- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

Robert W. Young, 94, Navajo linguist

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Robert W. Young, a linguist whose collaboration with a Navajo linguist resulted in dictionaries of the American Indian language, died Feb. 20. He was 94.

He became an adjunct linguistics professor at the University of New Mexico when he retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1971. He taught Navajo language classes and was co-director of the Navajo Reading Study.

Mr. Young’s dictionary work came from long collaboration with William Morgan, a Navajo linguist with whom he began working in the 1930s.

Mr. Young, who learned Spanish and Nahuatl at an early age by speaking with Mexican immigrant railroad workers, earned a liberal arts degree from the University of Illinois in 1935. He then studied anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

He was in the Marine Corps in World War II, and his daughter, Linda Young, said the Marines used his abilities to help in the testing and selection of Navajo “Code Talkers.”

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