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 »

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 »

Latest
  • Conversations with Remarkable Grandmothers

    Jay returns with his second video on “Me/mine, You/yours” with his Grandmother who speaks his heritage language, a dialect of Palestinian Arabic. Jay would love to learn it and has begun learning it using the WAYK method. Check out his first video if you haven’t already: “What is that?”. We really can’t say enough how… Read more »

  • WAYK Podcast, Episode 2: Debriefing the Game

    WAYK Podcast, Episode 2: Debriefing the Game. 32 minutes and 10 seconds. [direct download] We’ve decided to start sharing the debriefs of games we run with all of you in the WAYK community. This podcast really counts as Part I of a lengthy debrief we did, of our community game night at Kent’s, a WAYK… Read more »

  • Squamish Language and Holding a Regular Space for Conversation

    As we’ve mentioned before, you take the first, most critical step in revitalizing a language (or achieving any goal) by holding a regular space for conversation. The first night of the Squamish Language Team Orientation went so well that they immediately decided on a weekly night to meet. This was incredibly important. See video from… Read more »

  • 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.