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

’Aseezį́ binaaltsoos biníkádinishchid.

gossip 3-paper 3-through-1-stick.finger.P
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I stuck my finger (hand) through the newspaper.

’Áhéhee’ dóó baa ’ahééh nisin.

thank.you and 3-for appreciation 1-think.CI

’Áshįįh Bii’ Tóodi níyáago dził bąąh hanáádeesh’nah.

Salt.Lake.City-at 1-go.P-GO mountain 3-on again-1-climb.R
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When I go to Salt Lake, I will climb mountains again.

’Ííyą́ą́dóó bik’ijį’ tsinyaagi nétį́į́ dóó ’iiłhaazh.

1-eat.P and 3-after tree-under-at.spec 1-lie.down.P and 1-sleep.P
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I ate and afterwards I lay down under the tree and slept.

-áátis

over, up and over, over the top

-dóó

Ch’ééh jidighaahgo, ajółhosh laanaa jinizin łeh.

in.vain 4-walk.I-GO, 4-sleep.O hope 4-want.CI usually

Ch’iyáán bá hooghandi béeso bideená naashnish.

food.store-at money 3-in-exchange.for 1-work.CI

Ch’óóshdą́ą́dą́ą́’ Bilagáanaa Bizaad doo diists’a’ da. K’ad ’éí t’áá shxǫǫ t’áá bee yáshti’.

formerly English neg 1-understand.I neg. Now TOP good.thing barely 3.with 1.speak-I

Chidí daats’í bee hólǫ́ ’éí doodaii’ niísh chidí nee hólǫ́?

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

Chidí na’na’í łęęzh yíyooyił.

tractor dirt 3-3-push.Prog
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The tractor is pushing the dirt along.

Daané’é baa na’aldeehdi ’at’ééd jooł yídzoołtał.

game 3-to 3-happen.CI-at girl ball 3-3-kick.Prog

dadidíníilkał

pl-3DO-1dpl-start.to.herd.them.(animals).F

dazhdííłhį́į́’

pl-3DO-4dpl-melt.it.P

deiyííyą́ą́’

pl-3DO-3dpl-eat.it.P

didoołjéé’

3DO-2dpl-start.fire.P

Diné bikéyah bikáa’gi ndahonidzood yę́ędą́ą́’ Naatsis’áán hoolyégóó niha’áłchíní bił ’adahineet’į́į́’.

Navajo 3-land 3-on-at pl-areal-3-flee.pl.P past Navajo.Mountain areal-be.called.NI-to 1pl-children 3-with pl-1dpl-sneak.off.P

dizhdínóołkał

3DO-4-start.to.herd.them.(animals).F

Dííshą’ látsíní háádę́ę́’ naa ninídee’?

this-Q bracelet where-from 2-to 3-arrive.PlO.P

Díidí háísh bichidí?

this who-Q 3-car

Gohwééh ła’ shaa níkaah.

coffee some 1-to 2-give.OC.I
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Give me some coffee.

Ha’át’éegishą’ nich’ah nííní’ą́?

where-at-Q 2-hat 3-2-set.down.SRO.P
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Where did you leave your hat? Where did you set your hat down?

Ha’át’éegoshą’ ’ayóo náníldzid?

why-Q very 2-fear.I

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?

haa níldííl

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how large is it

Hada’niłhosh le’!

up-pl-3-3-bubble.up.CI LE’
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Let water bubble forth!

hadanołchaad

pl-3DO-2dpl-card.it.(as.in.wool).I

hanołchaad

3DO-2dpl-card.it.(as.in.wool).I

Háí lá kintahgóó sh adoołbąs?

who-Q town-to 1-me 3-drive.F

Háíshą’ tsinaa’eeł ’áyiilaa lá?

who-Q boat 3-3-make.P DISC

jishóóh

3DO-4-brush/comb.it.I

Kwe’éshą’ haa nízah nináhálzhishgo nináháltį́į́h?

here-Q how 3-long.N-up.to time.move.R-GO rain.R
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How often does it rain here?

Neel’ą́ą le’.

term-3-reach.up.to.NI LE’
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I wish water to reach (my stomach).

neilé

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

Ni daats’í nił bééhózin ’éí doodaii’ nicheii daats’í bił bééhózin?

2 perhaps 2-with 3-know.CI TOP or 2-grandfather perhaps 3-with 3-know.CI

Nichidí háadishą’ nííníłbą́ą́z

2-car where-at-Q 3-2-park.P

Nichxǫ' doo ájíléeh da.

stop NEG 3-4-make.I NEG
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Stop, don’t do bad stuff!

Ńdíshchíí’ yáázhí bąąh hasis’na’go shił yaa ’ádzaa.

pine.tree little 3-on 1-climb.P-GO 1-with down 3-act.P

Sam ’ádił yálti’.

Sam reflx-with 3-talk.DI

Shicheii t’áá ’íiyisíí hastihgo biniinaa kónááhoot’éhí doo na’ádódlíi da.

1-grandfather very 3-old.N-GO because next.year NEG 3-expect.live.NP NEG 
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Since my grandfather is very old he doesn’t expect to be alive next year at this time.

Shimá sání t’áá shídin ’ííyá.

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My grandmother went away without me.

Shíká ’anánílwo’ doodago’ t’áadoo shaa nánít’į́ní!

1-after indef-help.R or just-neg 1-about 1-2-bother.NI-neg

T’áadoo hosh biih dadoołtaałí.

neg cactus 3-in pl-2dpl-step.O-Í

T’áá ká k’éé’óshchxǫǫh

Neg 1-erase.O
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See that I don’t erase it.

T’ááłáhádi neeznádiin dóó ba’aan táá’

one hundred and 3-beyond three

Tį’ ninádeiilnish.

let’s.go again-pl-1dpl-work.R

Tsékooh góyaa tł’óół bee ’adanásh’nah.

canyon areal-down 3-with 1-climb.down.R

Tsinaabąąs bee nida’abąąsgo shi’dizhchį́.

wagon 3-with pl-3-drive.I-GO 1-pass-born.P

Yas naanáásmasgo wónáásdóó ’ayóó ’áníłtsxo silį́į́.

snow 3-1-roll.around.Prog soon more large 3-become.P

I was rolling the snowball around and it got very large.

Łah shicheii nahałáago bá ’asmaz ńt’éé’.

once 1-grandpa 3-perform.ceremony.CI-GO 3-for 3-1-twirl.CI past