(en sub/粵字)

Why did I end up talking about immigration with Richard Simcott, one of the best known polyglots?

Can Europe has its own common language?

Why is it important to learn indigenous languages?

What languages do polyglots and language lovers sing in?

It’s the second day of the Polyglot Gathering 2022! In addition to many interesting talks, what else is happening?

Stay tuned (and TURN ON SUBTITLES) for the multilingual conversations I’ll have with my new friends!

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(en sub/粵字)

Airports in chaos, flights cancelled – will I be able to get to the Polyglot Gathering in Teresin, Poland in time?

(Since I’m posting this, obviously I did…and I arrived half a day earlier! As a result, you also get a glimpse of our local tour to the birthplace of Chopin himself!)

Stay tuned (and TURN ON SUBTITLES) for the multilingual conversations I’ll have with my new friends!

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W zeszły weekend pojechałem do Manchesteru. Przenocowałem tam u przyjaciela z niedzieli na poniedziałek.

Prawdę mówiąc, po raz pierwszy od zeszłego lata wyjechałem z Birmingham. Winię pandemię – już zbyt przyzwyczajony byłem do braku nowych doświadczeń i otoczeń. Przez wcześniejszy wypadek nie było też możliwości prowadzenia samemu. Szkoda. Chciałbym spróbować.

Jechałem autobusem: zabiera to tylko piętnaście minut więcej niż pociąg, ale kosztuje o wiele mniej. Kiedyś dużo jeździłem autobusem między miastami, ale zbyt dawno tego nie robiłem – mój żołądek nie wytrzymuje dobrze. No przeżyłem.

Po dwóch godzinach słuchania podcastów dotarłem i zaraz na miejscu powitała mnie koleżanka z Instagrama, słynna z uczenia się kantońskiego. Ostatni raz byłem w tym mieście 5 lat temu, przed przeprowadzeniem się do Anglii i rozpoczęciem życia tutaj; tym razem widziałem to centrum miasta z całkowicie nowej perspektywy. Czyli z dwóch nowych perspektyw: jako mieszkaniec innego miasta Anglii, i jako ktoś, kto rozważa zamieszkanie tutaj przez następne trzy lata na studia. (Warto wspomnieć, że nienawidzę dużych miast z wysokimi budynkami i ruchliwymi ulicami.)

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polyglot gathering 2021 Cantonese language practice room

Last Monday (2021-05-24), the annual Polyglot Gathering came to an end.

This year’s event was planned to take place in Poland, but like last year, as the pandemic is still lingering, it was once again changed to online, and the physical event is postponed by another year.

So today, I’ll do a brief introduction of language lover events like the Polyglot Gathering, my recollections from this year, and why you, too, should join!

But before we begin—the Polyglot Conference in October this year will also be online, so if it’s normally hard for you to fly around, seize this opportunity and sign up!

What are polyglot events?

In case you don’t take part in the online language community often, you might not know the term polyglot very well. It means ‘many languages’ in Greek (‘language’ and ‘tongue’ share the same word, like in many languages), and during the last decade, it was popularised on the Internet, most commonly associated with YouTubers speaking many languages, but often describes language lovers in general.

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I’m not even kidding. I’m not a wealthy student; travelling in western countries does take its toll on my wallet. It would’ve been a shame not to do it though, so during my year abroad, I did my fair share of excursions around the European continent, be it for immersion, events or just sightseeing. And to mitigate my financial stress, since last year, I started exploring newer ways of travelling alone: instead of forking out for hotels and airbnb, I tried lots of hostels and Couchsurfing hosts instead.

…which is why I’ve recently been answering a lot of questions like “is it risky to couchsurf?” “is it awkward to share a room with strangers?”

A while ago, my friend Fiel from Between 3 Worlds wrote a great post on why hostels rule; while I couldn’t agree more with his reasons, I feel like it’s only half the story. I think it’s now my turn to answer some of these questions, drawing from my one year of ‘cheap travelling’ experience.

What Couchsurfing is about

Before we dig deeper, some of you might not know exactly what Couchsurfing is yet. While it’s originally the name of the biggest site of its kind, it’s evolved to mean home-sharing communities, where travellers get to sleep at hosts’ place (supposedly) for free, be it on couches or beds of all sorts. This is where most people scratch their heads: why would people even share their homes? What is it all about?

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Read the previous parts: Day 0 Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Thanks to my slow (albeit steady) publishing schedule interspersed with other topics, even the next polyglot event of the year has ended. But fear not! With my thick online face, I shall continue to document my favourite excursion of the year until I’m done! Unbelievable as it was, we’d come to the last day of the main event, and I’d come to my last chance of recovering my voice. Yes, it was still lost…I did get one good sentence out, but afterwards it got worse again. So bad that I skipped breakfast to grab a couple of lozenges at the one and only Hauptbahnhof. Hoping for the best. But let’s get back into the last day of fun!

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Read the previous parts: Day 0 Day 1 Day 2

Phew! It’s taken a bit longer than expected to get the third (official) day of the event documented here! That’s mostly due to me setting off on my final journey in Europe and spending more time with my private travelogue than this. But if you’ve been reading the past two installments, the bulk of this will be similar: more talks on different topics. I’ll try to recollect what I found interesting in each talk concisely, and highlight more of the special activities unique to the day!

By the third day I’ve becoming totally hooked on the lozenges I got from my friend. Thankfully it doesn’t really hurt anymore to speak, but I still have that sexy, coarse voice with a very limited volume – I won’t be shouting at the speakers from my seat any time soon for sure. Again, it was simply impossible for me to get to the first talk in time, after all the gettting-up-procedures and a chatty breakfast. Not even when it was Richard Simcott himself’s talk on language difficulty. The thing is, while we all have high expectations on the talks by these big-name polyglots, they’ve for the most part already said all they have to say on other media, so in these talks they kind of just summarise certain advice and ideas for us. Same for this: we’ve all discussed hard and easy languages, and what makes them hard or easy, but the point is it’s our own circumstances and motivation that make a language easy or hard, in addition to the intrinsic complexity of the grammar and vocabulary.

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