(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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The Cantonese podcast for fans of linguistics, language lovers, and Cantonese learners. This episode with our guest Adam discusses using a foreign language in the foreign country, Hong Kong Chinese prescriptivism, language attitudes, studying linguistics, and language features around the world.

Show notes and links available on the Cantonese page. Transcript below.

This podcast is also available on YouTube. Don’t forget to subscribe!

以:英文需要蓬勃發展!

苗:英文雅言……

以:保護英文唔好死啊!

苗:咩啊,拉丁雅言吖嘛,英文係。

靳:拉丁雅言。

苗:古羅馬人都係講英文㗎!

[jingle]

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I can’t believe it’s been one month! The time really zoomed by. For a three-month challenge like this, I find it appropriate to give monthly updates, so here I am. Spoiler warning: the progress isn’t exactly ideal.

The Hurdle

I’m a music student, and this month was a month full of my friends’ graduation concerts, which, for me, entailed rehearsals and concerts every day and evening. I also had to finish a musical composition within the past month. It was really hard, but I’m not going to let this become an excuse to slack off. So as I so happened to have written before, despite my plans for intensive study, I reduced my learning activities, but made sure they were consistent. It’s more important to do something every single day than do a lot on one day.

So here’s a quick run-through of my project progress!

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Collage of scenes from Pavia. Photo from Wikipedia

Aaaaand so, I’m back. From the craziness of university. But more craziness is coming on.

I never liked these ‘three months’ challenges, especially how overused this particular length is. But it just happens so that I’m going to Italy, for the second time in my life, in (a bit less than) three months.

The Italian language was always on my radar: after all, it’s the one language that’s most closely associated with music. I read Italian words on a daily basis in my musical scores – which is why I often joke that I have a wide (if highly specialised) vocabulary base for someone who doesn’t speak the language at all.

And around a month ago, I was notified that I was accepted at an international festival for composers near Milan, and immediately decided this was an unmissable opportunity for the polyglot side of me as well. After all, I’ll be there for two weeks, unlike my last trip, which was shorter and more touristic. So off I go!

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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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It’s been a while since I wrote something about my own language learning hobby, rather than my more educationally minded column. And fairly recently (around a week ago), I made a decision that might sound like a big deal or a dumb idea to many, but a small change in direction to me.

I started ‘dabbling’ in Kazakh.

That doesn’t mean much to my daily life, to be honest. Since I’ve pretty much been feeling on holiday for a year, I’ve long had a ‘main’ language I’m working on, then some others I ‘toy’ with. Before this, I was maintaining a 50-day streak in Hebrew on Duolingo. I also listened to 5 days of Glossika GSR in Lithuanian, just because I’d bought the package during a sale. In short? My other toys are going bye-bye for now.

Why Kazakh?

Before I talk about ‘dabbling’, let me reveal my reasons for trying out this language, and you’ll easily see the fun of dabbling in any language. Beware: all my reasons for learning any language are incredibly specific to myself.

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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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