Cherokee Language

The Cherokee Nation is committed to preserving and growing the Cherokee language in both spoken and written forms.

The Cherokee language is considered a Class IV language in its degree of difficulty. It is spoken fluently by an estimated 2,000 people worldwide today, with several thousand more being considered beginner or proficient speakers.

The Cherokee syllabary is the written form of the language. It is not an alphabet, but instead contains 85 distinct characters that represent the full spectrum of sounds used to speak Cherokee – one character for each discrete syllable.

Cherokee Nation’s Cherokee language programs include a translation office; community and online language classes; the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program; and language technology. Together, these programs offer a variety of services including translation of Cherokee documents, the creation of Cherokee language teaching materials, community and employee Cherokee language classes, and the development and support of Cherokee language on digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.

The goal of these language programs is the perpetuation of Cherokee language in all walks of life, from day-to-day conversation, to ceremony, digital and online platforms such as social media.