Friday, March 16, 2012

Italian Cherokee Student Passes Test, and a Note on Dialects


Mattia Reeder, a student from the area of Venice, Italy, has passed Test 2. Well done! Even though his recordings were technically correct, it’s strange and yet wonderful to hear Cherokee spoken with Italian pacing and inflection. ( FYI: I'm waiting to hear what his baritone voice can do with some of the hymns!)

That brings up a point.  The most frequent question I get is “Which dialect do you teach?”  The two remaining dialects are not that different, and more importantly, there are ten recognized sub-dialects, and MANY peculiarities within communities or families.

For example, my father would say “Much obliged” in place of “Thank you very much,” as if the additional thanks required  different words. This is not a difference of dialect, just an idiom, which passed on to me.  One older friend speaks the way his father did; the accent and inflection is so specific, I can tell which county his father as from. 

For the record, we teach the modern Western dialect, a merging of Middle and Overhill dialects. We do this simply because this is what most Cherokee today speak, and will give you the greatest number of potential friends to speak with.  But any fluent speak will immediately recognize that you didn’t grow up speaking the language, and that you “aren’t from around here.”

You can start today, in fact, by actually subscribing to the Speak Cherokee program for $20 per month:

THE 2012 CHEROKEE CALENDAR is still available

The YEAR 2012 PACKAGE is still very popular.

donadagohvi,  Until next time,  
nvwadohiyada!  may true peace and healing be with you!

Brian Wilkes

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