Apple Put Cherokee Language On iPhone

Members of the Cherokee tribe have worked with Apple to develop Cherokee language software for the iPhone, iPod and soon the iPad.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

You can now communicate in Cherokee on your iPhone. That's because Cherokee leaders have been worried about the fate of their language. While there are about a quarter million Cherokee people, only 8,000 or so speak the language, and most of them are older.

To get the younger generation to use Cherokee, tribal leaders have turned to the language of the young who can now text in Cherokee. And while many teens are already expert texters, this takes it to a whole new level. Compared to the 26 characters found in English, the Cherokee language has a whopping 85.

(Soundbite of song, "The Cherokee Alphabet Song")

Unidentified Woman: (Singing in Cherokee language)

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