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Introduction to WAYK Video Series

Time for some “new” videos! Back in 2015, Sky Hopinka made a terrific series of videos for Where Are Your Keys. This series was designed to be both an overview of the method and an entry point for anyone who was newly interested and wanted to learn more about WAYK.  We’ve been slow in publishing these videos,… Read more »

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What it’s like to spend the summer with WAYK

One way to describe a summer with WAYK is that it provides the on-the-ground work experience that should be part of any training in language revitalization and documentation. In this blog I’ll describe it in these terms, mainly by contrasting it with the only other “official” training I’ve had, a masters degree at SOAS in… Read more »

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Bubble Policy: Why Do People Break or Keep Up Immersion?

The idea of creating an “immersion bubble” is probably nothing new in language learning. Nor is it new within the field of language revitalization in the 20th and 21st centuries; creating immersion bubbles has been a goal of many revitalization movements at least since the kōhanga reo pre-school immersion initiatives in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the… Read more »

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5 Group Immersion Activities

Before I arrived at the St. Paul Unangam Tunuu Summer Language Intensive, I wondered what we would do on a typical day. I knew that there would be no teacher standing at the front of the room, no textbooks. How would we fill our time from nine to five? I discovered here a variety of… Read more »

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Relaxing in Immersion

Picture this: I grab a beautiful blue egg shell, a white feather, and two model birds, and join my group at a table in the back room for immersion time. Without any discussion or planning, we five young women blow up an imaginary immersion bubble to bid farewell to English – from here on out,… Read more »

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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 »

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The Danger of Putting Endangered Languages on a “Shelf”

What does it mean to revitalize a language? What does it mean to secure its existence for the next generation of speakers? What does this look like and why is it important? As a Native person who is deeply concerned about the future of my heritage language, Tewa, these are the types of questions I… 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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Report from the Road: Kodiak (Summer 2015)

This summer, a team of WAYK interns convened in Kodiak, Alaska to try something new: an intern house. The interns included Evan Amason, Dehrich Isuwiq Schmidt-Chya, Josh Higginbotham, Anders “Holla Holla” Hegre Håland, and myself. Both Evan and Dehrich have familial ties to the island and to its indigenous language, Kodiak Alutiiq. Josh and Anders… Read more »

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Learning a Language vs. Creating a Language Community

    There are a lot of people doing good work in language education; and you can find many talented language learners and polyglots. There are countless resources to learn a language out there, whether immersion programs, classes, software, CD sets, podcasts, online language mentoring forums, and on and on. We respect and value all these… Read more »

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WAYK Podcast, Episode 30: Taking 3-D Holographic Notes

58 minutes and 17 seconds. [direct download] Willem and Joel (a veteran of a Portland WAYK workshop), with Peter and Sara listening, talk over Joel’s experiences that Chinuk Night. Then later, Evan and Willem discuss how the evening of Chinuk Wawa games went. 1. Technique “the Walk” Joel experienced “the Walk” for the first time,… Read more »

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WAYK Podcast, Episode 29: Mother May I?

27 minutes and 2 seconds. [direct download] Willem interviews Peter and Sara about the games they led for the most recent Chinuk Wawa (Chinook Jargon) Night. We discover that yet another newbie has zoomed through language acquisition, but not mastered basic WAYK techniques. Peter then describes “the Walk” that he led, as documented in this… Read more »

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WAYK Podcast, Episode 19: Grandma takes the Linguist by his lapels

50 minutes and 56 seconds. [direct download here] 1. Technique “Where Are Your Keys?” What Evan means when he asks “Does she play WAYK?” 2. Technique “Fluent Fool“ Does Johann play “WAYK?“. The ideal “fluent fool” has no conventional training in teaching at all. 3. Technique “Shared Experience“ Finding the ideal “same conversation” for Willem… Read more »