Cherokee Is Now An Official Language In iOS

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The Cherokee Language isn’t one that doesn’t get a lot of play off of the reservation, but you’re probably carrying around at least one terminal for it in your pocket: the Cherokee Language is now a part of iOS.

It’s actually been on iOS for a while now, since iOS 4.1, but the road to getting there was long: three years ago, the Cherokee Nation made a request of Apple that they would add their language to those supported on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. In September, though, Apple finally baked it into their mobile operating system along with approximately fifty other languages.

Cherokee Nation’s language technology representative Joseph Erb was pretty excited to see it added. “There are countries vying to get on these devices for languages, so we are pretty excited we were included.”

Cherokee is a dying language, and only 8,000 members of the approximately 300,000 strong tribe still speak it. Perhaps a few more will be turned on now that it’s a part of the most respected mobile operating system on Earth.

Cherokee Language Now Available for iPhone and iPod touch

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Cherokee Nation language school students [photo: cherokee.org]
Cherokee Nation language school students (photo: cherokee.org)

Surviving for centuries and advancing across cultures, the Native American Cherokee language has gone digital and is now available for iPhone and iPod touch handhelds running iOS 4.1:

The Cherokee Nation has been working with the software developers at Apple, Inc. for several years to incorporate the tribe’s unique written language, called the Cherokee syllabary, into new technology offered by the software giant. Cherokee is the first Native language to be featured on Apple, Inc. devices, and one of about only 40 languages overall.

“People communicate differently today,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith. “Including our language on the iPhone and iPod makes it accessible to more people, especially our youth. This is critical to the survival and growth of our language.”
[Cherokee Nation]

Email, text messaging and other apps now have access to the language as a native part of the operating system.  The Cherokee Nation website contains instructions for how to use the Cherokee syllabary (and how to type on the ᏣᎳᎩ keyboard).

[via Times Record Online]