Sequoyah says, "ᎣᏏᏲ!"
September 20, 2011 7:05 AM   Subscribe

The Indomitable Language: How the Cherokee Syllabary Went from Parchment to iPad
posted by overeducated_alligator (22 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like that this comic portrays Sequoyah as a superhero. AS WELL IT SHOULD.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:12 AM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other work by Roy Boney, Jr.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:19 AM on September 20, 2011


I really like the idea of alphabets / syllabaries being invented from whole cloth to suit a language, instead of awkwardly evolved from Latin (or otherwise). My favourite examples of these are the Inuktitut syllabary because it looks like it's from the future, and Hangul because it makes so much sense!
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:26 AM on September 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mvto!
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:31 AM on September 20, 2011


No, my previous comment is not a acronym. Didn't mean to confuse anyone.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:32 AM on September 20, 2011


...and after a bit of wikipedia diving, I find that the Inuktitut syllabary was adapted from the Cree syllabary, which was inspired by the success of the Cherokee syllabary. So cheers Sequoyah!
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:32 AM on September 20, 2011


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness,
benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one with the iPad."

posted by srboisvert at 8:02 AM on September 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder what the process is for replacing the portrait on US currency. Say, low denomination paper, for instance. In case I'm not being clear, the idea would be to replace someone with a legacy of pain. With Sequoyah.
posted by TreeRooster at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have been following the Cherokee Nation on Facebook. Beside talking about local events and attractions, they throw in a few lessons on their language.
posted by francesca too at 8:45 AM on September 20, 2011


Cool comic! I had no idea Cherokee had inspired so many other writing systems. Another one (according to Wikipedia) is Vai, from Liberia c. 1830s (after the American Colonization Society). It's in Unicode around U+A500. Big script; some 300 characters for different syllables.

My favorite modern writing system is Deseret, the Mormon alphabet. It's pretty strange in that it was intended for writing English, just in a different way to set LDS apart from the rest of America. There's very few historical samples of its use, but just enough to qualify for Unicode coverage. Also one of their letters 𐐘 is, literally, gay. Snicker.
posted by Nelson at 8:54 AM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also one of their letters 𐐘 is, literally, gay. Snicker.

It looks like a butt with a toupee. That's fantastic.
posted by theodolite at 9:02 AM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, it’s Roy! Sweet!

Roy was the artist on Dead Eyes Open,* a comic I wrote, and he illustrated, for SLG back in the mid '00s. We met through his superlative work on his own strip, Plugin Boy, which I can't seem to find anywhere online right now.

Roy is awesome. Creative, driven, intelligent, and into tons of different stuff, including, well, zombies. I'm chuffed to see him and his work on the front page of MeFi, but not entirely surprised.

*normally I'd link to a Web site that has the whole comic online for free (with permission from me and Roy and the publisher), but I seem to have inadvertently broken it and I don't know how.
posted by Shepherd at 9:22 AM on September 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Debian package containing Cherokee fonts is called ttf-lg-aboriginal
posted by LogicalDash at 10:35 AM on September 20, 2011


I didn't know they made Selectric balls for Cherokee. That's pretty awesome.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:57 AM on September 20, 2011


If you should find yourself in East Tennessee, be sure to visit the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. They feature exhibits about Sequoyah's life and accomplishments, Cherokee culture, Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears and occasional live-action reenactments of treaty signings (many of which took place at the nearby Tellico Blockhouse.) Of course, the museum isn't actually situated at Sequoyah's birthplace because the Great Island was flooded in 1979 during the creation of Tellico Lake on the Little Tennessee River.
posted by workerant at 11:43 AM on September 20, 2011


I'm embarrassed to say that I wasn't even aware of a Cherokee writing system until a few weeks ago on the way to a camping trip in Cherokee, NC.

I suppose I'm not terribly surprised that it was never brought up in our history classes. A shame, really.
posted by odinsdream at 12:56 PM on September 20, 2011


Black Cherokees fight for identity after tribe strips citizenship
posted by homunculus at 1:46 PM on September 20, 2011


Cool comic. Even though it's from that paper.

Some other native languages which had no written version (apart from pictographs) are moving forward by adopting consistent orthographies based on written English. In recent decades, for example, Ojibwe teachers - after decades of having to work with multiple representations (which divided efforts to create and publish modern teaching and reference materials) - have standardized a double vowel system. That decision quickly led to a modern dictionary.
posted by Twang at 3:25 PM on September 20, 2011


This is cool. I became aware of the Cherokee writing system when a few people from the tribe came to Microsoft to give a lunchtime lecture on the impact and significance of having Cherokee available on the iPhone/iPad. I think they were teachers from the Cherokee Language Immersion School mentioned in the other article.
posted by jacalata at 9:00 PM on September 20, 2011


TreeRooster: I don't know if the $20 counts as "low denomination," but that'd be the dead president I'd oust.
posted by eritain at 9:39 PM on September 20, 2011


eritain We can dream!
posted by TreeRooster at 11:12 PM on September 20, 2011


I would just like to take this opportunity to note that one of the coolest things anyone has ever given me is an Obama 08 pin written in Cherokee. Just in case he's lurking about...thanks ormondsacker!
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:08 PM on September 21, 2011


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