Your Grandmother's Cherokee

Preserving the Cherokee language, one word at a time.

Roxanne Standingdeer Stamper (1911-2011.) She created the Road to Soco design, pictured here as a pattern on a Pendleton blanket.

A New Way - The Patterns

In order to find the patterns in the words, you have to look at the full form of the word.  Many speakers and even dictionaries do not give the full syllables of the word.  You need to see these syllables to see the patterns.

Once you see the patterns, you can learn the language.  Then you can learn to speak with the accent of the people who grew up speaking the language.

All languages have  formal speech and informal, everyday speech.  These are common expressions from informal conversational Cherokee:

Doyusd? Dodetsado? Do’advn? Do’at?

These short forms don’t show the full patterns of the words.  Each is using the word Gado as a question, shortened to Do—and then combined with the beginning of the next word, eliding consonants and vowels together.

Doyusd =  Gado iyusdi = what is it like ?  (or what is it)
Dodetsado =  Gado detsado’a = what are you (1 person) called?  (what’s your name)
Doadvn =  Gado hadvneha = what are you (1 person) doing?
Doat =  Gado hada = what did you (1 person) just say?


When you see the full form, you can see the pattern. You can see the connections between these words and other words.  For example, hada is the immediate/command form of hadiha –you are saying.

When you see the full forms, and the patterns, then you have a way to remember the words and speak them with understanding.

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