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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Intern Introduction: Erin McGarvey

Hi, I’m Erin McGarvey.  I am originally from Jordan, a very small town just outside of St. Catharines, Ontario.    My school only had about 160 kids and my house had grape vineyards behind it and woods in front of it.  When I was nine, I moved to the city, but I have will always… Read more »

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Meet WAYK’s 2016 summer intern team!

When we opened up our application for summer WAYK interns in January, our summer intensive in Atka, AK seemed very far in the future. This year, it is wonderful that we are once again able to offer three sponsored intern positions for the summer, thanks to the support of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, the Aleut… Read more »

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Is Any Project Ever “Simple”?

Very early in the summer Evan mentioned to me that there were some Unangam Tunuu books that had been read by speakers but to date no one had figured out how to, or at least had not gotten around to, combining the audio with the scanned copies of the books. This meant that anyone wanting… Read more »

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What it’s like to be a WAYK Intern

Interning: do anything and everything #forthelanguage! Explaining what it’s like to be a WAYK intern is no easy task. To be perfectly honest, I really had no idea what I was in for when I boarded the plane that would take me to St. Paul Island, Alaska. Even once I figured out what I was… Read more »

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Report from the Road: Atka (Fall 2015)

This September, the WAYK team made their fourth visit to the Aleutian Island of Atka.  This visit was the first under a new project, coordinated by the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and funded by the Administration for Native Americans.  This project is designed to support language work throughout the region with initial efforts focused in… Read more »

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Call for WAYK Summer 2016 Interns!

This summer, we are very lucky to again be able to offer three WAYK internship opportunities.  These positions are sponsored by our host community (Atka, Alaska) in partnership with APIA and a number of other regional organizations. Participating in a WAYK summer project is one of the best ways to be fully immersed in another… Read more »

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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 »