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March 25, 2011
Google It in Cherokee
Screenshot of Google Cherokee
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The international technology leader Google has added the Cherokee written language, called Cherokee Syllabary, to its repertoire of searchable languages. Just like the many other languages Google supports, now anyone who can read and write Cherokee can look up virtually anything, at least in the universe of the World Wide Web.
“I believe that efforts like those of Google are essential to keeping our language alive,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith. “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.”
Cherokee Nation translators worked side by side with Google employees to work through all the challenges of adding a new, and very different, language to their services. The syllabary, created by Sequoyah in the early 1800s has characters, some of which resemble Latin and Greek letters. The 85 character syllabary quickly made the majority of Cherokees literate and was adapted into the first Native American newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix which was written in Cherokee and English.
Over the past decade Cherokee Nation has been dedicated to keeping its language vital. It started with free language classes, a youth choir that sings in Cherokee, student language bowl competitions, a Cherokee degree program at Northeastern State University and a language immersion school that has grown every year, which is now up to fifth grade.
“Translators from Cherokee Nation were eager to volunteer to help make this project a reality, including Cherokee speaking staff, community members and youth,” said Cherokee Nation Language Technologist Joseph Erb. “We now have the power and knowledge of the Internet accessible in our own language.”
Google’s corporate mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Their work with the Cherokee Nation gives access to the most comprehensive search engine in our Native language. “With these tools we are building for Cherokee tomorrow,” added Erb.
Click here for Google’s blog post < http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/ … rokee.html > to see how to use the Google Cherokee search engine.
Google search now supports Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ)
3/25/2011 09:31:00 AM
With the help of Cherokee Nation staff and community members, we’ve added Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ) as an interface language on Google, making a small contribution towards preserving one of the world’s endangered languages.
You can now select Cherokee as your default from the Language Tools page (available from the right of the search box), and the entire Google interface will transform into Cherokee:
We’ve also included an on-screen Cherokee keyboard on the search page through the Google Virtual Keyboard API. This makes it easier for people to search web content in Cherokee without a physical Cherokee keyboard. To access the keyboard, simply click the icon at the right side of the search box.
Cherokee is an Iroquoian language spoken by the Cherokee people. The Cherokee syllabary writing system was developed by Sequoyah in the early 19th century. He realized the power of writing systems, and wanted his people to benefit from that power. Some of the 85 characters he developed for his syllabary were modified from his original handwritten script for a printing press in the 1820s, resulting in characters that resemble Latin and Greek letters. Despite the resemblance, they are pronounced differently. The modified script was quickly adapted for printing Cherokee newspapers, books and pamphlets. The adoption and use of the script enabled the Cherokee people to maintain their language and culture. Today, Cherokee is spoken mostly in the states of Oklahoma and North Carolina. (The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign operating government of the Cherokee people. It is a federally recognized tribe of more than 300,000 Cherokee citizens, with its capital located in Tahlequah, Okla. To learn more, please visit www.cherokee.org.)
We’re honored to have the opportunity to continue this tradition, and we’d like to thank the Cherokee Nation for working with us to translate the interface for Google search into Cherokee.
Search is now available in 146 interface languages—and the list is growing. If you speak an endangered language that you would like us to support, please sign up for Google in Your Language and submit community translations.
Update 10:26 AM: You can find the press release from the Cherokee Nation here.
Posted by ᏇᎩ (Craig Cornelius), Software Engineer, Internationalization
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/ … rokee.html