The Cherokee Tribe has worked with Apple to develop Cherokee language software for the iPhone, iPod and — soon — the iPad, reports the “Associated Press” (http://macte.ch/9VGQr). Computers used by students at the tribe’s language immersion school already allow them to type using Cherokee characters.
The goal, Cherokee Chief Chad Smith told the AP, is to spread the use of the language among tech-savvy children in the digital age. Tribal officials first contacted Apple about getting Cherokee on the iPhone three years ago. It seemed like a long shot, as the devices support only 50 of the thousands of languages worldwide, and none were American Indian tongues, “but Apple’s reputation for innovation gave the tribe hope,” says the AP.
After many discussions and a visit from Smith, Apple surprised the tribe by coming through this fall. “There are countries vying to get on these devices for languages, so we are pretty excited we were included,” Joseph Erb, who works in the Cherokee Nation’s language technology division, told the AP.