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
  • Report from the Road: Anchorage (October 2015)

    The WAYK team returned to Anchorage in October of 2015 for our biannual visit to work with the many members of the Unangam Tunuu core team that live in the city. We were especially excited for this visit, since we were able to bring back all of the lessons that the St. Paul team developed… Read more »

  • Robyn’s Chinuk Wawa Language Adventure 2.1

    If you’ve been following the WAYK blog for the past year you know that while I was interning last summer Evan, Susanna, and Sky taught Casey and I chinuk wawa and we shared our progress over the summer through our “language adventure” posts. Even though I don’t have Casey learning with me this summer and… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Meet Bobbi Dushkin!

    This summer, Bobbi Dushkin joins the local team and the WAYK team at the Atka Summer Intensive as APIA’s regional intern. We are thrilled that she’s here! Hello my name is Bobbi Dushkin, I was born and raised in Alaska. I grew up and lived in Sand Point, an Eastern dialect speaking community. My family… Read more »

  • WAYK Unangam Tunuu Summer Intensive 2.0

    My name is Robyn and this will be my second summer as a WAYK intern. Last summer I was a WAYK intern helping out with the Unangam Tunuu project on St. Paul Island Alaska, learning and teaching the Eastern dialect, Qawalangim Tunuu. My internship last summer was my first experience with WAYK. I had a… Read more »

  • Intern Introduction: Samuel Catanach

    Bahpibo! (Hello!) My name is Samuel and I am from P’osuwaegeh Owingeh (meaning ‘Water Drinking Place Village’), more commonly known as the Pueblo of Pojoaque, a Tewa speaking American Indian community located in northern New Mexico (the keyword being “new”). Furthermore, I am a graduate student in the master’s in American Indian Studies (AIS) program… Read more »

  • Intern Introduction: Erin McGarvey

    Hi, I’m Erin McGarvey.  I am originally from Jordan, a very small town just outside of St. Catharines, Ontario.    My school only had about 160 kids and my house had grape vineyards behind it and woods in front of it.  When I was nine, I moved to the city, but I have will always… Read more »

  • Meet WAYK’s 2016 summer intern team!

    When we opened up our application for summer WAYK interns in January, our summer intensive in Atka, AK seemed very far in the future. This year, it is wonderful that we are once again able to offer three sponsored intern positions for the summer, thanks to the support of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, the Aleut… Read more »

  • Guest Post: MFLA Spring Outreach 2015

        In addition to fall and spring conferences, every year, the Maryland Foreign Language Association travels to a different region of the state, to bring professional development directly the language teachers in those areas. This year I had the opportunity to work with teachers on Maryland’s eastern shore, and share with them some of… Read more »

  • WAYK proves I’m not a language-learning dud!

    When the community we planned to start working with in late May 2014 had its funding temporarily delayed, Evan and I decided to make the most of our free time and the +1500-km drive I had made from Edmonton to the Pacific Northwest. I met him in his hometown in rural Oregon, and we spent the next 10 days using Where Are Your Keys? Techniques to… Read more »

  • Is Any Project Ever “Simple”?

    Very early in the summer Evan mentioned to me that there were some Unangam Tunuu books that had been read by speakers but to date no one had figured out how to, or at least had not gotten around to, combining the audio with the scanned copies of the books. This meant that anyone wanting… Read more »

  • What it’s like to be a WAYK Intern

    Interning: do anything and everything #forthelanguage! Explaining what it’s like to be a WAYK intern is no easy task. To be perfectly honest, I really had no idea what I was in for when I boarded the plane that would take me to St. Paul Island, Alaska. Even once I figured out what I was… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Port Graham (Fall 2015)

    The WAYK team made our first trip to Port Graham, Alaska in May of 2015. During a five-day workshop we introduced Port Graham’s Sugt’stun speakers, learners, and teachers to basic Where Are Your Keys? techniques. This October, WAYK returned to Port Graham for an additional two weeks to focus on building individual fluency through the… Read more »

  • Technique: Angel on your Shoulder

    Among all of the TQs (or techniques) I learned, used, and taught this summer at the Unangam Tunuu Language Intensive, my favorites by far were Angel On Your Shoulder and the related techniques. “Angeling” (to turn it into an active verb form) is one of the most supportive techniques I witnessed this summer; “Angels” are… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Atka (Fall 2015)

    This September, the WAYK team made their fourth visit to the Aleutian Island of Atka.  This visit was the first under a new project, coordinated by the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and funded by the Administration for Native Americans.  This project is designed to support language work throughout the region with initial efforts focused in… Read more »

  • Call for WAYK Summer 2016 Interns!

    This summer, we are very lucky to again be able to offer three WAYK internship opportunities.  These positions are sponsored by our host community (Atka, Alaska) in partnership with APIA and a number of other regional organizations. Participating in a WAYK summer project is one of the best ways to be fully immersed in another… Read more »

  • WAYK Summer Intern Expectations: 2016 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 a comprehensive training in WAYK skills, something that is difficult to demonstrate or even explain in a week-long workshop or a few language lessons. WAYK interns will learn… Read more »

  • Announcing WAYK’s Summer 2016 Intensive: Atka, Alaska!

    After many months of preliminary planning with our host community, WAYK is very excited to announce the details of our 2016 Summer Intensive! This summer, the WAYK team will be headed to Atka, Alaska! The language we’ll be working with in Atka is Niigugim Tunuu, the Western (or “Atkan”) dialect of Unangam Tunuu, an Eskimo-Aleut language. We… Read more »

  • The Best Part of My WAYK Summer

    By far the best part of my WAYK summer was getting to work with the local team on St. Paul Island. Our group was a lot of fun because we had so many high school students and rising college freshmen working with us on the project. The last time I was around so many high… Read more »

  • A Day in the Life

    A day in the life of a WAYK intern is a lot like that of anyone else working on our Unangam Tunuu project – we start with a stand up meeting, we make a schedule, then begin working on whatever we’ve got on the schedule. But what’s on the schedule is a little up in… Read more »

  • Technique: Mumble

      When you’re learning a language it can be really easy to get bogged down trying to pronounce everything correctly, especially when you’re learning entirely new sounds. For example, if English is the only language you speak then you’ve got a rather limited inventory of sounds that you’re used to making and if you’re learning… Read more »