History of Writing Systems
Spelling and common word orthography is a problem for many native people. Historically there have been many ways of writing our language. The first attempts to write our language came from early missionaries and preists who were interested in converting us. But each preist used a little different technique. Also you had linguists such as Charles Hockett who tried to write our language. They would often rely on their knowledge of the Linguistic alphabet to write. Also on many of the old treaties people would just write the way it sounded to them. This makes looking at many of the old names on treaties exstremely difficult. I saw one name written like six different ways on various treaties. Also there are a couple of systems which were used that have kind of died out but can still be seem on old letters. For example people would use l-to mean b or p sound. Because they are so close. Most of the writing systems in use today use the roman alphabet to distinguish sounds in the language. I heard one elder say after looking at a piece of paper with Potawatomi writing on it say that isn’t Potawatomi. Its only as close as we can get using an English writing system. There are things such as glottal stops etc which are hard if not impossible to write. This might be why we never really developed a formal writing system like the Cherokee people. Another system which was known in Canada was a floral writing system. We did use pictographs and images often to relate certain stories/ songs or different ceremonies. There are several letters which do not occur in Potawatomi those are the l sound, r sound, and the f sound. Writing our vowels is often the hardest to do. We have an a sound like father. Oh sound like over there. E actually has several sounds associated with it. Eh like bet, ih like sit and uh like tug. Some people will use different marking over the e to distinguish the different sounds.