"Cherokee" is the English language term for the Native people who originally called themselves Ani Yunwiya, the Principal People. The word "Cherokee" is a variation of the word "Tsalagi", which is the term the Cherokee people commonly use to identify themselves today.
Cherokee is an Iroquoian language, but the relationship is a distant one and it doesn't bear a close resemblance to other Iroquois languages. It has several dialects, some of which are sadly extinct. The two main dialects today are the North Carolina dialect used on the Qualla boundary, and the Oklahoma dialect used in Oklahoma. The two are similar enough that if you understand one you can understand the other. These lessons currently are based on the Oklahoma dialect, but we plan to add the North Carolina dialect soon.
Sequoyah, the great Cherokee linguist, developed a system for writing the Cherokee language. This writing system is based on a syllabary. In a syllabary, symbols are used to represent complete syllables in a language. This is different from an alphabet used in English, for example, where the symbols stand for short sounds. The Cherokee syllabary is shown below.
|Sounds Represented By Vowels||Sounds Represented By Consonants|
|'a' as in 'father', or short as in 'rival'||'g' nearly as in English, approaching to 'k'|
|'e' as in 'hate', or short as in 'met'||'d' nearly as in English, approaching to 't'|
|'i' as in 'pique, or short as in 'pit'||'h, k, l, m, n, q, s, t, w, y' as in English|
|'o' as in 'note', approaching 'aw' in 'law'||Syllables beginning with 'g', except 'ga', are sometimes sounded 'k'|
|'u' as 'oo' 'fool', or short as 'u' in 'pull'||'go', 'du', 'dv', are sometimes sounded 'to', 'tu', 'tv',|
|'v' as 'u' in 'but', nasalized||syllables written with 'tl', except 'tla', sometimes vary to 'dl'|
|Lesson 1 - Small Talk||Lesson 13 - Home|
|Lesson 2 - Animals||Lesson 14 - Sound|
|Lesson 3 - Plants||Lesson 15 - Going Places|
|Lesson 4 - Food||Lesson 16 - Weather|
|Lesson 5 - Numbers||Lesson 17 - Birds|
|Lesson 6 - Days of the Week||Lesson 18 - Travel|
|Lesson 7 - Months||Lesson 19 - Anatomy|
|Lesson 8 - Seasons||Lesson 20 - School|
|Lesson 9 - People||Lesson 21 - War|
|Lesson 10 - Family||Lesson 22 - Peace|
|Lesson 11 - Phrases||Lesson 23 - Jobs|
|Lesson 12 - Colors|