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
  • WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 4

    Brother, ima Bassist I didn’t have enough Mandarin to be able to speak to anyone but a few people and hunt from the friendliest of players, and I mostly took pictures, took video, and helped David with some table game pointers. The kids were great, really bright, and really sweet.  David had his posse of boys running… Read more »

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    Proficiency Testing and Measuring Fluency

    In this Video Sky and Evan demonstrate how the quest for rapid fluency can be measured in a systematic, universal, and accessible way using the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Oral Proficiency Interview (ACTFL.org OPI). The WAYK system is based on the notion that fluency can be attained rapidly, passed on easily,… Read more »

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    Beyond the Script

    This video shows what advanced WAYK looks like.  This is no longer the simple “What is That?” game.  Now that Evan and Sky are both seasoned WAYK players, they can push and pull language using a wide range of techniques although the untrained eye may not notice the high level of cooperation they employ. The… Read more »

  • Miguel San Pedro: Technique “Full”

    This is the second in a series of blog posts about how WAYK techniques can be applied to learning in everyday life. The first post is “Craig’s List.” David Edwards, one of my fellow WAYK interns and Stanford alumni, is notorious for describing “full” in a way like this: “If you eat too much, you… Read more »

  • WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 3

    These Colors Don’t Run Basically, why we were in Fangshan was that the Principal runs a school for the children of under privileged migrant workers, the Boshi school.  She was working with Irene’s NGO (non-governmental organization) to put together a project where the teachers who work at these schools for migrant children use the WAYK method… Read more »

  • Miguel San Pedro: Craig’s List

    For this post and more in the future, I’ll be writing about how WAYK techniques can be useful in life outside of language-learning contexts. Although just about all WAYK activity focuses on second-language acquisition, we’re also aware that WAYK’s techniques can be–and often already are–useful in learning material in any discipline. No matter how concrete… Read more »

  • WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 2

    We Took the Long Way Home and The City Country We had a day of recovery before we were set to go to Fangshan for the week.  David and I took that opportunity to go jog around the Haidian district in the morning.  Judging by the looks of people on the street, running through Beijing isn’t that… Read more »

  • Miguel San Pedro: Spanish Discoveries and a New Technique Name

    While I was helping Evan over the past few weeks improve his house to sell, I had some time to learn Spanish from him. We didn’t have to set aside some time for lessons. After all, language is about communication, not classroom exercises. We simply made a deal that if I wanted to help out… Read more »

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    Two new videos: Advanced WAYK Push/Pull in Mandarin and in Spanish

    We’re happy to announce that two new videos are on the WAYK Vimeo account. Both feature Evan and David pushing and pulling Intermediate-level expressions in two different languages from each other using advanced WAYK techniques. One is of Evan hunting Mandarin from David, and the other is of David hunting Spanish from Evan; both are below. These… Read more »

  • WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 1

    Since July 8th, David Edwards and Sky Hopinka have been in Beijing for a WAYK partnership with a student run NGO called BEAM (Bridging Education and Mobility.) BEAM’s mission is: “To serve as a central platform to launch independent service projects that improves the quality of migrant education in China and the quality of life of… Read more »

  • Miguel San Pedro: What’s Been Going On

      Oregon’s been treating me well lately, and I’ve been approaching this summer with a lot of wonder. Here’s what I’ve been up to the past several weeks so you can catch up with me to the present. Late June David, Sky, and I were in Bend. Evan was accompanying us most of the time,… Read more »

  • WAYK Welcomes an Intern, Miguel San Pedro

    Hi, everyone! My name’s Miguel, and I’m one of the Where Are Your Keys? (WAYK) interns this summer. I’ve been in the beautiful state of Oregon since Monday, June 25, spending time with fellow interns David Edwards and Sky Hopinka while meeting with Evan Gardner and so many other exciting people. Since three weeks ago, David and… Read more »

  • It Takes Two to Tango

    (by WAYK intern David Edwards) I had an epiphany yesterday. This Saturday, Sky and I are flying to China to help an NGO in Beijing run a summer WAYK training for local migrant English teachers. It’s been just over a year since I got back from China, and I’ve been absolutely giddy to get back… Read more »

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    A Fascinating Story: A Summer with Where Are Your Keys?

    This past summer, while we were in Warm Springs, Sky Hopinka was filming and interviewing us for a short documentary he wanted to do on WAYK.  Now that the editing and everything is done, we’d like to share it with you all.  This 20 minute film gives an overview of the Techniques, the community building… Read more »

  • WAYK News From Stanford

    Greetings, friends.  Today we have a guest blog from Julia Fine, a WAYK regular, sharing what they’ve been doing at Stanford University, and a bit about what we’ll be doing this upcoming summer… Hello WAYK-players! Here at Stanford, there have been several exciting WAYK-related developments over the past few weeks. “We Still Live Here” At… Read more »

  • The AILDI workshop

    On February 9th, 10th, and 11th, Evan Gardner, April Charlo (Salish), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk), Paul Cason (Maidu) and his son Marlon traveled to the University of Arizona in Tucson for a workshop hosted by AILDI, the American Indian Language Development Institute.  It was a fantastic experience and we are thankful for everyone that came and… Read more »

  • Status Report: Chinuk Wawa Language Nights in Portland

    In this blog post, Sky Hopinka tells about his experiences so far with the Chinuk Wawa group at Portland State University. For the past eight weeks now, the Chinuk Wawa language group has been meeting two nights a week at the Native American Student and Community Center (NASCC) on the Portland State University campus here… Read more »

  • WAYK at Portland State University

    WAYK was asked by UISHE, the United Indian Students in Higher Education, to come and present at the Native American Student and Community Center on the PSU campus in honor of Native American Heritage Month.  UISHE is one of two Native student groups at PSU and have been very supportive of the Chinuk Wawa class… Read more »

  • Stanford Weekend Workshop

    Hello friends and fellow WAYK players! I am very excited to offer some details of our upcoming event: Nov. 5th and 6th at the Native American Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto Ca. Presented by the Stanford Languages Club The cost for this event is donation based. We are unclear at this moment how the University… Read more »

  • Warm Springs WAYK High School students in the Bend Bulletin

    The Bend Bulletin, the central Oregon newspaper, ran an article last week about the continuation of the summer language program at Madras High School.  Since the completion of the WAYK Summer Institute, several of the Warm Springs students and their teacher, Becky Dudney, were able to incorporate WAYK into their Native American Culture class:  … Read more »