Your Grandmother's Cherokee

Preserving the Cherokee language, one word at a time.

John Standingdeer said, "If we Cherokee people have spoken this language for thousands of years, there has to be a pattern, and it has to be simple and easy."  He found the pattern that underlies each long Cherokee word, the words that are like a whole sentence in English.  

This method for learning Cherokee language is not like any other method.  It shows you how to break the words apart in a simple, logical, consistent way that can be learned without huge amounts of rote memorization. It also shows you the meanings of the parts of the words--who's doing the action, when it's happening, and so on.  And this method can show you the connection between words.  

This website provides a Dictionary, a new program called "Make a Word," and online courses with the method as it is currently being taught at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  

  • “Make a Word” is a fun interface that allows you to put together parts of a Cherokee word to create one Cherokee word that is equal to a complete English sentence.

  • The dictionary includes more than 80,000 words that you can search for in English, Cherokee phonetics, and Cherokee syllabary.  

  • Online courses introduce you to this method step by step, and you can learn at your own pace. 



Learn More >

"I am impressed!"

--June Stamper Smith, fluent speaker, enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

"I tried every course, every tape, every book, and I am married to a fluent speaker. For more than twenty years I couldn’t get anywhere. But this method finally gave me a way."

--Kathi Littlejohn, storyteller, enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

"I learned more from this course in one year than I did my whole life living in Cherokee."

--Kristy Maney, enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

"Revolutionary! This is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. This method offers an exciting, new way to teach Cherokee language. "

--Eva Garroutte, Ph.D., Boston College, citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

"Your language program is brilliant!"

--Shan Goshorn, artist and activist, enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

"What Standingdeer and Duncan have done is show us how the patterns of the Cherokee language indeed *can* be understood simply and with ease (but not without practice, of course). This, I believe, is what the ancestors intended, and what we have here in the Grandmother method seems to reach through time to remind us of this and again show us the way."

--Clint Carroll, Ph.D. University of Minnesota, citizen of the Cherokee Nation

""Your Grandmother’s Cherokee™ comes the closest to mirroring how native speakers learn of any language teaching tool I’ve ever seen. The Institute of Native American Studies has purchased it for all our students and faculty interested in learning or improving their Cherokee. It’s revolutionary." "

--Jace Weaver, Ph.D. (Cherokee Nation) Director, Institute of Native American Studies UGA