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
  • VIDEO: Fundamental Techniques of WAYK 6

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CxBcFYRzDU&hl=en&fs=1]

  • VIDEO: Fundamental Techniques of WAYK 5

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNBiXzzy9Mg&hl=en_US&fs=1]

  • VIDEO: Fundamental Techniques of WAYK 4

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OalhSLOKLDQ&hl=en_US&fs=1]

  • VIDEO: Fundamental WAYK Techniques 3

    As time goes on, techniques are constantly improved or innovated. We’ve recently made a few short videos (below you’ll see the third, click here for the first and second videos) that show the current state of an array of fundamental WAYK techniques as of August 2010. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Ww51iTRpk&hl=en_US&fs=1]

  • VIDEO: Fundamental WAYK Techniques 2

    As time goes on, techniques are constantly improved or innovated. We’ve recently made a few short videos (below you’ll see the second, click here for the first) that show the current state of an array of fundamental WAYK techniques as of August 2010. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZF_EgUqNKc&hl=en_US&fs=1]

  • Free Tutoring in WAYK Via Skype

    An ongoing issue of trying to share WAYK over the internet, is the paradox of it being so easy to learn in person, yet so difficult via video, podcast, and text. We’re making a special offer; every Thursday, we’ll have a few hour-long slots dedicated to tutoring folks struggling to learn the game via the… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Fundamental WAYK Techniques 1

    As time goes on, techniques are constantly improved or innovated. We’ve recently made a few short videos (below you’ll see the first) that show the current state of an array of fundamental WAYK techniques as of August 2010. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3_KPcBmJbg&hl=en_US&fs=1]

  • “We’ll All Get There Together”: WAYK Chinuk Wawa Night

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zvGRVH7hJo&hl=en_US&fs=1] Scenes from a recent WAYK Chinuk Wawa Night. Note again the variety of conversation, from Novice to Advanced, and how different speaker-teachers wield (or don’t wield) sign language, depending on who’s involved, or on the lunatic fringe, of the conversation. The beginning, highly structured, novice-level WAYK conversations are there to teach technique use (“the… Read more »

  • Flyer for WAYK Unangax Language Revival

    Here’s a flyer you can distribute for our upcoming event in Bellingham, WA, August 24th-30th.

  • WAYK Western Abenaki, “What is that?” to “Want/Have/Give/Take”

    Here’s two videos from the Western Abenaki Language Camp, that took place this July 2010. It’s exciting to see adults and kids playing together, with a lunatic fringe that seems to occasionally shake their heads in amazement at the proficiency of the young players. Keep in mind that these folks pulled this game together all… Read more »

  • WAYK Abenaki: the “Want/Have/Give/Take” song

    Youtube user westernabenaki has produced some great videos recently, applying WAYK to the Abenaki language. Another great example of someone we’ve never met or personally mentored taking the WAYK skillset and running with it! We get a thrill every time this happens. This first video is a Craig’s List song (yes, you can make CL… Read more »

  • Upcoming WAYK Events for Summer/Fall 2010

    For August and September, we have three different WAYK events coming up. We are actively seeking experienced WAYK players to back us up at these events, as we spoke about in the “Please Return WAYK Players”podcast. We place a priority on filling the workshops with Native American/First Nation attendees seeking to learn the WAYK method… Read more »

  • WAYK Unangax (Aleut) Language Revival in Bellingham, WA

    Save the Date! From August 24th through the 30th, in Bellingham, WA, Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen will be facilitating a week-long WAYK training and Unangax language revival event. If you are a WAYK player and would like to support Unangax language revival, along with honing your WAYK play to an unbelievable degree (7 days!… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 38: Abigail’s Antidote

    42 minutes and 56 seconds. [direct download] Evan, Peter, and Lisa gather for another Chinuk Night debriefing conversation. 1. Technique “Same Conversation” Peter and Evan collaborated on the conversation of “sharpening tools” 2. Technique “Craig’s List” Peter and Evan created a new CL, “How Do They Move” 3. Technique “Where Are Your Keys?” Lisa tells… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 37: “Overwhelming Grandma”

    1 hour, 7 minutes, 5 seconds. [direct download] 1. Technique “Tea with Grandma” Where do you start when you sit down with Grandma? 2. Technique “Start at the Beginning” 3. Technique “What is that?” 4. Technique “Hunting Party” Willem explains to the rest of the language hunters, not sitting with Grandma having tea, that they… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 36: “Let’s Hunt!”

    50 minutes and 43 seconds. [direct download] 1. Technique “the Meadow” 2. Technique “the Evaluation” We give attendees a blank piece of paper to (anonymously or not) give us feedback on the workshop experience. Because some attendees left earlier, we didn’t get feedback from them; we don’t know why they left. Next time we’ll put… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 35: A Culture of Interaction

    39 minutes and 52 seconds. [direct download] 1. Technique “Full”/”Law of Two Feet” 2. Technique “the Meadow” A modification of technique “Pooh Corner”, developed for the SYL conference. A place for “full” lunatic-fringers to go to recuperate. Inspired by Open Space Technology gatherings. The Meadow is liberally sprinkled with interesting and topically relevant books and… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 34: Complexity of Play

    47 minutes and 48 seconds. [direct download] Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen discuss (once again, while on the road to the June Vancouver, B.C. “Save Your Language” Conference”) issues of building fluency, over proficiency, by making technique use more complex, rather than language use. WARNING: this podcast contains some mildly off-color humor of possibly the… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 33: Please Return WAYK Players

    22 minutes and 36 seconds. [direct download] Evan and Willem talk about the importance of returning, experienced WAYK players at workshops, while traveling to Vancouver, B.C., for the “Save Your Language” conference hosted by Dustin Rivers of Squamish Nation. 1. Technique “Please Return WAYK Players” Return players will help workshops and game experiences go faster…. Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 32: Killing Faeries

    32 minutes and 14 seconds. [direct download] 1. Technique “Killing Faeries” Every time you ask for a translation, and receive it, you kill a faery. It’s not the end of the world, but it does indicate a lost opportunity for gaining more proficiency in the craft of language hunting, rather than just acquiring language. 2…. Read more »