I should probably have enjoyed the historic Black colleges story most. I didn't. I attended one. No problem there, got a good degree, got a good job. But this is the wrong time of the year to be whining about money if you're a historic Black college. I've already gotten four or five letters this month alone as me to be an alumni in good standing and contribute . . . If this year is anything like last year, I'll get six more letters before New Year's Eve. They'd do a lot better to stop wasting money on that postage. (I do pay my alumni dues and I also will make contributions -- in the spring and summer, not around Christmas when I have charities to give to and family to shop for.)
So the segment I enjoyed most was about the Cherokee language. Excerpt:
CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:
And now we turn to a modern solution to preserve an ancient language, and a way to say Happy Holidays in a new way, in Cherokee. The latest available information shows that only 8,000 of the Cherokee Nation's 290,000 members still speak the language fluently, but the tribe's leaders have been working to change that.
In 2011 they collaborated with Google to create a search page in the Cherokee language and their latest effort is a Cherokee language version of Gmail. It was just released yesterday.
To tell us more, I'm joined by Joseph Erb, language technologist for the Cherokee Nation. Also with us is Craig Cornelius, senior software engineer on Google's internationalization team. They both worked on the project.
And welcome to both of you.
CRAIG CORNELIUS: Thank you.
JOSEPH ERB: Happy to be here.
HEADLEE: Joseph, let me start with you because we promised our listeners that they'd learn to say Happy Holidays in Cherokee. How do you say that?
ERB: It's hard to translate exactly everything, but I guess you could say (foreign language spoken).
HEADLEE: So I'm not even going to try to repeat that, but let's talk about this 2002 study. It was conducted by the Cherokee Nation and showed, remarkably, no one under the age of 40 speaks Cherokee conversationally. In what way could Google or Gmail change that?
ERB: Well, the survey - you know, there is actually people that do speak it under 40, but it was one of those times when they tested and, when you take a certain poll, the test, some results are different than others, but there are some that speak. But it is the majority that speak are the elders in our community and Google helping us making sure that - the way that young people communicate today are electronically - is the way to actually keep the language going and it's been very exciting to use Cherokee language today with Google's help.
You can use the link at the top of the post to listen or read the transcripts.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"