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 »

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 »

Latest
  • Report from the Road: Alaska Native Heritage Center

    The WAYK team returned to the Alaska Native Heritage Center in late April for a week-long workshop. The ANHC has hosted WAYK on several occasions over the past four years, and this time the workshop was for speakers and learners of Yup’ik and Inupiaq as they embark on a three-year language project funded by the… Read more »

  • Sky Hopinka: Why I returned for another WAYK Summer

      Working with Evan, David Edwards, and April Charlo at the first WAYK summer program was a great experience. I learned a lot about language revitalization as well as community revitalization. Working with the seven high school students was great also, seeing language work from a different perspective. So when I had the chance to… Read more »

  • WAYK’s New Home Page

    Welcome to the new home page for Where Are Your Keys! Over the past four years, we’ve discovered that our blog has grown to be more versatile and practical than our static home page. And so, after many hours of dedicated volunteer efforts by Susanna Ciotti, Caylie Gnyra, David Edwards, and Sky Hopinka to make… Read more »

  • Robyn & Casey’s Language Adventure: Part 1

    When we signed up to be interns with WAYK we really had no idea what we were actually getting ourselves into…in a good way. It’s next to impossible to explain in a two hour interview or one hour teleconference what you do for 18ish hours a day, 7 days a week, while living in a… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Tanana, Alaska

    When the WAYK team was last in Tanana, in late October 2014, the Yukon River was just about to freeze solid. During our return trip this spring, in mid-April, the entire village was waiting for the ice to break up. Both life and language revolve around the river in Tanana! During our fall visit, the… Read more »

  • Intern Introduction: Casey Boyette

    I’m starting my third year at the University of  Virginia this fall, where I major in linguistics, which is how I ended up applying to work on this summer intensive. Other than languages, I spend a lot of time on the college radio station and buying/cooking/eating/thinking about food. I’m from North Carolina so I’ve already… Read more »

  • Intern Introduction: Robyn Giffen

    I am originally from Calgary, Alberta, but have been in Kelowna, BC for the past 6 years completing two degrees. I very recently (as in the week before I left for Alaska) defended my Master’s thesis in linguistic anthropology and am currently enjoying my newfound freedom as a non-student for the first time ever. My… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Fairbanks, Alaska

    So many languages, so little time! The WAYK team returned to Fairbanks this spring for two weeks of training with speakers and learners of four Athabaskan languages: Hän, Gwich’in, Deg Xinag, and Denaakk’e. Prior to this visit, in the fall of 2014, the Doyon Foundation organized a series of introductory WAYK workshops in the Fairbanks… Read more »

  • Meet the WAYK 2015 St. Paul Island Summer Language Intensive interns!

    Our search for summer interns for our St. Paul summer project began in early February, when we opened applications for three WAYK interns sponsored by the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association. We had an amazing response, and found it very difficult to choose only three interns from all of the highly qualified applicants. After many hours… Read more »

  • Report from the Road: Susanville, California

    The WAYK team spent a week at the beginning of April in Susanville, California. The language program at Susanville Rancheria, led by Donna Clark, has been hard at work developing a new curriculum for Tosajdom (Mountain Maidu), and brought WAYK in to support their brand new teaching team. The first and last days of the… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Lingít Language Classes using WAYK

      I began learning my Native language, Lingít, about three years ago. At some point I came to the idea that I would like to eventually teach the language. However, I imagined doing so in a very distant future after many years of dedicated study of the language and time with fluent Lingít elders, when… Read more »

  • Call for WAYK Summer 2015 Interns!

    This summer, we are excited to offer three WAYK internship positions that will be sponsored by our host community of St. Paul Island, Alaska through APIA and ACSPI. Participating in a WAYK summer project is one of the best ways to be fully immersed not only in another language but also in the WAYK method… Read more »

  • WAYK Summer Schedule

    It can be hard to imagine what a language revitalization summer looks like, but working to strengthen a language is a full-time job. As with any program centered around language learning, it’s essential that we have daily contact with the language in an immersion environment. However, it’s equally important to have adequate time to relax,… Read more »

  • WAYK Summer Intern Expectations

    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 »

  • WAYK Summer 2015: St. Paul Island, Alaska

    WAYK is thrilled to finally announce the details of our 2015 Summer Intensive! After many weeks of behind-the-scenes work with our host community and organizations, we can officially say: we are headed to St. Paul Island, Alaska! The language we’ll be working with there is Unangam Tunuu (also known as Eastern Aleut), an Eskimo-Aleut language… Read more »

  • Featured Video Play Icon

    Pedagogy Rusticatio with WAYK

    We are pleased to share a gorgeous new video by Sky Hopinka, WAYK team member and a truly stellar filmmaker. Sky’s film is about how classroom teachers can strengthen one of the most misunderstood endangered languages…Latin. In July 2014, Sky traveled with WAYK to West Virginia to document the second annual Pedagogy Rusticatio, a program… Read more »

  • WAYK TQ Glossary Launch!

    For many months the WAYK team has been working on compiling the master list of TQs into a single glossary complete with explanations and visuals. At long last, we are ready to announce launch of this glossary! Our goal is to have a succinct but useable explanation for all of the 280 TQs that are… Read more »

  • New WAYK Logo

    WAYK is thrilled to unveil our brand-new logo, comprising a white silhouette of hands making the “technique” sign against a green background: As many of you may know, “techniques” form the foundation of the WAYK learning system, and we wanted to create a visual identity that reflected that. Slowly but surely, we are working towards… Read more »

  • Technique: Angel Boss

    TQ: angel on your shoulder is a clever little technique that provides support for learners whose turn it is to speak: all of the other players in the circle participate by signing, mouthing, and sometimes even speaking the words in tandem with the player whose turn it is. This combination of oral and verbal prompts often… Read more »

  • Why WAYK Works

    You probably already knew that raw intellect isn’t enough to learn a language. Ever tried memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules? You might pass a test, but try having a conversation. “Knowing” a language and actually speaking it are two different things, in the same way as knowing musical theory and how a piano works doesn’t… Read more »