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 »

Reinventing “Languagization”

One of the things that has struck me so far about this summer has been the “organization” of the team. That word alone doesn’t quite capture what I mean; maybe a better one would be “organizational culture”, a term I’m not that familiar with but seems to do the job. It’s something that has interested… Read more »

Use the Process Tools, but Don’t Let the Process Tools Consume You

One of many things that I appreciated while interning with the WAYK team is that they equip you not only with tools for learning and teaching language, but also with skills to make yourself an all around more effective person. There are many process tools that we use in various capacities, but I think my… Read more »

Layering WAYK with Other Immersion Methods

I was first acquainted with WAYK in 2015, attending a Lingít language circle put on at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I really liked the technique as a way to make language learning fun and to facilitate immersion in a language circle setting. After being introduced to WAYK, I worked at the Alaska Native Heritage… Read more »

Archiving Training: Top Three Takeaways

“It’s got to be here somewhere. It just has to be,” I say to no one in particular. “Where did I put it? I swear someone must have moved it.” If you’ve ever worked on project with a lot of moving pieces or are simply a mere human such as myself, you know the feeling…. Read more »

Latest
  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 1: the Squamish Language Team Orientation

    WAYK Podcast Episode 1 “the Squamish Language Team” [direct download here] Squamish Nation member Dustin Rivers hosted us recently in Vancouver, B.C., where we helped him share the WAYK game with his community during the Squamish Language Team Orientation night. The Squamish Language team is composed of community members committed to using the WAYK game… Read more »

  • WAYK game in Sḵwxwú7mesh snichim (Squamish Language)

    [vodpod id=Video.3217710&w=425&h=350&fv=] I’ve made a short video excerpt of the game night footage I took at Dustin Rivers’ March 10th language team orientation. We’ve been working with Dustin to train him to teach his community this method of language revitalization. For you WAYK game players out there, you have the skills to easily follow along… Read more »

  • The WAYK/Squamish Language Team Project

    Evan Gardner and I recently returned to Portland, OR after being hosted in Vancouver, B.C. for three nights by Dustin Rivers, a Squamish Nation member, traditional artist, and community organizer who is passionate about the revitalization of his extremely endangered language, a language with 10-13 fluent speakers left, all over the age of 65. On… Read more »

  • WAYK is looking for a Documentary Filmmaker to Record a Revolution

    We are looking for a documentary filmmaker to help turn around the global crisis of endangered languages, by filming something truly incredible – a “Where Are Your Keys?’/Squamish Language Team partnership, that will turn around the destiny of the moribund and endangered Squamish Language (only 10-13 speakers left) in 12 weeks. This project starts April… Read more »

  • Registration now open for San Francisco WAYK April 12,13

    Last time we did a workshop in San Francisco (actually in Pleasanton, a nearby suburb) we had a fantastic time being hosted by Elisabeth Hendrickson’s Agilistry Studio team. So much so that we agreed to come back as soon as we could. Please check out her website for more info. Every time we run a… Read more »

  • WAYK Lojban!

    I knew we’d forget some amazing stuff – Alan Post, host of our first New Mexico workshop, has applied WAYK not only to Spanish, but to the conlang (constructed language) of Lojban: lo do ckiku ma zvati [Where are your Keys?] “lo do ckiku ma zvati” is Lojban for “Where are your Keys?” Lojban is… Read more »

  • WAYK Links Round-up

    Here’s a run down of links, by folks who’ve played (or played with) the fluency game. The most recent, by Joel Shempert, an attendee of our February Portland Workshop (a private, experimental affair, if you wonder why you hadn’t heard of it): Where Are Your Keys? In my brain, that’s where. James Brown, of Blankshield Press,… Read more »

  • Wrapping up our Portland WAYK Workshop

    We set some (we thought…) reasonable but challenging goals for the weekend workshop and then proceeded to blast past them in the first day. Great, but dizzying! Please download the February 20th/21st WAYK Workshop Charter, laying out the vision, mission, success indicators (and more!) of this weekend’s workshop. You’ll notice in the charter that we… Read more »

  • WAYK 30 Second Elevator Speech

    Our most recent iteration: “Where Are Your Keys?” is a collaborative game of high speed language learning, that uses sign language as a bridge for learning a targeted spoken language, along with employing a system of transparent teaching techniques used by both teachers and students to accelerate the learning process. This means we treat everyone… Read more »

  • Jay and his Grandmother

    We see the “open source” nature of the fluency game as one of its biggest strengths – the fact that we look to no central authority for teaching or learning, but rather embrace an open process of improving how we teach and learn. An open process of improvement that prioritizes doing over theorizing. Certainly Evan… Read more »

  • “Same Conversations”: the WAYK Curriculum

    The WAYK toolkit doesn’t provide a preset curriculum for any particular language; it provides the tools for generating this curriculum. In a sense, for us, “curriculum” has become somewhat of a dirty word, because of its conventional connotation as a prepared-materials-heavy, top-down, mostly static delivery of subject matter. But, we have to admit, the WAYK… Read more »

  • The First Step: Hold a Regular Space for Conversation

    For any thing that we want to learn (or revitalize), we first need to open up a regularly occurring space for it in our lives. This first step, even if you don’t quite know what to do next, opens up all the possibilities. It gives you a learning laboratory in which to explore and play…. Read more »

  • WAYK workshop in San Francisco, Jan 23rd and 24th, 2010

    Agilistry Studio just sent us the following event announcement for us to share – hope to see all you budding WAYK revolutionaries there! Where Are Your Keys Saturday, January 23, 2010 9:00 AM – Sunday, January 24, 2010 5:00 PM (Pacific Time) Agilistry Studio at Quality Tree Software, Inc. +1 (925) 426-9726 4713 First Street… Read more »

  • Revitalizing an Endangered Language in 8 weeks

    Language revitalization doesn’t happen once; it signifies a necessary and continual process throughout the life of a language. Revitalization happens every time a new person learns the language, every time a child becomes an adult and attains a “Superior” proficiency. Language and culture must constantly internally expand and renew, in order to account for the… Read more »

  • Turning Around the Destiny of an Endangered Language

      We now live in a time where, in the next 5-10 years, we will see a massive die-off of language diversity as globalization and modern forces have their final impacts among aging speakers of the world’s traditional, wisdom-bearing, indigenous languages. Unless we act now. In this article, following forward from the triage of a… Read more »

  • Languages Are Dying, Right Now; Yet Still We Hope

    In the past month, two critical members of the Hupacasath First Nation died; they numbered among the last who spoke the language native to Vancouver island fluently from childhood. Hupacasath speaker Dorothy Unger died Nov. 21 and Edward Tatoosh died more recently in December. This caused a triple tragedy; the loss felt by their families,… Read more »

  • Evan in Vancouver, B.C., for the Squamish WAYK Weekend

    We had so much fun – big thanks to Ray, Vanessa, Dustin, and all our wonderful new Squamish friends for hosting us. We look forward to returning! Here’s an article about the efforts by some of the Squamish people to revitalize their language, and the Squamish nation website.

  • Evan at the Chinuk Wawa Language Revitalization Weekend

    We had a great time at a gathering of Wawa speakers in Manzanita, OR, playing the other WAYK core conversation, “the Walk” over and over. Thanks everyone for playing!  

  • Cantonese Fluency Game

    With the help of Jason and everyone at the Watershed Clinic we ran a game in Cantonese a few weeks back. This video runs almost an hour, and starts with a “no pressure refresher” WAYK game just in sign with some discussion about techniques and play. For those really excited to just see the Cantonese… Read more »

  • “Language Hunting” 2: Evan’s response

    And now, Evan’s follow up: I am so excited for you Jay! Learning your own language from your own elder… A wonderful source of pride for your entire family and especially your grandma! I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard of people looking at books instead of talking to their elders… Read more »