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

“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 »

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  • 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 »

  • Report from the Road: Kodiak (Summer 2015)

    This summer, a team of WAYK interns convened in Kodiak, Alaska to try something new: an intern house. The interns included Evan Amason, Dehrich Isuwiq Schmidt-Chya, Josh Higginbotham, Anders “Holla Holla” Hegre Håland, and myself. Both Evan and Dehrich have familial ties to the island and to its indigenous language, Kodiak Alutiiq. Josh and Anders… Read more »

  • Surprise, you’re a teacher.

    Something that has made the WAYK Summer Intensive special for me is the role of teaching. Before WAYK, I had a lot of misconceptions regarding what it is to teach. Most importantly, I never really considered myself a “teacher.” Even in situations where I was quite literally teaching another person something, I would consider myself… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Kodiak (May 2015)

    This May, WAYK returned to Kodiak Island for the Alutiiq Language Summit. This gathering coincided with the Kodiak College Alutiiq Language OEC graduation and an honorary degree ceremony for local Kodiak Alutiiq speakers. It was a proud moment for the language community and the culmination of years of hard work, and WAYK was honored to be… Read more »

  • The Intersection of Language and Food

    Food is often the social spark that brings people together. I learned very quickly when planning events in university that if you want people to show up to a meeting or presentation to always provide food, and just mention in the flyer that there will be free food and chances are more people will show… Read more »

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    Report from the Road: St. Paul Island Summer Intensive Video

    We are pleased to share another great video from WAYK player and filmmaker Sky Hopinka. Sky joined the WAYK team on St. Paul Island for the 2015 Summer Intensive as a returning intern. Even though his focus was on teaching our newest WAYK interns and guiding the local team through hunting language and developing lessons,… Read more »

  • Robyn and Casey’s Language Adventure: Part 4 (Cooking in chinuk)

    A fun way to practice TQ: Same Conversation is to cook in the language you are hunting. Fun fact about our super organized WAYK house on St. Paul: we have a meal rotation that assigns a pair of people to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So on nights that Robyn or I cook with Sky… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Teresa’s Summer Language Intensive Experience

    My name is Teresa Baker, I’m from the Pribilof Islands and I’m going to share with you a bit of my 2015 Summer Language Intensive experience.  For about 3 years now I’ve been working on our language in school, out of school, throughout the summer, and at work. Over a period of time I’ve watched… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Linnae’s Summer Language Intensive Experience

    Aang, Linnae Kozloff asax̂takuqing. I am from Saint Paul Island, Alaska. I happen to go to Saint Paul school.  I am interested in the Unangam Tunuu language project because I am willing to help keep my language alive because unfortunately it is going extinct. I have been involved with this language project for about three… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Kiana’s Summer Language Intensive Experience

    My name is Kiana.  I live in Saint Paul Island, Alaska and I go to the Pribilof School. I got involved in the Saint Paul Summer Language Intensive because I applied for a job as youth hire and I was involved for about a month.  The reason I was interested in this language project was… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Port Graham (Spring 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 Where Are Your Keys? techniques. At the time, the community of Port Graham was in their second year of a three-year project funded by an ANA… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Maidu Language Classes Using WAYK

    I am Danny YellowFeather Manning, I have been working with the Weye-ebis project with Donna Clark and the Susanville Indian Rancheria language team since November 2014. My teacher is Wilhelmina Ives, one of the last Maidu speakers, and she has been having classes every Friday at the Greenville Rancheria. In early 2015, I had a… Read more »

  • Sky’s Video Tips for Cellphone Cameras

    When you’re language hunting, or even teaching, it helps to document those sessions in any way you can. With the ubiquity of smartphones it’s easier than ever to video record a language hunt, bucket brigade, TQ: Walk, or whatever you’re working on. Here are a few tips and tricks that may help you get started… Read more »

  • Guest Post: WAYKing up Unangam Tunuu

    This summer, WAYK (Where Are Your Keys) creator Evan Gardner, Susanna Ciotti, WAYK veteran Sky Hopinka and two language-loving interns, Casey and Robyn, battled unpredictable airline schedules and dreary weather patterns to facilitate the Unangam Tunuu Summer Language Intensive on the tiny remote island of St. Paul, AK situated far in the Bering Sea. This island… Read more »

  • WAYK Summer St. Paul on Instagram

    You may have noticed that Where Are Your Keys is now on Instagram!  We’ve been posting photos from workshops throughout the spring, including great Set Ups for teaching language that we’ve seen.  We’re also posting current shots from our Unangam Tunuu Summer Intensive on St. Paul Island.  Follow us @playwayk, and check out all of the… Read more »

  • Robyn and Casey’s Language Adventure: Part S.E.A.L.

    The hardest part of hunting Chinuk is easily the most rewarding at the same time – much like the three mile “marathon” going on next week that Sky has convinced me is worth doing for the t-shirt, if nothing else. Coming into the WAYK team already having spent a couple of years learning ASL has… Read more »