A Squamish WAYK game at Dustin’s house

WAYK Podcast, Episode 6: Dustin Starts the Squamish Language Night. 52 minutes and 25 seconds.

[direct download here]

Dustin Rivers (@dustinrivers) talks about the first WAYK Squamish language night that he hosted at his house, following up from our visit there in North Vancouver, B.C. a week ago. This night is the first of a series of weekly language nights, organized by Dustin, with the support of a team of at least 7 core players from his community.

He will also be holding Squamish language nights in Squamish Valley, B.C., where a more rural population of Squamish people live. Dustin has really kicked something loose up there. He had lots of great news to tell us in this podcast. Issues that came up:

Technique: “the Walk

  • We all designed a “Walk” for Dustin, looking for ways to apply “limit“. In this case, it comes down to a single color: lots of red houses, doors, and various objects.

Technique: “What is that?

  • Dustin noticed that players’ fluency increases dramatically when they had begun to ask questions, rather than just answering them.

Technique: “Total Physical Response (TPR)

  • The use of sign in the game causes a particularly fun and enlightening moment between Dustin and his sister Cheyenne.

Technique “in Threes

  • Dustin modified this technique to “in Fours”, to accommodate the Squamish traditions around the number four. We talk about how well this worked.

Technique “Limit

  • Dustin had difficulties restraining himself from answering all the questions of the participants, even when the info would not benefit the game in play. He thinks he needs to apply “limit” twice as much.
  • Evan suspects he needs to apply it eight times as much.

Technique “Sorry, Charlie: Destination

  • We talk about what you do with the questions players ask you, that won’t help the current game in play, but may come in handy later.

More technique “Limit

  • How do you choose what to “limit” your conversation to? How do you choose the nouns? How much of a difference can it make?

Techniques “Fluency” and “Bite-sized Pieces

  • Dustin says: “It’s weird…it feels like we’re going slow…but we’re going really fast…we’re light years ahead of any other language program.”

Technique “Money Talks

  • Language program staff in Squamish Valley (Dustin lives in North Vancouver, some distance away) want him to train them in WAYK Squamish language two days a week, along with holding a language night there.
  • Playing WAYK trains you in a very employable skill: high-quality language instruction! If the ability to speak or teach your target language can help make you a living, this becomes a critical accelerator for acquiring fluent proficiency. For better or worse, indeed, “Money Talks“.

Technique “We’ll All Get There Together

  • A couple young children showed up along with their mom, and began throwing techniques (like “full“) too.

Technique “Superman III

  • Dustin has begun translating as many technique names into Squamish as possible, to increase the overall volume of Squamish speech, and lower the English.

More on “the Walk

  • We talk about the team-building benefits of “the Walk“, creating a good “set-up” for a “Walk“, and keeping your eyes peeled for opportunities the world throws you while on it.

Techniques “Travels with Charlie” and “Want/Have/Give/Take

  • Dustin has noticed that the clear roadmap presented to folks, via “travels with charlie“, and playing WAYK in sign language up to “want/have/give/take“, has excited the players and made them want to come as often as possible, because they can see the big picture and feel that their goals lie almost in reach.

Technique “Everybody Playing All-the-time

  • Dustin asks how you reach that point where you can sit down with four people to have a thoroughly fluent, though simple, conversation over dinner?
  • Evan replies: play the game. Play the simple, basic game. Play it with as many people as possible, as often as possible. Dustin realizes he will soon start having Squamish conversations six days a week!

Techniques “Pairing” and “One-on-One

  • Evan reminds Dustin that these techniques build skill in the game, and in the language, and encourages him to have his regular players pair up with new players often, and play “one-on-one“.

Written by Evan Gardner