I am happy to say I attended the fantastic Polyglot Gathering held for the second time in Berlin. The event is a paradise for language enthusiasts. For four days, the programme is full of seminars, introductory language lessons and social events aimed at the 350 language learners and enthusiasts from over 40 countries. We were all given a badge to write on our languages and we could then practise those languages with other people at the event.
I arrived on the first day, Friday, in the evening so I had missed that day’s seminars. However I went straight to the venue to attend the Book Fair and International Culinary Festival. I brought some food and drink for the Scotland table. I brought three bottles of Irn Bru which was so popular that it disappeared rather quickly! I also brought shortbread, tablet and macaroon bars. The book fair was interesting and had a number of authors there promoting their books.
On the Saturday and Sunday, I attended the Gathering for the full two days. I attended introductory language lessons in Slovak, Hebrew and Japanese. I especially enjoyed the Hebrew lesson and it gave us a good overview of what the grammar is like so we could make an informed decision on whether to study the language. My two favourite seminars I attended were the ‘History of Writing’ by Simon Ager as it is a specific area of interest for me and also ‘Colours in Languages’ by Gareth Popkins which gave us a fascinating insight into how the descriptions of colours vary in different languages.
Other social events I was not able to attend although I know they had very good feedback were the Jomo Multilingual Concert and the International Cultural Evening.
I met so many familiar faces from last year who I have kept in touch with over Facebook and I made some new friends this year. I intend to return again next year and I have targets to improve my Greek and German before them so I can practise them properly before the Gathering! It was also nice to have a group lunch with the other participants from the Add1Challenge which finished just before the Gathering.
The Gathering also renewed my interest in Arabic. I spoke to several people about it as I had learned some Syrian Arabic in the past before my course was cancelled. I have now found a tutor on Italki to carry on where I left off so thanks to the Gathering, I should be speaking better Arabic by next year!
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