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 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 »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 12: Dustin Rivers’ 2nd Squamish Language Night

    [direct download here] Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen interview Dustin Rivers, a Squamish Nation WAYK instructor, in the ongoing progress of establishing a community WAYK Squamish language night, and other issues in applying WAYK to revitalizing language in his community. 1. Technique “Set-up“ Dustin describes his “set-up“; attendees, game flow, “the Walk“, use of technique… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 11: Choosing Your Signed Bridge Language

    [direct download] As prompted by Stefan, a WAYK player from Germany, Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen discuss choosing the ideal signed language for using as a bridge language, in relation to your target spoken language. 1. Technique: “Bridge Language“ Stefan asks: which is more effective, using the WAYK ASL/Pidgin Signed English (PSE), or a local… Read more »