Mode

The mode of a Navajo verb conveys information about the timing of an action or condition. There are seven modes: Imperfective, Perfective, Future, Iterative, Usitative, Optative, and Progressive. This website provides descriptions of each mode and provides example sentences that illustrate the modes. Certain adverbial expressions are compatible with only some of the modes. Examples of these are included also.

Here is one example with a verb in the optative mode:

’Oółháásh lágo.

2-sleep.O don’t
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Don’t go to sleep.

Each sentence is displayed with the Navajo text on the first line, an English translation on the third, and a gloss of words and word parts on the second. The verb stem is in italics and indicates the mode. There is also a red button which, when clicked, will allow you to hear a recording of a speaker saying the sentence. For more information on the gloss of words and word parts visit this link. For this project we draw on previous work by Fernald & Perkins (manuscript), Young & Morgan (1987), Young, Morgan & Midgette (1992), and others cited in References [link].

In the box below you can search for sentences by verb, mode, or adverb.

An example search has returned 100 entries

’Aadę́ę́’ hoołtį́į́ł.

there-from 3s-rain.Prog

’Adą́ą́dą́ą́’ shá bíighah kintahdi tádísháahgo shee ’i’íí’ą́.

yesterday sun proportionate town-at 1-go.about.Prog-GO 1-on 3-sun.went.down.P

’Adą́ą́dą́ą́’ shichidí tsé bik’ą́ą́h yíłbą́ą́z.

yesterday 1-car rock 3-against 3-run.P

’Ahbínídą́ą́’ t’áadoo ’ííyą́ą́’góó biniinaa wónáásdóó dichin shi’niiłhį́.

morning-past NEG 1-eat.P-NEG.GO because soon hunger 1-3-kill.P

’Ahbínídą́ą́’ t’áadoo ’ííyą́ą́’góó biniinaa wónáásdóó sitsiits’iin díínii’.

morning-past neg 1-eat.P-GO.NEG because soon 1-head 3-ache.P

’Ahwééh yishdlį́į́h ’áádóó naanishgóó yishááh.

coffee 3-1-drink.U and.then work-toward 3-1-go.U

’Ashkii yázhí bee’eldǫǫh yik’ee ’ádadeeznih.

boy little gun 3-on.account.of REFL-3-hurt.P
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The little boy hurt himself with the gun. (YM 1987:8)

’Atsiniltł’ish dóó tó dayókeedígíí baa ’áłah ’aleeh lá.

electricity and water pl-3-request.I-NOM 3-for meeting DISC
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Those who are requesting electricity and water will have a meeting.

’Ayóo deesk’aazgo beeldléí ditánígíí biih násh’nah.

very cold-GO blanket 3-thick.NI-ÍGÍÍ 3-into 1-crawl.R
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When it’s very cold, I get into a thick blanket.

’Ałk’idą́ą́’ ’ayóo nahałtin ńt’éé’.

long.ago very areal-rain.I past

’Ałk’idídą́ą́’ kin ’áshłaa ńt’éé’ ’éí t’ahdii bii’ shighan.

quite.long.ago house 3-1-make.P past it still 3-in 1-home

’Áádę́ę́’ nánísdzáago łį́į́’ bá nida’deeshjoł.

from.there 1-return.P-GO horse 3-for pl-1-set.out.NCM.F

’Ádą́ą́dą́ą́’ásh nishínílnish?

yesterday-Q 2-work.P

-chą́’

-deená

-go

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verb followed by subordinating enclitic –go

-íighah

-ísh

-k’eh + -jí

in a language e.g. diné k’ehjí ’in Navajo’

-k’i

-kéé’

Ch’iyáán nináhíłnihgo haa nízahjį’ ’ánádįįh?

food 3-2-buy.R how 3-long.N-up.to 3-become.none.R

ch’óóshdą́ą́dą́ą́’

Ch’óóshdą́ą́dą́ą́’ Na’nízhoozhídi kééhasht’į́ ńt’éé’.

formerly Gallup-at 1-live.I past
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I used to live in Gallup. I lived formerly in Gallup. (YM 1987:296)                                                                                                                                                                           

Ch’ééh jiyáán hooghangóó dah dii’ągo shee nikihoníłt.

watermelon home-toward up 3-1-move.SRO.P 1-with area-start-rain.P
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When I set out for home with the melon it started to rain on me. (YM 1987:346)

Chidí kǫ́ǫ́ ndaajeehígíí t’áá ’ániidígo dahodeezlįįd.

car here 3-run.pl.I-COMP just recently pl-3-become.P
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These cars that run around here just recently came into existence, cars are a recent invention. (YM 1987:450)

Chidí naat’a’í nihił dah diit’a’.

airplane 1dpl-with up 3-fly.P

Chidí naat’a’íísh hooghankáá’góó ch’ínísaal ’éí doodaii’ dziłghą́ą́’góó daats’í?

airplane house-over-along over-3-fly.P TOP or mountain-attached-along perhaps

Chidíísh bee hólǫ́ doodago ni daats’í chidí nee hólǫ́?

car-Q 3-with 4-exist.N or 2 maybe car 2-with 4-exist.NI

Chidíísh bee hólǫ́ doodaii’ ni daats’í chidí nee hólǫ́?

car-Q 3-with 4-exist.NI or you perhaps car 2-with 4-exist.NI

Da’ Ron saad nináánéíłkaah ya’?

Q Ron word 3-3-investigate.I Q
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Ron’s investigating words again?

Da’adánídi ’áts’ą́ą́’ deeshghał.

restaurant-at ribs 3-1-eat.F
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I’m going to eat ribs at the restaurant.

Dibé bighan báátis dah yiishte’.

sheep corral 3-over up 1-climb.P

Dichinísh doodaii’ dibáá’ísh dzinízin?

hunger-Q or thirst-Q 4-want.NI

Díigi ’át’éego yigááł.

this-similar.to 3-walk.Prog
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This is the way he walks. (YM 1987:341)

Díí chizh shá ’ałk’íniishóósh.

this firewood 1-for 3-2-split.I
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Split these pieces of wood for me. (YM 1987:92)

díkwíí

Díkwíísh ninááhai?

how.many-Q 2-winter.NI

Dlǫ́ǫ́’ ba’áán góne’ yahadeeshnii’go dlǫ́’áyázhí shishhash.

prairie.dog 3-hole into down1-3.to.reach́.out.hand prairie.dog-little 1-bite.P

doo ’ashohodoobéézhgóó

doo --- le’ ’át’éégóó

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used with the optative mode to produce a meaning roughly equivalent to “proof against”

Doo b bééhózin da ya’?

neg 3-with 3-know.CI neg Q

Doo choshijooł’į́į́’ le’ ’át’éégóó sh hóyéé’.

NEG 3-1-make.use.O proof.against-NEG 1-with lazy.NI

doochǫǫł --- dooleeł

Dooládó’ shį́į́ ’adą́ą́dą́ą́’ shich’ohoos’ni’ da kintah góyaa yishááł ńt’éé’ béeso naadiinígíí ńdiiłtsooz.

wow probably yesterday 1-lucky.P town areal down 1-go.I Past money twenty-NOM 3-sit.FFO.P
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Boy oh boy, I was in luck yesterday --- I was walking down the street and found a twenty dollar bill. (YM 1987:171)

dooshą’ --- lá

Dził bit’ááhgi bįįh halzheeh.

Mountain 3-close.to-at deer 3-3-hunting.CI
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He’s deer hunting over near the mountain.

Gowééh ła’ ’ádá dooshkááł laanaa.

coffee one for.self pl.3-1-handle.OC.O wish

Ha’a’áahgo shilį́į́’ bá niná’áshjoł.

east-GO 1-horse 3-for again-1-feed.NCM.R

Ha’át’éegoshą’ ’ayóo náníldzid?

why-Q very 2-fear.I

Ha’át’éegoshą’ t’áadoo ’azee’ál’į́į́góó nisíníyáa da?

why-Q NEG hospital-to 2-go.sg.P NEG

ha’át’éejį’

where to a point

Ha’át’ííshą’ hastiin dóó ’at’ééd ’áyiilaa?

what-Q man and girl 3-3-make.P
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What did the man and the girl make?

Ha’ąądi dibé bighan.

areal-other.side sheep 3-corral

haa nízah

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how far is it, how much time

haa níłnééz

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how long, how tall is it

haa nóolin

what does it look like

Haa’í lá neezgai?

where Q 3-hurt.N

Haa’íshą’ neezgai?

where-Q 3-hurt.N

Haidą́ą́’ ’a’áán góne’ nishishnish ńt’éé’ --- doo sh yá’áhoot’éeh da.

winter-past mine.shaft 1-work.P past neg 1-with 3-good.N neg

Hatáálgóó déyáago shikélchí t’óó tsxį́į́łgo bił ’ada’shéshiizhgo ńdaséłkad.

ceremony-1-go-Fut-GO 1-moccasin merelyhurry.GO 3-with 3-1-pierce-GO 3-1-sew-P
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Since I was going to a ceremony, I hurriedly pierced holes in my moccasins and sewed them.

háá-P.ENCLITIC

where. The expressions formed with ’háá-’ have a postpositional enclitic following them which indicates information about direction, location, or path.

Hádą́ą́’sh Dibé Nitsaadę́ę́’ néínídzá?

when-past-Q Colorado 3-return.P

Háí lá tsinaa’eeł ’áyiilaa?

who Q boat 3-3-make.P

Hwééldigóó nda’aznánę́ędą́ą́’ nihahastóí yę́ę ła’ béédaho’dooszįįd.

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Kin Łánídiísh ’éí doodago Bee’eldííldahsinildi daats’í naniná?

Flagstaff-at-Q TOP or Albuquerque-at perhaps 2-go.around.CI

Kintah góyaa yishááł ńt’éé’ béeso ńdiiłtsooz

areal-down 1-go.Prog past money 3-1-pick.FFO.P

Mary ha’át’íísh nayiisnii’?

Mary what-Q 3-to.buy.I

Mary yíká hoolne’.

Mary 3-for 3-call.P

Na’nishkaadgo nídíshchííyaagi hanáshyį́į́h ńt’éé’ ’iiłhaazh lá, t’ah nít’éé’ shilééchąą’í ch’ééshinísid.

1-herd.I-GO pinetree-under-at 1-rest.I past 1-slept.P DISC all.of.sudden 1-dog 1-woke.up.P

Na’nízhoozhígóó náádínídzáago háadish ’adeeshį́į́ł nínízin?

Gallup-toward again-2-go.R-GO where-Q 1-eat-F 2-want.NI

Naakaii Bito’gi béégashii bee łá’í ’ídlínígíí bee ’anishtah.

mexican water-at cow 3-with one-unify.P-COMP 3-with 1-among.NI
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I’m a member of the Mexican Springs Cattle Association. (YM 1987:164)

Náhookǫ́sdę́ę’go ních’igo ’ayóo deesk’aaz.

north.from-GO breeze-GO very cold.SPN

Ndáa’di shizhé’é diné ła’ yił ’ahi’niigą́ą’go bita’ niséyá.

summer.ceremony-at 1-father man one 3-fight.P-GO 3-in between 3-1-go.siP
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When a man started fighting them with my father at the War Dance, I got in between. (YM 1987:59)

Nidlóóhísh doodaii’ doo daats’í nidlóoh da?

2-cold.I-Q or neg perhaps 2-cold.I neg

Niísh ’ałdó’ t’áá ’ákwíinínízin?

2-Q also just 2-think.so.NI
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Do you think so too? (YM 1987:79)

Nimá yázhí bighangóó díílwoł dóó ’áájí ’awéé’ baa ’áhólyą́ą dooleeł.

your aunt 3-house-to 2-run-and that-way baby 3-for 2-care.Fut

Nizhe’é ha’át’íísh yaa naaghá?

2-father what-Q 3-about 3-do.CI

Níká ’adeeshwoł biniiyé níyá.

2-for 1-run.F 3-purpose.of 1-came.P

néishjį́į́h

R mode-1-become black, get sunburned.R
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I will become black, get sunburned again and again

Ńléí ’asdzą́ą́ sáníshą’ háí ’át’į́?

there woman old-Q what 3-be.N

Shichidí t’ahdii yá’át’ééh, ’át’ah ’índa ła’ ninááhideeshnih.

1-car still 3-good.N later one again-3-1-buy.F
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My car is stíll good so I won’t buy another one until later. (YM 1987:132)

Shidá’í dóola yilááh ’ábóodziil jiní.

1-Uncle bull 3-greater 3-strong.NI 4-say.P
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It is said that my uncle is stronger than a bull. (YM 1987:6)

Shikéédę́ę́’ naa hodoolzhish.

1-behind-from 2-passing become.F

Shilééch’ąą’í hats’ąą ńdóosht’į́į́ł laanaa nízin yę́ę bik’íníyá.

1-dog areal-away.from 1-hide.O wishful 3-want past 3-1-find.P
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My dog wanted to hide from me but I found him.

Shimá sání t’áá shídin ’ííyá.

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My grandmother went away without me. (YM 1987:713)

Shimá sitsilí bibéésh bee hane’í bits’ą́ą́’ náádii’ą́.

1-mom 1-little.brother 3-cellphone 3-away.from 3-3-return.P

Shiníbaal doo tó biníkáogeeh le’ ’át’éégóó ’íishłaa.

1-tent NEG water 3-through-3-flow.O proof.against-NEG 3-1-make.P

Shí ’éí t’áá naanishdóó kingóó déyá.

I TOP just work-from town-to 1-go.I

Shį́įgo ch’ééh jiyáán yishį́į́h áádóó tó lą’í yishdlį́į́h.

summer-GO watermelon 3-1-eat.U and.then water lots 3-1-drink.U
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Every summer, I eat watermelon then I drink a lot of water.

Shį́į́dą́ą́’ łį́į́’ yázhí shee hazlį́į́’.

summer-past pony 1-with 3-become.P
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I got a pony last summer, I acquired a pony last summer. (YM 1987:410)

t’ahdii

T’áá ’ákwíízhíní tó dah siyínígóó ’ałnánáshdááh.

every summer lake-toward again-1-go.R

Táá’ daats’í shinááhaigo Hwéeldi hoolyéégóó sh dah ’adiiná níigo halne’ łeh shicheii.

three maybe 1-year.P-GO Fort.Sumner areal-be.called-toward 1-with start.off 3-migrate.P 3-say.NI-GO
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As my grandfather tells it, he was about three years old when he started off with the family on the move to Fort Sumner. (YM1987:29)

Tsé ’ayóí ’áníłtso léi’ tsékooh góyaa hadah ch’ééłmááz.

rock remarkably large INDEF canyon areal-down areal-edge out-3-1-roll.P

Tł’éédą́ą́’ ńléí dził bine’jí ’adildííl yiits’a’ ni’.

night-past there mountain 3-behind-way thunder 3-sound.P recall

Yadiizíníshą’ haa néelt’e’go nínízin?

can-Q how 3.many.N-GO 2-want.NI

yóó’

Łį́į́’ ’áhidiníłnáago sizį́.

horse Recip-3-opposite-GO 3-du-stand.SPN
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The horses stand facing in opposite directions.

łah