| As of Friday, Google added the Cherokee
Syllabary, the written language, to its searchable languages, according
to a Cherokee Nation news release and Google's official blog.
The language becomes one of the search
engine's 146 interface languages.
The effort was a collaborative one between
tribal translators and Google employees, the news release states.
"I believe that efforts like those
of Google are essential to keeping our language alive. We have been
working hard to get our young people interested in learning our
native tongue, but we cannot be successful unless they can read
and write in the medium of their era - all the digital devices that
are currently so popular," Principal Chief Chad Smith said.
Sequoyah created the 85-character syllabary
in the early 1800s. Some of its characters resemble Greek and Latin
According to the news release, it quickly
made most Cherokees literate and was adapted into the first American
Indian newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, which was written in both
Cherokee and English.
According to the Google blog, Cherokee
speakers may select Cherokee as their default language by clicking
on the Language Tools page link to the right of the Google search
Scroll down to the language interface
list and click on Cherokee.
That brings up a Cherokee language search
Then click on the icon on the right, inside
the search box to open an on-screen Cherokee keyboard.
The virtual keyboard allows Cherokee language
speakers to search web content in Cherokee without a physical Cherokee
The user can click on the virtual keyboard
and drag it to a convenient spot on the search page.
According to the tribe, in the past decade
the Cherokee Nation has sought to keep its language vital.
It started by offering free language classes,
as well as a youth choir that sings in Cherokee, student language
bowl competitions and a Cherokee degree program at Northeastern
Its language immersion school has grown
every year and now includes students up to the fifth grade, according
to the news release.
Cherokee language technologist Joseph
Erb noted that Cherokee speakers now have the power and knowledge
of the Internet accessible in their language.