Mango Monday: Cherokee

For this installment of Mango Monday, we will discuss a brand new language offered exclusively by Mango: Cherokee.

According to Mango's Cherokee page, "Cherokee is the language of North America's Cherokee people. It is one of the healthiest indigenous languages of North America with an extensive library of literature and a significant community of native speakers." It is further indicated that there are approximately "10,400 speakers speakers in Iroquoian communities in Oklahoma, North Carolina and Arkansas."

In the official blog of Mango Languages, the new Cherokee project is described as:

"In partnership with the Cherokee Nation and the Tulsa City-County Library, we’ve officially debuted our first-ever Native American course. A collaborative labor of love, the Cherokee course is now live and ready to be enjoyed by Mango users in libraries, schools, and homes across North America.

The importance of this course is underlined by the shudder-inducing reality that Cherokee is considered an endangered language, with about 16,000 native speakers worldwide. Compare that against the whopping 317,000 Cherokee citizens that make up the United States’ largest tribal nation and the urgency of this issue becomes immediately clear."*

The Cherokee conversations lesson will help you learn several things about the language. The first lesson begins with greetings and asking about the other person's well-being. The lessons do use the unique writing system, but don't let that scare you. The words and phrases are also rendered phonetically in English to maximize learning.

Cherokee is a vibrant and healthy spoken language with a history of literature dating back to the 1820s when Sequoya developed the first Cherokee syllabary. A syllabary has characters that represent a set of sounds instead of individual letters. Those we have studied Japanese will recognize the similarity in idea to the sets kana. The Cherokee language also uses tones, which are used most notably in various dialects of Chinese.

Supplementary Material:

The video below is from our Access Video on Demand collection. The segment is about the development of the written language by Sequoia, and the full length video is about the trail of tears. If you are at home, you may need to type your library card number to view the video.

Next Monday we will be back with a new language you can teach yourself with resources from your library. Don't forget to take advantage of Mango's mobile app for language learning on the go!