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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Latest
  • The Wide World of WAYK

    Here we go again – yet another introductory video to the world of WAYK. If you struggle explaining WAYK to your friends, try this video out. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/17222407]

  • Advanced WAYK Play at December’s Seattle Workshop

    As some of you know, we are having an open WAYK workshop in Redmond, WA (near Seattle) December 3-5, 2010. We’d like to underscore how much of an opportunity this is for experienced players. We’re now entering a phase where we have enough experienced language hunters that in this workshop we can set a special… Read more »

  • Seattle Area WAYK Workshop, December 3-5, 2010

    The good folks at SolutionsIQ are partnering with us to bring you our first public workshop in a while. Please check out the event details at the December workshop event page.

  • Focus on the Game

    It’s easy to forget to just “play the game”, when using WAYK for the first time. The temptation to “remember” and “learn” is always lurking, ready to pounce on an unwary player. “But don’t we play WAYK so we can learn a language?” Most new players are surprised when we answer, “No! Don’t learn anything…. Read more »

  • Learning a Language vs. Creating a Language Community

        There are a lot of people doing good work in language education; and you can find many talented language learners and polyglots. There are countless resources to learn a language out there, whether immersion programs, classes, software, CD sets, podcasts, online language mentoring forums, and on and on. We respect and value all these… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 39: Irish Gaelic Night

    24 minutes and 33 seconds. [direct download here] This is the first podcast concerning our weekly WAYK Irish Language Night, with fluent speaker and Marylhurst University instructor Bob Burke. WAYK players have come together to “hunt” Bob’s Irish language, and build a roadmap to fluency in Irish. For whatever reason, in the USA we call… Read more »

  • Put Yourself on the Map

    If you don’t know yet, as a WAYK player you have a couple resources for connecting up with the community of  language play out there. We have a WAYK google group, with a few months of discussion by experienced players and WAYK staff. Recently, Dave, one of our distant WAYK players, set up a google… Read more »

  • The Race to “Getting to the Party”

    So, owing to our recent work with helping revitalize Ecclesastical Latin at Wyoming Catholic College, Evan and I finally decided to put  pen to paper and make a written USC road-map from zero to “Getting to the Party”. It’s been an “oral document” (as anthropologists like to say) up till now. We’ve noticed that even… Read more »

  • The Playful World of “Conlangs”

    WAYK has found play in some unusual corners of the linguistic internet. For a language game that was developed to maintain an unbroken lineage of conversational life, it’s especially odd that players would find it useful for languages that have never been spoken before. These languages are called “conlangs”, short for “constructed languages”. In this… Read more »

  • Language Hunting in Latin

    [vimeo http://vimeo.com/15491950] In this video you’ll see footage of the September 2010 Latin WAYK Weekend Workshop at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, WY. Towards the end of the weekend at a typical WAYK workshop, the steadily improving language hunters participate in the “Tea with Grandma” scenario, where attendees hunt language from fluent elders with no… Read more »

  • WAYK Latin – Ubi sunt claves tuae?

    Well, Evan Gardner and I (Willem Larsen) both just returned from Lander, WY, where we’ve been helping the good people of Wyoming Catholic College revitalize Latin. Lander has several noteworthy aspects to it – it’s a lovely town to have a steak dinner in, and it’s also the location of the NOLS headquarters (National Outdoor… Read more »

  • Iliodor Philemonof on Traditional Unangax Art and Regalia

    [vimeo 14780588] In this video Iliodor Philemonof, elder speaker of Unangam Tunuu (Aleut), provides the language for some traditional items and art of the Unangax people. This video was filmed during the 2010 “Where Are Your Keys?” Unangax Language Camp at the NW Indian College, on the Lummi Reservation, in Bellingham, WA.

  • VIDEO: “Tea with Grandma” at the 2010 #WAYK Unangax Language Camp

    [vimeo 14757931] We feel strongly that we’re doing work no one else is doing – work that teaches communities a particular kind of real-world, practical, all-ages, all-weather skills at learning and teaching language in any environment. “Tea with Grandma” is a prime example of this – at every workshop we do, we run this scenario… Read more »

  • “the Walk” in Unangam Tunuu with Iliodor Philemonof

    [vimeo 14724207] This is a video of “the Walk” Unangam Tunuu curriculum, generated by and for the campers at the 2010 WAYK Unangax Language Camp. Note that there are no translations or subtitling, as this is meant as a refresher for attendees.

  • VIDEO: Unangam Tunuu Universal Speed Curriculum

    [vimeo 14723748] This video contains the Unangam Tunuu Universal Speed Curriculum, and is a refresher for attendees of the 2010 Unangax Language Camp at the NW Indian College. It contains no subtitles or translations, and is meant to serve as a guide for improving players’ accent and pronunciation. If you’d like to see Unangam Tunuu… Read more »

  • The New, Easy WAYK Video Tutorial

    [vimeo 14722295] I really think we out-did ourselves this time – Evan and I finally may have brainstormed a format in which you can easily learn the core WAYK game via internet video. This video covers all the techniques needed to play a two to four person game. For larger groups, check out our supporting… Read more »

  • WAYK/Unangax Language Camp 2010

    In partnership with Becky Bendixen, of NW Unangax Culture, the NW Indian College on the Lummi Reservation in Bellingham, WA, and the fluent knowledge of Iliodor Philemonof, Unangax Pribilof dialect speaker, we had 7 days of language revitalization play and learning. The age span was quite broad, from children age 9 or 10 to folks… Read more »

  • Can WAYK Revitalize Latin Too?

    This September 23, 24, and 25, Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen will be holding a WAYK workshop at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyoming. Believe it or not, Latin still has a living tradition of daily conversational vitality, as carried through the centuries in the church and monasteries. Latin is the official language of the… Read more »

  • 2010 “Save Your Language” conference group photo

    Here’s a bit of long-overdue news – we promised a group photo to the attendees of Vancouver, B.C.’s June WAYK conference hosted by Squamish Nation language instructor Dustin Rivers. Click on the picture to download a large-sized version of the image. Thanks for playing everyone!

  • Seattle WAYK Workshop, September 4th and 5th.

    Join us in Seattle for our next WAYK workshop. Registration costs only $125 – we won’t be pricing WAYK workshops this affordably for too much longer! Register now, and we look forward to seeing you there.