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-   -   Is Navajo The Most Used American Indian Language? (http://forums.powwows.com/f34/navajo-most-used-american-indian-language-67967/)

Siobhanni 08-23-2013 07:39 PM

Is Navajo The Most Used American Indian Language?
Before I start, I wanted to say that I hope I have not offended anyone. As I am still learning as much as I can about your proud customs, history and ways. As I have said before I am hoping to visit a Powow next year if I can, and I would like to learn some basic greetings and everyday words of you're language. As I am a great believer in showing respect and being polite in the country/people and company of who I am visiting and speaking too. I feel it shows that I have at least taken time and effort to undertand and respect their language. Off course I will be no expert lol just some simple polite words and greetings etc. But I am confused, as there seems to be quite a few. But I have seen, and do not know if its true! that Navajo is widely used and understood all over? But the way I possibly see it is..depending on which area I visit the Powow, surely that should be the language I learn? As I would not want to say something like "Thank you or Goodbye in Navajo and the person finds it offensive. Also if anyone is able to reply to this question and help me as to what is best to learn, do you know if you can get this in a speaking tape recorded learning form, as learning to read it in a book is one thing , but pronouncing the right way is another lol. Thanks

windanncer 08-23-2013 07:43 PM

... or the most abused.

xTekno 08-23-2013 07:49 PM

why can't you just use the english language?

most non-natives will never get the correct pronounciation right to begin with and they sound all cheesy trying to fit in.

the best you can do is use english words and you'll do okay. otherwise you would need to learn to say hello, thank you, goodbye in hundreds of different native languages and use them with the right people.

you can show your respect and be polite by not getting in anyone's way and not ask too many questions.

Siobhanni 08-24-2013 05:16 AM

Well, It looks like I have managed to once again possibly say the wrong thing. As for speaking English, yes I could easily just do that, which after reading your replies which I thank you all for, but as I said previously, it is just something I enjoy and like to do. As pronouncing it correctly thats why I mentioned Audio Language Tape, but knowing me I would still get that wrong. So to be honest as I am sitting here thinking after readiing your replies, I will only maybe just use One Word being Thank you and that will be it so to avoid making anybody angry. I cannot understand why people even abuse this language and anything American Indian:( Why are so many people, Greedy Goverments and Companies, the world can be a Cruel, Cold Place.

OLChemist 08-24-2013 07:03 AM

Here are some figures on Native language use for the 2010 census:

Native Language use

Be aware these figures are somewhat deceptive. In at least one case, they are blending mutually intelligible but distinct dialects of a language family into one. Also they list very very few of the individual languages.

Navajo (not a Navajo word, btw) has many many speakers. And, on the scale of Native language health, is a robust language with many youthful speakers. But Native languages, like many European languages, tend to have limited geographic distribution, particularly since we didn't generally found distant colonies where we forced the indigenous inhabitants to learn our language. Like Portuguese is of limited utility in Albania, Navajo isn't going to help much at a powwow in North Dakota.

Native language use by non-tribal members is a fraught subject. Maybe when I get back from going over to the local university metals studio to work on a silver cake server for my parents' 50th anniversary we can discuss it at length. Or you can run for the hills before I get started, LOL.

yaahl 08-24-2013 09:15 AM

Jenniebee, on your other thread about the indian paintbrush, I listed off 26 questions for you to read up on so you might get started with learning about us. I note that you have not tried to answer any of them. I gave you those questions so that you might be able to see just how big a topic First Nation history, culture, politics and languages can be.

I think what I am finding the most offensive with your posting is that you appear to be under the impression that a) only the US has Natives and b) that we're all some kind of pan-indian tribe that all get along and just love the old mother earth. You speak as if there is only one big pow wow and we all go to it. It appears that you can not or maybe even will not accept that First Nations in North America are many in different nations. A Mi'kmaq is not the same as a Lakota nor are they both the same as an Yupik or Tlingit. A Flathead is not the same as a Anishnabe and a Cree is not the same as an Haudosuanee. A Haida is not the same as a Carrier, Sekani, Git'kan, Bella Coola and a Tutchone is not the same as a Kwan'lin Dun.

In Canada alone, there are 51 different language groups spoken amongst our peoples divide those groups into dialects that number in the hundreds. Did you seriously think someone from Cape Breton Island speaking Mi'kmaq is going to understand someone from Tutchone from Mayo Yukon?

Back to Pow wows. There is a pow wow every weekend in almost every midwestern state from May until Oct. From Oct to May there are countless indoor pow wow for Chrismas, children and of course the GON. There are competition powwows, gatherings, family pow wows, tribal powwows and the list is endless for the reason to hold a pow wow. Then there are the potlatches, round dances and countless other forms of celebration that we have. Then there are those tribes/nations that have adopted pow-wowing in the east and they too, hold a pow-wow about every weekend for the summer. Just how many words that say "Thank you" do you want to learn again? You are sadly under the impression that one word fits all.

In my mother's language, there are 12 ways to say thank you. It all depends on who and what you are thanking. If you can't tell that there are many. many nations with their own unique language and ways of defining their family units/government and social structures then how would you ever know who to say what thank you to and not come off sounding like a white chick trying to sound clever?

If you want to learn about First Nations I would suggest you try what my grandmother would say, "Time to take the cotton batten out of your ears and stick it in your mouth." Or as I would say to my new recruits that just want to let everyone know how stupid they are by opening their mouths, "Time to put yourself on radio recieve and stop transmitting."

Read, listen, observe then talk.

Siobhanni 08-24-2013 03:14 PM

Firstly, I apologise as I have only just seen your reply to the post you mentioned with all your 26 questions. So before I reply to this response I will indeed look at your questions and answer them, so please do not think I have ignored your other post as I have not. I also understand what you are saying about the cotton batton and stick lol yes sadly to say I do tend to speak before I think sometimes but not in meaning to offend anybody. So I am now going back to your 26 Questions ..As even though yo may not believe me in being that I truly want to understand as it seems I am always making somebody angry which is not my intent and I want the Correct information not what I hear or whats written on the internet by So Many So-called American Indians. At least your 26 questions will now let me know the truth. Thanks.

milehighsalute 08-24-2013 04:59 PM

i feel really OFFENDED...thanks alot jeanniebee

Siobhanni 08-24-2013 06:16 PM

I am truly sorry that I have offended you, and I apologise for that. It was truly not my intention to offend you or anyone.

Josiah 08-24-2013 08:11 PM

Yaahl spoke of First Nation Peoples
Down in the States, in my neck of the woods (Oklahoma) the Dine`( Navajo) language is only spoken by those that speak that language. We have 50 other languages that are spoken here and that is just Oklahoma!!!
Think of Europe when you think of Indian Nations for the nation part of that says a lot...
We are separate and distant Nations with culture and language that Anthropologists and Entomologists and all the other gists have been trying to classify for 500 years and still get it wrong!!
It has been my experience that nothing speaks of just wrong is when a person assumes that you speak that language comes up and say yatahey!!! For one thing you pronounced it wrong and you look an idiot when you would have been better off just saying How with you right hand raised up (Lol not really).

How about a nice cultural greeting like:
Hello my name is _____
Hope you and the family are well today...
Have you eaten yet?
Come eat with us at our camp...
(oops that is native way Lol)
But then that is a polite greeting

An English person by their accent (which sticks out a bit) plus your mastery of the English language will in itself open up the conversation! For one you are a stranger, plus one that is far from home, it would cause most natives to invite you to meet the family. At the very least it will open up the conversation mill!!
Plus you have saved yourself the embarrassment of misspeaking and assuming the Native before you speaks what ever language you attempted to learn.

Its been my experience that if you are in a place far from home:
Be Polite
Be gracious
And smile
Before you know it they are inviting you to meet the Fam!
This is advice from a Sailor that has been around the World!

milehighsalute 08-24-2013 09:35 PM

I dunno jeannie......my feelings are pretty hurt.......how could you? AGAIN even !!!!!!

Siobhanni 08-24-2013 10:01 PM

Thats ok, I understand milehighsalute.

lbgood 08-25-2013 12:15 PM


Originally Posted by jeanniebee (Post 1587376)
So to be honest as I am sitting here thinking after readiing your replies, I will only maybe just use One Word being Thank you and that will be it so to avoid making anybody angry.

Even one word can set someone off, If I am being completely honest, if you said hello in Navajo to me, I would be taken back and think "Does this fool think I am Navajo which I am not" and/or "Is this fool claiming to be Navajo herself" bottom line "who in the h*ll does she think she is?"

I agree with others that you should just use English, If you get to know a Navajo a family good, ask them how to say some greetings and use it with only them. Seriously things can get ugly if you offend people. If you are white then be proud of who you are and what the creator made you. I totally get having an appreciation of other cultures, but remember you are not of that culture so be respectful and be who you are - Just my two cents.


Originally Posted by milehighsalute (Post 1587413)
I dunno jeannie......my feelings are pretty hurt.......how could you? AGAIN even !!!!!!

The above said in dramatic fashion LMAO!!!:tongue:

Siobhanni 08-25-2013 01:32 PM

Thank you for your reply and advice. I think it is best just to be myself and speak English, and off course be polite. Thanks again.

Josiah 08-25-2013 05:18 PM


Originally Posted by jeanniebee (Post 1587416)
Thats ok, I understand milehighsalute.

Oddly enough I understand Milehigh also

Zeke 08-25-2013 06:36 PM

I just use English.

Reasonably intelligent English carries it's own intellectual weight.

Smile, you'll be fine.

MoonWoman 08-25-2013 09:54 PM

In addition to everything else and on a most basic level, isn't it a little condescending? I mean if you were to visit any country and try that it might seem as if you were trying to go unnoticed as a tourist and assume the identity of the population, or that you felt some sense of superiority in that they would not be able to relate to you otherwise. I would just stick with your language. Maybe when you visit a pow wow you could ask someone there if they might teach you something?

Siobhanni 08-26-2013 06:26 AM

Thank you for your reply and your thoughts. Yes, I can see and understand what you have said how it could look to others, of which I now fully understand. As I have said before, it was never my intention at all to give that sort of impression or offend anyone as that is not the sort of person I am, in fact I am the complete opposite, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and love the company of people and a good chat and a good real laugh and celebration. I now know that due to my Lack of Knowledge and understanding of people's perception and customs and ways, I have done what you have mentioned in your reply as looking like I am that sort of person. I was indeed wrong and stupid to have said this, I should of had more of an understanding and knowledge of how this post would of been seen and cause offense to many people, which I deeply regret. I am the sort of person that admits when they are wrong , and I will learn from this and my mistakes. Once again Thank you MoonWoman and I will definately speak English.

xTekno 08-26-2013 12:18 PM

i don't know about @Zeke, @OLChemist, or @windanncer, but now i am offended that unlike @MoonWoman, @Ibgood, @Josiah, @milehighsalute and @yaahl, the four of us didn't get a direct response from @jeanniebee. :wilted_ro:thinking:

Siobhanni 08-26-2013 02:22 PM

Ta'neeszahnii Techno, Zeke, OLChemist, Windanncer
I am sorry for offending you all, yet again, and Yes! I did not individually that to you. So now I am correcting that.

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