Before Cherokee became part of the internationally recognized UNICODE
system, typing in Cherokee depended on the font you were using. There were several Cherokee fonts available, but the Cherokee Nation font became the most used. Each font mapped each syllable to different keys on the keyboard. So, for example, using the old Cherokee Nation font, to type ᎣᏏᏲ (o-si-yo) you had to type: lowercase o, uppercase R, uppercase Y. This was because each Cherokee syllable was mapped to a specific key on the English keyboard as seen below:
Why is it different now?
Imagine this: If you lived in Japan and you wanted to type in Japanese on your computer, you would not open up a program and select a font called "Japanese" and start typing. That’s because in other countries, computers are in their language, and they have many fonts for their language. The idea of having only ONE FONT to use for an entire language is very limiting.
Cherokee is now recognized as an international language by the technology community. Because of this, our language has many different fonts, too. So instead of selecting a font called Cherokee from a dropdown menu, you have other options. And to type in Cherokee, you switch your computer’s keyboard layout
, not the font
What is a keyboard layout?
Keyboard layouts exist for all kinds of languages. Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Russian, and many other languages are used on computers. Cherokee has its own special keyboard layouts, too. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a new physical keyboard. Instead, you install special pieces of software that let you switch between typing in English and Cherokee (or any other language that doesn’t use Latin characters).