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 50 entries

’Ahbínígo gohwééh dííłbish.

morning-GO coffee 3-2-boil.F

’Aoo’, ’ashdladigóó ’oolkiłgo ’áádę́ę́’ sh ná’ílwod.

yes five-at-toward clock-GO there-from 1-with 3-return.P

’Awéé’ bimá bit’ah sitį́.

baby 3-mother 3-undercover 3-lying.SPN
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The baby is lying under the same covers with its mother.

’Azhą́ hasistih ndi ’ayóo ’eesh’į́.

even.though 1-be.old.P even.though very 3-1-see.Prog

’Áłchíní hazhóʼí bik’i yíldził.

children careful 3-for 2-support.Prog

’Eii łééchą̨ą’í t’áá ’áko taah yilwo’.

that dog immediately water.into 3-run.U
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The dog immediately runs into the water.

’Ólta’di ’áłchíní binaashii sédáago ’ííníshta’.

school-at children 3-across.from 1-sit.SNP 3-read.NI

-chą́’

-níká

bik’ídidiidis

3DO-1dpl-wrap.it.around.it.F

Ch’ééh jiyáán náshdį́į́h ’áádóó tó náshdlį́į́h.

watermelon again-1-eat.R then water again-1-drink.R
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I eat watermelon then I drink water.

Chʼééh jiyáán doo łikan da, wóóyą́ą́ʼ.

watermelon NEG sweet NEG 3-3-eat.O
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The watermelon does not taste good. Don´t eat it.

Da’ dichin nínízin?

Q hungry 2-want.NI

dadoołhį́į́’

pl-3DO-2dpl-melt.it.P

dajiigish

pl-3DO-4dpl-make.one.cut.in.it.I

Damóogo ’áłah ’aleeh ’áko ’áadi nihaadíínááł.

Sunday 3-gather 3-be so there-at 1-Pl-to-2-arrive.F

Daniel hahgosh hidilníísh?

Daniel when-Q 3-start.work.I

Dibé bitsį’ doodago béégashii bitsį’ daats’í nínízin?

sheep 3-meat or cow 3-meat possibly 3-2-want.NI

Dibé hólǫ́ǫgo ła’ níjół’ah laanaa.

sheep exist-GO some 4-butcher.O hope
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I wish we could butcher, if we had sheep.

dideididoołjah

pl-3DO-3dpl-start.fire.F

diilbish

3DO-1dpl-boil.it.F

Diné bikéyah bikáa’gi łáhágóó ninádahałtį́įh łeh.

Navajo 3-land 3-on-at a.few.places areal-rain.I usually

Díí na’ach’ąą’ígíí ’éí Diné bee ’iiná shį́į́ wolyé.

TOP 3-picture.I-ÍGÍÍ Navajo 3-by.means.of living perhaps 3-name.NI

I think this picture is about how Navajos live.

Díkwíí lá ninááhai?

how.many Q 2-winter

Díkwíísh ninááhai?

how.many-Q 2-winter.NI

doo --- ndi

Ha’ąądi dibé bighan.

areal-other.side sheep 3-corral
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The sheep corral is on the other side (of the hill).

hadazhdééłbįįd

pl-3DO-4dpl-fill.something.up.with.it.P

hadeidínóołchał

pl-3DO-3dpl-card.it.(as.in.wool).F

hadeneeshchaad

pl-3DO-3dpl-card.it.(as.in.wool).P

hainiłchaad

3DO-3-card.it.(as.in.wool).I

haniilchaad

3DO-1dpl-card.it.(as.in.wool).I

hááji

Háát’i’ le’!

up-3-extend.P LE’
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(Let my ears) stick up.

Mą’iitsoh shik’iilwodgo tsékooh góyaa bidááłgo’.

wolf 1-3-attack-COMP canyon areal-down 3-1-push.P
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When the wolf attacked me I pushed him down into the canyon.

Naakaii bizaad jółta’ le’ dzinízingo dzizdá.

mexican language 4-read.I wish 4-wish.O-GO 4-sit.P
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She is wishing he could read Spanish.

Naashnéego jooł báátis yímááz.

1-play-go.CI ball over 3-roll.P
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As I was playing I rolled over the ball.

nisiilyá

3DO-1dpl-carry.a.ropelike.thing.around.P

Shi’dizhchį́į́ yęędą́ą́’ ’éí tsinaabąąs dahólǫ́ nt’éé.

1-pass-born.P past TOP wagon 3-with pl-3-drive.I pl-be.NI past
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Wagons were around during the time I was born.

Shiye’ bicheii yi’ká ’análwo’dooleeł biniiyé ba’niłtį́į́́ nt’éé’ sits’ą́ą́’ yił nikidíńiit’ą́ą́zh. (YM 1987:632)

1-son 3-grand.father for 3-1-help.F for 3-loan for 1-away with 2-dpl.walk.P
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I loaned my son to his grandfather to help him and he just kept him.

Shiye’ éí naaki béeso yideená chidí yésį́.

1-son TOP two money 3-exchange.for car 3-stand.SPN
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My son is standing, guarding the car for two dollars.

Shí t’óó ’ááłk’iis yisháałgo shizhé’é tsékooh gódeg ha’asbą́ą́z.

1 merely SUP-alongside 1-go.Prog-GO 1-father canyon areal-up up-3-drive.P
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My father drove (a wagon) up out of the canyon with me walking alongside.

Shį́į́dą́ą́’ na’niiłkaadgo t’áá ’áháníjį’ ’adeeshch’iłgo bik’ee deelyiz.

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Last summer when we were out herding sheep a bolt of lightning struck nearby and gave us a startle.

Shí Kinłánígóó shił ayóó ánízaad ’ako ndi sitsoi éí bił ayídi.

I Denver to 1-with 3-far.NI but 1-grandsongranddaughter 3-with nearby

T’ááłáhádi neeznádiin dóó ba’aan táá’

one hundred and 3-beyond three

Tsxį́įłgo yoołkááł.

in.a hurry-GO night.is.passing.Prog
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The days are going fast.

yiishjį́į́h

Imperfective Mode: 1-become.black.I
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I am becoming black, getting sunburned

yíłhį́į́’

3DO-1-melt.it.(snow).P

“Shich’e’e’ baa shíni' diniine’ t’ahdíish doo yá’át’ééh da?

1-daughter 3-about 1-mind 2-say.P still-Q NEG well NEG
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You said “you were worried about your daughter”, is she still not well.

“Shił naa’aash ’ałgháádidiit’ash”, ní ma’ii jiní.

1-with cousin 1du-race.F 3-say.P coyote 4-say.P
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“My cousin, letʼs have a race”, Coyote said to the skunk, they said.