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Initial Evaluation: 99.92%

Final Evaluation: 99.95%

Potential ambiguity

An example of ambiguity in Navajo is the word shíbéézh. In one reading, it serves as the first person possessed form of the noun "béésh" (knife, flint). In another reading, it acts as the 3rd person singular perfective form of the verb "béézh" (to boil). We are able to write a rule to disambiguate these readings, that is, between the verb and the noun, by selecting the noun in cases in which it is followed by a verb and selecting the verb reading if what follows it in the sentence is the end of the sentence, as verbs end all Navajo sentences. Another example is that different source list the word ʼéí with different functions. One lists it as a topic and focus marker, according with what a member of our group learned in Structure of Navajo at Swarthmore. However, it may have another function, that is, to work as a determiner meaning "that, those, far away and distant." Reviewing bilingual texts, we were not able to come up with a rule to differentiate the two, if there is a difference in usage at all. It may also be the case of two conflicting Navajo to English translations being the problem.

Example Sentences

1.) Gohwééh shibéézh. ("The coffee is brewed.")

^Gohwééh<n>$ ^béézh<v><iv><perf><p3><sg>$^..<sent>$

2.) Kodi shibéézh hólǫ́. ("Here is my knife")*

^Kodi<adv>$ ^béésh<n><px1sg>$ ^hólǫ́<v>$^:<sent>$^..<sent>$

  • Example 2 was self-constructed using vocabulary we had available to illustrate the difference from example 1