Polyglot Gathering 2024 in Prague for the First Time!

Polyglot Gathering 2024 in Prague for the First Time!

In less than a week, between the 15th and 19th of May 2024, an event called the Polyglot Gathering will be held at the University of Economics in Prague, which will be attended by approximately 750 amazing people speaking several foreign languages from more than 80 countries from the whole world, for example from Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, the USA, and many others. The event is held under the auspices of the rector of the University of Economics, doc. Ing. Petr Dvořák Ph.D.

The Polyglot Gathering (www.polyglotgathering.com) is an informal annual event that first took place in Berlin in 2014 and has since enjoyed great popularity among language enthusiasts around the world. This year, for the first time, it will be organized by polyglots in the Czech capital. For five days, Prague will also become the capital of polyglots.

As the coordinator of the association, Peter Baláž says: "The main goal of our association is to create and provide free educational tools - most of them are for learning languages. It is not a coincidence, because our association was created thanks to the international language - Esperanto. Back in 2002, we created one of the first multilingual free language learning websites in the world - www.lernu.net has been operating for 22 years, has 36 language versions, and has more than 357,000 registered users. We even use this language as the main working language in our association, as we are an international community. We are therefore close to languages, which is why we organize several events related to languages and education in general. We also brought this meeting to Prague thanks to the cooperation with Esperantists, who founded the event in Berlin and organized it for the first three years there. Subsequently, we took over the baton from them, so now polyglots will be able to enjoy beautiful Prague and get to know the Czech language as well."

Among the most famous polyglots who will take part in the event in Prague is, for example, Richard Simcott, who knows more than 30 languages and is one of the most respected contemporary polyglots (including Czech). Others worth mentioning (and whose lectures will certainly be of great interest) are, for instance, Tim Keeley, an American professor, living in Japan, and author of the book "A Life in 30 Languages"; Brian Loo Soon Hua from Malaysia - a linguist who researches the indigenous languages of Australia and North America, or Elisa Polese from Italy - a language teacher, coach and author.

The participant of this meeting speaks six languages on average. However, knowledge of many languages is not a condition for participation. Peter Baláž, the coordinator, says: "It is not necessary to know a lot of languages at all! It is better to be open, curious, and eager to learn something new. People who know 1-2 foreign languages, but want to improve in them or learn other new languages, come to our events as well. The number is not decisive at all, it is rather the willingness to persevere ".

The main part of the 5-day event itself will be lectures by polyglots on various topics related to languages and language learning, presented in any of the world's languages. (Most of the lectures are in English, but there are also other languages, such as Italian, Spanish, German, Ukrainian, or even Czech.) The participants thus share tips for learning more languages, maintaining them, improving the accent, acquiring vocabulary, etc. Workshops in which a specific language is presented from the point of view of a person who wants to learn it as a foreign language are popular too. Workshops can also include any activity from creating poems, improvisation, and juggling to national dances.

The "language challenge" is worth mentioning, during which polyglots have 50 days to use all their "know-how" about language learning and they try to learn a specific language - this year they can pick from two languages: Czech or Esperanto. All daredevils will then test their skills during an oral exam focusing on fluency, interaction, grammatical accuracy, and vocabulary. The most skilled ones will be rewarded with material prizes.

In addition to interesting lectures, participants can also look forward to multilingual concerts, a game zone where they can play board games, an English-free zone where any language except English is allowed, a language cafe, and much more. A specialty that everyone is looking forward to will be the tasting "Culinary festival", during which participants can share with others the delicacies or specific drinks of their country. The so-called "Polyglot Expo" is also very popular, where participants directly present their activities: authors of books their works, creators of applications or software for learning languages their products, companies dedicated to translation recruiting new collaborators, etc. The organizers' main goal was to create many opportunities for the participants to meet other people who like languages and make new friends. And the record number of registrations this year confirms great interest in such an event.

"We are very pleased that the organizers of the Polyglot Gathering have chosen Prague as the host destination for their ninth edition and that this anniversary edition will welcome a record number of participants. This is confirmed by a long-term trend we have been observing in the Czech capital: events held in Prague have approximately 15% more delegates compared to other destinations where the event has been held in the past. I believe that Prague and the Czech language will attract the participants of the meeting and that they will have the opportunity to experience the rich cultural offer of the city during the event, including the so-called meetings fare, under which delegates of larger association events can use Prague public transport completely free of charge," concludes Roman Muška, Director of the Prague Convention Bureau, the organisation that represents the Prague meetings industry.

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