English might be seen as the lingua franca for many online but with the web opening up to so many different languages, it never seems fair to leave any out.

There are many organisations that chase up under-represented languages online like Rising Voices or Indigenous Tweets, but it does tend to help when a Web giant gets behind the effort.

So, Gmail is now available in Cherokee. This appears to have come about because Google engineer Craig Cornelius – ᏇᎩ in Cherokee –  was car pooling with Vance Blackfox, a member of the Cherokee Nation (CN). Their in-car conversations led to Google Web Search in Cherokee and now Gmail. That means that the email service is now available in 57 languages.

In a blog post added by Cornelius, he goes on to explain the importance of keeping languages alive. In many cases, only an older generation will speak the local language and working with computers, younger people will tend to default to the lingua franca.

Interestingly Cornelius’ post shows that Google’s work with the Cherokee Nation found the right words for Gmail terms like “inbox” ᎧᏁᏌᎢᏱ,“sign in” ᏕᏣᏙᎥ ᎰᏪᎸᎦ and even “spam” ᎤᏲᎢ.

The picture below is from the blog post and as you can see the writing is very beautiful. Hopefully even something that might inspire non-native speakers to think about learning.

gmailcherokee Gmail launches its 57th language and its Cherokee

Gmail users can now switch to Cherokee in their settings. Let’s hope there is more work like this that will bring more cultures online as well as helping to save threatened languages like Quechua, Bambra, Galimaraay or Aymara along the way.

Image Credit: Raw Processor /Flickr