A Day in the Life of a WAYK Team Member

I don’t know if it’s possible to share an “average” day, but here is a sample day as a WAYK Team Member, based on Thursday June 30, 2017, in St. Paul, Alaska. 8:15 AM Breakfast. The eight of us – Evan, Susanna, and the six visiting team members – eat our meals together at the WAYK house,… Read more »

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 »

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 »

Latest
  • Deep Breaths. And a Long View.

    I’d like to say I’ve gotten better at not panicking when I hear of a language struggling. While mostly true, I still have a reaction – it now just feels like a dull ache in my gut, and a fluttering of my heart. It’s an odd feeling we have here, on the WAYK team, especially… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 24: “It becomes second nature”

    [direct download] Evan Gardner interviews Justin Robinson, Mary Wydell (a steadily progressing new “speaker-teacher”), and others about the most recent Chinuk Wawa (Chinook Jargon) night. 1. Technique “Colors and Numbers” conversation Evan asks Mary about improving the props. Better crayons! 2. Technique “33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99“ 3. Technique “Total Physical Response“ Mary’s… Read more »

  • The diverse conversations of Chinuk Wawa Night

    [vodpod id=Video.3605227&w=425&h=350&fv=] This video demonstrates how speakers of all levels can come together and support each other; we don’t segregate speakers of different experience levels. On the contrary, they need to mix with each other, overhearing more advanced conversations, and watching how other “speaker-teachers” lead games for different proficiency levels. Remember: “We’ll All Get There… Read more »

  • “Save Your Language” WAYK conference in Vancouver B.C., June 5th and 6th

    Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen will be traveling to Vancouver, B.C., this June 5th and 6th, for a WAYK language revitalization training weekend amongst  a diverse community of B.C. First Nations. If you’ve wanted to learn the “Where Are Your Keys?” method of community mentoring, then this is your chance. Registration for this 2 day… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 23: Turning the Corner

    1 hr, 45 minutes, and 30 seconds. [direct download] In this really long episode, almost two hours long, we debrief our Chinuk Wawa conversation night, and realize that we’re experiencing the feeling of turning the corner on the revitalization of the language. We bask in the glow for a bit, and address many issues that… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 22: “My Abilities Have Skyrocketed”

    59 minutes and 24 seconds. [direct download] 1. Technique “Backup“ Dustin brought Tiffany and her toddler son with him, two regulars from his Vancouver Squamish language night Squamish Valley is located in the country, about 80 kilometers from Vancouver 2. Technique “Set-up“ The game took place in a community/rec center He set up a “Lotus“… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 21: We Are Family

    1 hr, 1 minute and 46 seconds. [direct download] In this episode, Evan interviews Peter and Pulikli, two Chinuk Wawa WAYK game leaders. Listen in on how WAYK “curriculum” design works, by joining this discussion about how WAYK players designed the Chinuk Wawa “family” conversation. 1. Technique “Set-up“ Peter describes the “set-up” – rigorously using… Read more »

  • The Squamish Universal Speed Curriculum

    The “Universal Speed Curriculum” is a way of transcribing the core WAYK conversation, designed to go up to “want/have/give/take” transactional conversation in the target language. We have several examples of this online; the original English version, Estonian, and Spanish. Dustin Rivers has been hard at work, improving the Squamish language Universal Speed Curriculum (USC) with… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 20: April’s San Francisco Workshop

    1 hour, 15 minutes, and 51 seconds. [direct download] 1. Technique “Agile“ Why did we offer a WAYK workshop for IT professionals who belong to the Agile software development community? WAYK teaches “teacher-trainers”. WAYK is a pattern language; a mentoring language that (in an open source, ever-improving fashion) codifies the successful strategies involved in teaching… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 19: Grandma takes the Linguist by his lapels

    50 minutes and 56 seconds. [direct download here] 1. Technique “Where Are Your Keys?” What Evan means when he asks “Does she play WAYK?” 2. Technique “Fluent Fool“ Does Johann play “WAYK?“. The ideal “fluent fool” has no conventional training in teaching at all. 3. Technique “Shared Experience“ Finding the ideal “same conversation” for Willem… Read more »

  • Joining the WAYK community

    For everyone either wanting to be, or already involved, in the WAYK community, we have some good news. WAYK player Jay Bazuzi, creator of the series of Palestinian Arabic WAYK videos with his grandmother, has gone ahead and started his own “unofficial” google group for discussing and sharing the game and the craft of “language… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 18: The One-minute Language Hunt

    49 minutes and 55 seconds. [direct download] How much language can you learn from a “fluent fool” in one minute? Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen discuss the value of even spending the shortest moments in “language hunting“, and also how to inspire more of their trained “language hunters” to go do just that. This podcast… Read more »

  • A Video Introduction to WAYK

    [vodpod id=Video.3548893&w=425&h=350&fv=]

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 17: Sometimes, the magic happens…

    49 minutes and 52 seconds. [direct download] We debrief Dustin’s fifth WAYK Squamish language conversation night, that he holds in Vancouver, B.C., with plans to start another in nearby Squamish Valley, B.C. 1. Technique “Accent“ Gabriel George attends – the grandson of the late Chief Dan George. Dustin speaks about his people, and the relationship… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 16: The Angel and the Devil

    [direct download here] Evan, Willem, and new WAYK game leader Peter, sit down to talk about how the recent Chinuk Wawa conversation night went. This kind of “debrief” conversation plays a critical role in the “constant improvement” cycle of WAYK. 1. Technique “Pairing“/”One-on-one“ Peter leads Rebecca in a game. 2. Technique “Level Fishing” In order… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 15: Honing Your Craft

    WAYK Episode 15, “Honing Your Craft”. 29 minutes and 19 seconds. [direct download here] In this episode, Evan and Willem interview Ryan (a veteran of a 2 day WAYK workshop, and regular drop-in at Chinuk night) about the mission we gave him: to “language hunt” the first “fluent fool” he could find, especially if he… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 14: The 3rd Debrief of Squamish Language Night

    48 minutes 47 seconds. [direct download here] If you regularly listen to our podcasts, you know by now how highly we value debriefs, and the tremendous insight and improvement that emerges from them. In this episode, Willem debriefs Dustin’s Squamish Language Night game, for the first time in a few weeks. 1. Technique “the Lotus“… Read more »

  • How Does WAYK Teach Reading and Writing?

    Yesterday, Kirstyn and Thomas, two of our Chinuk WAYK game leaders had an email conversation. I include it below to illustrate the comprehensive, simple genius of the WAYK game for revitalizing language. We encourage people to start just with speaking, and putting off any reading or writing till later, because of the easy magic that… Read more »

  • Revitalizing Language With Young Children

    [vodpod id=Video.3385353&w=425&h=350&fv=] What does it take to involve young children in the community-wide game of WAYK language revitalization? Well, it can be as simple as allowing them to watch the game out of the corner of their eye, while doing their own thing, and intermittently joining in. If you can commit to holding a regular… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 13: The Art of Debriefs, the Power of Language Hunting

    1 hr, 7 minutes, 6 seconds. [direct download here] [Note: This podcast isn’t designed to teach Chinuk Wawa. It is a demonstration of how to apply the WAYK method to an endangered language. By listening to it, you will improve your understanding of WAYK techniques, but you won’t receive any instruction in Chinuk specifically.] In… Read more »