The Navajo language doesn't have words for many science terms. A Diné scientist is changing that
Sterling Martin grew up in a Diné household on the Navajo Nation and was always interested in science. He left for college and went to the University of Iowa to study biochemistry. But, when he came home, he couldn’t explain his work to his Diné-speaking family.
That's because there aren’t words in the Navajo language for many basic scientific terms.
So, he and a group of scientists, linguists and Diné speakers got together to create a dictionary of scientific terms in Diné.
It’s called Project ENABLE — Enriching Navajo As a Biology Language for Education. They worked with a Diné linguist named Frank Morgan to create terms for things like cell membrane, hormone and fossil fuel.
The Show spoke with Martin about the project and how it all began.