Your Grandmother's Cherokee

Preserving the Cherokee language, one word at a time.

Snow on cedar tree, photo by Barbara Duncan

Gutiha! It is snowing!

Gutiha It Is Snowing

Nogow sgwisda gutiha = Now it is snowing a lot.

Sgwisda untsi = A lot of snow on the ground.

Gohi sunale uwutodi uwalenvhv’i = This morning it began to snow

Sunale’i dagutanigwo = Tomorrow it will still snow.

A way to transform the words into past and future, patterns we could remember, simple rules of grammar—that’s what we were looking for, seven years ago.  That’s what Your Grandmother’s Cherokee provides. 

Marianne Mithun, a linguistic scholar who studies American Indian languages, said “Patterns are the key to language productivity.”  By productivity, she means being able to produce a language, like when you’re learning to speak.  The consistent patterns within Cherokee language itself showed us the way.

Gutiha = It is snowing

Dagutani = It will snow

Uwutanv’I = It snowed

Uwutodi = It-to-snow

You can use this in longer sentences, like

Uwutodi agwaduliha = I want it to snow!

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