Your Grandmother's Cherokee

Preserving the Cherokee language, one word at a time.


Sunrise at Waterrock Knob.  Photo by Barbara R. Duncan

A New Way to Learn Cherokee Language

Aug 18, 2013

The Cherokee language had to be simple and easy and logical, if people spoke it as an oral language for thousands of years. They had to have an agreement about the meanings of the words and the parts of words.

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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

Aug 15, 2013

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.

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Cherokee Primer, 1846

New Way - Old Words

Aug 10, 2013

As we tried to follow the Cherokee patterns in the Cherokee language, we kept running into two problems.  One was not having the full forms of the words.  (We’ll talk about the second problem a little later in the blog—English.)

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Rev. Daniel Butrick and David Brown, A Cherokee Speller, 1819.

The Old Words - written and spoken

Aug 3, 2013

These sources have provided lists of Cherokee words.  We compared words, continually checked our hypotheses about the patterns, and verified our results with fluent speakers among the Eastern Band.

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Map of Britain by Mathew Paris, 13th century

English - the other problem, part 1

Jul 28, 2013

Many people try to teach Cherokee by comparing it to English. This is like using parts from your old Edsel to try to fix your Ferrari. (English being the old Edsel that’s already had parts from different cars rigged up to make it run. Cherokee being the sleek high performance Ferrari.)

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