Tuesday 25 February 2014

A clearer glimpse of fluency

Thanks to Sky Hopinka, I have been able to add subtitles to the video of Evan Gardner having a fluent conversation with him in Chinook Jargon (Chinuk Wawa) after only a year and a half of weekly language nights. (Skip forward to 01:38 for the start of the Wawa conversation.)

This has answered a lot of my questions, and frankly it has exceeded my expectations of what WAYK is capable of.

I'm impressed firstly by just how smoothly they both communicate in Wawa, particularly Sky after only a year and a half, and with no real-world immersion as far as I know. Before I'd encountered WAYK I'd have thought that was impossible, even for languages closely related to English.

As a translator, I am acutely aware of how unnatural book-based language learning can be and how difficult it can be for a foreigner who has pegged everything to "equivalents" in his native tongue to then get his head around all the nuances. In contrast with this typical situation, here we have a year-and-a-half student of Chinuk Wawa confidently criticising a translation from English as "strange", and suggesting a more "normal" alternative, as if this was nothing (skip to 04:20). This is amazing to me, and reinforces my conviction that WAYK is a fundamentally more natural approach to language learning, relying as it does on teaching indirectly by inductive reasoning based on "analogue" input (TQ: Obviously) and not directly through imperfect "digital" explanations in another language.

But I'll let you come to your own conclusions!

Thursday 20 February 2014

Turkish Session Diary 2

Right, so we had our second session with the three of us this evening and I'm very happy with how it went.

After last time I was careful to up the TQ Obvious and not to explain any of the language during the game. As you can see in the beginning, the lady to the left of me has a very old school, writing-oriented learning style, in fact she already has a fair bit of Turkish vocabulary. She has said more than once that she thinks this makes WAYK harder than it would be if she were a complete beginner. She's getting better at the sign language though, and she is willing to give the system a fair crack of the whip.

There are already a lot of concepts we've covered with respect to grammar without realising it, such as suffixes, vowel harmony and unintuitive syntax. The script of the bit in the video is now on the wiki.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

WAYK nedir?

Açılımı "Where Are Your Keys?" (Anahtarların Nerede?) olan WAYK, akıcı şekilde konuşturmayı amaçlayan bir dil öğretme sistemidir. Onu geliştirenin amacı, herhangi bir dil öğretme metodunu geliştirmekten ziyade unutulmaya yüz tutmuş dilleri yeniden canlandırmaktır. Bu hem başarısının sırrıdır hem de şimdiye dek geniş çapta duyulmamış olmasının sebebidir.

Herhangi bir hizmetin ya da ürünün "başarılı" olması için rakiplerinden daha iyi olması değil, daha iyi pazarlanması önemlidir. Bu her sektörde olduğu gibi dil öğreniminde de geçerlidir. Öte yandan WAYK için cazip reklamlarla öğrenci kandırmak, olmayınca da "daha çok çalışsaydınız olurdu" demek gibi bir seçenek söz konusu değil; somut bir soruna somut bir çözüm getirmeyi amaçlıyor. Sorunu çözmeli yoksa devam etmesinin bir anlamı yoktur.

Peki bu kadar başarılıysa neden bilinmiyor? Amerika Yerlilerinin dillerini korumasına yardım etmek değerli bir amaç olsa da "ana akımın" çok dışındadır, üstelik ticari menfaat da sağlamaz. Maalesef parayla dönen bir dünyada yaşıyoruz. Asil amaçlarla başarılanlar ise uzun süre keşfedilmemiş kalabiliyor.

Peki WAYK'ın sırrı nedir? Bu sorunun cevabı şu soruda gizli: Dilleri en iyi kim öğrenir? Çocuklar. Peki çocuklar tüm gün ne yapar? Oyun oynarlar. Nasıl bu kadar kolay dil öğrendiklerine şaşırıyoruz. Hiçbir gramer kuralı izah edilmeden veya kelime listeleri ezberletilmeden güle oynaya konuşmayı öğreniyorlar. WAYK'ın biraz da çıkış noktası bu. Ders okutulmaz, oyun oynanır. Hiçbir şey izah edilmez, doğrusu buna gerek kalmaz. Temel "oyun kuralları" ve biraz da işaret dili kullanılarak kelimeler ve gramer esasları beyne deyim yerindeyse "çaktırılıyor". Yapılan hatalar oyunun tadı tuzu gibi geçiştiriliyor ve çok geçmeden öğrenciler, doğrusu "oyun arkadaşları", strese telaşa girmeden akıcı şekilde konuşmaya başlıyor.

Fethiye WAYK olarak naçizane şekilde WAYK sistemini klasik bir dil kursuna dönüştürmeyi hedefliyoruz. Bu blogta ise yolculuğumuzu belgeliyoruz. Yabancılar için Türkçe kursu ile başlayıp, Türkler için İngilizce kursu da geliştirmeyi umuyoruz. Bu esnada çoğu yazımızı İngilizce yazsak da Türkçe olarak da sizi bilgilendirmeyi ihmal etmeyeceğiz.

Damlaya damlaya göl olur derler...

Monday 17 February 2014

Frustratingly fascinating

After some much-appreciated feedback in the Google group from Arne Sostack and Ben Barrett, I have realised that as killing fairies goes, that video was a massacre. And from the guy who came up with this. How embarrassi... How Fascinating!

As most of you will know, "fairies" are the mythical creatures that make language "click" in our brains without needing it to be explained to us. It's really what WAYK is all about, when you think about it. The Obviously, the Set-ups, all that jazz.

Fairies are a bit like Goldilocks. If you make things too cold and dull, with stuff your brain already knows, or too hot, with too much new stuff for your brain to work out, the fairies don't come. But if it's just right, if you make everything obvious and known and put out just a tiny tidbit of new information, along comes the fairy and *poof*, it goes in the same way your mother tongue went in all those years ago.

To put it another way, it's the reason why jokes aren't funny when you have to explain them.

There are two morals to this story.

Firstly, this concept is so fundamental to WAYK that what I did in that video almost doesn't qualify as WAYK. If you're interested in getting started with WAYK, you simply cannot let yourself be put off by the silly name and disregard what is being called "fairies". After all, what's in a name? This phenomenon is real, and it's the whole point.

Why did anybody ever feel the need to theorise that there's a Universal Grammar inside all our heads? Because our brains just take on too much information too quickly for it to be raw brain power alone. We don't talk because we're clever, just ask any idiot. We talk because we're hardwired for it, and we still don't quite know how.

Secondly, it's important to get your head around how you're going to introduce new material during a session. Being familiar with the material itself as at least as important as being familiar with how you're going to weave it in.

Something I didn't do before I got started was actually play with a practitioner to see how it works. I thought I'd be fine just watching the demonstration videos, but there's often a lot of explaining in those. What I didn't have clear enough in my head is that talking about the method before and after, debriefs and so on, are fine, but talking about the language itself is banned. It doesn't matter if you're translating individual words or sentences, don't. The less you have to explain, the more you're doing it right.

There are two things to do for this: Firstly, read up on the top 20 techniques, particularly Obviously!, Set-up, Just In Time and Bize-sized Pieces, and all the others on the wiki that there's a write-up for, especially Invisible Friend. Secondly, play at least one session with a practitioner. Skype is good enough for play-testing WAYK, and ready and willing practitioners are easily reachable through the Google group. You have to do this if you want to make sure you're doing it right. Failing that, film your mistakes and let 'em have at it.

Turkish Session Diary 1

Today we had our third formal session with our first student, and two more joined us for the first time. All three have some Turkish vocabulary, so they're not starting from scratch. Still, getting used to signing and speaking at the same time is proving difficult. I've assured them that the signs will both fix the words in their memories and help them to truly grasp the grammar, and they're still with me so far. As the signs started to sink in I think they could see a way to them being helpful.

I've uploaded a video to Youtube of the Mine/Yours part of the lesson. They weren't so keen on me filming them, but they didn't mind so long as I filmed myself.

I am still feeling my way with introducing new material and making it digestible for newcomers, but they've been very patient with me and I am improving. One of the main things I keep having to remind myself to do is slow down with the signs, which is somewhat difficult when you're signing suffixes. But I'm sure it will work out. Our third-time student was as active as I was in persuading the newcomers that they would get used to the system and find it helpful.

So that's Parts 1-3 of the USC in a single two-hour session, but of course that's with people who already have a decent vocabulary. Still not bad!

Edit: Please see my next post.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Which vineyard...

Üzümünü ye bağını sorma
Eat the grapes, don't ask which vineyard they came from
-Turkish proverb

'Nuff said.

Fethiye WAYK Curriculum takes shape

I am proud to announce that the infrastructure of the Fethiye WAYK Turkish Curriculum over on the wiki is complete and ready for expansion.

At the moment only the first three parts of Ride 1 are complete, but the point is, they are complete. From now on the underlying structure is ready to be expanded with the material as we add it.

So, how would you like a tour?


Everything, of course, revolves around the "Ride" pages. Ride pages first specify the Set-up used throughout the ride, and then at the beginning of each Part, the new Craig's Lists (CL) and Fairies' Lists (FL) introduced are listed with clickable links to each CL and FL. Next to each of these CL and FL links is a list of the specific vocabulary and grammar elements that are used from them. Each element is also clickable, and links to that element's entry in the Vocabulary or Grammar Master List.  

Then the Ride details the Conversation that the group is to work towards. Conversation Links are small chunks of dialogue, to be strung together into Conversation Chains. Conversation Chains are there as a suggestion for teachers, helping them to systematically mix and match the Links in a logical progression as the game proceeds.


While the table-and-objects set-up will suffice for much of the course, as we progress there may be a need for more imaginative "set-ups" which will still be as "obvious" and uncluttered as possible, but will expand the game. "The Walk" is one; as we get to more advanced stages, our scenarios may come to resemble amateur dramatics as much a games. Unleash your imagination!

Craig's Lists and Fairies' Lists

Craig's Lists (CL) are small, logical groups of vocabulary. These may be put together because they are introduced together in the same session, or they may represent a category of words that are added to as the course progresses. 

The original idea behind Craig's Lists was that a list of words may be repeated together during a session, almost like a song or mantra, to fix them in the brain as a memorable sequence, rather like the ABC song children sing in English. This may not work for all the Craig's Lists in our curriculum, because they now also perform an additional role: Ensuring that all the vocabulary in the Vocabulary Master List is covered. Every single word in the Vocabulary Master List is to be organised into categories and worked into Rides via Craig's Lists.

Fairies' Lists (FL) are the sister of Craig's Lists, but for grammar. In the same way as every entry in the Vocabulary Master List is to be worked into a Craig's List, so too all elements in the Grammar Master List are to be worked into Fairies' Lists. The main difference between a Fairies' List and a Craig's List is that a Fairies' List is never to be explicitly introduced or repeated during a lesson, quite the opposite: The Set-up is to be so carefully crafted that the elements on the Fairies' List simply "click" in the minds of the students automatically, almost as if fairies did it!

Vocabulary and Grammar Master Lists

These are essentially databases of vocabulary and grammar elements that occur in the curriculum. The order in which entries are added does not matter, because they are organised in the Craig's and Fairies' Lists. What matters is that each entry is recorded, and that each occurs only once. The same element may, on the other hand, appear in more than one Craig's or Fairies' List.

The Vocabulary Master List in particular will also serve as a dictionary, making it theoretically possible for a group with no native Turkish speaker to use the curriculum out-of-the-box; one of the group could study and master all the elements of a Ride beforehand, and share them with the group in a WAYK session.

Coming Soon: 
  • Sign language demos Links in the Master Lists to specific points in Youtube videos where hand signs are demonstrated.
  • Ride Chains Groupings of rides into a "big picture", gradually taking the group to fluency.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Language revitalisation ad extremum

As dead and dying languages go you can't get much more stone cold than Latin.

But as it turns out, there's a group of people in the States called SALVI whose "mission is to propagate communicative approaches to Latin language acquisition, making the entire Classical tradition of Western culture more available to—and enjoyable for—students, teachers, and the general public".

This is not some clique of geeky enthusiasts, this is a serious "group of professors and students of Latin literature". Indeed, the majority of its board members are practising, institutional Latin teachers, several at university level.

Founded in 1997 and acquiring full charity status in 1998, they run a suite of annual two- to five-day immersion workshops. After a "capacity-crowd success" last year, this year they are institutionalising something new: A four-day programme based around WAYK called "Pedagogy Rusticatio", headed up by—you guessed it—Mr. WAYK himself, Evan Gardner. As its name would suggest it is aimed, not at students of Latin, but at other teachers of Latin.

This is a paid gig. I'd hazard a guess that $750 all inclusive for four days is fairly reasonable, not that I really know the price of eggs stateside. Either way, teachers and universities aren't made of money. They're not going to fork out like that for something they don't believe in.

Admittedly, this is still very grammar-oriented, more about converting latent lingustic "knowledge" into a language "skill" than building a vocabulary from scratch, so this doesn't relate directly to our project here. But it's impressive to see WAYK getting the recognition it deserves in formal, academic circles, which will hopefully prove to be a stepping stone toward the mainstream.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Teaching vs. hunting: A draft manifesto

After sleeping on it, the Advanced Spanish Hunting video has helped me refine my thoughts about exactly what I'm doing (or trying to do) in adapting "Where Are Your Keys?"a comprehensive method in which students become teachers in the noble cause of language revitalisationto more mundane, mainstream, marketable language teaching.

What We're Taking Away

In the Spanish hunting video, Evan and David explain how they simultaneously hunt new language from each other for their own benefit and build new rides. The ride building process is explained as Getting Hungry, Setting the Trap, Springing the Trap, Cooking It and Serving It Up. As always, I wish there were more documentation, and I can't claim to fully understand what all these stages mean. Still, the general idea is quite clear. As far as I can tell Getting Hungry is the bit where you work out what you're going to learn next, the rest of the stages help you to glean, confirm and internalise that element through Proving and other techniques, and finally Serving it Up is where you have a formalised Ride that can be passed on.

Turning WAYK into a standardised course package will have the side-effect of sucking all the creativity out of the process for my students. I will simply be Serving It Up, and doing the rest behind the scenes as I develop the course week by week. Of course the Rides themselves will still work, but come the end of my course my students will be no more "language hunters" than they were when I first asked them "What is that?"

On a personal note, it has just dawned on my wife and me that the hunting dimension of WAYK will be ideal if and when we decide to try and learn minority languages such as Kurdish, where decent course books are hard to come by. But this is of little interest to a student who needs one language now and is selecting a course for that immediate purpose.

What We're Adding

First and foremost, by successfully applying WAYK—a lesser version of WAYK at that—to build a course that teaches the same amount of language as its rivals faster and more accurately, there will be tangible, documented evidence that WAYK really is as good as it claims to be. Instead of being a little-known, quirky, experimental pretender to the crown of dominant methods in the eyes of the few in the mainstream who have heard of it, WAYK will tower over its rivals as not only better than the competition, but having a vision extending beyond short-term language tutoring.

In addition, despite being "shallower" than the original WAYK because of neglecting the hunting element, the course will be "broader" because it will weave in standard vocabulary at each level as part of a self-contained, marketable package. Open-source documentation will provide a template for teachers in other languages to develop their own courses.

I have written a lot about my worries about taking WAYK and offering lessons with the promise of a comprehensive language course, when said course is still in development and is being documented for the first time. This is why I feel the need for a clear vision starting out. This is a "draft manifesto", it simply reflects my current understanding of how this is going to work, and I'm putting this down to keep my own doubts at bay as much as for anyone else.

The journey to fluency

It turns out that I could have avoided a lot of my previous stress about how far WAYK can really take you by going over to Vimeo and digging a little deeper into the Where Are Your Keys? video archive.

Below is a series of videos charting Sky Hopinka's progress as Evan Gardner uses WAYK to teach him Chinuk Wawa (Chinook Jargon). I think that anyone interested in using the system would be best advised to go through at least some of the Top 20 WAYK Techniques and then watch these videos.
  • Introduction. I think this is Evan's best introduction to the WAYK system I've seen so far, even than the vintage 2006 video featured on the main page of the official site, most probably because it's had five years of refinement.
  • Part 1. Evan goes into some detail on the basic techniques and philosophy of the system.
  • Part 2. They get up to "Mine/Yours". Evan explains the logic behind "How Fascinating".
  • Part 3. Want/Have/Give/Take.
  • Part 4. Now into a separate session, Evan explains "Travels with Charlie".
  • Part 5. Want/Have/Give/Take is reviewed from the previous session.
  • Part 6. Evan explains "Full". They progress into trading with money, and Evan "lets the fairies live" by teaching new words by implication instead of explaining them in English.
  • Part 7. Trade/Steal/Buy.
  • 18 months later... Evan and Sky have an advanced-level conversation 18 months after Evan first met Sky. 
Other videos of interest:

    Tuesday 11 February 2014

    Turkish USC

    So, a couple more links are finished on the chain on the wiki, simultaneously laying the groundwork for the Fethiye WAYK Turkish Curriculum while also making a start on entering our first Ride, which is our version of the Universal Speed Curriculum.

    I have worked out a format that I hope any teacher will be able to use "out of the box" as it were. It starts by declaring the Set-up (which I am also going to index), and the Craig's Lists and Fairies' Lists used. You'll notice that each item in the list links to its entry in the Vocabulary Master List.

    Then the Conversation is broken down into "links" which are then put back together again in the form of "chains". I was finding that I had to stop and think about which bits we would do next in mid-session, so the Conversation Chains are to save me that hassle.

    More of the USC has been playtested than I have entered; we finished Part 2 just this weekend with our students. We have the rest planned, but I want to playtest it and then enter it onto the wiki. If there's a need I will also release it in PDF format.

    Monday 10 February 2014

    "Top 20 WAYK Techniques"

    The following series of entries were published on the "Where Are Your Keys?" blog between January and March 2011, and are essential reading for anyone considering founding a "Where Are Your Keys?" gaming group.
    1. Technique
    2. Obviously!
    3. Fluency
    4. Total Physical Response (TPR)
    5. Limit
    6. Set-up
    7. Copy-cat
    8. Warm/Fed/Rested/Safe/Willing
    9. Full
    10. Start at the Beginning/Start Over
    11. Signing
    12. How Fascinating
    13. Same Conversation
    14. Accent
    15. Mumble
    16. Just In Time
    17. You Go First (Modeling)
    18. My Turn/Your Turn
    19. Bite-sized Pieces
    20. Contract
    An additional series of five posts by Miguel San Pedro "about WAYK techniques as they occur in everyday life" were published between August and September 2012:

    Sunday 9 February 2014

    A glimpse of fluency

    I just re-discovered the WAYK blog post Beyond the Script, the video on which dates all the way back to July 2012, which counts as vintage in this day and age...

    So you've got Evan Gardner and Sky Hopinka having a perfectly fluid conversation about tea and coffee, after only a year and a half of using WAYK to learn Chinuk Wawa, if I have that down right. I've got no idea how "hard" Wawa is grammatically, as a pidgin/creole I'd imagine it should be fairly regular, but at any rate to be that fluent in any non-European language after a year and half is amazing.

    The more I mull my own outline of a path to fluency, the more I realise that what I'm trying to do here is something very much removed from the concept of language "hunting" per se. Put all the sign language and the TPR and the "How Fascinating" exuberance to one side, I think I now realise that this is the fundamental difference between WAYK and conventional language teaching: WAYK turns everything on its head by making the student learn the method and not the teacher. WAYK is "bottom-up", students are the prime movers, getting the language out of their teachers by hook or by crook and pulling themselves up to fluency. In contrast, any language teaching method or programme you care to name is "top-down", based on the premise that the student is the blank slate and the teacher is the one who cooks and serves everything up on a plate.

    I suppose what I'm trying to do here is make a square peg fit a round hole. I'm trying to use WAYK to serve everything up on a plate, when that's not what WAYK was ever about to start with.

    Evan and Sky's video is a wonderful demonstration of what WAYK is capable of, but in the blue blazes how? Will WAYK only work for me if I turn my students into language hunters? Or can I just come up with a string of set-ups, have them play them without any initiative at all from them, and still make it work?

    Added to which: How broad a vocabulary does Evan have? What else can he talk about besides what will fit on a kitchen table? What are the full range of set-ups he used to get to the stage he's at now (or, rather, was a year and a half back when the video was made)?

    Apart from anything else, I don't speak Wawa and I've got no idea how they were implementing the techniques that were labelled on the video as the conversation whizzed by. But I am too demanding; as Evan says at the beginning, the point is proving what WAYK is capable of, and it certainly proved that.

    But in the blue blazes how?

    Edit: I think I've calmed down a bit now. At the moment my thinking goes like this: It's all in the set-up. If the "set-up" is "obvious" it simply doesn't matter which way the flow of information is going. Just because it's "limited" doesn't mean you can't introduce a "limited" amount of flexibility in the conversations and have more than one possible answer to any given question. The question that still bugs me though is, is my imagination up to coming up with all the set-ups I'm going to need to cover the vocabulary?...

    Edit 2: I just noticed that it says on the WAYK website that Evan has been teaching Wawa since 2002 and Sky is the student! That just goes to show how convincing Sky was in the video. For some reason I had just assumed that it would be the native American teaching the native American language to the European. I don't think I need to be embarrassed about that, do I?

    Edit 3: Please see The journey to fluency.

    Edit 4: Please see A clearer glimpse of fluency.

    Thursday 6 February 2014

    Curriculum page created

    OK, so I've created a "Fethiye WAYK Turkish Curriculum" page over on the official WAYK wiki, which the administrator was kind enough to give me access too. Little did he know...

    Once I've got my head back round about how wikis work I'm going to be structuring the information as follows:
    • Vocabulary Master List (V)
    • Craig's Lists (CL)
    • Grammar Master List (G)
    • Fairies' Lists (FL)
    • Rides (R)
    • Ride Chains (RC)
    • Ride Map (RM)
    • Set-ups (S)
    This is going to be quite detailed, so you can skip to the bottom line if you like.

    I'm going to be basing the Vocabulary Master List on the list of 1,200 most commonly used words in Turkish, to which I will add any other words that we use that aren't on it. This is the only thing that will be anywhere near finished as we start. Each entry will refer to videos of the signs that we will use. To make things simple, I'm going to take videos of myself or Gözde signing several words together, and then the links will be to the point in the video where that word is being signed. The Vocabulary Master List will be a single wiki page, likely a table.

    The Grammar Master List will include not only particles, suffixes, and so on, but also "concepts" and specific sentence constructions, basically any "new" element that the setup will be designed to help "click" in players' minds. 

    Now with Craig's Lists... I know that I'm deviating slightly from orthodoxy here, but I want to take Craig's Lists beyond a memory/repetition tool that you use only for some words, and even then only when needed to jog the memory, and use this concept to organise and categorise the entire Vocabulary. These CLs will still be designed such that they could be used in-session (actually, I think they may work well for refreshers), but this will be up to the teacher. Much of the time they will simply be words that are introduced and/or used together and/or in the same context, put together in a group that's easier to categorise and track. Each Craig's List will be a separate wiki page, likely a table.

    Fairies' Lists are basically Craig's Lists, just applied to the Grammar Master List. Of course, at no point in the session will we be reviewing lists of suffixes. Again, this will be a device more geared to helping us teachers develop sessions.

    Rides will each be individual pages, almost like recipes, listing the a Set-up and a Script together with the Craig's Lists and Fairies' Lists used. Ride Chains will be still other pages listing sequences of interconnected Rides. The Ride Map will be a single page organising all Ride Chains into a network that will enable teachers to see the big picture and follow students' progress. Teachers will be able to pick and choose Rides and Ride Chains for each session depending on the class. 

    The Set-ups used in Rides will also be documented and tracked on separate pages. I anticipate that coming up with new, TQ Obvious Set-ups will be the toughest challenge we face, especially as we progress to more complex grammar and extended vocabulary.

    All of the above elements will have a reference code. Each word will be "V 123" or some such, Craig's Lists will be "CL 1", "CL 2" and so on, with each entry in the list given a number, "1.1, 1.2" etc. The same sort of thing will go for Rides and Ride Chains; variants of Set-ups will also be numbered in this way. This will mean that the Vocabulary Master List, say, will have links after each word to each Craig's List and Ride it appears in. Everything will be cross-referenced as much possible.


    The bottom line: Apart from the Vocabulary Master List and maybe some of the Grammar Master List, everything else will be built up week by week as we go along. Once we've finished, we will have a well-rounded package so we can go up to anyone and say "I can get you from nothing to intermediate in [however many weeks]." Other teachers will be able to simply use the Rides, Craig's Lists and Ride Map out-of-the-box to plan sessions, while using the Vocabulary Master List as a dictionary, particularly to learn the signs. The rest of the behind-the-scenes infrastructure will serve as a template to fellow WAYK practitioners in adapting it to their own languages. Particularly in the area of Set-ups will we be able to swap ideas.

    This has been good to get my ideas down in writing, so now I'm going to go off and develop some of it so there's something to look at. Meanwhile, any thoughts, suggestions, corrections and reactions will be most welcome.

    Tuesday 4 February 2014


    The other day I found a real gem: "The Most Commonly Used 1,200 Words in Turkish to Be Taught to Children Aged 0-6", which, of course, is in Turkish although there is an English abstract. My game plan at the moment is to build up a course that includes all these words, then the idea is we'll have a tangible end result, a package, to offer prospective students.

    Another online resource that I'm sure we will be referring to often is the "Spread the Sign" international sign language dictionary. As an agglutinative language (suffixes galore) Turkish bears little relation to Turkish Sign Language, and the logic behind some signs is only apparent to those who already speak Turkish. For instance, for "need" you sign the letter "l" in lazım (you can check on the site). How imaginative. We'll be going with the Indian one, which is much more expressive.

    Getting started

    Hello World!

    My name is Joel Thomas and together with my wife Gözde we're embarking on a project here in Fethiye, Turkey, of applying the Where Are Your Keys (WAYK) language fluency training methods and their derivatives to mainstream language teaching. Specifically, this blog will be a way for me to document the journey as we develop and document a curriculum/syllabus with specific vocabulary and grammar mastery goals in mind.

    We had our first formal session today, and so far so good. Getting people to TQ Copycat is an uphill struggle at the beginning, but the more people you have doing it together the less silly they feel.

    We haven't even got through the Universal Speed Curriculum yet. I mean, we have a draft translation but we haven't actually play-tested it all yet. A strict translation requires several times more new grammar than the equivalent English, so in line with TQ Limit there will be modifications. As and when we've play-tested it all I'll be uploading it to the wiki, and then we'll go from there.

    So, that'll be all for now...

    PS: I've been posting some on the WAYK and LH Google groups already, and in a way they form the background to this blog. For anyone who's interested in giving advice and would like to see some of my thoughts up to this point, please see the following chronological list:

    WAYK for agglutinative languages
    Explaining fairies: Why a joke isn't funny when you have to explain it
    Hi from Turkey
    Syllabus framework