View Full Version : What was that Native American language with the invented alphabet?

04-04-2009, 06:02 PM
It seems to me there was a Straight Dope article about a Native American who, having learned to read English using the standard Latin alphabet, returned to his native lands and invented a phoenetic transliteration for his own language.

I recall many of the characters being very similar to Latin characters, although some of them were simply reversed left-to-right.

Anybody remember what it is? I can't seem to find a reference for it.

04-04-2009, 06:03 PM
Sequoyah invented the Cherokee alphabet.

References, well, anywhere.

04-04-2009, 06:04 PM
Cherokee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoyah).

04-04-2009, 06:09 PM
Thanks for the quick response. I must be misremembering the characters that I saw, because I could've sworn there were some back-to-front Latin versions.

04-04-2009, 06:15 PM
Looking at the complete syllabary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_syllabary), there are several which resemble Latin characters and Arabic numerals. And there are few which look like familiar characters mirrored, rotated or both. For example, da looks like a backwards J, hu resembles an upside-down rotated L and lv seems like a mirrored f.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
04-04-2009, 06:58 PM
Are you perhaps thinking of the Cree syllabary (http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cree.htm)? Or Inuktitut (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuktitut_syllabics)? Some of them look a little like backwards Latin characters, I suppose, though to me they look a lot more like shorthand.

04-05-2009, 05:37 AM
Sequoyah could not read English, as far as I know. He simply saw and used some of the letterforms. The sound values he assigned are completely unrelated.

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