Where Are Your Keys?

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Where Are Your Keys? (WAYK) is an interactive technique for learning languages directly from native speakers. It is a game-based approach that uses gesture and sign language to facilitate immediate communication in the target language.[1] Because the focus is creating an interactive game between the native speaker and the learner, it may be preferable to select a native speaker without language-teaching experience.

The technique has been used in instruction of Alutiiq,[2] Chinuk Wawa, Konkow,[3] Kutenai,[4] Mohawk,[5] Navajo,[6] O'odham,[6][7] Squamish,[8][9] Unangax,[10] French,[11] Latin,[12] Korean,[13] Turkish,[14] and at a Chickasaw language immersion camp for families.[15]

The game trains speakers in language fluency.

According to creator Evan Gardner, Where Are Your Keys? is partially based on the Total Physical Response technique.[1][16]

The game is based on repeated questions and answers, with a set of gestures. Initially, the student makes gestures for specific, concrete objects, such as keys or a rock, and then moves on to adjectives. The student always responds in full sentences. The language gestures used are based on American Sign Language.[17]

Where Are Your Keys? language acquisition workshops have been held at the American Indian Language Development Institute of the University of Arizona,[6] at Stanford University,[18] at Northwest Indian College,[19] at the 2010 "Save Your Language" Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia,[20] at the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages,[21] and at the 2012 Maryland Foreign Language Association Fall Conference, held at Notre Dame of Maryland University.[22]

Users report the Where are your keys? technique can be used with any language for which a willing fluent speaker is available.[17][23]

As of 2012, a Where Are Your Keys? podcast[24] and wiki[25] are available, as well as online videos and an official website.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Where Are Your Keys? a language fluency game - Boing Boing". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  2. ^ Friedman, Sam (2014-02-23). "They're speaking Alutiiq in Anchorage". Washington Times / AP. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  3. ^ a b Jim Bauman (2012-10-06). "Where are your keys?". Our Language, Native American Language Revitalization. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  4. ^ Lailani Upham (2012-03-18). "Group seeks to save Kootenai language by asking "Where Are Your Keys?"". Char-Koosta News - Official Newspaper of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Mohawk Youth Explore Culture, Language, Tradition and Effective Governance — National Centre for First Nations Governance". National Center for First Nations Governance News. March 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Workshop Summary: Where Are Your Keys?". AILDI - American Indian Language Development Institute. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Indigenous Languages Conferences, Workshops, and Symposia for 2012". First Peoples: Blog. 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  8. ^ Tessa Holloway (11 October 2011). "Squamish Nation struggles to preserve a threatened language". North Shore News. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Technology and 10%: Language Revitalization". RPM.fm, Indigenous Music Culture. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Method in Focus: Where Are Your Keys?". SpokenFirst, Your Resource for All Language-Related News in Indian Country. 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  11. ^ "French WAYK in Quebec". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  12. ^ Rachael Ash (2012-04-05). "Pomegranate beginnings: Creating Language-Seekers: My Recent Journey Through Where Are Your Keys". Pomegranate beginnings. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Korean Language Hunters: Play Your Way to Fluency". Self Study Korean. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  14. ^ Joel Thomas (2014-06-04). "Fethiye WAYK (Turkish Session Diary)". Fethiye WAYK. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Family Language Immersion Camp - Tatanka Ranch". Chickasaw.TV. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Squamish Nation activist plans conference to save First Nations languages in B.C." Straight.com. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  17. ^ a b Rachael Ash. "Learning to Learn Language—My Recent Journey Through Where Are Your Keys". The Everyday Language Learner. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  18. ^ ""Where Are Your Keys?" Language Acquisition Workshop Day 1". Stanford University Event Calendar. 2011-11-05. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  19. ^ Brooks, Laura (23 August 2010). "Method in Focus: Where Are Your Keys?". Spoken First. Your Resource for All Language-Related News in Indian Country. Falmouth Institute. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Facilitators « Save Your Language Conference". Save Your Language, June 5–6, 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  21. ^ "32. Where Are Your Keys? (Free)". Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  22. ^ "MFLA Fall Conference" (PDF). Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  23. ^ "Where Are Your Keys? In my brain, that's where". Story by the Throat!. 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  24. ^ "iTunes - Podcasts - The Where Are Your Keys? LLC Blog". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  25. ^ "Where are your Keys? Wiki". Retrieved 2 December 2012.

External links[edit]