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Re: question about (Navajo-like) vocab

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 20, 2004, 2:39
Trebor Jung wrote at 2004-01-17 19:42:54 (+0100)
 > Merhaba!
 > In Navajo, most nouns are composed of words describing how the noun
 > works or what it does: so 'lemon' is 'the yellow plant that is
 > being sour'. Could anybody give me more examples, and an
 > approximate list of the number of necessary roots, or a list
 > thereof?

I can't help very much - there's remarkably little about Navajo
online.  I had the chance to get a copy of Young & Morgan recently,
but it cost £45, and I couldn't really justify the expense.

Anyway, I've read that there are only about 500 verb roots.  the
_Analytical Lexicon of Navajo_ apparently contains 1135 roots "basic
verb stems, noun stems and particles".

Here's a fairly basic, but interesting, description of Navajo, with
some examples:

(The following are all PDFs - I hope your software will be able to
interpret them.  It may well have difficulty with the Navajo

These two links are about dictionaries, but they may give you some
idea of the structure of the lexicon in Navajo and other Athabaskan

This tells you something about Navajo classificatory verb stems (some
of the Navajo text in this document doesn't display correctly even for

This dissertation on the morphology and phonology of Tanacross, spoken
in Alaska, should give you some insight into the complexities of
Athabaskan languages - it's more comprehensive than anything I've
found online for Navajo. (Note that this is a big file.)