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By itself, being able to read smartphone home screens in Cherokee won’t be enough to safeguard the Indigenous language, endangered after a long history of erasure. But it might be a step toward immersing younger tribal citizens in the language spoken by a dwindling number of their elders.

…Sneed and other Cherokee leaders have spent several months consulting with Lenovo-owned Motorola, which last week introduced a Cherokee language interface on its newest line of phones. Now phone users will be able to find apps and toggle settings using the syllable-based written form of the language first created by the Cherokee Nation’s Sequoyah in the early 1800s. It will appear on the company’s high-end Edge Plus phones when they go on sale in the spring.

…Take the start button on the Motorola interface, which features a Cherokee word that translates into English as “just start.” That’s a clever nod to the casual way Cherokee elders might use the phrase, said Benjamin Frey, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This story also appeared on ABC News, WRAL, and WUNC.

AP News