We feel strongly that we’re doing work no one else is doing – work that teaches communities a particular kind of real-world, practical, all-ages, all-weather skills at learning and teaching language in any environment. “Tea with Grandma” is a prime example of this – at every workshop we do, we run this scenario that tests the “language hunters” skills to the limit.
The fantasy scenario we create, is the 100% deaf Grandma, “the last fluent speaker” of American Sign Language (ASL). We are her grandchildren, and we have one hour to pull as much language as possible from her, while keeping her comfortable and unaware of all the work we’re doing.
Now of course, in reality ASL is doing just fine, but so many languages are on the brink of extinction. This is a very real “fantasy” scenario.
In this video you’ll see attendees of all ages at the 2010 Unangax Camp using all their skills as they pull language from Grandma. This is key to us; everybody in the community must participate in keeping a language alive.