Polyglot Conference 2015 in NYC

New York, New York

On 10 and 11 October 2015, the Polyglot Conference 2015 took place in the Big Apple. It was the first time that North America hosted a major polyglot event as the two previous conferences were held in Europe (Budapest 2013 and Novi Sad 2014).

New York is one of the most multilingual cities in the world and of course, a great travel destination in its own right. I had not been back to NYC for a few years and the conference provided the perfect excuse to revisit Manhattan.


A presentation that stood out for me in particular from the conference was “Family Matters: A Look at the Indo-European Languages” by Tim Doner (watch below) where we learned how to reconstruct proto-languages.

Tim became a YouTube sensation after releasing a video where he spoke in 20 languages several years back and has become an inspiring figure for many language learners. He has since been featured by The Economist magazine, updated a leading guidebook and given an outstanding TEDx talk about languages.
Conference ID badge
Another presentation that I really enjoyed was “Jack of All Slangs” by the language creator, David J. Peterson (watch below). David has invented a plethora of languages for the entertainment industry, most notably, the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. In his talk, David gave some fascinating insights into how he approaches conlangs (constructed languages).
Other motivating talks that I enjoyed were given by the radio host and language legend Barry Farber, who recounted both poignant and hilarious anecdotes of his travel and language learning experiences of the last 70-odd years (link to follow once the video has been published on YouTube). Benny Lewis provided an informative and typically entertaining overview of how to monetize your passion to pay for your lifestyle (watch below) while Vladimir Skultety from Slovakia presented his own 20-language life story (watch below).
Benny Lewis presenting “Professional Language Learner: How to Earn from Your Passion”
Vladimir Skultety presenting “Story of a 20-language life”
Central Park, NYC


What makes a conference particularly memorable are the participants and the bonds that are formed as language lovers come together to share stories. Every new conference leads to the development of new relationships for me personally and in New York, I was delighted to meet many language enthusiasts who I had chatted with online but had not yet met in person. Whether you are hoping to learn your second language or your twenty-second, the polyglot conference is an ideal environment to meet like-minded people.

Polyglots NYC

2016 – Thessaloniki, Greece

The Polyglot Conference 2015 was another superb event and many thanks to the main organizers (in particular, Ellen Jovin, Richard Simcott and Alex Rawlings) who raised the level of organization to new professional heights. In 2016, the Polyglot Conference will return to Europe to Thessaloniki, Greece on 29 and 30 October 2016. It promises to be another inspiring multilingual event. See you there! :)

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