A Cherokee language course is now offered in Mango Languages, an online language-learning system available free for Cobb County Public Library System cardholders.
Cherokee is the first Native American course developed for Mango. The course development team included language specialists from the Cherokee Nation and support from the Tulsa City-County Library of Oklahoma. The Mango course is being heralded as a major contribution to efforts to save the Cherokee language as relatively few people speak and write – or think – in the language.
The “shudder-inducing reality” is that only 16,000 people speak Cherokee with limited opportunities for young people to learn the language, according to a recent Mango Languages blog post announcing the course. Native speakers are located in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the Eastern Band of Cherokees in North Carolina (a three-hour drive from Cobb County) and the United Keetoowah Band of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
There are more than 60 different interactive Mango Language courses. Like the other Mango courses, the Cherokee course includes recordings, graphics, images, cultural information and other resources. The Cherokee Syllabary of characters representing syllables in spoken Cherokee created two centuries ago by Sequoyah is used in the course.
Cherokee translation specialists Anna Sixkiller and John Ross served on the Cherokee course development team and provided voice talent for the course’s native speaker conversations.
“At this point, we do not have that many fluent speakers left, so we are using different types of technology so people will be able to learn the Cherokee language,” Sixkiller said in the Mango announcement. Ross said, “It is extremely important to me to create such a project and for everyone to hear our language and see our writing system.”
Cobb library cardholders can access Mango Languages to learn Cherokee, Spanish, French, Japanese and many more languages. For more information, visit http://www.cobbcat.org/research/databases/featured-databases/.