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
  • “It’s for the Language!”

    One of the techniques in Where Are Your Keys? is called “Same Conversation.” By having the same conversation several times, covering the same vocabulary, grammar, questions, and responses, learners gain confidence in the words they are choosing, and are able to practice putting them together smoothly and correctly. While Evan was teaching me Chinuk Wawa in Oregon, I convinced him to… Read more »

  • Being a Stealth Hunter in Another Country

    When I moved to Israel this past year, I knew hardly anything about Hebrew, but I was determined not to let that stop me from living like an Israeli. I’ve been using WAYK for the last few years with friends on everything from Latin to Chinook Wawa, and I was ready to go stealth. No… Read more »

  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Speaking my Language

    Even though I’ve been a student of Latin since 1993, I only ever really learned about the language. It is likely that many Latin teachers around the globe have encountered the same problem: being the student of a language for decades without ever using the language for it’s original purpose: communication. Latin is too often… Read more »

  • Why You Should Intern for WAYK! by Julia

    1) You’ll meet cool people. If you want to get to know really awesome people, working on language revitalization projects is a great place to meet them. Together with my fellow intern Will Monroe, I spent this past summer in Kodiak, Alaska working with elders and learners of Kodiak Alutiiq.  I was blown away by… Read more »

  • Guest Post: Sorry Charlie – Learned Helplessness

    Today as part of our professional development, we were presented with the following video: While watching this I got to think about Sorry Charlie.  When we throw someone a Sorry Charlie, or when we speak to quickly, we’re throwing them an impossible task.  This is the kind of thing that makes people Full, and unable… Read more »

  • Julia Stiles: A preview of Kodiak Alutiiq

        This past week, I was lucky to have the opportunity to fly up to Alaska and meet the community with which Will and I will be working over the summer. Throughout the flurry of introductions, everyone was incredibly kind and welcoming. I was struck by the palpable energy and enthusiasm of both the language learners… Read more »

  • Koyukon Language Training Media Coverage

    Here’s a little piece of local media coverage of a WAYK workshop in Anchorage, Alaska: http://www.ktuu.com/news/koyukon-language-training-held-at-alaska-native-heritage-center-ktuu-20130806,0,4740891.story

  • Will Monroe: Summer Intern

    Cama’i, everyone! My name’s Will, and I’m the newest addition to the Where Are Your Keys intern crowd. I’m in Kodiak with Julia, working with the Alutiiq language community. This is my first time spending an entire summer on a WAYK project, but I’ve actually been working with Evan for a few years, since shortly… Read more »

  • Stephen Printup—Chinuk Wawa Blogpost

    My name is Stephen and I was introduced to Chinuk Wawa and the Where Are Your Keys method about 2 years ago. I am a student at Portland State with Sky, Melissa, Alina, Stevie and have had some lessons with Evan. Although, I originally intended to simply satisfy my university language requirement with a native… Read more »

  • What “Where Are Your Keys?” Did for Me.

    After spending 5 weeks with Evan, while he was working with my language community, the opportunity came up. Evan asked me if I would like to go with him to the Unangax Language workshop in Anchorage. So I asked him “Well what do you think I will gain from it?” He replied “Hard to say”…. Read more »

  • Submit Your Stories!

    This is Sky Hopinka here. Long time no see. Keeping on top of blog posts has been a challenge, and something that we’ve discussed at great length. So we’re going to be starting a new format and we’d like you all to be involved. If you have: -ideas for a blog -language learning stories you… Read more »

  • Part One: Chinese Wrap Up and Decolonization in Language Revitalization

    Sky Hopinka wraps up the summer trip to China and discusses topics that have come up regarding WAYK, language revitalization, and decolonization.  Sky also wants to say that he is not speaking on behalf of Where Are Your Keys? These are just some of his thoughts about some stuff. Part One of Two…or Three. So… Read more »

  • Miguel San Pedro: Prove It

    This post is fifth in a series of entries about WAYK techniques as they occur in everyday life, beyond language-learning. How do you show someone you’ve learned something? Naturally, you repeat that knowledge to that person rather than simply stating “Yes, I’ve learned it.” You impress that person even more when you apply your newly-acquired… Read more »

  • Meet Qwina West and the Bishop Paiute language class of Bishop California

    In February I received a random email. Qwina said he watched the videos on you tube and vimeo and decided to take WAYK for a spin!  He taped the first sessions and sent them to me to look over.  I was astounded by Qwina’s ability to wield techniques and work through the USC’s first rides… Read more »

  • Alina earns University Credit for WAYK at Portland State!

    The best part of summer has to be no school and homework to get in the way of me focusing on Hunting Navajo and gaining fluency in Chinuk Wawa. My journey and first interactions with Where are your keys?, occurred at Portland State University. I was a transfer student from Utah State University the term… Read more »

  • Meet Melissa

    Blog 1: What did WAYK at PSU give you? I was a Senior at Portland State University in my second to last term when I decided to attend a Chinuk Wawa language class held at the Native Center. There were two passionate teachers, Sky Hopinka and Stevie Lemke that made me feel welcome even though… Read more »

  • WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 6

    Xianqi on a Train Our next project was to go to a small town south of Shanghai called Dalan, or Dalanzhen, and work with a group of teenage volunteers who were running a three-week English summer camp in three villages surrounding Dalanzhen.  There were two or three volunteers assigned to each of the villages and… Read more »

  • Miguel San Pedro: Be Here Now

    This post is fourth in a series of entries about WAYK techniques as they occur in everyday life, beyond language-learning. The previous three are on “Craig’s List” and “Full,” and “Everybody Deals.” Imagine for a moment that you’re painting a sunset, pondering the precise color combinations from your palette that encapsulates the unique hues of the… Read more »

  • WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 5

    Getting to the Party at Chuangwei Elementary School The rest of our time at Chuanwei was exciting and interesting in finding ways to implement the game. We got set in our routine and made it through the rest of the week. The classes went great, and the kids really responded to WAYK, and in the… Read more »

  • Miguel San Pedro: Everybody Deals

    This post is third in a series of entries about WAYK techniques as they occur in everyday life, beyond language-learning. The previous two are on “Craig’s List” and “Full”. People say “the best way to learn is to teach”, the “natural conclusion” would be that everybody would be teaching all the time. WAYK accelerates this… Read more »