This software is dedicated to the memory of the Ancient Ones who thought, dreamt, and spoke in the Cherokee language long before anyone tried to take it away from their descendants.
May our continued use of their beautiful language serve as a constant reminder that America is built upon the graves of Indians - whose language and descendants may be found everywhere today.
Marvin W. Plunkett
Author of The Cherokee Companion
Proprietor, Profit Systems Software
Member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
The Cherokee people were first "discovered" by the Europeans during the expedition conducted by Hernando de Soto in 1539-1543. At that time, the Cherokee's territory extended into areas we now call Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas and the Virginias. No one knows exactly how they got there, or how long they had been there, for the answers to those questions are in the realm of myth.
We do know, however, that the Cherokees had developed a complex civilization, with their own language, and a well-balanced system of local (city) governments, each comprised of seven clans, and requiring the participation of both men and women in order to function. At the time the outside world discovered them, the Cherokee people were already quite "civilized."
Today, Cherokees are among the most numerous of the surviving Native Americans. One band of Cherokees, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is at the time of this writing, the second-largest "recognized tribe" in the United States. Whether they are formally enrolled in one of the federally recognized tribes or not, Cherokee descendants can be found almost anywhere in the world.
The written form of the Cherokee language was developed by Sequoyah, who completed his twelve-year work and gave it to the Cherokee people in 1821. For many years following, it is estimated that some 90% of the Cherokees knew their language and its written form. Since 1907, the year Oklahoma gained statehood, that figure has been in steady decline. Today fewer than 10% of the Cherokee people can speak their own language, and fewer still know how to read or write the syllabary.
The Cherokee "alphabet" is called a "syllabary" since each character represents a syllable. There were 86 symbols in Sequoyah's original syllabary. The Cherokee Companion software presents 84 of them, excluding one of the three symbols for the "NAH" syllable, and another which was dropped by Sequoyah several years after he created the syllabary.
The original syllabary was modified by Rev. Samuel A. Worcester, who collaborated with Sequoyah to re-shape the characters into forms that would allow the creation of type for a printing press. The re-shaped syllabary characters have been in use since 1828, and have come to be known as Sequoyah's syllabary. The font that we use today follows the tradition set by that "old-style" litho font.
Click this link to view a photograph showing Sequoyah's original syllabary and the modified character set we use today (size is 92 KB).
Sequoyah also designed characters for numbers, which the Cherokee council voted not to adopt. Click this link to see a photograph of Sequoyah's numbers (size is 139 KB).
Learning the syllabary is a good first step in learning the Cherokee language, since reading Cherokee consists primarily of "naming" the characters (saying the syllables) of the written words. Once the syllables (or sounds) and their written form are mastered, learning Cherokee words is much easier.
With that in mind, Profit Systems Software has developed a set of tools to help people learn Sequoyah's syllabary. The Cherokee Companion, Part One will help you learn to recognize, pronounce, and type the syllabary.
The Cherokee Companion Part One, for Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME and XP includes a Cherokee TrueType font, Tah-Ah-Teh syllabary teacher, a talking syllabary chart, a talking syllabary typing tutor, a talking reader/writer and the basic lessons you will need to learn the syllabary and a few Cherokee words and phrases.
It is available (on 3.5-inch diskettes) from Profit Systems Software for $45 (US) which includes shipping and handling. For an additional $5 (US), we will include a CD-ROM in addition to the diskettes. International shipping is extra, depending on the destination. To order your copy, mail your check or money order to:
Profit Systems Software
712 Crestview Drive
Reedsport, Oregon 97467-1512.
Institutional and dealer inquiries are invited. You may reach us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone (541) 271-1808.
If your computer has a sound card and speakers (or headphones), you may download the free Demo-tutorial version of this software. There are two files, which may each be copied to a diskette. The first file is setup.exe (1.420 KB), and the second file is setup.w02 (656 KB). Click here to download cc1demo.zip (2.069 MB) which contains both files. You will need the WinZip utility to break the cc1demo.zip file apart. If you don't have WinZip, you may download it from the WinZip home page.
If you would rather download two separate files, click here to download Cherdemo.pt1 and rename it SETUP.EXE when you save it to your disk. Then, click here to download Cherdemo.pt2 and rename it SETUP.W02 (that's dot W zero two) when you save it to your disk. Using these files will not require the use of the WinZip utility, but you must rename the files before using them.
Once downloaded, run SETUP.EXE (on the first diskette) to install the Demo-Tutorial on your computer. Disk two will be requested when disk one is installed. When you have finished with the Demo-Tutorial, you may remove it with the convenient uninstaller provided.
We've added another program, Tah-Ah-Teh, to the Cherokee Companion Part One. It is an alphabet (syllabary) teacher, which teaches the entire syllabary in ten easy lessons, taking about ten days.
If you received The Cherokee Companion Part One prior to May 14, 1998, click here to download your free update (Cc1Updt.exe 682 KB). This update will only work where Part One has already been installed. Once you have downloaded the file, run Cc1Updt.exe to install the new program and its files into the directory where the Companion is installed.
The Cherokee Companion, Part Two, when available, will teach Cherokee words and sentence structure using Cherokee heritage stories and crafts. Vocabulary teaching tools will teach 50 words at a time, the words having been taken from stories which will then be presented in both audio and syllabary form to help you learn usage and sentence structure. The benefit of this approach will be that you will learn the Cherokee heritage perspective, or world-view, not just Cherokee words and how to use them.
Part Two is awaiting funding at this time, and will be announced on this website as well as by mail or email to all registered users of Part One.
About This Page
Through the years, many opinions have been mixed into the historical record with regard to Sequoyah and his syllabary. In fact, the historical accounts of Sequoyah are so diverse that he appears to have slipped into the realm of legend.
Although a considerable effort has been made to maintain historical accuracy in the content of this page, it should be realized by the reader that some of the information presented may be inaccurate. This page will be updated to reflect new or more reliable information as it becomes available.
For another source of information about Sequoyah, visit the archives of www.1st-hand-history.org where you will find "Se-Quo-Yah" by George E. Foster (published in 1885) on the Library Index page.
is owned by Marvin Plunkett.
Want to join the Tsalagi Ring?
[Skip Previous][Previous][Next][Skip Next]
Click here to visit The Cherokee Companion Links Page where you will find other useful web-sites.
If you have questions or comments about this page, please e-mail them to email@example.com .
Return to the INTERTRIBAL.NET home page.
Please explore our history archives at www.1st-hand-history.org
Copyright © 1997-2006 by Profit
Systems Software. All rights reserved worldwide.
Package cover artwork shown above is the work of Mr. Robin Mayes, member Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Windows is a registered trademark, and Windows95 (etc.) are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.
TrueType is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.