October 18-20, 2019

Fukuoka, Japan



During the Polyglot Conference on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October we will likely organise a number of language workshops for participants. If you are interested in hosting a workshop, the please do reach out to us at our Polyglot Conference e-mail address.


You can find information about those talks and workshops here in due course!

Introduction to the Uyghur Language

Located in the center of the Asian landmass, the Uyghur language has had a long history of linguistic and cultural interaction with its neighbors on all sides, from Arabic and Persian to Russian and Chinese, as well as its Turkic relatives spanning from Anatolia to Siberia. This workshop will introduce the basics of the Uyghur language by exploring those connections, including - phonological correspondences with other Turkic languages, grammatical parallels with Japanese, Korean and Indian languages, and loan words from a wide range of sources.

Introduction to the Tuvinian Language

The Tuvinian language is spoken in Tuva Republic in the southern part of Siberia in Russia and Mongolia. I was born and raised in this region which is historically, culturally and linguistically is way more different from any other 89 regions of Russia. The Tuvinian language was twice transformed and changed. Firstly, when they used the Mongolian alphabet to write, and secondly after the period of time when Tuva became a part of the USSR. Then, the alphabet was changed to Cyrillic. The Tuvininan language has borrowed Turkic, Mongolian and Russian words.

Introduction to the Sundanese Language

The presentation will be started by basic information of Sundanese, such as where it is spoken, how much is the speaker, and some basic linguistics aspects of Sundanese (sounds, sample sentences, etc.). Then I will deliver some unique aspects of Sundanese that is not found in other languages. I will describe how Sundanese language and culture intertwine to produce its own linguistic aspects, such as how the activity of "cooking rice" can generate certain words and how the simple invention of rice cooker has erased all words relating to the activity of rice cooking.

10 little secrets that will help you learn languages (and even several at the same time!) like never before

In this workshop, I will share my best tips on language learning. Are you looking for ways to improve your study routine? Are you bored of studying without seeing the results you were hoping for? Don’t miss this opportunity to learn my special strategies, which will help you start getting results straight away and stay motivated.

The Language of Love and Loss:

Cross Cultural and Linguistic Expressions of Grief and Loss. Death is among the few things that is common to the experience of every human being regardless of language or culture. This will be an interactive presentation that focuses on the language that we use in our disparate tongues to talk about and process grief and loss. This presentation will focus on exploring different linguistic expressions of grief around the world in multiple languages. This workshop will also challenge participants to think about how they use their own language to discuss death and how death shapes our language.

The Languages of Scotland

This workshop will focus on Scots and Scottish Gaelic, two of the three native languages of Scotland, the third being English. Both languages are completely different. Scots is a Germanic language which originated after the arrival of the Angles people from Germany to north-east England in the 7th century. They brought the Old English language to England. In the centuries that followed, Scots developed as a language that was distinct from its sister language in England. From the other side of the country, Scottish Gaelic originated from Irish and is a Celtic language. It was spoken widely in most of Scotland until Scots and English began to grow. Nowadays, there are only 57,000 Gaelic speakers. Both languages were discouraged within the education system until very recently. Now both languages are undergoing a revival. The workshop will tell the story of these languages and teach you some expressions, phrases and grammar.

Find out who you are, and then do it on purpose

A journey to understanding your learning style and what that can lead to. Have you heard that phrase before? I believe it truly conveys the meaning of this presentation. The key is arguably self-knowledge. Easier said than done. Hence, my aim here is to introduce you to self-knowledge as a learner in general and then focus on what you can do with it when learning languages. In this workshop you will learn about learning styles and multiple intelligences, I will walk you through the main theories on learning by Gardner and by Fleming, and we will focus on the VARK-theory of learning styles. Then we will see some of the pros and cons of using this approach and, by the end of this journey, I will give you an example of where tying the dots on learning styles, multiple intelligences, teaching and language learning has led me—a new method for learning German declension. I am now co-founder of an Edtech company which is creating an app for learning and practicing German declension. I hope this serves as an inspiration and makes you reflect deeper and more consciously about who you are as a learner and, if you haven’t already found the way, how to hack your way into learning faster, easier and more efficiently. As the saying goes: “Work smarter, not harder.

The Beautification of Language Learning:

The changing image of learning a language in the world of smartphones and social media. For many people, learning a language is something that they’ve associated with dull textbooks, rote-learned dialogues and boring, technical grammar explanations. However, in recent years, language learning seems to be undergoing what can only be described as an ‘image makeover’. From photos of bullet journal spreads and illustrated notes on Instagram to attractive and user-friendly spaced repetition apps, language learning and its resources are appearing more visually pleasing and enticing. Meanwhile, due to the smartphone-driven world we live in, language learning through less traditional means has also become more broadly accessible. As a result, the concept of learning a language (or at least attempting to) seems to be increasingly seen as more approachable and appealing to those who might previously have quickly dismissed it. However, the input and dedication required to develop language skills to any level has not changed. Although a more enticing image of language learning might encourage greater numbers of people to begin learning, is that enough to keep people interested (and does it matter)? This workshop will explore the visual ‘makeover’ that language learning as a field of interest seems to be experiencing, and some of the positive impacts as well as challenges that it presents to both language learners and educators.

Modern Mayan Languages and Writing Systems

Mesoamerica is one of the world's most interesting linguistic regions. However, many polyglots aren't aware of the cultural richness that awaits them in Mexico and Central America. In the spirit of the UN's Year of Indigenous Languages, this two part workshop series will focus on modern maya as an example of the region's diversity.The first workshop will introduce Maaya T'aan (Yucatec Maya), focusing on the language's linguistics, history, and current developments. The second workshop will introduce Mesoamerican writing systems, particularly focusing on the mayan glyphic and calendric systems. Participants in the second workshop are encouraged to bring pen and paper so you can follow along with the exercises. We hope that these two workshops will raise awareness and interest in Mesoamerican languages, as well as dispel many of the myths surrounding them.

Historical Impact of the Chinese Writing System on Modern Japanese plus A Focus on Kanji False Cognates

I will present a short history on the influence of Chinese on the Japanese language and then go into some examples of false kanji cognates between Chinese and Japanese. Chinese and Japanese languages have a unique and fascinating relationship among the world’s languages. Although Japanese is not genetically related to Chinese, it has borrowed many aspects of the Chinese language over many centuries. The “native” writing system used in Japanese called “Kana” is essentially a stylized or abbreviated form of Chinese characters and used to fit the sound system of Japanese. In addition to kana, Japanese uses Chinese characters called “Kanji” in essentially its original form. The largest dictionaries have over 50,000 characters and some 5,000 of them are in common use in Japan. It is estimated that some 75% of Japanese vocabulary comes from the Chinese language. In fact the word “Kanji” itself is made of the word Kan (the Japanese word for “Han” as in the “Han Dynasty” which existed during the period of 206 BC – 220 AD and “Ji” meaning writing or characters). My family is Chinese who have lived in Japan. My mother’s family lived in the city of Nagasaki on the island of Kyushu in Southern Japan about a 150 km distance from Fukuoka. And my family speaks both Chinese (Mandarin and Shanghai dialects) as well as the Kyushu dialect of Japanese. I would like to present on the topic of “False Cognates” or “False Friends” between Chinese and Japanese. These are single or compound Chinese characters which have one meaning in one language but often times something completely different in the other language. I will present about 10 – 15 examples of false friends between Chinese and Japanese with an explanation of the origin of these. This will help elucidate the use of the Chinese in the Japanese language, the language of the host country for this year’s Polyglot Conference.

אריינפֿיר דער ייִדיש שפּראַך/Einführung in die jiddische Sprache

במשך פון מער ווי 800 יאר איז יידיש געווען דאָס מאמע לשון פון א היפשער טייל יידן אין אייראפע, דער עיקר אין דעם 19טן און 20סטן י"ה װען ייִדיש אַיז דעמאָלט געװען דאָס מאמע לשון פֿװנעם גרעסטן יידן אין אייראפע און אַויך די יידישע עמיגראנטן פון אייראפע צו די אנדערע לענדער הײַנט צו טאָג רעדן נאָך ייִדיש אַן ערך 3 מיליאָן מענטשן, דער עיקר אין ארץ ישׂראל און אין אַמעריקע אַון פֿאַר א העלפֿט פֿון זיי איז יידיש די ערשטע שפּראַך. צווישן 60 און 75 פראצענט פון די יידיש-רעדערס זיינען פרומע רעליגיעזע מענטשן דאָס מאמע לשון ?אָבער וואָס איז טאַקע יידיש ? פֿון װאַנען שטאַמט יידיש אַן װער האָט גערעדט יידיש ?וואָס זיינען די אונטערשיידן אװן ענלעכקייטן מיט דייַטש, העברעיִש, און די סלאווישע שפראכן ?ווער רעדט היינט יידיש ?וווּ קען מען שטודירן ייִדיש בשעת מיין רעדע װעל אַיך פּרובירן ענטפֿערן צו די אַלע פֿראַגעס אַון אַפֿשר מער (Bemechere fun mer vi 800 yor iz yiddish geven dos mame loshen fun a hipshter teil yidn in airope, der iker in dem 19ten un 20 sten ior hundert ven yiddish iz dermolt geven dos mame loshen funem groyssten yidn in airope un oykh di yiddishe emigranten fun airope tsu di hundere lender haynt tsu tog redn nokh yiddish an erekh dray millionen mentschen, der aiker in Ertz Israel un in amerike un far a helft fun zey iz yiddish di ershte sprach. Zwischen 60 un 75 pozent un di yiddish-reders zeinen frome religioze mentschen. Ober vos iz take yiddish ? Fun vaynen stamt yiddish un ver hot geredt yiddish ? Vos zaynen di untershieden un enlekhkeiten mit daytsh, hebraish un di slavischen sprachen ? Ver redet haint yiddish ? Vu ken men studieren yiddish ?Beshees mayne rede vell ikh probieren etnferen tzu di ele frages un efcher mehr.) Jiddish wurde während fast 800 Jahre die Sprache der Ostjuden, besonders in dem 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Damals war Jiddisch die Muttersprache der meisten Juden in Europa und der jüdischen Einwanderer in Europa in anderen Ländern Heute gibt es in einigen traditionellen, ultraorthodoxen jüdischen Gemeinden wie besonders in New York in Montreal, London, Antwerpen Jerusalem und Umgebung größere Sprachgruppen, die Jüddisch als Alltagssprache verwenden und an die nächste Generation weitergeben. Neben diesen Jiddisch-Sprecheden gibt es auch eine kleine säkulare Sprachgemeinschaft, die das Jüddische weiter pflegt. Aber was ist wirklich Jiddische? Woher stammt und wer hat Jiddische gesprochen? Zu welcher Sparche ist Jiddische ähnlich? Gibt es Ähnlichkeiten und Unterschiede zum Deutsch, Hebraisch und anderen Sprachen ? Wo kann man heutzutage Jiddische studieren ? Während meiner Darstellung, werde ich probieren an alle diese Frage (und mehr) zu antworten.

Outdated but Innovative? ─Introduction to Esperanto language

Kiel vi fartas? Esperanto is an artificial language invented in Poland in the late 19 century, in order to overcome language barrier for world peace and equal communication, not depending on a specific ethnic language. People may think that the language is already retro and a failed language project. But nowadays, a free language-learning app, Duolinguo has one million leaners for Esperanto course. Above all, we have still Esperanto speakers in 120 countries all over the world, and a Finnish newspaper mentions there are 1,000 speaker, whose mother tongue is the forgotten utopian language on the globe: it's becoming a more "nature-sided" one! This workshop will tell its simple history and give a petit language course through my personal experience. You can take a look to an unknown side of artificial language community. Esperanto estas altefarita lingvo inventita en Pollando en la 19-a jarcento, por ke venku lingvobarilo por la monda paco kaj egala komunikado, ne depende de unu propra nacia lingvo. Oni eble pensas, ke la lingvo estas jam malnovaĵo kaj malsukcesa lingvoprojekto. Sed nuntempe, senpaga linvo-memlerna apo, Duolinguo havas unu miliono lernantojn por Esperanto-kurso. Antaŭ ĉio, oni havas esperanto-parolantojn en 120 landoj en la mondo, kaj unu finna gazeto raportas, ke estas 1,000 parolantoj, kies gepatralingvo estas forgesita utopia lingvo sur la Tero: ĝi estas iĝanta pli "naturflanka"! Tiu laborsesio parolos pri ĝia mallonga historio kaj lingvo-kurseto tra mia E-movado.