Twitter Tumblr FlickrFacebookContact me
This Month Previous Articles Author Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio

Recent posts


Month in review

Reviews
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Big Hairy Drama by Aaron Reynolds
Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds
Culture is Our Business by Marshall McLuhan
Drood by Dan Simmons
Emily and the Strangers Volume 1 by Rob Reger
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abirached
The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop
Language and Art in the Navajo Universe by Gary Witherspoon
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye
Mad Scientist by Jennifer L. Holm
A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison
Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton
Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
Once Upon a Curse by E.D. Baker
101 Things I Hate About Your House by James Swan
The People Inside by Ray Fawkes
Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi
Strange Fruit, Volume 1 by Joel Christian Gill
Unicorns? Get Real! by Kathryn Lasky
Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin
Whiteoaks of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zombelina by Kristyn Crow

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Language and Art in the Navajo Universe

Language and Art in the Navajo Universe: 02/19/15

cover artLanguage and Art in the Navajo Universe by Gary Witherspoon is my favorite of the books on Diné language and culture I've read by non-native speaker. Until recently, most books about the Navajo Nation were written by outsiders and many of them treat like anthropological oddities rather than a vibrant, interesting, valid culture.

The books that come closest to treating the language instruction with the same practicality that say language books for Spanish, German, or French instruction would, are those by someone who has been forced through circumstances to learn the language. In this case, the author mentions his wife a great deal, so I suspect she was one of the people who taught him the language.

So rather than teaching the language and culture, Witherspoon presents his internalized version of the highlights he has learned from his wife and other Diné. He backs up his observations with quotes from other anthropology books, which he then either agrees with or doesn't. For those that he doesn't, he uses sentence diagraming to show the errors in the assumptions.

For anyone wanting to get nitty gritty into the grammar rules of Diné bizaad, Witherspoon's book is a great start. To say though that Diné bizaad is the most difficult language out there ever, I take offense.

Every single language I've studied has had its own special collection of bizarre, illogical, unspoken but definitely important grammar rules. Think of all the exceptions in English. Just stop and think about them for a little bit. Ask a native speaker of any language about the exceptions in his language and the answer will probably something like, "just because" or "it sounds better this way" or even "I don't know; it's just how it's done."

 

 

Four stars

Comments (0)


Name:
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:
Comment: