WaaWaa Immersion Video Project

Our WaaWaa immersion video project is part of our overall language revitalization strategy. This project aims to facilitate the production of high-quality Biigtigong Nishnaabe-language immersion video by non-speakers of our language working closely with voice actors who are speakers of our language.

WaaWaa immersion video starts out as a video recording of a non-speaker of our Nishnaabe language doing immersion instruction while that non-speaker is also saying “WaaWaa, WaaWaa, WaaWaa, …” in place of their first language.

That recorded video is then overdubbed with synchronized audio of a voice-acting speaker of Biigtigong Nishnaabemwin.

The final overdubbed video which is produced by this process is then experienced by a viewer of that video as a recording of an actual Biigtigong Nishnaabe-language immersion instructor.

WaaWaa immersion was developed by John Paul Montano in 2012 as an aid in his providing immersion instruction professional development to first-speakers of our Nishnaabe language. It was originally intended for only first-speakers of our Nishnaabe language.

The foundational idea behind having WaaWaa immersion instructors repeatedly say “WaaWaa, WaaWaa…” while simultaneously providing immersion instruction is that we, as human beings, become much more animated in our body language (a key requirement of effective immersion instruction!) when we must communicate meaning without using verbal language.

The word “WaaWaa” could very well be any word which one is comfortable saying over and over (and over) again. In fact, it has been reported (lol!) that there are several dialects of the WaaWaa language out there: WeyWey, LaaLaa, and NaaNaa, to name a few.

In mid-2013, just before the start of the Biigtigong Language Project, JoAnne Michano further developed the method of first-speaker WaaWaa immersion instruction. She suggested that we video record non-speakers of our Nishnaabe language doing WaaWaa immersion intruction.

Quite insightfully, JoAnne made clear that we’d then be able to overdub the recorded video of those non-speakers with the recorded audio of a voice actor speaking Biigtigong’s dialect of our Nishnaabe language. Biigtigong-style WaaWaa immersion instruction was birthed!

We send a very heartfelt miigwech to JoAnne Michano for her innovative contribution to the Biigtigong Language Project!

We began recording WaaWaa immersion video in early 2016. You will be able to view our team’s WaaWaa immersion video on this website beginning this spring, May 2020.