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Title: Little Man's Family - pre-primer
Author: Enochs, J. B.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Man's Family - pre-primer" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's Note:

  Bold text is denoted by =equal signs=.

  Variations in punctuation (inconsistent full-stops and capitalisation)
  have been retained as they appear in the original publication.

       *       *       *       *       *

Douglas McKay, Secretary

Glenn L. Emmons, Commissioner

Hildegard Thompson, Chief

Single Copy Price 20 cents

Phoenix Indian School Print Shop
Phoenix, Arizona
Third Edition 5,000 copies--September 1953

Little Man's family

diné yázhí ba'áłchíní




J. B. Enochs

illustrated by

Gerald Nailor



This pre-primer is one of three little books based on material prepared
by J. B. Enochs, who once taught in the sanitarium school at Kayenta. It
deals entirely with typical life experiences among the Navaho, the
largest Indian tribe in the United States, numbering approximately
65,000. Nine out of ten Navahos do not speak English, and the tribe has
never had a written language.

Missionaries and scientists for many years have had alphabets with which
to record this difficult language. But these alphabets have usually
included letters not found in English, and have been peppered with
diacritical marks to indicate inflection, tonal change and nasalization.
Thus they proved too complicated for popular use. Space does not permit
mention of many who have worked with the Navaho language. Finally Dr.
John Harrington, of the Smithsonian Institution, and Mr. Oliver LaFarge,
author and linguist, collaborated to produce a simplified alphabet which
might be written with an ordinary typewriter. Mr. Robert W. Young,
associate of Dr. Harrington, experimentally recorded a great deal of
material in this new alphabet. The Navaho portions of later pamphlets in
this bi-lingual series are the joint work of Harrington and Young.
=Little Man's Family= has been expressed in Navaho, using the
Harrington-LaFarge alphabet, by Willetto Antonio, a Navaho teacher on
the reservation, and Dr. Edward Kennard, formerly a specialist in Indian
languages for the Indian Service. Both the recordings and the
interpretation in these books have been checked by Chic Sandoval, Howard
Gorman, and Adolph Bitanny, Navaho interpreters, and by Robert W. Young.
Back pages contain an explanation of the sound values represented by the
alphabet, and the indications of tonal change and nasalization which are

These bi-lingual texts are an attempt to speed up Indian understanding
of modern life. Use of native languages to speed up acquisition of
English in Federal schools is a new departure in Indian policy, which
has proved very successful.

The type used for these books has been selected because of its
similarity in design to the alphabet used for manuscript writing. In the
primers, only proper names and the pronoun I have to be capitalized, so
as to further minimize the new learnings often encountered by the
primary child when faced with several different alphabets at once.

                                 Willard W. Beatty

Revised February 1950


I am a Navaho boy.

diné 'ashkii nishłį́.


my mother



my father



my baby brother

'awéé' sitsilí


our baby's cradle

nihe'awéé' bits'áál


my big sister



my little sister



our hogan



my father made our hogan

shizhé'é nihighan 'áyiilaa.


our sweathouse



the soapweed plant



we wash our hair

nihitsii' tanínádeiigis


our sheep



our goats



our corral

nihidibé bighan


our horses



our wagon



my mother's saddle

shimá bilį́į́' biyéél


my father's saddle

shizhé'é bilį́į́' biyéél


my little spotted pony

shilé'éyázhí łikizh


my black dog



my mother's loom

shimá bidah'iistł'ǫ́


my mother cleans the wool.

shimá 'aghaa' hasht'eilééh


my mother cards the wool.

shimá 'aghaa' hanéiniłcha'.


my mother spins the wool

shimá 'aghaa' hanéiniłdis.


my mother weaves a rug.

shimá diyogí yitł'ó.


my sisters help my mother.

shádí dóó shideezhí shimá yíká 'anáhi'nilchééh.


we sell the rug.

diyogí ninádahiilnih.


The following information with regard to the Navaho alphabet and its use
should prove helpful to one familiar with the English language.


The vowels have continental values. They are as follows, the first
example being a Navaho word, the second the closest approximation to the
sound in an English word:

    a  gad (juniper)               father

    e  ké (shoe)                   met

    i  sis (belt) or as in         sit or as in
       dishááh (I'm starting)      pique

    o  doo (not)                   note

Vowels may be either long or short in duration, the long vowel being
indicated by a doubling of the letter. This never affects the quality of
the vowel, except that long i is always pronounced as in pique.

    sis (belt) is short            siziiz (my belt) is long

Vowels with a hook beneath the letter are nasalized. That is, some of
the breath passes through the nose in their production. After n, all
vowels are nasalized and are not marked.

    tsinaabąąs (wagon)
    jį́ (day)
    kǫ́ǫ́ (here)


The diphthongs are as follows:

    ai  hai (winter)        aisle
    ei  séí (sand)          weigh
    oi  'ayóí (very)        Joey

The diphthongs oi (as in Joey) will frequently be heard as ui (as in
dewy) in certain sections of the reservation. However, since the related
word ayóó is always of one value, this spelling has been standardized.

In a similar way, the diphthongs ei and ai are not universally
distinguished. For example, the word for sand, séí will be pronounced
sáí by some Navahos.


The consonants are as follows:

    b  bá (for him)        like p in spot
    d  díí (this)          like t in stop
    g  gah (rabbit)        like k in sky

These sounds are not truly voiced as are the sounds represented by these
letters in English, but are like the wholly unaspirated p, t, and k in
the English words given as examples.

    t  tó (water)      tea
    k  ké (shoe)       kit

The t and k in Navaho are much more heavily aspirated than in the
English words given in the examples, so that the aspiration has a harsh
fricative quality.

    '  glottal stop     yá'át'ééh (it is good)     unh unh, oh oh

In the American colloquial negative unh unh, and in the exclamatory
expression oh oh, the glottal stop precedes the u and the o
respectively. Or, in actual speech, the difference between Johnny earns
and Johnny yearns, is that the former has a glottal closure between the
two words.

    t'  yá'át'ééh (it is good)

This letter represents the sound produced by the almost simultaneous
release of the breath from the closure formed by the tip of the tongue
and the teeth and the glottal closure described previously.

    k'  k'ad (now)

This sound is produced in the same way as the t', except that the k
closure is formed by the back of the tongue and the soft palate.

    m   mósí (cat)               man
    n   naadą́ą́' (corn)           no
    s   sis (belt)               so
    sh  shash (bear)             she
    z   zas (snow)               zebra
    zh  'ázhi' (name)            azure
    l   laanaa (would that)      let
    ł   łid (smoke)

This sound is made with the tongue in exactly the same position as in
the ordinary l, but the voice box or larynx does not function. The
difference between these two l's is the same as the difference between
the b and p, d and t, or s and z. If one attempts to pronounce th as in
thin followed by l without an intervening vowel a ł is produced. Thus

    h   háadi (where)       hot

In Navaho there are two sounds represented by the letter h. The
difference is in the intensity or fricativeness. Where h is the first
letter in a syllable it is by some pronounced like the ch of German.
This harsh pronunciation is the older, but the younger generation of
Navahos tends to pronounce the sound much as in English.

    gh  hooghan (hogan)

This is the voiced equivalent of the harshly pronounced variety of h,
the functioning of the voice being the only difference between the two

    j  jádí (antelope)      jug

This sound is an unaspirated ch, just as d and g represent unaspirated t
and k.

    ch   chizh (wood)       church
    ch'  ch'il (plant)

This sound is produced in a fashion similar to the t' and k', but with
the release of the breath from the ch position and from the glottal

    dz  dził (mountain)      adze
    ts  tsa (awl)            hats

ts occurs in the beginning and middle of Navaho words, but only in final
position in English.

    ts'   ts'in (bone)

This sound is similar to ch', except for the tongue position, and
involves the release of the breath from the glottal closure in the same
way as the other glottalized sounds.

    dl   beeldléí (blanket)

The dl is produced as one sound, as gl is in the word glow.

    tł   tła (grease)

This sound is pronounced as unvoiced dl.

    tł   tł'ízí (goat)

This sound involves the release of the breath from the t position of the
tongue tip and teeth, from the contact of the sides of the tongue inside
the back teeth (normal l position), and the glottal closure. It has a
marked explosive quality. The sound is produced as a unit, as in the gl
of glow, cited above.

    y   yá (sky)           you
    w   'awéé' (baby)      work


It is to be noted that the sounds represented by g, t, k, h, gh, and ch,
ts (when heavily aspirated) are palatalized before e, i, and labialized
before o. By this it is meant that such a word as ké (shoe) is
pronounced as though it were written kyé, and tó (water) as though
written twó.

Due to the nature of the gh sound, it practically resolves itself into a
w when followed by o. Thus tálághosh (soap) could be written táláwosh,
yishghoł (I'm running) as yishwoł etc.

k and h can also be pronounced as kw and hw before e, i, in which case
the combination is a distinct phoneme. In such cases the w must be
written. Thus kwe'é (here), kwii (here), hwii (satisfaction) etc.


The present system of writing Navaho employs only one diacritical to
express four tonal variations. This is the acute accent mark (´). If a
short vowel or n, both elements of a long vowel or a diphthong are
marked thus the tone indicated is high. If only the first element of a
long vowel or diphthong is marked the tone is falling from high, and if
only the last element is marked the tone is rising from low. When a
vowel, diphthong or n is unmarked the tone is low. The difference
between low and high tone in Navaho is similar to the difference in tone
of "are you" and "going" in the English question "are you going?"

    'azee'    (medicine) low tone
    'azéé'    (mouth) high tone
    háadish?  (where?) falling tone
    shínaaí   (my elder brother) rising tone


Teachers will note that the possessive pronouns of Navaho are always
prefixed to the noun. Thus, we have shimá (my mother), nimá (your
mother), bimá (his mother), but never má. The stem -má has no
independent form and never occurs without a prefix.

The structure of the Navaho verb has similar characteristics, but is
more complex. The subject of the sentence is always incorporated in the
verb with a pronominal form, and other verbal elements. Ideas of time
and mode are likewise incorporated in the verb, and auxiliary verbs such
as will, did, have, might, etc. do not occur in Navaho. The ideas
conveyed by these independent words in English are expressed by
different forms of the verb itself in Navaho.

Another point in which Navaho sentence structure differs from English is
that English prepositions are postpositions in Navaho.

    with my elder sister       shádí bił (my elder sister, with her)
    for my mother              shimá bá (my mother for)

whereas normal word order in English is subject, verb, and object,
Navaho has subject, object, and verb.



      NAVAJO SERIES (bilingual in English and Navajo)

by J. B. Enochs, illustrated by Gerald Nailor
    Little Man's family. preprimer, primer and reader

by Hildegard Thompson, illustrated by Van Tsihnahjinnie
    Preprimer, Primer
    Coyote Tales (reader)

by Ann Clark, illustrated by Hoke Denetsosie
    Who Wants to be a Prairie Dog? (A Navajo fairy tale)

by Ann Clark, illustrated by Van Tsihnahjinnie
    Little Herder in Autumn, in Winter (single volume)
    Little Herder in Spring, in Summer (single volume)
  In English only:
    Little Navajo Herder (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer)

by Cecil S. King, Navajo New World Readers:
    1. Away to School. Illustrated by Franklin Kahn
    2. The Flag of My Country. Illustrated by Henry Bahe
      (Material of mature concept and simple vocabulary for use by recently
    non-English-speaking adolescents.)

      SIOUX SERIES (in English and Dakota)

by Ann Clark, illustrated by Andrew Standing Soldier
    Sioux Cowboy (preprimer)
    The Pine Ridge Porcupine
    The Grass Mountain Mouse
    There Still are Buffalo
    Bringer of the Mystery Dog (illustrated by Oscar Howe)
    Brave Against the Enemy (photographic illustrations by Helen Post)
    Singing Sioux Cowboy (Primer)
    The Slim Butte Raccoon
    The Hen of Wahpeton


by Ann Clark (in English and Spanish)
    Little Boy With Three Names (illustrated by Tonita Lujan) Taos
    Young Hunter of Picuris (illustrated by Velino Herrera)
    Sun Journey (illustrated by Percy Sandy) Zuni

by Edward A. Kennard (in English and Hopi)
    Field Mouse Goes to War (illustrated by Fred Kabotie)
    Little Hopi (illustrated by Charles Loloma)


by Edward A. Keithahn, illustrated by George A. Ahgapuk
    Igloo Tales

Also pamphlets on Indian Life and Customs, and Indian Handcrafts
for catalog and price list write to

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Spelling changes made:
  Foreword: "Mr. Robert W. Young, assocate [associate] of Dr. Harrington"
  Pg 034: "ts ocurs [occurs] in the beginning"
  Pg 034: "final position in Englsh [English]."
  Pg 034: "This harsh pronounciation [pronunciation]"

Changes not made - multiple spellings of:
  "pre-primer", "preprimer"
  "bi-lingual", "bilingual"

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