Apple partners with Cherokee tribe to put language on iPhones

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has partnered with a Native American tribe to develop Cherokee language software for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, in an effort to ensure the language is not forgotten.



Apple's work with the Cherokee tribe was highlighted in a profile published Wednesday by The Associated Press. The Cherokee people hope to spread the use of their language amongst tech-savvy children who use devices like the iPhone and iPad.



While software has already been developed for the iPhone and iPod touch, an iPad version of the application is also said to be in development. At the Cherokee Nation language immersion school in Tahlequah, Okla., teachers use the technology to text students in Cherokee after school to encourage use of the native tongue.



"Tribal officials first contacted Apple about getting Cherokee on the iPhone three years ago," the report said, adding: "After many discussions... the Cupertino, Calif.-based company surprised the tribe by coming through this fall."



Apple's legendary secrecy was even in place when it came to adding the Cherokee language to the iPhone. The tribe didn't learn that Apple had granted their request until right before iOS 4.1 was released in September.



Apple wouldn't comment on the matter, or say how much the development cost, but tribe officials claim that Cherokee is the only American Indian language supported by Apple devices.



The Cherokee language was developed in 1821 by a blacksmith named Sequoyah. The tribe is said to take particular pride in their alphabet, and obtained a printing press to publish the Cherokee Phoenix in 1828.



But today, only about 8,000 of the 290,000 Cherokee tribe members speak the language, and most of those who do are 50 or older. The tribe is concerned that their language could disappear.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Awesome. It'd be a shame to see the Cherokee language disappear.



    Code Talkers FTW!
  • Reply 2 of 56
    That is just cool. This is one of the glimpses into how much Apple cares about how they affect the world around them and the impact they can make.
  • Reply 3 of 56
    As a proud part Cherokee, who cannot speak the language; I congratulate Apple for taking the time and effort to contribute to preservation of the Cherokee language. My Cherokee ancestors left their tribe in Eastern TN in 1832 when trouble started brewing and moved west on their own. Thus, they avoided the first Cherokee removal to Arkansas and the later Trail of Tears removal to Oklahoma. The forced removal is a sad chapter in our Country's history.
  • Reply 4 of 56
    I was unaware they had a written language. Nice to see it added to the digital world, maybe it will spread to heights unseen. Thanks to Apple for bringing it to the world at large.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by technohermit View Post


    I was unaware they had a written language. Nice to see it added to the digital world, maybe it will spread to heights unseen. Thanks to Apple for bringing it to the world at large.



    It is interesting that it was developed by a blacksmith. Of course back then being a blacksmith would have been a high tech job.
  • Reply 6 of 56
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    It is a credit to Appleinsider that they have reported on this. No one else has bothered or at least I haven't seen any recent references.
  • Reply 7 of 56
    "The forced removal is a sad chapter in our Country's history."



    One of the saddest chapters.



    Once in a very great while a huge corporation does something to make you proud of them. Apple deserves congratulations for this.
  • Reply 8 of 56
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,819member
    I read an article a couple of months ago regarding the addition of the Cherokee language to iOS. Surprised this is just catching on now.
  • Reply 9 of 56
    This is wonderful news and has great potential. Contests to everyone involved.
  • Reply 10 of 56
    It was the writing system that was developed in 1821, not the language.
  • Reply 11 of 56
    Very cool! Way to go Apple!



    Best
  • Reply 12 of 56
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member


    deleted

  • Reply 13 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Traveling Apple View Post


    As a proud part Cherokee, who cannot speak the language; I congratulate Apple for taking the time and effort to contribute to preservation of the Cherokee language. My Cherokee ancestors left their tribe in Eastern TN in 1832 when trouble started brewing and moved west on their own. Thus, they avoided the first Cherokee removal to Arkansas and the later Trail of Tears removal to Oklahoma. The forced removal is a sad chapter in our Country's history.



    It seems reasonable to my understanding that this would be a great opportunity for you to learn your ancestral language and pass it on for generations to come, with extended linguistic tools that could now be made possible, due to this joint collaboration.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RjTor View Post


    It was the writing system that was developed in 1821, not the language.



    And technically written Cherokee is not an alphabet but a syllabary, but most people don't know the difference.
  • Reply 15 of 56
    There is already a Klingon dictionary and translator, so I think a Cherokee language app is a good idea.
  • Reply 16 of 56
    Preservation of world languages is a real conundrum. On the one hand, multiple languages present a barrier to communication and understanding. On the other hand, each language has the potential to express nuances of the human experience that are unique. I can imagine that languages could be preserved in the electronic version of world seed banks. But without being used in real life they are merely museum artifacts. Perhaps the only solution is that everyone needs to be bilingual: a universal world language such as English, and the local tongue of your own cultural roots.
  • Reply 17 of 56
    Next up.....a Navajo Code Talker App.





    p.s. Mele Kalikimaka
  • Reply 18 of 56
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    Good for Apple. No doubt Google and Microsoft will suddenly have similar ideas
  • Reply 19 of 56
    It's been a few years since they added support for the Hawaiian language (which was almost extincted back in the first half of the 20th century, but has rebounded since due to major educational efforts). I remember how excited I was about that, as a non-native non-speaker who lives in Hawaii, just because it meant I could finally type Hawaiian words with the correct accent marks!



    Good to see them doing Cherokee too. Now for the Text Lens language pack, right?
  • Reply 20 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jbh0001 View Post


    And technically written Cherokee is not an alphabet but a syllabary, but most people don't know the difference.



    Sequoyah did not create it "in 1821". He spent some 12 years developing it. If you think about it, even that is a pretty short time. He had to develop not merely the symbols, but the entire grammar, and it had to be good enough to make sense to others and be relatively easy to learn as well.



    A remarkable achievement, at precisely the right time in order to help the tribe stay cohesive. One of those rare occasions where a single individual really does make a huge difference.
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