I first met Evan and Susanna at a handful of WAYK workshops, which were each about two to five days long: three workshops at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage and one at the Songhees Wellness Center in Victoria, BC. Because of my attendance at these workshops, I was lucky enough to find out… Read more »
Learning a language is exciting, but it can also be scary. I get nervous when I stumble over new sounds, hoping no one nearby noticed. My cheeks feel hot every time I ask someone to pronounce a word so that I can understand and copy the sounds correctly. Suddenly it feels as if my ability… Read more »
Read Myles’ first post about linguistic terminology here. Working in the field of linguistics over the last few years, I have noticed some divisions in terminology that I would like to highlight in this blog. As North American linguistics begins to turns away from its roots in “salvage linguistics” and more towards collaborative community-based research,… Read more »
Before I arrived at the St. Paul Unangam Tunuu Summer Language Intensive, I wondered what we would do on a typical day. I knew that there would be no teacher standing at the front of the room, no textbooks. How would we fill our time from nine to five? I discovered here a variety of… Read more »
Picture this: I grab a beautiful blue egg shell, a white feather, and two model birds, and join my group at a table in the back room for immersion time. Without any discussion or planning, we five young women blow up an imaginary immersion bubble to bid farewell to English – from here on out,… Read more »
Have you ever watched a master teacher at work? As a student teacher walking into a master teacher’s classroom for the first time, it is easy to have the misconception that the students are magically doing what they are supposed to be doing. The truth is that the teacher is using techniques to seamlessly facilitate… Read more »
2017 WAYK intern Mary Leighton explains Technique: Full Sentences, a simple trick for getting more language out of your immersion sessions.
My name is Timothy A. Zaochney and I’m from Atka, Alaska. I’ve been doing the Niiĝuĝim Tunuu language program for three years. I’m joining the team this summer in Anchorage as an APICDA intern. I got involved in the language program when Evan came down to Atka for the first time in 2013. I’m interested… Read more »
Hi, my name is Junior Golodoff. I’m from Atka, Alaska. This here is my third year with the Summer Language Intensive. I’m joining the team as an APICDA intern. What got me involved with the language is my friends because without them I probably wouldn’t be here. What got me interested in the language was that… Read more »
My first introduction with Unangam Tunuu came during the fall of 2015, when I heard of classes at the Aleutian Pribilof Island’s Association building here in Anchorage. The need for understanding the words and the sounds was something that I was excited about. The classes at that time worked with my schedule, so I continued… Read more »
Meet the 2018 Summer Language Intensive Team
Meet the 2018 Summer Intensive team that is joining WAYK in Anchorage, Alaska to work with Unangam Tunuu, an endangered Alaska Native language.
WAYK Summer Intensive Schedule: 2018 Update
It can be hard to imagine what a language revitalization summer looks like, but working to keep a language alive is a full-time endeavor. Here’s an updated look at what to expect from the WAYK Summer Intensive schedule in 2018. As with any program centered around language learning, it’s essential that we have daily contact with… Read more »
WAYK Summer Intern Expectations: 2018 Update
What you can expect as an intern: You will learn how to use WAYK. One of the main purposes of the WAYK Summer Intensive is to provide comprehensive training in WAYK skills, something that is difficult to demonstrate or even explain in a week-long workshop or a few language lessons. Communities that invite WAYK for a Summer Intensive… Read more »
Call for WAYK 2018 Interns!
This summer, we are once again fortunate to offer internship opportunities during the 2018 WAYK Summer Intensive. The internship positions are sponsored by our host community (APIA), in partnership with TAC, TAF, and a number of other regional organizations. Participating in a WAYK summer project is one of the best ways to be fully immersed… Read more »
Announcing WAYK’s 2018 Summer Intensive: Anchorage, Alaska!
WAYK is very excited to announce—after months (and years!) of planning with our host community—that our 2018 Summer Intensive will take place in Anchorage, Alaska! In 2018, we will continue our work with Unangam Tunuu, an Eskimo-Aleut language with a small number of speakers in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. Unangam Tunuu has been the… Read more »
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” 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 »
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 »