Talking about “Baskets”

[direct download here]

[Note: This podcast isn’t designed to teach Chinuk Wawa. It is a demonstration of how to apply the WAYK method to an endangered language. By listening to it, you will improve your understanding of WAYK techniques, but you won’t receive any instruction in Chinuk specifically.]

In this episode we debrief our most recent Chinuk Wawa conversation night, held at the WAYK immersion house. You’ll hear the voices of Willem Larsen, Evan Gardner, Justin Robinson (Chinook Nation WAYK instructor), and Peter (a relatively new player, game leader, and speaker of Chinuk Wawa).

1. Technique “Baskets

  • Peter “set-up” a “baskets” conversation, specifically to play off the fact that many people who come to Chinuk Wawa night enjoy making baskets.
  • Tonight is the closest we’ve come in the Wawa program to having the entire group playing a classic WAYK conversation together, with a specially selected batch of “limited” nouns.
  • Thomas took the reins of Peter’s basket conversation, and ran a really tight game using the new conversation.
  • Thomas didn’t rigorously use technique “same rotation“.
  • Peter and Willem previously played a warm-up game with Mary and Kirsten, using Mary as a “newbie sets the pace“, which “set-up” the whole group later for a very strong conversation with Thomas.
  • Willem does an unflattering and inaccurate impression of Pulikli [sorry Pulikli -Ed].
  • Peter says he needs more practice leading games – he has gotten too proficient in speaking, but not correspondingly proficient in “language hunting” (which means both teaching and learning).
  • Evan “set-up” a “riddle-me-this” moment around the Wawa word ‘uk’.
  • Justin and Evan talk about how sometimes WAYK seems very controlled, and other times very free and conversant.
  • Peter brought important energy to the group “baskets” conversation.

2. Technique “Signal Boosters

3. Technique “the Walk

4. Technique “Set-up

  • Oddly, since WAYK was developed with the Chinuk Wawa community they’ve never had the experience of the immaculate “set-up” of the game, as a first experience, thus slowing down the community acquisition of the technique language.
  • This has slowed down their ability to become “language hunters“.

5. Technique “Fluent Fool

  • How our fluent elder, Henry Zenk, interacts with the language hunters, and what techniques he brings from his background.

6. Technique “Set-up

  • Evan wonders if the old time music Willem and Peter played helped, hindered, or had neutral impact on the game play.
  • Creating a more ‘homey’ “set-up“.
  • How Evan solved the problem of ‘too much chaos’.
  • The team decides that chaos indicates break time.
  • How does the “set-up” encourage drop-ins (something we all want)?
  • We need a pitcher of water and glasses. Hydration!

7. Technique “Nature Museum

  • Peter quietly set out friction fire kits around the conversation space, to peak curiosity and trigger new “same conversations“.
  • 6 year old Jackson’s flip-chart paper mural puts the final shine on the space, according to Evan.

Written by Evan Gardner