare with Navajo text, but I will try and add text I’ve typed out to to be read and used in the LWT program.

So when you really get down to it… this program is is basically a modern version of this:

This traditional layout can involve a lot of flipping, searching, note taking, etc. To carry out a system like this online, with digital media, is just as laborious. That might work for you, and that if fine. But, Learning With Text uses this same set up and saves you study time.

I like using LWT because I can access my text from any computer with internet; I don’t have to lug around all my books. It keeps my data throughout all the text I am reading. There is also an option to transfer words, their meaning, and the sentence it is contained in to my Anki flashcard deck.

So this is a great program. The greatest downfall is the fact we have to type out our own text. Time to put those Navajo keyboard typing skills to the test. You could copy and paste text from the Navajo Wikipedia page. But,  I would suggest getting text from the Diné College Multimedia books or the UNM Digital Library. The best accompanying feature is the audio. We don’t have a lot in Navajo. But if we use, that will change. I’ve setup up page for text that I would like to have read at Shíká ‘anilyeed link on Menu bar.

To get started with the program I’ve written a post on how to get started with Learning With Text.

To close out, I’ve uploaded a video preview. Note: Please ignore my speech in some places, I get ahead of myself.