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

’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

’Ahbínígo ch’éshááh ’áádóó sodiszįįh.

morning-GO 1-go.out.U and.then 1-pray.U
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I go out and I pray in the morning.

’Ashiiké yázhí ła’ chidí yikáá’dę́ę́’ ’adah ’adoogoh.

boys little INDEF car 3-on-from down 3-fall.F
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One of little boys might fall off the front of the car.

’Ashkii yázhí éí bimá kingóó yił yi’ash.

boy little TOP 3-mother store-to 3-with 3-walk.du.Prog

’Óshą́ą́’ laanaa’ dichin shi’niiłxį́.

1-eat.O wish hunger 1-3-kill.I
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I wish I could eat, I am very hungry.

-ą́ą́h

-ił

-ísh

-k’é

-kéé’

-lááh

-nah

Bááh łikanígíí ła’ nisin háálá ayóo łikan.

bread 3-be.sweet.NI.NOM some 3-1-want.NI because very 3-be.sweet.NI

Béégashii yáázh ła’ shibee’í’diidłííd bik’i niní’ą́.

calf one 1-cattle.brand 3-on 3-1-put.NP
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I put my cattlebrand on a calf.

Chidí sits’ą́ą́’ hashtł’ish yiih yilwodgo t’áá ch’į́į́góó ch’ééh ’ííł’įįd.

car 1-away mud 3-into 3-go.P-GO just fail in.vain 3-1-act.P

daats’í

Dah doónááł lágo!

up 2-go.F don’t

deidíníłkaad

pl-3DO-3dpl-start.to.herd.them.(animals).I

Díí tł’éé’ ’índa hazhó’óó ’iideeshwosh.

this night only.then uninterrupted 1-sleep.F
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I will sleep well tonight.

díkwíí

Doo hanii ni ’ałdó’ nilį́į́’ bik’i dah ’íníił da.

NEG contrary 2 also 2-horse 3-on up saddle 3-2-put.PlO.I NEG

Doo ńdeeshdááł da, háálá kwii doo shił yá’áhoot’éeh da.

NEG 1-return.F NEG because here NEG 1-with 3-good.NI NEG
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I won’t come back because I don’t like it here.

Doo yéé niiłtsán.

NEG fear .P. 2-1-see-NOM
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It’s a good thing I didn’t see you!

haa níłtso

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how big is it

Haa’í lá neezgai?

where Q 3-hurt.N

Haa’ísh neezgai?

where-Q 3-hurt.N

hadiiltééł

3DO-1dpl-carry.him/her.up.out.of.something.F

haniilchaad

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

haołgéésh

3DO-2dpl-cut.it.out.I

háajį’

Hoozdohgóó daats’í deeshááł ’éí doodaii’ Be’eldííldahsínilgóó deeshááł.

Phoenix-toward maybe 1-walk.F or Albuquerque-toward 1-walk.F

k’asídą́ą́’

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very nearly, within an ace of, coming close to

Kintah góyaa yishááł ńt’éé’ béeso ńdiiłtsooz

areal-down 1-go.Prog past money 3-1-pick.FFO.P
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I was walking down the street when I found a dollar bill.

Mary ha’át’íí nayiisnii’?

Mary what 3-3-buy.P

Náhookǫsdę́ę’go níłch’igo ’ayóo deesk’aaz.

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

nidasoolá

pl-3DO-2dpl-carry.a.ropelike.thing.around.P

nideilé

pl-3DO-3dpl-carry.a.ropelike.thing.around.I

Sha’áłchíní Toohgóó bił ’eesbąs.

1-children Shiprock-to 3-with 1-drive.Prog

Shá bíighah ’azee’ál’į́įdi sédá.

sun proportionate medicine 3-make.I 1-sit.SPN

Shilééchąą’í bikéé’ yishááł.

my.dog 3-following 1-go.Prog
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I’m walking along behind (following) my dog.

Ts’aa’ t’áá nitsaaígíí bídin nishłį́.

basket just 3-large.NI-nom 3-lack 1-be.NI

Tł’éédą́á’ dibé ch’íníjéé’ yiists’ą́ą́’ ’áádóó t’óó ńléí tsé deez’áhí bizánághah góne’ ’ahosoolts’ą́ą́’.

last.night sheep out-3-run-Pl.P 3-sound.P and then merely there rock point 3-around areal-in out-are
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Last night the sheep got out of the corral and the sound they made disappeared around the point of the ridge.

yideeshjį́į́ł

Future Mode: 1-become.black.F
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I will become black, get sunburned

yididínóołkał

3DO-3-start.to.herd.them.(animals).F

yiilyį́į́’

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

yiit’aal

3DO-1dpl-chew.it.P

yiitł’ó

3DO-1dpl-weave.it.I

Yiską́ągo Bee’eldííldahsinilgóó ’adeesdee’.

tomorrow Albuquerque-to 4-PL.underway.F
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Tomorrow, they will be on their way to Albuquerque.

Yiską́ągo Na’nízhoozhídi háadish ’adeeshį́į́ł ninízin?

tomorrow Gallup-at where-Q 2-eat.F 2-want.CI

yiyííyą́ą́’

3DO-3-eat.it.P