History of the Cheyenne Alphabet

The modern linguistic alphabet which has been used in bilingual education programs and Cheyenne language materials since the early 1970's is essentially the same alphabet designed by Rev. Rodolphe Petter for the Cheyenne language 100 years ago. The modern alphabet uses Rev. Petter's same letters, except for his letter "z". Rev. Petter had a symbol for the glottal stop but he often did not use it. In the modern alphabet, however, we attempt to write the glottal stop consistently, especially since its presence or absence can indicate two different Cheyenne words. Rev. Petter was a speaker of German and so it was logical that he used the German letter "z" for the sound "ts" as in English "cats" or the word the Cheyennes call themselves, Tsitsistas ("the Cheyennes"). The Cheyenne staff of the bilingual education program which adopted this modern alphabet in the early 1970's felt it would be better to use the English letters "ts" rather than the German letter "z" for this sound.

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For technical discussions of Cheyenne alphabet symbols, especially as they relate to various computer platforms, click on following links:

Cheyenne font
Re: Cheyenne font
Cheyenne Symbol Set (Alphabet)
Cheyenne and international standards
Re: Cheyenne and international standards



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