Polyglot Gathering 2015 (Berlin, Germany)
From 1-4 May 2015, I participated at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin, Germany. The conference featured great presentations from many renowned language learning enthusiasts, including Richard Simcott, Alex Rawlings, Benny Lewis, Simon Ager, Olly Richards, Cesco Reale, Michal Grzeskowiak, Brian Kwong, Antonio Libertino and a whole host of others. The gathering was another superb polyglot meetup and many thanks to Judith Meyer and the others who organized the second edition of this 4-day multilingual annual event.
My favorite 3 presentations at the gathering were “Sounding Native” by Vladimir Skultety, “Learning languages abroad – should I stay or should I go?” by Alex Rawlings and “A History of Writing” by Simon Ager.
Whilst the presentations form the backbone of the event, the real joy in being there comes from the language lovers who participate and their enthusiasm. It’s always such a buzz for me to hang out with like-minded language junkies for a few days.
Berlin is also a legendary city to party in and the event happened to coincide with 1 May weekend where the locals and visitors were reveling well into the next day.
For my own presentation, I spoke about “How to overcome locals replying in English when traveling as a native English speaker” where I discussed some of the strategies employed by the world’s best language learners to overcome this frustrating problem. You can watch my presentation below on the conference’s YouTube channel when it is published in the coming weeks.
A fact that struck me when preparing my presentation is that the overwhelming majority of language learners today are studying English (1.5 billion v 82 million for French which was the second most studied language). While I expected English to be number 1, I never realized how much it dwarfed the rest of the world’s languages in terms of learners.
Olly Richards & Brian Kwong who both presented at the Gathering
(Photo courtesy of Ray Yap)
The third annual Polyglot Conference moves stateside for the first and the event will be held in New York in October 2015. I cannot wait for this celebration of multilingualism after the first two outstanding events in Novi Sad, Serbia and Budapest, Hungary. Hope to see you there! 🙂
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