The talks covered a wide range of topics, from the origins of language, to local dialects and individual languages, language learning technologies, and the experience of being bilingual or multilingual.
If you love languages and want to connect with learners from around the world, Langfest is the place to be!
Attending LangFest was a great chance to finally meet all of the wonderful members of the language community and hear well-researched talks from a group of speakers with diverse backgrounds and expertise.
Montreal was the perfect city to hold a language festival because of its bilingualism and also multiculturalism.
It was a great evening! LangFest is my favorite polyglot event!
A high quality event in an ideal venue in Montreal with interesting presentations.
It was great to meet friends I know from other polyglot events, to meet people I know from their blogs, videos and/or websites and to make new friends.
In such a multilingual city such as Montreal, the topic of language identity is key. The organizers did a great job arranging activities for us to socialize and see the city.
I can truly say I’ve made friends for life from attending LangFest – friends who share a common passion of mine: languages!
WHAT IS LANGFEST?
LangFest, along with the world-renowned Jazz Festival and Just For Laughs Festival, gather a unique and diverse crowd to Montreal. As North America’s hotspot for linguists, LangFest promises participants an unforgettable week immersed in languages. Activities include: conference talks by internationally and locally acclaimed language experts, tours of Montreal and other social activities.
WHEN AND WHERE?
August 24 – 26, 2018 at Concordia University (John Molson School of Business), downtown Montreal.
LangFest welcomes learners, from far and wide, of every fluency and enthusiasts alike. Participants are introduced to celebrity language gurus, qualified educators, state-of-the-art companies, entrepreneurs and, most importantly, other fellow language lovers. Members have access to cutting-edge tools, technologies and information to inspire, advance goals and make new friends. A magnet for polyglots, LangFest also promises many great opportunities for multilingual talents or other like-minded aficionados to mingle and to exchange ideas, creating valuable networks and lasting friendships along the way.
We have many confirmed speakers for LangFest 2018, including the ones below! Stay tuned for more!
SpeakersListed in alphabetical order by last name
Volunteer: Marc Pomerleau (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ScheduleTalk title written in the language used by the speaker. Click on talk title for description (available in English for every talk).
***** This is a LANGFEST-INDEPENDENT workshop organized by Michael Levi Harris (in English)*****
LangFest participants: C$50 for first 10 sign ups; C$65 regular price
Non-LangFest participants: C$80 regular price
Sign up here: http://hyperglot.eventbrite.ca
Lead actor in the award-winning short film, The Hyperglot, Michael Levi Harris will be hosting a PRONUNCIATION & PROSODY workshop for up to 20 participants. The workshop will last 2.5 h; it will be active and participatory and will cover two techniques that actors use to create different characters with different speech patterns that can help you improve the way you speak any foreign language. In the workshop, you will learn what these tools are, how to use them to create a character for your foreign language(s), and how to practice employing them.
About Michael Levi Harris
Michael Levi Harris is an American polyglot actor and writer, best-known in polyglot and language-learning communities as writer and star of the award-winning short film, The Hyperglot. Based in London and New York City, Michael has acted in over a dozen languages and over a dozen accents. In addition to The Hyperglot, his multilingual acting has been seen on the stage of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene in New York City, heard on BBC4 Radio, and watched on screens around the world. Michael has narrated a number of audiobooks, most recently Darius The Great Is Not Okay, in which you can hear him voice a number of Persian-accented and Persian-speaking characters. Other recent acting work includes the British crime drama Endeavour, Benedict Cumberbatch’s mini-series Patrick Melrose, and the mini-series Foreign Skies. Michael trained at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.
– Awards: Best Actor (International Film Awards Berlin, 2014); Michael Bryant Award for performance in Shakespeare (2016);
– Accolades: Writer of the short film The Hyperglot, which screened at film festivals around the world in from 2013-2015, winning seven awards Language Expertise Media mentions: Michael’s language expertise has been written about by the BBC feature writer David Robson in an online article, as well as by the author of Superhuman, Rowan Hooper.
About The Hyperglot Movie (see trailer: http://bit.ly/Hyperglot)
– Best Comedy Film at the International Film Awards Berlin
– Best Actor Award (Michael Levi Harris) at the International Film Awards Berlin
– Audience Award (Short Film) at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival
– Teen View Award at the Nantucket Film Festival
– Best Of Fest at the Palm Springs International ShortsFest
– Best Comedy Short Film (2nd Place) at the Cleveland International Film Festival
– Jury Award (Achievement in Storytelling) at San Joaquin International Film Festival
Quebec’s language laws ensure that French is predominant in Montreal. Geography, globalization and the Internet make English as important as ever. Parents and caregivers who are members of Canada’s First Nations or who have immigrated to Canada may add one or more other languages to the mix, making Montreal a particularly fertile ground for multilingualism. My presentation will consider several strategies that parents commonly adopt to encourage multilingualism, and I will describe some of the challenges and opportunities they can expect along the way, based on international research and personal experience.
5 Awesome Tools to Reinforce Vocabulary Development in the Foreign Language Classroom
The presenter will explore the use of Gimkit, Quizlet, StudyStack, Flipgrid and Metaverse to reinforce language vocabulary in the classroom. Playing games is an excellent way to learn new vocabulary. The competitive nature of games serves as a motivator for students who otherwise can quickly lose interest in second or third language learning. Gimkit, the new kid on the block, was developed by a junior at a Seattle high school and is the presenter’s favorite among the tools. Not only does it provide a fantastic platform, but it serves as an example of outstanding entrepreneurial enterprise. Metaverse, an augmented reality tool, allows students to create their own experiences using their new language skills and share them with others in the classroom and online. Flipgrid is a perfect tool to get students talking in their new language as it provides a platform for short videos that are shared on a grid.
The talk will be about an linguistic experience in Cambodia that really shocked me. The 1500 years old cambodian alphabet, based on an eartearn indian alphabet closely related to the Thai, Laotian, Birman and indian alphabets was not used with new technology. The reason was that it was not easily possible to type in the khmer (cambodian) alphabet on computers and phones.
I will talk about its impacts and how technological changes can impact languages, cultures and societies. I will show how the internet and technology can revive as much as burry a modern language.
What does a linguist do? We can study individual languages and learn to speak them, but the job of a linguist is much broader than that. In this presentation, we’ll talk about some of the underlying structures of language, how we acquire and process language, and do a couple of hands-on demonstrations of some scientific approaches to language, including some concrete looks at phonetics and psycholinguistics.
Moving Beyond the Middle: How to get out of the Intermediate desert
Being an intermediate learner can feel like it stretches on forever, with annoying plateaus and unique frustrations. If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely become one. A large portion of us are currently intermediate in one language or another. “Intermediates” are by far one of the most widely-defined and arguably largest group of longer-term language learners. They are also one of the most inconsistently addressed group of learners, too. Intermediate-level status sees the largest number of drop-offs in terms of people giving up on a language, and it doesn’t have to be that way. In this talk, we’ll take a deeper look at intermediates, what makes them a special group of learners, what we can learn from them, and how we can use that to motivate us to “move beyond the middle” and out of the sometimes endless-seeming desert of intermediate-hood, towards steady progress and learning satisfaction.
Without adequate tools, it may be difficult to avoid the pitfalls of English and French grammar. But thanks to the reliable and readily accessible resources available online from the Language Portal of Canada, it’s easy to communicate more effectively and learn new concepts!
This website, launched in 2009 and managed by the Translation Bureau, offers a wide range of free writing tools, quizzes and links to help you find quick answers to your language questions.
During the presentation, you will become more familiar with the Portal and its two main resources, Language Navigator and TERMIUM Plus®. You’ll find out how to participate in the Portal’s initiatives and how its various tools can help you in your studies and career.
Language learning, jobs and entrepreneurship: opportunities and practical cases
What job opportunities have language learners? You love languages but you are not sure how to use them for your career? Are you looking for inspiration? In this talk you will learn about job opportunities, which go from a wide range of ways to be employed and use your language skills to several successful cases of entrepreneurship in the language field.
In this talk, Tetsu describes how languages acquired very early in his childhood and throughout his teens have shaped his life in decisive ways, influencing his studies, career and even love. Given the rich life that he leads thanks to these languages, Tetsu considers himself a Multilinguannaire.
As polyglots, we usually use several techniques in order to speed up the language learning process. This workshop will be an interactive session where participants share their best practices for moving from a beginner level to an intermediate/advanced level for any given language. The facilitator will guide the session with an objective of creating a best practice template based on the participants live feedback. This is an informal session with brainstorming and sharing breakout groups.
If you could preserve the world’s cultures by simply talking to
people, would you do it? In the next eighty years, as many as half the
world’s languages are expected to disappear — or, in more human terms,
half the world’s communities are at risk of collapse. But it doesn’t
have to be that way. Wikitongues is a platform for every language in
the world. We’re a network of more than 400 volunteers in 70 countries
promoting the use and preservation of the more than 7,000 mother
tongues still spoken today. In this presentation, we’ll show you how
to conduct outreach to members of other cultures, how to speak with
anyone, and how to get involved with our ever-growing movement. All it
takes is a camera and a smile, so join us! This is more than a
movement for language rights. It’s a movement for humanity.
My presentation is about the importance of non-verbal and para-verbal in language learning. The first part discusses why people dismiss this approach, especially when they only learn through books, often the case in France. The second part will be about my experience as a bilingual child and my journey as an actor. The overall presentation will be illustrated with examples and live performances.
Introduction to the Swahili language (East Africa) for beginners. All the basic grammar will be covered in just one workshop to encourage the audience to pursue further studies.
A language exchange according to the Tandem method is a meeting of two partners who are learning each other’s native languages. They get together and split their time between speaking the two languages. It is particularly efficient towards improving verbal proficiency and achieving fluency.
For a long time the method has been practiced almost exclusively at universities with an international student body. It usually required going down a somewhat cumbersome route to find a partner, like posting to bulletin boards. Thanks to mobile apps that make it easier to find a partner and meet online in video chats, the method is on the rise, having found itself propelled from the offline into the online world, and from universities to everyone with a smartphone.
Tandem (www.tandem.net) is such an app, named after the Tandem method. Tobias co-founded Tandem, and based on data from the Tandem community of 5 million members from all around the world, he will talk about the factors that make a language exchange successful, and give practical tips on how to find a partner and make the most of your language exchange.
“The case against isolated words and grammar rules – how observing and chunking can save you from clumsiness and make fluent sentences roll off the tongue”
Have you been learning your target language for a while, but you still feel clumsy in conversations, as if you’re guessing at the “native-like” way to say things?
Do you feel like you’re always translating in your head while speaking?
Do you feel like you know and understand a lot of words, but the moment you have to use them in sentences, you become tongue-tied?
Well, I have good news for you: there is a way out!
In this talk, you’ll learn how throwing out your word lists and grammar books, and using the power of observation and chunking instead, can help you achieve effortless conversations in your target language…
Which means that you understand what native speakers say…
And you have fluent sentences roll off the tongue!
A bold promise, I know. But I’m confident to make it. Science backs it up. And so do my own results and those of hundreds of other language learners.
Language adventures of a young Nagasaki doctor turned wife and mother to polyglots
In this talk, Yuko talks about how she went from being a doctor in her home town of Nagasaki, Japan using only Japanese to now living in Canada, raising her children in 5 languages (English, French, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish), learning/perfecting her French and English in order to restart her medical career in Quebec, all the while picking up some Mandarin from her husband and some Spanish from Mexican au pairs living with the family. Ronnie, her first son, who will have just turned 6 by LangFest will give a demonstration of his language skills.
Do you always use nǐ hǎo to greet someone? SO BASIC! People from the different regions of China have each their different way of greeting that is influenced by their culture.
Do you say wǒ ài nǐ to show affection? THAT’S TOO MUCH! Chinese people don’t say I love you. So what are we supposed to say?
How can you order in a restaurant using only one word?
How to insult someone without cussing?
We will teach 6 daily expressions Chinese people REALLY uses, and give you a basic understanding of Chinese phonetic.
Teacher: NING Yu, licensed Chinese teacher, former Chinese class lecturer at Université de Sherbrooke, M.A. in Didactics.
This workshop is aimed at students who have never had any exposure to Japanese learning. It will be done in English and Japanese.
The Most Spoken Planned Languages: Why are millions of people learning languages, which others have invented? We’ve all heard of Esperanto, but why were all these other languages created? What is the best way to learn them and where can they be used?
Find out which languages are most popular along with samples. Using anonymous language data from the Amikumu database, find out where they’re spoken around the world. Whether you’re interested in learning or are just curious about these communities, you’ll get a whirlwind tour of how people are using conlangs today!
From Studying Business Administration to being without a job and broke to find my path and my passion teaching German on YouTube – My Personal Journey with Languages
This workshop is aimed at students who had learned or been exposed to Japanese previously. A quick level check of the class will be done at the beginning of the workshop. It will be done in English and Japanese.
Sean Dunn will be introducing wordi for the first time at LangFest this year.
When you think of the language learning classroom of the future, what do you imagine?
Benny may be known for his “language hacking” books and “Fluent in 3 Months” blog, but his undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering and fascination with technology has given him a unique perspective on how technology and language learning can improve in the future.
In this talk, he’ll share some of his insights, as to what you can expect, and the amazing things you can already do right now to enhance your language lessons!
The talk will attempt to explain how policy shifts at various levels of governance affect minority language preservation and promotion, as well as how non-governmental, decentralized, and open-source based efforts do. Specifically, this talk will focus on the broader scope of the post-socialist sphere of the world where a range of languages from differing language groups such as Karelian to German to Mongolian fare today in contrast to its historical past. This has implications for language learning, preservation, and promotion for minority and less-commonly taught languages across the globe.
There are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world today, but some 2,000 of them count fewer than a thousand speakers. Moreover, just 15 of them account for half of the languages spoken in the world. Which are the world’s most influential languages? The Power Language Index (PLI) is a measure of a language’s efficacy by measuring its influence in 5 domains (“opportunities”): (1) geography, (2) economy, (3) communication, (4) knowledge & media, and (5) diplomacy. Altogether the PLI uses 20 (cardinal) indicators to arrive at an assessment of the power of over 100 languages.
Bilingualism: Tips from an speech therapist for a successful bilingual education
Summary of the presentation:
This presentation will help parents and early childhood educators discern between the truths and myths of language and speech development in bilingual children, understand and learn the benefits of bilingualism, and better offer a stimulating environment that fosters bilingualism for their children.
Learning a language comes along with a variety of challenges: grammar structure, pronunciation, syntax and the list could continue for pages! Teaching English and Spanish as a Second Language, I have found some interesting challenges in unexpected areas. Over the past 8 years I have encountered various cultures wanting to learn English and Spanish. Different accents and native languages present their own major difficulties for both the student and the teacher.
The workshop would explore this element of teaching language. During the first part of the workshop educators can share experiences, obstacles and solutions. For the second part of the workshop participants will divide into small groups and create a strategy, activity or game for teaching a particular language to a specific nationality based on the group dynamic. In conclusion group will share their ideas or product.
If aliens arrived, could we communicate with them? How would we do it? What are the tools linguists use to decipher unknown languages? How different can human languages be from one another? Do these differences have bigger consequences for how we see the world?
The recent science-fiction film Arrival touches on these and other real questions in the field of linguistics. In Arrival, linguistics professor Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is recruited by the military to translate the language of the newly-arrived Heptapods in order to answer the question everyone wants to know: why are they here? Language, it turns out, is a crucial piece of the answer.
Jessica Coon, science consultant for the linguistics in Arrival, has never worked with an alien, but will discuss her own fieldwork on Mayan languages, and what these languages can tell us about linguistic diversity and Universal Grammar.
Simultaneous Interpreting: Race between Human Brain and Artificial Intelligence
Simultaneous interpretation, where the interpreter orally translates a speech into another language in real time, has been considered an impossible job by outsiders. This presentation will first demystify the work of simultaneous interpreters and then offer a close look at the race between human interpreters and artificial intelligence in dominating the future of real-time language conversion. The presentation will attempt to answer several questions:
What Is Conference Interpreting?
How has technology impacted interpreting?
What is the current state of speech recognition and machine translation technologies?
Will human interpreters be replaced?
Have you ever heard that Hungarian is one of the hardest languages in the world? Me too, and I believed it until I learned it myself! It’s a language shrouded in mystery and myths (some of which are quite scary!), but it’s actually the most logical and straightforward language I’ve ever learned. For a multitude of reasons, as you will learn in this workshop, this beautiful, unique language truly deserves better recognition. Come learn to speak some Hungarian through music and interactive activities!
This workshop will show how you can improve your pronunciation, vocabulary, and even grammar with music. We’ll walk through an example using a song to learn Spanish. Participants will be able to apply the skills they learn to any language or genre of music.
Language Values: The Apolitical Politics of Language-Learning
At a time of conspicuous political polarization in the U.S. and elsewhere, language study is a largely apolitical and non-inflammatory way to connect with others across differences and borders. Language-learning enables us to pursue the values of openness, curiosity and global fellowship with other human beings from around the world. It serves as a potent antidote to bigotry and intellectual insularity. In this talk, Ellen will consider some of the cultural values that unite many language enthusiasts and illustrate them with tales of linguistic camaraderie.
Travel to Russian-speaking countries of the former Soviet Union is often associated with those (men) who are hunting for love or more specifically a future bride to be. Most struggle with the language barrier to their great detriment even if a few of them eventually learn the language of the partner they meet on such voyages. So how do you learn Russian without first falling in love? In my presentation I outline the system and philosophy that I has helped me learn Russian for travel to the former USSR and empowered me to overcome the problems that thwart most foreign visitors to the region.
Due to Suriname’s peculiar history as a British colony that was taken over by the Dutch, isolating it from the influence of standard English, the English-based creole language of Suriname is one of the most conservative (or least “de-creolized”) English creoles. Additional layers of Portuguese, African and Dutch influence have produced a language that presents a unique snapshot of the troubled early years of colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. Thanks to Sranan’s English roots and straightforward grammar, this one-hour workshop – which will include assisted reading of original Sranan folktales and other texts – should be enough to give participants a solid footing in the fundamentals of this language, while providing resources for further independent exploration.
Introductory workshop to the constructed international language Esperanto.
Comprehensible Input or CI is an important buzzword in language learning. Krashen tells us we learn only from meaningful comprehensible messages in a new language. Yet the language is not comprehensible at first, and much remains incomprehensible for a long time as we discover more and more of a new language. Many people who could become fluent in another language have no interest in even trying. Many quit before achieving their goals.
How do we make the conquest of a new and as yet incomprehensible language a meaningful activity for more people? How do we ensure that this activity remains meaningful so that more learners stay with it?
Steve Kaufmann will draw on his experience in learning multiple languages. He will discuss how to emphasize the joys of language discovery and how to overcome the challenges and frustrations that all language learners experience.
The influence of insularity on the French language – An introductory workshop the local Îles-de-la-Madeleine variety of French. Windy expressions, out-of-this-world legends, savoury accents and long winters, cut from the mainland, have given us a lot of words to talk about. All word geeks welcome!
Workshop on the International Phonetic Alphabet.
Any multilingual actor can tell you that learning and speaking various languages is a lot like acting. Ask most people what they think makes a good actor, and they will agree: someone who makes you believe they are one character, and then in another film or play, makes you believe with equal conviction that they are a completely different character. Great actors exhibit incredible virtuosity and versatility.
What happens when language learners apply some of the same tools that actors use when tackling a new role to tackling a new language? We will find out, as a polyglot actor explores various tools actors use, from technical exercises, to drawing on personal experience, to observing the world like an actor, all in pursuit of our common goal: to become language learning virtuosos and versatile polyglots.
In this talk, I offer my views, as a language teacher of 20 years, on how to best help students learn a second language. I explain how I came to believe Krashen’s theory on language acquisition was right, and how I confirmed this intuition through years as both a language teacher and a language learner. Krashen’s theory is simple in practice: we learn when we understand messages that we find interesting. This is reflected in my teaching approach, which consists of providing comprehensible input to my students, and helping them find more sources of comprehensible input for themselves. Through this talk, I explain how language acquisition takes time but comprehensible input makes it fun and effortless. I explain how I see my job as a teacher: to keep students motivated so they can keep learning and achieve their goal of fluency.
Introduction to Chinese calligraphy (no need for prior knowledge of the Chinese language to attend). Attendees will draw some Chinese characters of various types and learn about how they are built.
An introduction to the Croatian language and culture.
In the past 20 years we have come to have a completely new understanding of the human brain. Until a few decades ago, it was widely assumed that the brain was static in adulthood. It turns out that this is not true. Through the characteristics of neuroplasticity, the brain actually changes its form and structure in accordance with our thoughts and actions. This process continues throughout our lives. During my talk I will provide a brief overview of six key insights about the brain. I will then discuss the implications of this new understanding for language learning and learning in general.
Languages and balance of power
Language is not only a tool for communication but also plays a role with respect to influence, power and wealth. This talk will present an overview of different aspects surrounding this question, including the balance of power between the world’s major languages and current dynamics, the economic consequences of using one language over another, as well as effects felt at the social level. This talk will be in French.
German vocabulary training via fitness exercises: this is the concept of Learn&Burn! Forget about sitting at desk and discover how to make vocabulary training more efficient while exercising. Exercise is the key to learn a language more effectively: different studies show that working out during a language class amplifies the ability to remember new vocabulary. Participants of this workshop will be taught different words, sentences and concepts in German – by Anja from Alemania, a native German teacher with 10 years of teaching experience. No need to have an advanced fitness level in order to participate! Even if you don’t work out on a regular basis, as for language learning, it´s all about getting started and being motivated!
Let’s move our brains and bodies together – let’s learn about fitness & German!