Your Grandmother's Cherokee

Preserving the Cherokee language, one word at a time.

Cherokee woman carrying baby in the traditional way

Happy New Year?

Happy New Year?  Cherokee people traditionally don’t say “Happy New Year” to each other in Cherokee language, says June Stamper Smith.  If you wanted to translate this holiday greeting literally in English you would say “Ulihelisdi (happy) Atse (new) Udetiyvsgv (year)” but Cherokee people don’t usually say that to each other. When you substitute Cherokee words for English words like that, you’re really still speaking English.

But here’s a good phrase for New Year’s Eve:  “Nvnohi tsaksesdesdi!"  

“Be careful on the road!”

Literally this breaks down to:

Nv no hi = road

Tsa k(a) se sde sdi = You (1 person) watch out!

Or, Di tsa k(a) se sde sdi = You ALL watch out!

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