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native American writing systems

Subject Linguistics

Key-Topics Native American

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


Unlike maya writing and other Mesoamerican scripts, none of the indigenous systems of North America pre-dates European contact. After European colonization had begun, various systems were devised for native American languages by indigenous inventors who had been exposed to European literacy, and by missionaries. Some of these systems gained wide currency among the speakers of the languages for which they were designed, notably the Cherokee syllabary. However, in the twentieth century their use has declined drastically if not discontinued altogether, because of the limited utility of native American languages for written communication and the necessity to become literate in English. See also cherokee syllabary ; cree syllabary ; fox syllabary ; yupic writing . Reading Walker 1981; Krauss 1973. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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