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2013 Navajo Language Academy held at Diné College Tsaile Campus

News & Events

July 24, 2013

Tsaile, AZ - Navajo Language enthusiast and linguist from across the nation are at Diné College to learn and promote the Navajo language. The Academy will host at the Tsaile campus for two weeks beginning July 8th through July 26th. One of the main objectives for the Academy is to revitalize an interest for the Navajo language in the three week Navajo linguistic workshop.

“This academy brings together linguistic instructors who are experts in language pragmatics, semantics, and syntax.” said Irene Silentman, Chair of the Navajo Language Academy. “We learn about how the language is spoken as situational Navajo, an approach that teaches the language beyond alphabets and numbers.”

Diné College alumnus, Sylvia Jackson ’01 participated in this years Academy. Jackson is currently the Navajo Language instructor at Holbrook High School and her ambition was to learn more about the Navajo language through linguist.

“The Navajo language is very complex and learning by focusing on the verb rather than the nouns is actually helping me to develop a new approach in my classroom” said Jackson. “There are often questions that my students have that I don’t have the answers to, the Navajo Language Academy will help me to answer their questions assuredly.”

Ms. Jackson graduated from Diné College in 2001 with her Bachelors degree in Diné Teacher Education and obtained her Master’s degree in 2005. Her clans are Kinyaa’áanii born for Tó’ aheedlíinii, her paternal grandparents are Ma’iideeshgiizhnii and her paternal grandparents are Tódích’íinii

The Navajo Language Academy is held every year at different locations, Diné College was the site of the event in 1997, 2007, and 2009. Each year the Academy selects a venue to bring together individuals who are devoted to linguistics-most especially the Navajo language.

Instructors and academic linguist for this years Academy are Ted Fernald of Swarthmore College, Peggy Spears of University of Massachusetts, Willem DeRuse of Virginia, Paul Platero of UNM, Lorene Legah of Diné College, Michelle Kiser of UNM and Elizabeth Bogal-Brightten of University of Massachusetts.