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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 »

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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 »