Days of the Week

Written by Mary ᎺᎵ Rae, Art by Miriam Rae-Silver

1. Introduction

Writing the days of the week has been a part of the Cherokee language since
not long after Sequoyah invented the syllabary. Noting days of the week,
as well as the time of day, conveys important information in letters, notices
and official documents. Since there are only seven days to remember,
memorizing the words is not really hard. But, if you understand what
the words mean and how they have been used over time,
you will deepen your understanding of the language and of the Cherokee world.

Here are the words for the days of the week and their meanings:

ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢ, ᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢunadodagwohnvi/unadodaquohnvi, dodagwohnvi/dodaquohnvi‘Monday’‘when they have finished doing something all day’
ᏔᎵᏁ, ᏔᎵᏁ ᎢᎦtaline, taline iga‘Tuesday’‘the second day’
ᏦᎢᏁ, ᏦᎢᏁ ᎢᎦjoine/tsoine, joine/tsoine iga‘Wednesday’‘the third day’
ᏅᎩᏁ, ᏅᎩᏁ ᎢᎦnvgine, nvgine iga‘Thursday’‘the fourth day
ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗjun(v)gilosdi, tsun(v)gilosdi‘Friday’‘they have to wash their clothes’
ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ, ᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾunadodagwidena/unadodaquidena, dodagwidena/dodaquidena‘Saturday’‘the day before they do something all day long’
ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ, ᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ
(The final Ꭲ is often left off.)
unadodagwasgvi/unadodaquasgvi, dodagwasgvi/dodaquasgvi‘Sunday’‘the day they do something all day long’

Some Cherokees think that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday should be written
ᏔᎵᏁ ‘second,’ ᏦᎢᏁ ‘third,’ and ᏅᎩᏁ ‘fourth,’ without ᎢᎦ. The reasoning is that
since ᎢᎦ refers to day and daylight, it does not encompass the entire twenty-four hour
period. Therefore, ᏔᎵᏁ ᎢᎦ would refer only to daytime hours on Tuesday. It is possible
that this use of ᎢᎦ arose out of a desire by some to make the Cherokee words correspond
more closely to English days of the week, which all end in “day.”

ᎭᏓᏅᏛᎵ
hadan(v)tvli
Think!

If keeping the days in the above order wasn’t important, do you see other ways that they could be grouped together, using similarities in sounds and/or definitions?

Use this space to jot down your thoughts, or sketch, or circle the words above, draw lines, etc.

 

2. Finding Days of the Week

Open the following documents and find one example of a day of the week for each.
Write the syllabary, the phonetic and the English for each word you find.

1. Letter to Dollie Duncan: 1951-03-11



2. Letter to Dollie Duncan: 1951-02-23



3. Funeral Notice for a Female Child of Gvlehwisgi: 1928



4. Cherokee Republican Constitution: 1926-04-16



 

3. Syllabary Study

ᏙᏪᎸᎦ tohwelvga Write!

Look at the original documents for DOLLIE DUNCAN LETTERS: First Letter
and ECHOTA FUNERAL NOTICES: Funeral Notice for a Female Child of Gvlehwisgi.
Find the day of the week word in the original, and copy the handwriting
in the space below. Write the words as many times as you need to to be
comfortable with writing them.

 

Answer the following questions:

1. What do you notice about the difference between the two
different handwriting samples?

 

2. Do you think the purpose of the writings had anything to do
with how and why they were written? If so, explain.

 

3. Write the two days of the week that you found in syllabary.
First, write them out quickly. Then, write them out very carefully.

 

4. Write three things you hope to gain by learning syllabary:

 

4. Word Study

ᏘᎪᎵᏯ tigoliya Read!

Reading Cherokee is important, and the New Testament is one of the great treasuries of language. Think that when you are reading these words, you are reading as people spoke in the 1800s. Here, I found some of the words we have been studying.

VOCABULARY

ᎾᏍᎩnasgi‘that,’ ‘that one’
ᎨᏎᎢgesei‘it was’
hnoadded to the end of the word, can mean ‘and’

From the New Testament:
Tsalagi Itse Kanohedv Datlohidv Tsutsosawati Tsalagi Ale Yonega = The Cherokee
New Testament, Parallel Cherokee & English: Translation Based
upon the Received Text. Global Bible Society, 2015.

The Cherokee New Testament can also be found online here.

Mark 1:21
ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬ ᎢᎦ
unadodagwasgv/unadodaquasgv iga
‘the sabbath day’

Mark 15:42
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᎢᎦ ᎨᏎᎢ
nasgi unadodgwidena/unadodquidena iga gesei
‘that is, the day before the sabbath’

Matthew 28:1
ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎯᏃ
unadodagwohnvhihno/unadodaquohnvhihno
‘And in the end of the sabbath’

Practice reading the above sentences aloud.

Unadodagwasgvi/unadodaquasgvi ‘Sunday’ is usually said to mean ‘the day they are doing
things all day.’ In the New Testament unadodagwasgvi/unadodaquasgvi is used for the Sabbath.
You might want to think about why that is. You can write something about it
if you like, or just mull it over when you have a chance.

Write the words for ‘Saturday,’ ‘Sunday,’ and ‘Monday’ in phonetics below:

 

5. Dictionary Study

For the next section you will need to use Durbin Feeling’s Dictionary.
Feeling, Durbin. Cherokee-English Dictionary.Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, 1975.

If you don’t have a copy, you can find an online version here.

Below is a highly simplified guide for beginning to familiarize yourself
with the entries you will find in the dictionary. The first thing to remember
is that verbs will always be listed under the third person singular
(he, she or it), present tense form. So if you want to know
about the word ‘to want,’ you will look it up in the English-Cherokee portion
in the back of the dictionary, or type in “want” in the online dictionary,
and you will get a listing for uduliha ‘he or she wants it.’
In Durbin Feeling’s dictionary, it is on page 163, and looks like this:

Third person singular
ᎤᏚᎵᎭ
uduliha
‘he (or she) wants it’

Below the main entry (or across from it in the online dictionary),
you will usually see five sub-entries, and they will be
in the same order for every verb.

First person singular, present tense:
ᎠᏆᏚᎵᎭ
agwaduliha/aquaduliha
‘I want it’

Third person singular, non-progressive, remote past tense:
ᎤᏚᎸᎲᎢ
udulvhvi
‘He or she wanted it’

Third person singular present habitual:
ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎪᎢ
udulisgoi
‘He, or she always/usually wants it’

Imperative 2nd person command form:
ᏣᏚᎳ
jadula/tsadula
‘Want it! (You)’

Third person singular infinitive:
ᎤᏚᎸᏗ
uduhldi
‘He or she to want it’ (similar to our infinitive, “to want”), or ‘he or she has to want it’

Notice that every entry is written in syllabary, phonetic, and then
phonetic with markings as a guide to pronunciation. You will find more
information about pronunciation in Durbin Feeling’s dictionary.

The dictionary entries are followed by at least one sentence,
using one of the forms of the verb just given.

ᎤᏓᏪᏐᎸᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏚᎵᎭ.
Udawesolvsdohdi uduliha.
He wants to rest.’

The word in the entry is underlined, in both the Cherokee and English,
in this case uduliha ‘he wants.’ The meaning of the sentence is given as,
‘He wants to rest,’ but it could also be ‘she wants to rest.’

Udawesolvsdohdi is the infinitive form of the verb found
in the dictionary as: adawesolvsdiha ‘he is resting.’ By itself,
it can mean ‘He or she has to rest,’ or ‘He or she is supposed to rest.’
These meanings can apply to all infinitives.

As you can see from the sample sentence, if you combine a present verb
like udliha with the infinite like udawesolvsdohdi ‘he to rest,’
you can make a sentence with the meaning ‘he or she wants to rest’:
udawesolvsdohdi uduliha.

Another interesting day of the week word is ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ
‘Friday’ which means ‘the day when they have to wash their clothes.’

ᏙᏪᎸᎦ tohwelvga Write!

Use the dictionary to find the answers to the following questions, and start by looking up “washing clothes.” Guess if you aren’t sure. Check the KEY at the end of this module for the answers.

1. Is there anything in the entry similar to ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ ?

2. How can we tell from the verb that they are not washing dishes?

3. How can we tell it is ‘they’ and not ‘he,’ or ‘she,’ or ‘you’?

4. How could we say ‘He wants to wash clothes’? (Hint: See note above about infinitives)

 

6. Just for Fun!

ᏘᏩᏔ
tihwata
Find them!

Look for the days of the week in the syllabary below
and mark down how many times you find each.
Check the KEY at end of module for answers.

ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢ
ᎳᎵᏁ
ᏦᎢᏁ
ᏅᎩᏁ
ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ
ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ
ᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ

ᏅᎩᏁ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢ ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎳᎵᏁ

ᎳᎵᏁ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎳᎵᏁ

ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗᎤ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢ ᏅᎩᏁ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ

ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᏦᎢᏁ ᏅᎩᏁ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ

ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎳᎵᏁ

ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢ ᏅᎩᏁ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢ ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ ᏦᎢᏁ

ᏘᎧᎵᏣ ᏕᎦᎷᎶᎬᎢ
tikalija/tikalitsa degalulogvi
Fill in what’s missing!

Trying to remember is the important part of this exercise,
not getting it all right. So search your memory first,
and then you can check your work. Don’t worry if you make mistakes.
It’s just part of learning.

1. __ __ __ ‘Thursday’

2. ᎤᎾ__Ꮣ__ __Ꮎ ‘Saturday’

3. Ꭴ__Ꮩ__Ꮖ__ __Ꭲ ‘Sunday’

4. ___ __Ꮑ ‘Tuesday’

5. Ꮷ__Ꭹ__ __ __ ‘Friday’

6. __Ꭲ__ ‘Wednesday’

7. ᎤᎾᏙ__ __ __ __ ‘Monday’

 

KEY

Section 5

1. Is there anything in the entry similar to ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ ?

If you start with the English and look up washing, the drop down menu will show,
the verb dekgiloa ‘he’s washing flexible objects’ (including clothes).
Under 3rd infinitive you will see juhgilosdi/tsuhgilosdi.
That would mean ‘he or she to wash them (flexible)’, or
‘he or she has to wash them.’ Notice it is third person singular.

2. How can we tell from the verb that they are not washing dishes?

The definition includes ‘washing flexible objects’ (including clothes),
so it could not be used with something like dishes. This is a classificatory
verb which tells you, even without mention of the actual object being spoken of,
what sort of object it is. The five classifications are:
Solid /Liquid / Living / Flexible /Long and Slender.

3. How can we tell it is ‘they’ and not ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘you’?

You have already seen the 3rd person singular form, juhgilosdi/tsuhgilosdi.
/-un– indicates plural.

4. How could we say ‘He has to wash clothes’?

Juhgilosdi/tsuhgilosdi. You might try out fuller sentences such as:
Sawani dihnawo jugilosdi/tsuhgilosdi adiha. ‘Sammy has to wash clothes, he says.’

Section 6

ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎢ 4

ᎳᎵᏁ 4

ᏦᎢᏁ 5

ᏅᎩᏁ 4

ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ 4

ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ 5

ᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬᎢ 8