I am quite a fan of American culture and more particularly of the Great West. Since my youngest age and my first trips to Arizona, the Navajo people have always been a part of my deepest dreams andalso a part of my discoveries on the spot!
This year, I returned to France with great nostalgia for my summer in the USA (and particularly in the area of Laughlin, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley). These are places that I discovered when I was barely 8 years old, alongside my parents. Then I went back there many times in my youth.
Today I am a 47-year-old mother and I would like to pass on my passion for Arizona to my children. The eldest is 17 and has big deadlines this year in high school, so it was out of place to ask him to be interested in learning a new language! On the other hand, my youngest son, 6 years old, is always ready to discover new things and quickly fell in love with the unknown sounds of the Navajo language! He always learns by laughing which is very nice!
Each time I had the opportunity to spend time with the Navajos, in Monument Valley or elsewhere, they all told me very original stories and legends. All marked me.
Transmitting these stories heard on the road to my children constituted both a duty of family memory to me but also good times with them!
So three months ago, my youngest son and I started learning Navajo through a simple app.
Why learn Navajo and not Spanish or Italian you might ask?
For our family, the Great West of the USA has always been a great founding dream. The red earth and the canyons as well as the native Indian legends are for us powerful engines of escape and adventure!
Moreover Navajo is currently spoken by barely 170,000 people in the USA, which is very few, too few. It is a language which, if we are not interested in it, will soon be a dead language like Latin or Aramaic.
The children of our time like to own a lot of toys, games and are very absorbed by the Internet and the videos introduced on YouTube or social networks. Looking at learning Navajo as a family is really an opportunity to make them realize that learning for life is much better than material possessions!
In addition, the sound of the Navajo is really atypical. The syllables, for us French, do not resemble anything known! It is a good job of decryption and memorization.
After three months of Navajo, we were able to recognize, in an American newspaper, a simple pun in Navajo! We were overjoyed!
For the moment we only master a few notions and are absolutely not ready to start a real conversation!
For now we only know a few words that we tried to hold in our minds as
Yá’át’ééh abíní (Good morning)
Yá’át’ééh ałní’íní (Good afternoon)
Yá’át’ééh hiiłchi’į’ (Good evening)
Hágoónee’ (Good bye)
T’aa shoodi (Please)
We are glad to use Cudoo to learn Navajo! The courses are efficient and practical
Here’s my selection of books about the Navajo language