The Cherokees have the oldest and best-known Native American writing system in the United States. Invented by Sequoyah and made public in 1821, it was rapidly adopted, leading to nineteenth-century Cherokee literacy rates as high as 90 percent. This writing system, the Cherokee syllabary, is fully explained and used throughout this volume, the first and only complete published grammar of the Cherokee language.
The stories of the Cherokee people presented here capture in written form tales of history, myth, and legend for readers, speakers, and scholars of the Cherokee language. Assembled by noted authorities on Cherokee, this volume marks an unparalleled contribution to the linguistic analysis, understanding, and preservation of Cherokee language and culture.
This project was initiated by Timothy Legg in 2006 to compare English and Cherokee versions of the New Testament for the purpose of self education of the language and grammer of the Cherokee Language. The New Testament was chosen as it was the largest single book written in Cherokee at the time of this project's beginning.
Cherokee Language Grammar
Please take note:
The following is from the Brief Specimens of Cherokee Grammatical Forms as printed in the The Cherokee Messenger (ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏥᏅᏏᏛ) in the years 1844 to 1846.
The original text used ’ds’ for the soft ’ts’ sound. These have been replaced with ’ts’ to be consistent with the entirety of the dictionary. Additionally “qu” has been replaced with “kw” to be consistent with the usage of “gw” in the rest of the text.
The following description of Cherokee grammar is for 1840’s Cherokee and not today’s Cherokee. While most differences between the two are minor, there are differences. The material is very useful when working with the Cherokee New Testament, the Cherokee translation of Genesis, the Cherokee translation of Pilgrim’s Progress, and so forth.
The English text is also from the 1840’s and has not been “modernized”. It is important to understand that “thee” and “thou” are used to indicate “you one” and that “ye” and “you” are used to indicate “you two or more”.
Some re-arrangment of text, tables, and minor changes of wording have happened to facilitate e-book creation.
This is an online dictionary of Cherokee where you can search by English word or Cherokee using either Syllabary or "phonetics." It includes vocabulary from several important sources.
Created by volunteer effort as a labor of love for the Cherokee language and the desire to make resources as readily available as possible.
This web site is for Cherokee language learners at the intermediate beginner level and above. It is recommended to have (mostly) learned the Cherokee Syllabary, some words, and a few basics of Cherokee grammar. There are simple dialogues and also more advanced stories on this site with vocabulary. In addition, you will find some basic explanations of Cherokee grammar and Verb Pages with many verbs conjugated with all five stems. (Working on getting all of them fleshed out!). Audio files and podcasts are available to help with the sounds of Cherokee.
Cherokee 3 is an advanced level language class that is geared towards students that have completed Cherokee 1 and Cherokee 2. Cherokee 3 is completely in the Cherokee syllabary and covers a broader range topics.
Cherokee 2 is a intermediate level language class that is geared towards students that have completed the Cherokee 1 classes and are comfortable with the phonetics and pronunciations. This class will review the Cherokee phonetics and introduce the Cherokee syllabary.