September 1, 2015 |

On a Language-Review Bender

Old languages are bubbling, slithering, slinking around in there, and I want them to come out!

For the past months, my language life has continued unabated, on a daily basis, though undocumented here on this blog. I kind of fizzled out on Swedish, not really quite getting where I wanted to go, but it is not over for Swedish: the future, full of linguistic promise and mystery, awaits!

Doesn't this look like a fun place to have a language conference?

Doesn’t this look like a fun place to have a language conference? 

What happened is this: last April I finally got worn out from studying so many new languages in a row for years, so I decided it was time to stop with new ones and just have fun reviewing. I’ve been doing that since spring. I’m redoing old Pimsleur lessons, restudying writing systems on Memrise, and having a fabulous time. Memory stimulation is enjoyable!

In addition, and much more important, I am helping to organize Polyglot Conference NYC 2015 with the extraordinary English polyglots Richard Simcott and Alex Rawlings, whom I met in Berlin in 2014. It is a joy and honor to work with them, and I am euphoric about this event, which will attract hundreds of polyglots to New York — the most multilingual city in the world!

This is the first such event in North America; the previous two in this youthful conference series were both held in Europe. The venue is the SVA Theatre in Chelsea, one of my favorite parts of the city, right near High Line Park.

I hope some of you will come and that I get to meet you. The only necessary credentials for participation are language love and intellectual curiosity. I promise there will be no language tests, no language counting, no nonsense like that.

Check out the schedule! My unofficial personal slogan for the conference is “Be there and be square.”

Comments (5)

Alex • Posted on Thu, September 03, 2015 - 10:50 pm EST

There you are! I was wondering where you’d gone! A bit worried your brain exploded for _real_ this time! ;)

Also, just curious: Any room for Icelandic in your future studies?

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Thu, September 03, 2015 - 11:08 pm EST

Alex! I missed you! Thank you so much for the note! Hmmm, well, one never knows. I confess it is not high on my list at present. I do love Iceland, though. I love any place with interesting geothermal activity. And I’ve read a pile of Icelandic sagas, but in English. Why do you ask? Are you studying it?

You know what happened last night? I studied Latin on Memrise! And I got really into it. I learned astonishing things in a mere hour! I think it may be time for Latin (after the conference).

P.S. I reserve the right to change my mind.

Alex • Posted on Sat, September 05, 2015 - 11:13 am EST

Why thank you! I enjoy popping in and I’m glad you enjoy my popping in. I am honored.

I ask because Pimsleur’s putting out a 30-lesson Icelandic I next spring (so it’s a ways off still). But Latin would be nice - so many languages can be traced back to it, it’s especially important in the heritage of Europe’s languages and how much English borrows from it. It didn’t die, it just ascended to a higher plane of existence. (I’d make a crack about how if it really were dead doctors & lawyers would be zombies, but… too easy >;) )

jose luiz • Posted on Tue, September 08, 2015 - 1:20 pm EST

Glad you’re back (kind of; though you never really departed). Spreading your wings. And what a wise bunch you’re gathering for this symposium. Had I heard of it a month ago and I’d surely “be there”. Vale!

James • Posted on Wed, September 16, 2015 - 9:18 pm EST

So glad to see that you are back! I understand the language overload. Sometimes the mind just shuts down from too much information. Looking forward to seeing what’s next on your blog!

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