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Call for WAYK 2017 Interns!

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

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Atka Fall Visit

As APIA (the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association) enters the second year of their three-year language initiative with support from ANA (the Administration for Native Americans), the WAYK team returns to Atka for 10 days of sessions in December. During this visit, the WAYK team will provide additional training and support for members of the local core team who attended previous WAYK workshops and participated in… Read more »

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WAYK Summer Intern Expectations: 2017 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 all… Read more »

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Announcing WAYK’s 2017 Summer Intensive: St. Paul Island, Alaska!

After months of preliminary planning with our host community and organizations, WAYK is excited to announce the details of our 2017 Summer Intensive. This summer, the WAYK team will be returning to St. Paul Island, Alaska! In 2017, we’ll continue to work with Unangam Tunuu (also known as Aleut), an Eskimo-Aleut language with a small… Read more »

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APIA Anchorage Fall Visit, Week 2

As APIA (the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association) enters the second year of their three-year language initiative with support from ANA (the Administration for Native Americans), the WAYK team returns to Anchorage for two weeks of sessions in the Fall of 2016. Week 1: October 10 – October 14, 2016 Week 2: December 5 – December 9, 2016 During… Read more »

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Kodiak Fall Visit

The WAYK team will visit with the Alutiiq language team in Koidak, Alaska and attend the Alutiiq Language Summit on November 17th and 18th, and the Alutiiq Nation Festival on November 18th.

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Technique: Spare the Fairies

Learning another language is tough—new sounds that our mouths are not used to pronouncing, unfamiliar words, and grammar structures that just don’t feel normal. It is completely natural to want an explanation or a translation for all the new concepts and patterns in our first language. Just tell me what it means! If the word… Read more »

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St. Paul Island Fall Visit

As APIA (the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association) enters the second year of their three-year language initiative with support from ANA (the Administration for Native Americans), the WAYK team returns to St. Paul Island for 10 days of sessions in October. During this visit, the WAYK team will provide additional training and support for members of the local core team who attended previous WAYK workshops and participated… Read more »

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Robyn’s Chinuk Wawa Language Adventure 2.2

I’m happy to report that I finally hit one of my milestone conversations in chinuk wawa! I can make, and explain how to make, one of my favourite desserts–rice krispie treats–entirely in chinuk! Hooray! So why this is a milestone? Last summer Casey and I did a lot of cooking in chinuk and many dinnertime… Read more »

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APIA Anchorage Fall Visit, Week 1

As APIA (the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association) enters the second year of their three-year language initiative with support from ANA (the Administration for Native Americans), the WAYK team returns to Anchorage for two weeks of sessions in the Fall of 2016. Week 1: October 10 – October 14, 2016 Week 2: December 5 – December 9, 2016 During… Read more »

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Report from the Road: Northway, January 2016

Following our three week visit to Fairbanks this past January, the WAYK team continued our work with Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program by traveling to the village of Northway, AK for one week. WAYK first traveled to this part of the interior in November of 2014 to present a workshop at the Interior Alaska Campus… Read more »

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Technique: Let It Go!

Before I tell you about the WAYK Technique Let It Go, I am going to talk about what a Technique is. A Technique is a tool or strategy we use to help us, mostly with learning language, but with other things beyond language too. A Technique usually has a hand sign that goes with it,… Read more »

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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 »