As noted on Episode 42: Water is Life, the verb in Diné Bizaad is quite complicated. For example:
‘someone jerked me outdoors’
This verb is made up of a stem (-dazh) and a bunch of prefixes (things attached to the front of something).
ch’í shi di ni ɫ dazh
out horizontally me arms and legs modal causative move in a jerky manner
You can see from this example that verbs can be internally very complicated. Young and Morgan (1987) provide us with a template* with up to 17 slots:
However, the maximum number of prefixes on a stem appears to be 8 (so 9 slots).
Does this template make your eyes cross? Mine too, and I’ve looked at it for over 20 years. It’s not very transparent. Which is maybe why the Japanese were unable to crack Navajo Code.
One thing to remember is that Diné verbs must be at least two syllables long, and so the verb stem on its own is not enough, but the verb stem doesn’t need every slot to be filled.
(2) a. yishcha b. yishdzį́į́s
‘I cry.’ ‘I’m dragging or towing it along.’
Our first example had 5 prefixes, and 6 is easy to find as well
(3) a. ch’íshidini[dazh b. bíbiniissį́į́h
‘someone jerked me outdoors’ ‘I lean him standing against it.’
You get the point. It’s complicated!
* There are non-templatic ways to analyze the Diné verb, but I don’t know about them to even attempt to describe them