Bubble Policy: How Can Immersion Bubbles Help an Indigenous Language Community?

In my last blog, I wrote about the obstacles to maintaining an immersion bubble. In this blog, I ask how the immersion bubble, as a kind of “language policy”, can further the interests of an Indigenous language community. There are two related benefits to immersion bubbles, as I see it. One benefit is that they… Read more »

Bubble Policy: Why Do People Break or Keep Up Immersion?

The idea of creating an “immersion bubble” is probably nothing new in language learning. Nor is it new within the field of language revitalization in the 20th and 21st centuries; creating immersion bubbles has been a goal of many revitalization movements at least since the kōhanga reo pre-school immersion initiatives in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the… Read more »

How to Use a Hunting Book

Take notes like a pro, or like a 5th grader, so long as you do it! In 2015, during my first summer with WAYK, Evan and Susanna gave me a hunting book to use for tracking the chinuk wawa I was learning. I’ll be honest: I didn’t really like or use it. I found it… Read more »

Keep Calm and Calendar On

Summer Language Intensives have a lot going on. All the time. Whether it’s lesson prep, an important conversation to be had, hunting language from elders over tea, or even just keeping the coffee station running, there’s always something that needs to be done. How does one keep everything going smoothly, especially with a larger team?… Read more »

WAYK Workshop versus Summer Language Intensive

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 »

Technique: Angel

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 »

Linguistic Terminology Part 2

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 »

5 Group Immersion Activities

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 »

Relaxing in Immersion

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 »

Master Teachers and Techniques

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 »

Latest
  • The Danger of Putting Endangered Languages on a “Shelf”

    What does it mean to revitalize a language? What does it mean to secure its existence for the next generation of speakers? What does this look like and why is it important? As a Native person who is deeply concerned about the future of my heritage language, Tewa, these are the types of questions I… Read more »

  • There Is No Why

    David Edwards has worked with WAYK at several summer revitalization programs. He works as a software engineer in New York City and spends most of his time pulling language from unsuspecting passersby. Last year, I spent a few months working in Washington D.C. with a coworker who spoke fluent French. I spoke no French at… Read more »

  • Technique: Spare the Fairies

    Learning another language is tough—new sounds that our mouths are not used to pronouncing, unfamiliar words, and grammar structures that just don’t feel normal. It is completely natural to want an explanation or a translation for all the new concepts and patterns in our first language. Just tell me what it means! If the word… Read more »

  • Robyn’s Chinuk Wawa Language Adventure 2.2

    I’m happy to report that I finally hit one of my milestone conversations in chinuk wawa! I can make, and explain how to make, one of my favourite desserts–rice krispie treats–entirely in chinuk! Hooray! So why this is a milestone? Last summer Casey and I did a lot of cooking in chinuk and many dinnertime… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Teaching Students How to Hunt

    As I explained the concept and procedure of a “Bucket Brigade” to twenty-four slightly sleepy sophomores, I became nervous. They seemed nervous, lost, anxious. What if this lesson, which would be their first true foray into WAYK…failed? I pushed on though, remembering the valuable WAYK TQ of “How Fascinating!”—if this lesson failed, I would simply… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Northway, January 2016

    Following our three week visit to Fairbanks this past January, the WAYK team continued our work with Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program by traveling to the village of Northway, AK for one week. WAYK first traveled to this part of the interior in November of 2014 to present a workshop at the Interior Alaska Campus… Read more »

  • Technique: Let It Go!

    Before I tell you about the WAYK Technique Let It Go, I am going to talk about what a Technique is. A Technique is a tool or strategy we use to help us, mostly with learning language, but with other things beyond language too. A Technique usually has a hand sign that goes with it,… Read more »

  • Why We Use Sign Language

    Perhaps one of the most common questions I have had about Where Are Your Keys is about Sign Language and why we use it so much for language learning. Some people look at WAYK and assume that all we’re doing is adding hand signs to vocabulary in another language and then going around in a… Read more »

  • How It’s “Biin” So Far

    At the time I’m writing this post, it’s nearing the halfway point of my internship with WAYK and my summer in the community of Atka, Alaska. As the days go by, they only seem to pass ever more quickly. But new experiences have been plentiful, just as has my acquisition of knowledge regarding the WAYK… Read more »

  • Report From the Road: Fairbanks, January 2016

    The WAYK team once again returned to Fairbanks this winter for three weeks of training with speakers and learners of two Athabaskan languages: Gwich’in and Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana langauge). Our time in Fairbanks was followed by a week-long visit to Northway, AK to work with the local language team on the Upper Tanana language… Read more »

  • Use It Or Lose It

    If you don’t use it you’ll lose it. That age-old adage we hear, especially about language learning, means that if you don’t speak the languages you know you will forget them. This has happened to me many times. Growing up in Canada, taking French was mandatory for me in school and I took it all… Read more »

  • Report From The Road: St. Paul, December 2015

    The WAYK team returned to St. Paul, Alaska for our first follow up visit after the 2015 Summer Intensive, which focused on the St. Paul and St. George dialects of Unangam Tunuu. Our visits to St. Paul are part of a larger Unangam Tunuu project, sponsered by APIA (the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association) and funded… Read more »

  • Immersion Bubbles: Finding Comfort and Fun in the Uncomfortable

    By way of the prior experience I’ve gained through my involvement in the language revitalization efforts taking place within my own community, the Pueblo of Pojoaque, I’ve been able to correct many misconceptions related to the practice of learning and teaching a second language. My time as an intern with WAYK has further contributed to… Read more »

  • Color-Coding at the WAYK house

    One of my favourite things so far as a WAYK intern is the color-coded organization of the WAYK house. Months before we arrived in Atka, each member of the WAYK team was assigned a color. Now, in the WAYK house, we each have our own set of dishes in our individual colors. Our bedding and… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Bobbi’s First Two Weeks in Atka

    My first two weeks in Atka learning Niiĝuĝim Tuunu have been interesting. I am learning a whole new lauguage, meeting a lot of new people, eating new things, and learning about the Orthodox religion also. This experience isn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. I thought that it was going to be… Read more »

  • 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 »