Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ya'at' eeh Means Hello

Amherst College students Kathryn Libby and Cait Scudder stand with Irene Silentman, Navajo language teacher at St. Michael Indian School in St. Michael, Arizona. The two Amherst College juniors are spending the week working for Reader To Reader in schools on the Navajo Reservation.

The students attended Ms. Silentman's first year Navajo language class. They not only observed how the Navajo language is taught but also participated along with St. Michael's high school students.

During the class they learned that Navajo is a tonal language, with the vowels rising and falling. The meaning of words also changes with the pitch of the voice. The four separate tones of voice used are low, high, rising, and falling. They also learned about various verb conjugations.

To Ms. Silentman we gratefully say Ahe'hee (thank you).

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