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Language Hunters

 Language Learning Forum : Immersion, Schools & Certificates Post Reply
14 messages over 2 pages: 1
Senior Member
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 9 of 14
14 February 2014 at 1:21am | IP Logged 
I found out about the Irish course through my local Irish study group. Both of them are
headquartered in Portland which is why most of their stuff is there. I've only just
started looking into WAYK but it seems more widely known (probably since they were
first) so I'm discovering a lot. Your best bet will be to check out their player map to
see if there's a group (or just people) near you:
.677068&spn=61.411614,107.138672&source=embed (I can make this clickable when I get
home - in the meantime remove any spaces)

Otherwise, WAYK works a lot with Native American groups as part of their language
revitalization mission so if you have a local university with a Native American studies
department, they may be familiar with it.

You should also check out their site which has lots of information stashed all over the

WAYK site

There's also a Google Group which is good for all your questions and suggestions. This
is also your best bet for seeking out partners over the web (it looks like some try it
over Skype):

WAYK Google Group

To learn the method without attending a session in person, the best way is to follow
some well-made videos. On the site you'll find their links to their Vimeo videos but
one of the best things would just be to follow the sequence in this blog post:


Even if you're not interested in the languages presented in the videos, it's best to
follow along with the best-produced ones so you get a handle on what the techniques are
like (and it's good to get a feel for how you learn something you have no background
in. They're relatively short and one of the things they suggest for budding language
hunters is to go on at least 10 "mini hunts" with different languages so you can get a
feel for the techniques. The site has pre-made documents that has the whole first
runs/laps in quite a few different languages so you can see how that would work in
something you're interested in.

I do plan on continuing to hone the skill and I'm planning on ways I can adapt it to
new "runs" in ESL for my student and how to adapt my Irish materials to it so I can
continue progressing in that. The Irish consultant to Language Hunters recommends using
Buntus Cainte as a base for set ups as he said it's the one that's best laid out for
that (and he said he taught Willem, the founder of Language Hunters and co-founder of
WAYK, Irish from it.

It's far from a fully-realized method. You have to be willing to get out there and
experiment and then maybe get feedback in the Google group and even post your
experiments in a blog/videos. If there isn't a group near you on the WAYK player map,
you can try to see if you can build up a group locally, which is what the method is
great for.

There was just an email newsletter from Language Hunters in which he announced that
they've been developing more intermediate level content that they'll be debuting in
their next immersion sessions. And they were working on a way to bring the method
online through some kind of interactive site/app that would allow you to try it

Edited by sctroyenne on 14 February 2014 at 1:22am

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Senior Member
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Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Mandarin, Esperanto, Basque

 Message 10 of 14
14 February 2014 at 4:43am | IP Logged 
I remember watching tons of videos before, but i think i'd really rather experience it in person. I'm not sure how to go about the signs and different things, and actually having someone/a group of people there i think is a lot better and more motivating.

I also checked the map but i'm not sure how to get in touch with any of those people.

Anyway, thanks for the post. In most of the languages i'm studying i'm beyond the beginner level, but i guess i'm not really so concerned about that. Honestly, i'd really like to help others learn English, in particular how to communicate verbally, and it seems like a nice way to get people speaking quickly.

Senior Member
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739 posts - 570 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 11 of 14
14 February 2014 at 7:01pm | IP Logged 
Another one you can look into is
AIM an immersion learning method
that's been used to teach French in Canada which is also gesture based. I think Language
Hunters said they have basically created their own gestures (sometimes ASL signs aren't
clear enough). They sell this method and it's not cheap but there's definitely more
support and guidance. I think there are some introductory/base materials that aren't too
expensive or even free if you wanted to look into using it to teach.
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Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 Message 12 of 14
15 February 2014 at 5:53am | IP Logged 
I like this idea. I think they even said when you read first then speak it's like
learning the language over again, but not the other way around. 2 things are unclear to

1) does there have to be a fluent speaker or can you use a script?
2) How far will this take you? B2? C2?

Senior Member
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Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Mandarin, Esperanto, Basque

 Message 13 of 14
16 February 2014 at 3:21am | IP Logged 
I can't honestly see how you could get the vocabulary to become C2 from this without spending years and years at it, i do imagine it's a great way to activate what you know, get you speaking, and to open the door to new grammar. It seems like a great way to teach grammar.

I don't think you need a native speaker, at least not from what i've understood from the WAYK stuff. Once you learn a new grammar point, you are essentially prepared to pass that on to others. I think advanced students/players continue advancing, passing that information on down the line. The people at the end of the line work their way up the game and eventually are in a position where they can pass information down the line, too. A lot of the demo videos for WAYK don't involve native speakers.

Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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739 posts - 570 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 14 of 14
16 February 2014 at 9:14pm | IP Logged 
The point about literacy - while teaching my ESL student I tried the passing notes round where you do the same conversation as before but written down. I found that it was much easier for her to write than how it usually was for her. She was writing with very little hesitation without needing to copy whereas she normally has to think about every letter and will look for something that she can copy. It's much easier to go from spoken fluency to literacy than the other way around.

The first question - do you need a fluent speaker? The whole method was designed around tackling the problems of saving indigenous languages where you have the archetype of one lone elder remaining who can speak the language but has no idea how to teach it and a whole community that can't and no/very few conventional learning materials. It's solving this problem with a toolbox of techniques designed to extract bits of teachable language from the one person who can speak it then distributing it to everyone else and get them using it fluently (not just making an academic study of it). In revitalization sessions they'll set up the "bucket brigade" of people running between the elder and the other tables learning a bit of language and then diffusing it.

Now, with me learning a language such as Irish, I normally don't have access to a fluent speaker so a lot of my study has to be from materials. But I can change my approach of working with these materials by looking for setups and using the techniques and audio to learn them differently.

WAYK practitioners have developed some "scripts" for various languages which they call the Universal Speed Curricula (USC) which you can check out here USC. To get beyond the basic level, though, you have to start going off script.

As for the second question, the basic first conversations have been pretty well-developed by both WAYK and Language Hunters. The big question has been how to move up and that's where a lot of experimentation is needed (though I know that LH has been developing more content areas for the basic to intermediate level). Whatever you're able to distill into a "setup" can be learned in this method. Thinking of the advanced level for French, I think I can come up with set ups fairly easily for opposition/concession but other relationships are harder (cause, consequence, some temporal relationships are tricky, etc).

As Crush said, this method as it's conceived of now is weak on vocabulary acquisition (though you could come up with endless "what is that?" conversations). Though once you have structure down, a lot of vocabulary can be learned in context. To see where someone got with the method check out the videos on this page. Or just watch the Introduction video and skip down to the 18 months later video. They're talking about getting subtitles up for the 18 months later video so it's easier to figure out what's going on (until then, you can skip to the end where he debriefs the conversation) but you can definitely see that the student has made a lot of progress.

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