Google's email system, Gmail, has unveiled its 57th language and it's one close to home -- Cherokee.
Google worked with the Cherokee Nation to develop the language in Google's web search and in Gmail, according to Craig Cornelius, a Google engineer, on the official Gmail blog. In 2002, a survey found that no one under 40 spoke conversational Cherokee, and that galvanized the tribe to create language immersion classes as well as reaching out to technology.
The Gmail team worked with a team of volunteers to come up with words that didn't exist in the Cherokee lexicon, such as "inbox" or "spam." For a tribe that developed the first written native language
, this was an important step.
“We are constantly trying to find ways to ensure our Cherokee language lives on and thrives, and being able to converse via email is a vital part of that,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in a statement.
Joseph Erb, language technologist at the Cherokee Nation agreed. “Projects like these give more life to our language in our communities. It is not just about preserving our language and culture. It is about using our language each day and every day and continuing who we are as a people. And this give us that chance each time we check our email.”
For those wanting to use Cherokee, they simply need to go to Gmail settings to use the language ᏣᎳᎩ.