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ᏱᎬᏁᏗ ᏗᏐᏅᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᏣᎳᎩ? (How Do You Type in Cherokee?)

History
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).

Where can I get Cherokee keyboard layouts?
If you use an Apple Macintosh computer, your computer already  has Cherokee keyboard layouts.  You can enable them in your System Preferences (watch video).

Phonetic Keyboard Layout for Macintosh
If you do not like the keyboard layouts provided by Apple, here is an alternate keyboard layout - a freely distributable keyboard layout for the Macintosh that lets you type in phonetics and converts the text into syllabary developed by the Language Technology program.  Please read the instructions and license in the installer.  If you agree to the terms, continue with installation.

If you use a Windows based PC, you can download some Cherokee keyboard layouts from www.languagegeek.com.  Instructions for use and installation are included on that website as well.

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