Thursday, June 02, 2005

In my copious free time

Just on a lark I used my newfound knowledge of LCSH free-floating subdivisions--if you don't know, don't ask!--to poke around Harvard's catalog and see if they had any instructional texts for the Cherokee language, Cherokee being a perennial fascination of mine for I don't remember how long at this point. On our honeymoon I made my wife agree to a detour of almost an entire day's worth of driving off the Interstate in order to see Talhequah, the Cherokee capital in Oklahoma, check out the tribal museum, and visit Sequoyah's house (which was unfortunately closed at the time). At the time I remembered having read that road signs and billboards in and around Talhequah were written in the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah, so naturally I had to see them for myself. And I was not disappointed.

Ever since then my interest has been redoubled, so I was very happy indeed to find that we do in fact have a book called Beginning Cherokee by Ruth Bradley Holmes and Betty Sharp Smith published in 1976 by the University of Oklahoma Press--where else? Now I'm not harboring any illusions that I will be speaking Cherokee by the end of Intercession--witness my failed attempt to teach myself Sanskrit the winter before last--but I would like to learn a thing or two about the language. And come to think of it, I did incorporate some of what little of the Sanskrit I picked up into my Greek classes, so it wasn't a total washout. Although I'm not entirely certain that I'll find a way to sneak some Cherokee into the mix...

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