Cherokee Language
One Feather, Spirit and Sacred Pipe Carver

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One Feather, Spirit and Sacred Pipe Carver

One Feather, Spirit and Sacred Pipe Carver

UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE:

Basic Cherokee
Here you can learn some basic Cherokee phrases and words. First you will need to know the vowel pronounciation.
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MOONS
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Calendar------nv-do di-se-s-di (actually means "moon counter")

Moon-----nv-do

Full Moon--ka-li- i-ka-da nv-do (formal), ka-li i-ka-d nv-do (conversational)

Dark Moon---u-li-si-gi nv-do (formal), u-l-si-g nv-do (conversational)

New Moon---nv-do u-s-di-a (actually means little moon)

Half Moon---a-ye-hli i-ka-da nv-da nv-do (formal), a-ye-hl i-ka-d nv-do (conversational) actually means "half size moon")

Quarter Moon---gi-nu-di i-ka-da nv-do (formal), gi-nu-d i-ka-d nv-do (conversational) actually means "quarter size moon")

Three Quarter Moon---tso-i gi-nu-di i-ka-da nv-do (formal), tso gi-nu-di i-ka-d nv-do (conversational) actually means "three quarter size moon")
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Animals:
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alligator (also means iron pot) ... tsu-la-s-gi
animal ... ga-na-tla-i
ant ... do-sv-da-li
antelope ... a-wi-yu-sti
antlers ... a-wi-tsu-yo-ni
armadillo ... u-ya-s-ga-li

badger ... i-no-li
bait, fish ... a-su-di ga-(to)-di
bareback (literally without saddle) ... ni-ga-ya-hu-lv-na
bat ... tla-me'-ha
bay, horse ... u-wo-di-ge so-qui-li
beast (lit. 4 legged) ... nv-gi di-ga-nv-sa-di
beaver, beavers ... do'-ya
bear, bears ... yo-n(v)(a)
bed bug ... ga-lu-i-s-di
bee ... wa-du-li:-si
beef ... wa-ka ha-wi-ya
beef, fattened ... wa-ka ga-li-(tsa)-ta-nv
bird, birds ... tsi'-s'qua
blackbird ... tsi-s-qua-li-s-da
blackfox ... gv-ni-ge-tsu-li
blacksnake (climber) ... ga-le-gi
bluebird ... tsa-quo'-la-de
bluejay ... tla-i?-ga
boar ... si-qua tsu-ka-nv-s-de-na
bobcat, bobcats ... gv-he
buffalo, buffaloes ... ya'-n'-s-si' or yansa
bull ... tsu-ka-nv-s-de-na
bullfrog ... kan'-nu-na
butterfly ... ka-ma-ma
buzzard ... su-li:

camel ... ke-mi-li
cardinal ... to-tsu'-hwa
cat, cats ... we-s(a)(i)
catfish ... tsu-li-s-da-na:-li or tsu-n'-li-s-da-na'-li
centipede ... tsu-ga-no-tsi
chickadee ... tsi-ga-li:-li
chicken, chickens ... tsi-ta:-ga
chipmunk ... ki-yu:-ga
cobra ... kwa-n-da-i-o-ha
collar, horse ... u-na-ha-tlv-di
cow, cattle ... wa-ga
cowhide ... wa-ka ga-ne-ga
crawfish ... tsi:-s-dv-na
cricket ... ta-la-du
crow ... ko:-g(a)(i)

dead, animal ... u-li-wo-tsv-i
deer (singular and plural) ... v'-s-gi-yi OR a-wi
dog, dogs ... gi-tli
donkey (long-eared) ... di-ga-li-nv'-hi-dv
donkeys ... di-ni-ga-li-nv'-hi-dv
dove ... wo:-ya
dove (lit. cries for acorns) ... gu-le di-s-go-ni
dragonfly ... wa-da-du-ga
drake, male duck ... ka-wo-nu a-tsv-ya
duck ... ka-wo:-n(i)
ducklings ... ka-wo-nu a-ni-dv

eagle ... wo-ha'-li
earthworm ... u-tsi:-ya or u-ni-tsi:-ya
eel ... tlv-de-ga
elephant ... ka-ma-ma (this is also the word for butterfly, it has to do with ears.)
elk ... a-wi e-qua
ewe ... a-gi-si u-no-de-na

fawn ... ah-wi a-gi-na
fish ... a-tsa?-di
fly ... tvh?-ga
flying squirrel ... te-wa
fox, foxes ... tsu'-(t)la'
fox, red ... tsu-la u-wo-di-ge
fox sparrow ... wa:-kv:-ta
frog ... wa-lo-si
fur ... u-wu-ya-ta-nv

geese ... sa-sa-u-ni-go-di
giraffe ... ga-lv-n-di a-ls-da-gi-s-gi
goat ... u'-k(a)-so?-tsa-ne-dv
goats ... u-na-k(s)-so-tsa-ne-dv
goose ... sa:-sa
grasshopper ... to-la-tsga
green snake ... se-la-gwo-ya
groundhog ... o'-ga-na'
ground squirrel ... gi-yu-ga
grubs ... s-go-yi OR tsv'-s-go'-yi
guinea, fowl ... gu-que-tsu-(na)-s-di
guinea pig ... oh-we-li

hawk ... to-wo'-d(i)
heifer ... wa-ka a-gi-na
hog ... si-gwa
hoot owl ... u-gu-ku
hornet ... ka-n(a)-ts(i)-s-de-tsi
horse, horses ... so'-qui-li
horsefly ... da-ma-ga
hounddog ... gi-hli di-ga?-le-nv-hi-da
howl ... ge-lu-hv-s-di
hummingbird ... wa-le-li

jack rabbit ... tse-gi tsi-s-du

kangaroo ... di-lta-de-gi tsi-s-de-tsi yu-s-di
katydid ... si-gi-gi

leopard ... tlv-da-tsi u-nv-tsa-di
lion ... tla-da-tsi or hlv-da-ji
livestock ... ga-na-hla?-i
lizard ... ti-yo'-ha-li'
locust ... lo-lo
louse, lice ... ti:-na

meadowlark (also means star) ... no:-k(i)'-si'
mink ... e:-tli
mole ... to-ni:-qua
monkey ... a-da-le-s-gi-yi'-s-gi or a-n'-da-le-s-gi-yi'-s-gi
mosquito ... do-sa
moth ... wa-so-hla
mourning dove ... gu-le di-s-go-hni-hi
mouse ... tsi-s-de-tsi
mud dauber ... di-guhl-di-s-gi

otter ... tsi-ya)
owl ... wa-hu-hi
oyster ... da-gv-na

panther, panthers (also means large wildcat) ... tlv-da-tsi'
perch ... a-go:-li OR a-ni-go:-li
pig, pigs ... si'-qua
pigeon ... wo-yi
polar bear ... yo-na u-ne-ga
porcupine ... di-li tsu-tsa-o-s-di
o'possum (lit. smiling pig) ... si-quu:-tse-ts' OR u-tse-tsdi

quail ... guhgwe

rabbit, rabbits ... tsi'-s(a)-du
raccoon, raccoons ... kv-tli
rat ... tsi-s-de-tsi
rattlesnake ... u-tso'-n(a)-ti' or u-n'-tso'-n'-ti'
redbird ... to-tsu-hwa
robin ... tsi-s-gwo-gwo rooster ... a-tsv'-ya
roosters ... a-ni-tsv'-ya

sapsucker ... kv-gwo:-ha
scorpion ... tsi-s-dv-na a-da-tsv-i-s-gi
sheep (woolly) ... u-no-de:-n(a)
sheep (plural) ... u-ni-no-de:-n(a)
skunk, skunks ... di?-li
snake ... i'-na-dv
snapping turtle ... sa-li-gu-gi
spider ... ka-na-ne'-s-gi
spiders ... a-ni-ka-na-ne'-s-gi
squirrel ... sa-lo-li

tadpole OR toad ... teh?ga
terrapin ... da-ksi
tick ... gu-ga-(i)
tiger ... hlv-da-tsi
turkey ... gv-na

wasp ... ka-n(a)-ts(i)-s-de-tsi
water mocassin ... u'-ga-n'-te:-na or (plural) u-ni-ga-n'-te:-na
weasel (lit. yellow rat) ... d-lo'-ni-ge tsi-s-de-tsi
whippoorwill ... tsgwa-le-gwa-la
wildcat... ka he
winter wren ... tsi-s-tsi-s OR tsi-tsi
wolf, wolves ... wa-hya OR wa-ya
woodrat ... ka-niw-ksa u-ta-na
worms ... s-go-yi OR tsv-s-go'-yi
wren ... tse-ni'

yellowjacket ... tsa-s-ga-ya
yellow mockingbird ... hu-hu

zebra ... so-gwi-li tsu-lv-da-nv-ni

One Feather, Spirit and Sacred Pipe Carver

One Feather, Spirit and Sacred Pipe Carver

Cherokee Vocabulary words:
Sounds Represented by Vowels:
a: as in ah or father or short as in rival
e: as in hate or short as in met
i: as in ski or short as in pit
o: as in note approaching aw in law
u: as (oo) in fool or short as in pull
v: as (u) in but, nasalized

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Consonant Sounds

h, k, l, m, n, q, s, t, w, and y as in English.
g nearly as in English, but approaching k. Syllables beginning with g except (ga) can have the consonance of k.
(do), (du), and (dv) are sometimes sounded to, tu, and tv.
Syllables starting with tl [except (tla)] sometimes vary to dl.
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Other things to note:

Sometimes vowels are unvoiced, when this is the case, I have used parenthesis around the appropriate syllable (a common transcription). Note that the consonant of that syllable is still pronounced, with the preceeding syllable.
EXAMPLE: mock is a-ye-(li)-di and pronounced a-yel-di
However, if I put two vowels in parenthesis, it represents alternate forms.
EXAMPLE: crow is ko-g(i)(a) which means that ko-gi or ko-ga are both correct.

Also,
A ? represents a glottal stop, like the sound between the syllables of Uh-Oh.
A : after a vowel means that this vowel is doubled, taking twice as long to say.
An ' after a syllable shows an accent on that syllable.
An ' after the consonant of a syllable shows that a vowel has been left out.
The syllables with "ts" can be pronounced with a "j" sound.

There are variations of these words throughout the Cherokee nation. Different clans and areas use different variations and some will use more formal variations when in formal settings. If anyone has any tidbits to help explain or define any known variations, please feel free to E mail me what you know on them.
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DAYS
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Days of the Week ... joh-sgoh
Sunday ... Do-da-gwa-sgv
Monday ... Do-da-wo-hnv
Tuesday ... Ta-li-ne-i-ga
Wednesday ... No-i-ne-i-ga
Thursday ... Nv-gi-ne-i-ga
Friday ... Ju-na-gi-lo-sdi
Saturday ... Do-da-gwi-de-na
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MONTHS
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January...Month of the Cold Moon...Du no lv ta ni
February...Month of the Bony Moon...Ka ga li
March...Month of the Windy Moon...A nu yi
April...Month of the Flower Moon...Ka wa ni
May...Month of the Planting Moon...A na a gv ti
June...Month of the Green Corn Moon...De ha lu yi
July...Month of the Ripe Corn Moon...Gu ye quo ni
August..Month of the end of Fruit Moon...Ga lo ni i
September...Month of the Nut Moon...Du li i s di
October..Month of the Harvest Moon...Du ni nv di
November..Month of Trading Moon..Nu da de qua
December..Month of the Snow Moon...V s gi ga
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Numbers
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Numbers ... di-se-s-di
one ... sa-`qu-u-i
two ... `ta-`li
three ... `tso-`i
four ... `nv-`gi
five ... `hi-s-`gi
six ... su-da-`li
seven ... ga-li-`quo-`gi
eight ... (t)su-`ne-la
nine ... `so-`ne-`la
ten ... s-go-`hi

eleven ... sa-du-i
twelve ... ta-(li)-di-i
thirteen ... tso-ga-du-i
fourteen ... ni-ga-du-i
fifteen ... s-gi-ga-du-i
sixteen ... da-la-du
seventeen- ... ga-(li)-qua-du
eighteen ... ne-la-du
nineteen ... so-ne-la-du

twenty ... ta-(li)-s-go-hi
twenty-one ... ta-(li)-s-go-sa-quu-i
leave off the last syllable of the word twenty and add numbers one to nine
thirty ... tso-s-go-hi
forty ... nv-(gi)-s-go-hi
fifty ... su-da-(li)-s-go-hi
sixty ... su-da-(li)-s-go-hi
seventy ... ga-(li)-qua-s-go-hi
eighty ... ne-(li)-s-go-hi
ninety ... so-ne-(li)-s-go-hi
one hundred ... s-go-hi-(tsu)-qui
for numbers thirty to ninety-nine leave off the last syllable (hi) and add numbers one through nine.
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COLORS
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black ... gv-na-ge-i
blue ... sa-go-ni-ge-i
brown ... u-wo-di-ge
green ... i-tse-i-yu-s-di
gray ... u-s-go-lv sa-go-ni-ge
gold ... da-lo-ni-ge-i
orange ... a-sa-lo-ni-ge
pink ... gi-ga-ge-i-yu-s-di
purple ... gi-ge-s-di
red ... gi-ga-ge
silver ... a-de-lv u-ne-gv
white ... u-ne-ga
yellow ... da-lo-ni-ge
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USEFUL WORDS AND SENTENCES
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Cherokee......... CHA LA GI
Indian ... a-yv-wi-ya
Hello ............ o si yo
I Love You ... gv-ge-yu-hi
I ... yv
he ... a-tsv-ya-i
me ... a-`ya
good/fine........ o s da, o s di
small............ u s di
thank you........ wa do
no/not........... kla, kla ha
goodbye.......... do na da' go hv i (speaking to 1 person)
do' da da go' hv i (speaking to a group)
yes/ok........... v v (heard pronounced as huh huh and yee yee)
man.............. a s ga ya
woman............ i ge, i ge ya
mother........... e tsi
father........... e do da
grandmother...... e li si
grandfather...... e do di
child ... a-yo-li
child ... oo-s-dee-a -`yo-li
children ... di-ni-`yo-tli
boy.............. tsu tsa
group of boys.... a ni tsu tsa
girl............. a ge yu tsa
girls ... ah-gay-hu-ge-jah aneigehutsa
elder man ... u-dv-so-nv-hi
elder woman ... a-ga-yv-li-ge
everyone ... ni-ga-du-wu
everybody ... na-ni-v-qu-u
enough........... e li qu
family ... si-da-ne-lv
female ... a-ge-yv
friend, his/hers ... u-na-li
friend, my ... o-gi-na-li
friends ... tsu-na-li
young child ... a-yu-li
young lady ... a-ta
young man ... a-wi-na

welcome.......... tsi lu gi
how are you...... do hi tsu
I am well........ do hi quu
and you.......... ne he na ha
good morning..... o s da su na le i
good evening..... o s da su he ye e
good night....... o s da su no e

grease........... go i
this............. hi a
he knows......... go ga
I want a turkey..... gv na a wa do li
first............... e gv yi i
second........... ta li ne
bread............ ga du
Lord ... ga-lu-hlo
Jehovah ... yi-ho-wa
Jerusalem ... tsi-lu-si-la-mi
Jesus ... tsi-sa
Medicine man ... di-da-nv-wi-s-gi
Warrior ... a-ya-wis-gi or di-tli-hi
Spirit warrior ... a-da-nv-do di-tli-hi
Witch ... a-tsa-s-gi-li
Wizard ... a-dv-ne-li-s-gi
Keeper ... u-(ga)-se-di
King ... u-gv-wi-yu-hi

like/similar..... gi ni tlo yi
feather.......... u gi da li
beads ........... a de la di ya tso di
string of beads.. a de la di ya tlo di
maple............ tlv hwa li ga (pronounced by some as DLA WALS CA) note: the h in front of we, wa etc. denotes a nasal inflection for for the syllable as if taking a heavy breath.
cold............. u hyv dla
What are they doing.... ga do a na du ne
What is this? ... do-i-s-di-hi-na
What time is it? ... he-la-ya-a-hli-li
Which is it? ... do-u-sdi
Where do you live? ... ha-dlv-hi-he-la
What is your name.... ga do de tsa do a (the do near the end has a very crisp nasal sound and merges with the a at the end)

One Feather, Spirit and Sacred Pipe Carver

* One Feather * Wheatland * Oklahoma * USA *

One Feather, Spirit and Sacred Pipe Carver