Star Wars is getting a new translation into the Navajo language of the Western USA.

But it’s not just for the Navajo nerds out there; it may help people keep using it. And that’s a good thing because it’s one of the most interesting languages around. But how do you say ‘May the Force be with you’ in Navajo?

Linguist Daniel Midgley translates on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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As language preservation efforts go, I think this one’s a keeper. Star Wars is getting the Navajo treatment. Or should I say Diné? because that’s what its speakers call it.

But there’s something even better than Star Wars — there’s also verbs. Yeah, there’s some really intense verb stuff going on. And then to round everything out, I bring up the Code Talkers. A fun show.


Show notes

Star Wars is getting translated into Navajo.
http://navajotimes.com/entertainment/2013/0413/041913sta.php
http://www.themorningsun.com/article/20130425/ENTERTAINMENT05/130429768/original-star-wars-to-be-dubbed-in-navajo#full_story

More in-depth about the translation process
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/luke-i-am-your-bizhee-star-wars-to-get-navajo-translation/article11593154/

Here are the other languages that Star Wars has been dubbed in.
http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_foreign_language_translations_of_Star_Wars_titles

The casting call was happening as we were recording this show.
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/04/26/star-wars-be-translated-navajo-lukes-and-leias-needed-149051

Ethnologue has information about every human language, and here’s the page for Navajo.
https://www.ethnologue.com/language/nav

Even more info from UCLA:
http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?menu=004&LangID=4

Here’s how to pronounce any Navajo (or Diné) word you might run across. Plus phrases!
http://navajopeople.org/navajo-language.htm

Colton Shone, a Navajo speaker, translates “Luke, I am your father”, even though that’s not the real line, and it wouldn’t be in this movie.
http://muckrack.com/ColtonShone/statuses/328310895434403840

Navajo Code Talkers’ Museum website (warning: autoplay video)
http://www.navajocodetalkers.org/

More about the Code Talkers
http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq61-2.htm

Declassified! The Navajo Code Talkers’ Dictionary
http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq61-4.htm

Best for last! This is a book about the amazingness of Navajo verbs, how to make them, and all the information that can be stuffed into one. Yes, it’s a real linguistics text, but it’s really accessible and easy to read.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=FOXCX14l58AC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Bonus link: Auditions
http://www.koat.com/news/new-mexico/actors-audition-for-star-wars-navajo-voiceover/-/9153762/20013228/-/rtci23z/-/index.html


Show tunes

‘El Caminos in the West’ by Grandaddy
from the album Sumday

‘Western Eyes’ by Portishead
from the album Portishead