Read the Vancouver Voice article on Evan’s recent session of the fluency game teaching Chinuk Wawa (a local Native American language) at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon, as part of their day of Canoe culture exhibits.

Note in the picture above technique “Total Physical Response” in full play; one player giving a canoe paddle to another player who has asked for it, in Chinuk Wawa.

Written by Evan Gardner


Jay Bazuzi

That sounds cool.

Did you happen to get video? I think that even unedited videos of real WAYK sessions would be useful. The should be set apart from Technique or Bookmark videos.


We did video it. It will take a while to upload it though – we have a pretty big backlog of video work.

Anders Hegre

Hey, as far as i know, some indian languages tend to have some wonderfull guttural sounds that a learner (depending on her/his native language) might have a difficulty understanding how to bring forth. How does wayk deal with pronounciation?

Evan Gardner

Anders… a great question about pronunciation… Really all languages have some sort of issues with pronunciation. So how does WAYK deal with this problem? In the same way that WAYK deals with all languages… learning in conversation not single words or sounds in isolation.

The entire goal of WAYK is to get conversations going and keep them going. This way people learn the song of the language as they are learning the language. They learn the pronunciation as part of their communication. Will they learn the “song” perfectly the first time??? No way. But over time (using technique “same conversation”) they get to practice the song over and over again until the pronunciation gets better and better. At first it is technique “good enough for now” or “close enough”. If the teacher of the song is patient then they will both enjoy practicing until the song is good. If the teacher only corrects “one thing at a time” and “lets the rest go” then the learner will enjoy singing the song over and over until they get it right.

So how do you learn a song? Technique “copy cat” is broken down into two sub techniques or two forms of copying:

First is “sing along song”. As a child you would learn a song by singing along with the song over and over until you have it memorized. Maybe your parents, teachers, or friends would help you out with trouble spots or mispronunciation.

Second is “parrot”. That is when one person sings a line or says something and then you repeat it trying for perfection.

Over time using WAYK in conjunction with the 9 techniques I just mentioned you can learn any sound including difficult guttural sounds. So get singing!

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