Last of Navajo World War II 'Code Talkers' dies in New Mexico


#1

Chester Nez was the last survivor of an original group of Navajos recruited by the U.S. Marine Corps to create a code based on their language that the Japanese could not crack…

It was regarded as secure from Japanese military code-breakers because the language was spoken only in the U.S. Southwest, was known by fewer than 30 non-Navajo people, and had no written form…

Nez and his young fellow recruits were called communications specialists by the Marines and were taught Morse code, semaphore and “blinker,” a system using lights to send messages between ships.

The code they developed substituted Navajo words for military terms. “CHAY-DA-GAHI,” which translates to “turtle,” came to mean a tank, while a “GINI,” “chicken hawk” in English, became a dive-bomber. America was “NE-HE-MAH,” “our mother.”
Source

This has always fascinated me.


#2

I’ve started reading a book on language, and the author made a comment that Navajo has such a complex vocabulary and grammar that one needs to learn it in childhood to gain any fluency.


#3

Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.


#4

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