On the next AK, we’ll have a word or two about, well, Words. We’ll explore the connections between Athabascan words and climate change, and hear from some AK listeners who aren’t just marking their words, they’re making them up. Plus word of mouth — and body, too — and learning your mother tongue as a grown-up.
AK Listener Dictionary: “Comoqulate”
On today’s show, AK listeners chime in with their own made-up words. We received this one from Casey Corbin in Fairbanks.
Changing Climates, Changing Names
Linguists at the Alaska Native Language Center are discovering connections between Athabascan place and month names, and climate change. AK host Rebecca Sheir speaks with linguist Olga Lovick, Alaska Native Language Center Dena’ina cultural historian Aaron Leggett and Charles Wohlforth, author of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, to learn more about this intriguing link.
- Music Button: “Times They Are A’ Changin'” arranged by APM Karaoke from Karaoke Hits – As Made Famous By Bob Dylan
Spreading the Word
When Athabascan Indians crossed over from Asia, the main group migrated east through Canada, leaving behind sub-families that settled in Alaska. 1,000 years ago, another group of Athabascans headed South, to what are now Arizona and New Mexico. While today’s Navajo and Apache peoples don’t speak the same language as their Northern cousins, it’s pretty close. In this story by AK’s Ellen Lockyer, we hear from ANHC’s Dena’ina Language Project Manager Donita Peter, Navajo language teacher Bernice Begay, historian Aaron Leggett and native speaker Helen Dick.
- Break: “Wildflower Mix” by Women of Wabano from Voices
AK Listener Dictionary: “Birk” and “Plirk”
In Nome, AK listener Liz Recchia and friends have come up with some words of their own.
Since its inception in 2001, the online project Wikipedia has attracted tens of thousands of people who have written millions of articles in hundreds of languages. AK’s Scott Burton visits with Ryan Wetherell, the only Wikipedia administrator in Alaska, and puts the power of Wikipedia to the test. 6:03 (6:34 with intro)
- Music Button: “I Could Write a Book” performed by Phil Wilson & the NDR Big Band & Dusko Gojkovic from Pal Joey Suite
Our bodies send signals we may not be aware of. As AK’s Ellen Lockyer finds out from nonverbal communications teacher Shawnalee Whitney and motivational coach Patti Wood, learning to read those nonverbal cues has become the latest trend in analyzing everything from presidential policy to choosing a date for the prom.
- Calendar of Events (“Words of Love (Karaoke Version)” arranged by APM Karaoke from Karaoke Hits – Buddy Holly)
AK Listener Dictionary: “Meh”
Feeling so-so about this or that? Matt Rafferty of Anchorage has just the word for you.
- Break: “Too Marvelous For Words” performed by Shota Osabe from Happy Coat
AK Listener Dictionary: “Yirp”
In Juneau, Stephanie Allison and her family have come up with the perfect word for nonstop chatter. Plus, AK producer Jessica Cochran chimes in with her own family’s made-up words.
- Music Button: “Verb: That’s What’s Happening” by Bob Dorough from Schoolhouse Rock – Grammar Rock
High-Tech Language Learning
Dillingham’s KDLG offers Yupik lessons, and in the Yukon-Kuyukuk School District, teacher Susan Paskvan is reviving the Athabascan language in their village schools through videoconferencing. Ben Markus has the story.
Finding the Words
It’s one thing for kids to learn a language… it’s something else entirely for adults. Especially when the language you’re learning is supposed to be your native tongue. In this commentary, Carol Richards discusses her own experience learning Inupiaq.
- Music Button: “More Than Words (Demonstration Version)” from Karaoke — Sing Hits of the 90’s Vol. 2
Bands and Fans
Songwriters transmit stories, feelings and messages to their audiences, some with words and some without. David Waldron found that many musicians work hard to strengthen the connection with their audience… and some, well, they just don’t bother.
- Closing: “Word Up (Karaoke Version)” from Karaoke Solid Gold, Part 3 (Karaoke Version)