Signs of Cherokee Culture: Sequoyah's Syllabary in Eastern Cherokee Life / Edition 1

Signs of Cherokee Culture: Sequoyah's Syllabary in Eastern Cherokee Life / Edition 1

by Margaret Bender
     
 

ISBN-10: 080782707X

ISBN-13: 9780807827079

Pub. Date: 06/24/2002

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

Based on extensive fieldwork in the community of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina, this book uses a semiotic approach to investigate the historic and contemporary role of the Sequoyan syllabary—the written system for representing the sounds of the Cherokee language—in Eastern Cherokee life.

The Cherokee syllabary was

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Overview

Based on extensive fieldwork in the community of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina, this book uses a semiotic approach to investigate the historic and contemporary role of the Sequoyan syllabary—the written system for representing the sounds of the Cherokee language—in Eastern Cherokee life.

The Cherokee syllabary was invented in the 1820s by the respected Cherokee Sequoyah. The syllabary quickly replaced alternative writing systems for Cherokee and was reportedly in widespread use by the mid-nineteenth century. After that, literacy in Cherokee declined, except in specialized religious contexts. But as Bender shows, recent interest in cultural revitalization among the Cherokees has increased the use of the syllabary in education, publications, and even signage.

Bender also explores the role played by the syllabary within the ever more important context of tourism. (The Eastern Cherokee Band hosts millions of visitors each year in the Great Smoky Mountains.) English is the predominant language used in the Cherokee community, but Bender shows how the syllabary is used in special and subtle ways that help to shape a shared cultural and linguistic identity among the Cherokees. Signs of Cherokee Culture thus makes an important contribution to the ethnographic literature on culturally specific literacies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807827079
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
06/24/2002
Edition description:
1
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.74(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Note on Orthography
Introduction1
1Pride and Ambivalence: The Syllabary's Received History and Interpretation23
2Reading, Writing, and the Reproduction of Cultural Categories: Three R's of Orthographic Choice in Cherokee Language Education43
3Talking Leaves, Silent Leaves: Syllabary as Code81
4Reading the Signs: Metalinguistic Characterizations of the Syllabary109
5What Else You Gonna Go After?: The Commodification of the Syllabary131
Conclusion157
Notes167
References175
Index183

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