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Techniques and Metalinguistic Comments

Early on in teaching TQs (Techniques), Evan pointed out that an ASL (American Sign Language) sign can be used in at least two ways in WAYK. For example, the sign translatable as ‘again’ can be used as in the sentence ‘then the shark nibbled me on the finger again’. Or it can be used as… Read more »

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Circle of Questions and Silly Conversations

At the beginning of the summer language intensive, Susanna and Evan introduced us to the Circle of Questions, a concept used in TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling; read more in Fluency Through TPR Storytelling). I find it an incredibly useful tool for learning and teaching. Below is a description of the concept with… Read more »

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Fairy Killing or Linguistics Terminology?

As part of the Summer Language Intensive we took part in an excellent training in archiving practices (see Rachel Sprouse and Talia London’s blogs for more info). During this training, the local team decided on how to label the items in their archive; in other words, what “metadata” to attach to the items. My attention… Read more »

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Mind Meadows

“Mind meadows” are an adaptation of Technique: Meadow brought to us by Justin Slocum-Bailey of Indwelling Language.  “Imagine you’re on an island,” our leader starts. The room fills with smiles and muffled laughs; being smack dab in the middle of the Bering Sea, it’s not hard to imagine such a far-fetched situation. “You’re on an… Read more »

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Relationship Dynamics in Language Learning

I have been thinking about the relationship between a language learner and an “informant”, who may be a native speaker, a fluent speaker, or just someone more proficient than the learner. Here on St. Paul Island, local language team members have been improving their fluency by “language hunting” with some of the elders who either… Read more »

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Birds of St. Paul Island

This year the WAYK Summer Language Intensive is taking place on St. Paul Island, Alaska (Tanax̂ Amix̂ in Unangam Tunuu), nicknamed the “Galapagos of the North”, a name true to the beauty and diversity of the flora and fauna here. St. Paul Island is a small island in the Bering Sea off the western coast… Read more »

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Learning a Language While “Low on Spoons”

If you read many of the WAYK blog posts, you may notice that language learning is a dynamic process that includes dozens of learning techniques, process tools, and juggling short-term and long-term planning. A day in the life of a summer language intensive is packed with scheduling, language hunting, taking care of administrative tasks, cleaning… Read more »

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Language Hunting vs. Language Documentation

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been learning how to “hunt” language. When I first heard what people meant by “hunt” in WAYK-speak, I wondered: is this what I learnt to call “elicitation” in my classes on linguistic field methods at SOAS (my alma mater)? I’ve decided that the answer is: not exactly, but… Read more »

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WAYK Terms & Linguistic Terms

In this post, I would like to explore some of the terminology used in WAYK versus that which is used in academic linguistics. This isn’t necessarily to put one up and disparage another but just to look at the different approaches each group of terminology uses. In general, I would say that academic language tends… Read more »

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Why Do We “Hunt” Language?

Why do we “hunt” language? I asked Evan why we use “hunting” as a primary metaphor for the Where Are Your Keys approach to language learning. We use the word a lot, and it’s a pretty loaded term (pun intended). In WAYK, language hunting is an activity that you do as a learner with a… Read more »

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WAYK and Community Organizing

They say that for the person with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. A few years ago I was formally introduced to community organizing, and yes, now I do see it as an answer to many conundrums. What about language revitalization? There are so many different approaches to it, including academic degrees and… Read more »

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Reinventing “Languagization”

One of the things that has struck me so far about this summer has been the “organization” of the team. That word alone doesn’t quite capture what I mean; maybe a better one would be “organizational culture”, a term I’m not that familiar with but seems to do the job. It’s something that has interested… Read more »

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Use the Process Tools, but Don’t Let the Process Tools Consume You

One of many things that I appreciated while interning with the WAYK team is that they equip you not only with tools for learning and teaching language, but also with skills to make yourself an all around more effective person. There are many process tools that we use in various capacities, but I think my… Read more »

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Layering WAYK with Other Immersion Methods

I was first acquainted with WAYK in 2015, attending a Lingít language circle put on at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I really liked the technique as a way to make language learning fun and to facilitate immersion in a language circle setting. After being introduced to WAYK, I worked at the Alaska Native Heritage… Read more »

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Archiving Training: Top Three Takeaways

“It’s got to be here somewhere. It just has to be,” I say to no one in particular. “Where did I put it? I swear someone must have moved it.” If you’ve ever worked on project with a lot of moving pieces or are simply a mere human such as myself, you know the feeling…. Read more »

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Archiving Training: Taking a Community-Centered Approach

WAYK’s partnership with the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (APIA) is now in its third year. This summer WAYK is visiting the Unangam Tunuu Speaking Listening and Teaching (UTSLT) team on St. Paul Island to achieve its main goal: to help novice and intermediate speakers in the community expedite their language acquisition and hone their teaching skills, so that… Read more »

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Why I Came Back for Another Summer With WAYK

My name is Erin McGarvey and I am originally from London, Ontario, but am currently living in Edmonton, Alberta. This will be my second year as an intern with Where Are Your Keys? (WAYK). I was introduced to WAYK last summer as an intern during the Summer Language Intensive program on Atka Island, Alaska. As… Read more »

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WAYK Summer Team Introduction: Rachel Sprouse

Allinllachu? Hola! Hello! My name’s Rachel, but to many of my close friends and colleagues, I’m affectionally known as Sprouse. I’m originally from Stonington, Connecticut and spent the majority of my adolescence bouncing around the Northeast, finally settling on New York City—where I’ve now lived for five years. I’ve long had an interest in languages…. Read more »

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WAYK Summer Team Introduction: Robbie Penman

I’ve just come back from my first walk into the middle of Saint Paul, Alaska, where I could see to all corners of the island…and I was sure I could smell reindeer. The mossy subarctic landscape looks surprisingly like the Lake District back in the U.K., where I spent a lot of my childhood. So… Read more »

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WAYK Summer Team Introduction: Talia London

Aang! My name is Talia London and I grew up as a guest on Lummi territory, a Native nation in the Pacific Northwest. I am a descendent of the Aleut village of Nikolski. Currently I am a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My experiences as… Read more »