Navajo, verb stem, linguistics, Athabaskan


One of the principal goals of linguistics is to find, classify, and describe relationships between words. Many formal mechanisms such as rules and constraints have been devised in order to show systematic relationships. Inflectional paradigms are a crucial component of a linguistic analysis that has applications for pedagogical grammars. For example, over the past 20 years there have been numerous Navajo textbooks produced that are aimed at beginning learners of the language. These include works such as Diné Bizaad Bóhoo'aah (Navajo Language Institute 1986), Diné Bizaad: Speak, Read, Write Navajo (Goossen 1995), and The Navajo Verb: A Grammar for Students and Scholars (Faltz 1998). However, there is one important feature of Navajo grammar which none of these works deals with directly, namely the inflection of the verb stem. For instance, Faltz (1998), while providing a remarkably lucid treatment of the verbal prefix systems, has comparatively little to say about patterns of verb stem inflection. This is true also of the two large Young & Morgan dictionaries (1987, 1992) that serve as the primary reference works on Navajo.

Original Publication Citation

2010. “A Computational Analysis of Navajo Verb Stems.” Article coauthored with Jordan Lachler. Experimental and Empirical Methods in Cognitive/Functional Research, edited by John Newman and Sally Rice, 143-161. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



CSLI Publications







University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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Linguistics Commons