back to article Microsoft releases first Windows OS in an original American language

Members of the largest remaining group of Native Americans, the Cherokee, have built the first local language pack for Windows 8, just 27 years after the launch of the original Windows. "The project started with Tracy Monteith, a Cherokee citizen in North Carolina who worked at Microsoft, who'd wanted it done for a long time …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we have a Welsh Edition?



    1. Anonymous Coward
      IT Angle

      Re: Welsh edition

      Don't see why not.

      Contact the languages dept at University of Wales aka Coleg Prifysgol Cymru.

      Welsh is actually a very good language for speech input/output as each letter group has a fixed sound, unlike English.....

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Welsh edition

        Prifysgol Cymru means "University of Wales". No need for the "Coleg" unless you are referring to one of the constituent colleges, like Prifysgol Cymru Coleg Caerdydd.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 7 claims to support Welsh, but it seems you have to upgrade to Ultimate (@ £125 from Home Premium) if you want it.

      Anything less and it does very little - oddly enough, it will display clock & calendar in Welsh, but not much else.

      Same applies to any other language, of course.

      1. OSC

        Welsh on KDE since 2003

        You could always help

        1. yossarianuk

          Re: Welsh on KDE since 2003

          Another example of why using free opensource software is better.

          It doesn't matter it supporting something is economically worth it, there is far more change of a minority language being supported in KDE than any other desktop I have seen.

          Most distro's still ship with ddate (the discordian calendar) ....

          Today is Prickle-Prickle, the 62nd day of The Aftermath in the YOLD 3178

    3. Crazy Operations Guy

      It would be easy too, just set up a regex to remove all the vowels from one of the other language packs and you're done.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Welsh Edition

      Control Panel > Region and Language > Format > Welsh (United Kingdom)

    5. yossarianuk

      If you use Linux you can.

    6. Jack Project

      What about the 256 character limit? That screws Welsh over every time.

  2. Peter Simpson 1


    There was a guy named Merkey, a real "character", who claimed to be doing a Cherokee operating system (during the SCO we-own-Linux circus). I wonder if he's found greener pastures?

    Seems like the market for a Cherokee-language OS would be rather small, but then again, what do I know about it?

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Still won't make METRO fly

    so can we have a Cornish Version next?

    Mines the one with a big pasty and slice of yarg in the pocket.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Still won't make METRO fly

      Well you can have Firefox in Cornish and many other languages. Strangely Cherokee is not one of them.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Still won't make METRO fly

      Come 'ed, wack, why not go all the way and do a scouse one?

      1. Scroticus Canis

        Re: Still won't make METRO fly

        They already did a Scouse one back in the 90s: Documents came up as "My Shite", Recycle as "Other Peoples Shite", etc....

    3. OSC

      Re: Still won't make METRO fly

      You can have it on Gnome

      or KDE

      and help improve it

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no translation for Windows Update?

    Or would have been represented as an obscenity, and thus not translated?

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: no translation for Windows Update?

      I guess it fell on the side of it being a name rather than a description. Like the names Oracle or Microsoft, you just leave them as is.

      Otherwise, what would be the proper translation? A transliteration, like "goo guh" for Google (as in Chinese). Or an attempted description, like "forked tongue up your ..." Who would decide which company it fit best?

  5. southpacificpom

    Cherokee fonts

    Lets hope the Cherokee fonts are not disabled with Microsofts next patch releases...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well it's a start

    Now they just need to hand the country back to the native Americans that it was stolen from.

  7. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    Not the first, I think

    The first thing to note is that America != USA

    So, with that in mind, there are several Windows XP in aboriginal languages, including Quechua (Bolivia) and Mapundungún (or Mapuzungún).


    1. Aremmes

      Re: Not the first, I think

      Each of those two has more native speakers than Cherokee (16,400 per the wikis) and use a Latin alphabet. Quechua also has the privilege of being an official language in two countries.

    2. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Not the first, I think

      Not true actually when used alone 'America' does refer to the USA which is in North America, the country you mention is in South America, two separate continents from a geographical/geological/plate techtonics point of view. The two continents collided several million years back. When referring to the two together they are called 'The Americas' (plural), well at least in English (English English not Amerglish). Off hand I don't know any other country in the Americas which actually have 'America' in their name.

  8. Bob Vistakin
    Thumb Down

    Consumer reports say you're best to swerve it, no matter what the language

    Another of the imminent torrent of "Windows 8 is shite" reports:,19878.html

    1. bdam

      Re: Consumer reports say you're best to swerve it, no matter what the language

      This one is lovely:!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reg Commentors, I am disappoint.

    Where are all the jokes about which web server should be in the package?

    Not *one* reference to the joke:

    *nix like Teepee

    No Gates

    No Windows

    Apache inside

    Seriously? Not one?

    Son, I am disappoint.

    1. Albert Hall

      Re: Reg Commentors, I am disappoint.

      I understand their tag line was going to "The How starts now".

      That was after they nixed "Windows How?"...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about Windows in English?

    ... or must we continue to be forced to use American? (even when all region and locale settings have been set to UK)

    Typing 'Favourites' into the Win7 Start Menu search box returns nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about Windows in English?

      But think of all the wear and tear on your "u" key you are saving!

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: How about Windows in English?

      You beat me to it.

      Can we have Windows in English?

      I have enough to do subclassing all the classes with colour and methods with centre - sorry cannot bring my self to type the crap names.

      1. Norman Hartnell

        Re: How about Windows in English?

        I used to #define UK spellings for library functions in C++ but decided I needed to chill out about it and stopped.

    3. OSC

      Re: How about Windows in English?



  11. Suricou Raven

    Just let it die already.

    What practical use is speaking Cherokee in everyday life? It's about as worthwhile as leaning to speak Klingon. Stop trying to preserve it as a living language - just document everything for future academics to examine, and let the language die out.

    Then stop being proud of where your many-times-great grandparent came from. It isn't important.

    1. b166er

      Re: Just let it die already.

      Stop being square (since we're telling people what to do/do not do)

      The pleasures in my life are not decided solely on their practicalities!

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Just let it die already.

      It is not totally frivolous if you live near Cherokee N.C. where I grew up. White people get a lot of respect from the Cherokee for even expressing interest in their culture. It helped me get some dates in high school I probably wouldn't have been allowed to go on by their parents if I hadn't been taking classes to learn the language.

      So there.

      1. David Neil
        Thumb Up

        Re: Just let it die already.

        Yet again another success for Dave's law "Blokes will do anything if they think they might get their hole"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: cherokee dates

        did you get to pokahontas?

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Just let it die already.

      Probably more usefull than Welsh.

      Remember Cherokee was there before English

      1. Norman Hartnell

        Re: Just let it die already.

        Welsh was here before English, too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just let it die already.

          "Welsh was here before English, too."

          So was ancient Egyptian, but I don't hear or see much of that now.

          1. Norman Hartnell

            Re: Just let it die already.

            Ancient Egyptian survived as Coptic, still used in Egypt in the Coptic church.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: Just let it die already.

        Written Cherokee was not invented until 1821 though.

  12. pisquee

    How ay

    Givvus Geordie man

    1. DPWDC

      Re: How ay

      Ah divnt nah like... If wa let thm naah what wa tahkn aboot, thn thll nah how tu intaacept wa secrut messagus afta wa have tu gan every man forum self (afta them Myans dee their stuff on Frida).

  13. Naadir Jeewa

    Most exciting news since the trailer for Microsoft 500 Nations with Kevin Costner

    I'm surprised El Reg hasn't picked up on the fact that Windows 8 is the first release that has the option of English with correct spellings, or as they call it "English - Great Britain"

  14. Anonymous Coward
  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it's the biggest project since the [Cherokee] translation of the Bible."

    Why did they translate the bible? Why not the life of Horus?

    1. JeevesMkII

      Stockholm syndrome I can only presume.

  16. Zmodem

    i`d demand $1 for every error message i translated

  17. MacroRodent Silver badge

    The writing system has a unique history

    I wondered about the strange characters in the screen shot, and looked up what Wikipedia says about the Cherokee language. Absolutely fascinating! It seems a Cherokee called Sequoyah developed this on his own in 1821, which Wikipedia says is "the only time in recorded history that a member of a non-literate people independently created an effective writing system."

  18. stizzleswick

    With all due respect...

    Gnome has been available in Cherokee (as well as at least 10 other Native American tongues) since the late 1990s, KDE about the same time; there are Cherokee, Apache, and several other languages available for OpenOffice (and have been since the early 2000s), and so on -- hey, KDE and OpenOffice are available in Low German (OK, sorry for patting my own back, was involved there myself)--so what's the hullabaloo about Micro$oft finally recognising one of their home markets after not even having to invest money into it (as it seems the Cherokee did all the translation work on their own initiative)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: With all due respect...

      You've answered your own question, really. It wouldn't be news if KDE or OpenOffice added support for Burushaski, Pirahã, or Toki Pona, but for Microsoft to support a non-major language is a departure from their usual behaviour. Perhaps other languages will follow ...

  19. John Styles

    Isn't the time honoured way of getting Windows to support a language to add it to KDE and then get lots of publicity, then Microsoft will follow?

  20. mickey mouse the fith

    Whats the point?

    I really cant see any use for an obscure language pack like this. Any useful work (websites,email,whatever productivity needs to be done) will need to be in a common language that the masses can read, unless you want to limit your audience to a few thousand indians. I presume all cherokee can speak english anyway, so really, whats the point?

    Welsh is the same, its a dead, pretty useless language thats only survived this long because the welsh govt have forced it on kids at school. It serves no purpose beyond academic curiosity in the 21st century, as evidenced by all the english words the welsh need to use for modern items/concepts.

    I used to suffer s4c before freesat liberated my telly, and the ridiculousness of it was evident in interviews where the presenter sometimes asked questions in welsh, and got a reply in english. So why not just use bloody english in the first place?

    As an aside, there was a survey done by a tv ratings company a while back and they estimated that quite a few welsh language programs on s4c didnt receive a single viewer. I imagine cornish programming on bbc alba is much the same.

    As a poster above said, document these dead languages, archive them, then let them die. Certainly dont prop them up with govt funding and forced learning at school.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whats the point?

      what's the point in your post? - an earlier troll beat you to it

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        Re: Whats the point?

        "what's the point in your post? - an earlier troll beat you to it"

        Wasnt trolling, its a monumental waste of time and resources to keep these languages in use, when they serve no useful purpose in the modern world.

    2. Norman Hartnell

      Re: Whats the point?

      BBC Alba is a Scottish service, why would they have Cornish-language programming? I think you meant Gaelic.

  21. Scroticus Canis

    Not an Original American Language - It's an American American Language!

    I take exception to the articles title, what proof do you have that Cherokee or any other of the extant indigenous American languages are original? I think that 12-15K years ago when the 'original' human inhabitants arrived that none of them spoke any of the current languages.

    Since it's a tad non-PC to call them American Indians or Native Americans nowadays, should they not be referred to as American Americans to distinguish them from the PC correct(ed) African Americans, Latin American Americans (do they speak Latin?) or European Americans? Yep, having to use American Americans should really upset the WASPs, Rednecks, and Hillbillies. Yee-haa, yippee-kai-yay or ....... Geronimo!

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