34395867_10156400359689464_1493089468570140672_nWritten in English followed by Afrikaans.

A few days ago, I returned from the Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava. This was the second time the event was in Bratislava and was a huge success again. This year, there were almost 600 polyglots at the event, the most we’ve ever had! The event lasted for four days although there were some trips and social events the day before the event opened. This year, I wasn’t able to travel before the start of the event and I arrived in the evening of day 2. In the morning of day 3, the first presentation I attended was about Walloon, a Romance language spoken in Belgium.

Snacks from Iran

After that, I went to a session on learning Persian through a song. I didn’t know anything about Persian so everything was new to me. We followed the lyrics of a song and translated them and we ate snacks from Iran too!

The next presentation was about the languages of Canada. Although French and English are the official languages, there are many other indigenous languages spoken in Canada. We learned about several of them and the largest ones were Cree, Inuktitut and Ojibwe. Last year, I had a taster lesson in Blackfoot, another indigenous language spoken in Canada. You can watch the video I made HERE.

Lunch at the French table

Next we had lunch in the cafeteria. As usual, I had ordered a vegan lunch which was delicious. However, the best part of the lunch break for me was the language tables. There were some tables in the cafeteria where you were only allowed to speak in Italian, Spanish, French, German, Russian or Slovak. I sat at the Italian table and spoke Italian with other polyglots from Canada, Belgium and Slovakia. For the rest of the break, I sat outside in the garden because this was the “No English Zone”.  In this area we could speak in any language except English so I spoke in all my other languages. The best part was being able to speak Afrikaans with 6 different people (although they were all Dutch or Belgian). They could all understand me very well in Afrikaans. It was also very useful for me to practise Afrikaans as I have only been learning for three months.

The last speaker of Tunica.

In the afternoon, once again I was able to attend a presentation about indigenous American languages and this time it was Tunica. Tunica became extinct in 1948 after the last native speaker died. However, there are people who want to revive the language and 32 of them have learned it. A linguist worked with the last native speaker in the 1930s to produce a book that future generations could learn from. Tunica is a language isolate and is therefore not linked to any other languages.

Later we had the International Cultural Evening. Everyone was invited to take the stage and perform a song or dance from their country. It was a lot of fun and my favourite was a group of polyglots who sang the Napulitano song “’A cittàe Pulecenella”. Last year, I did a challenge to learn Napulitano in 90 days and you can see that video HERE..

Sunday was the last day of the event and my favourite presentation on the last day was about Austronesian languages by Brian Loo, who is one of my favourite speakers. He compared some of the Austronesian languages and told us about the language Urak Lawoi’ which is spoken by around 5000 people in some islands of Thailand.

Gyor, Hungary

My last day was free and I decided to take the bus to Gyor in Hungary. The journey was only one hour from Bratislava and I had a lovely day in a new country. Gyor was a very beautiful town with colourful buildings, pretty flowers everywhere and friendly people. I will return to Hungary one day!

Next year, we may be in Bratislava again or maybe the Czech Republic or Poland. Wherever it is, I hope to be there again next year!

If you can’t come to these events, Italki is, in my opinion, the best way to learn languages without leaving your home. There are over 4000 teachers on the site giving lessons over Skype. I just completed my 1000th lesson in 3 years! You can join the site for free using this link and after taking your first lesson, Italki will give you $10 towards your next one!

USEFUL TRAVEL LINKS (not affiliate links)

I booked my flights independently using Skyscanner

I normally look for hotels using Booking.com as many of them do not require a prepayment and are flexible with regards to amendments and cancellations up until a few days before travel.

Another site I regularly use for hotels is Hotels.com. They also have many hotels offering flexible options. I once had to cancel a hotel at a non-refundable rate but they helped me obtain a refund as I needed urgent surgery and the hotel still had a week to rebook another customer. I have therefore been happy with their service.

For insurance, I have been using Flexicover to buy annual policies for over 10 years. In that time, I have had to claim twice for last minute illnesses resulting in cancellations and the service has been efficient. You can also arrange to pay extra and cover pre-existing conditions.

To travel by express bus in central Europe I use Regiojet.


‘n Paar dae gelede, het ek van die Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava teruggekeer. Dit was die tweede keer dat die Gathering in Bratislava was en dit was weer ‘n groot sukses.  Hierdie jaar, was daar amper 600 polyglots by die Gathering, die meeste wat ons nog ooit gehad het. Die Gathering het vir vier dae geduur hoewel daar ‘n paar reise en sosiale aktiwiteite op die dag voordat dit begin het, was. Hierdie jaar, kon ek nie voor die begin reis nie en ek het op die tweede aand aangekom.  Die oggend van dag 3, was die erste aanbieding wat ek bygewoon het, oor Walloon, ‘n romanse taal uit België. Daarna het ek na ‘n aanbieding oor hoe om Persian met ‘n lied te leer, gegaan. Ek het niks van Persies geweet nie, daarom was alles nuut. Ons het die lirieke gevolg en ons het hulle vertaal en ons het ook snacks van Iran geëet!

Die volgende aanbieding was oor die tale van Kanada. Hoewel Engels en Fraans die amptelike tale is, is daar baie ander inheemse tale in Kanada. Ons het van verskeie van hulle geleer en die grootste was Cree, Inuktitut en Ojibwe. Verlede jaar het ek ‘n les in Blackfoot, ‘n ander inheemse taal in Kanada, gehad.  Jy kan my video in Blackfoot HIER kyk.

Outside in the “No English Zone”

Dan het ons middagete in die kafeteria geëet. Soos gewoonlik, het ek lekker vegaanse kos bestel. Die beste deel van die breuk was egter die “taaltafels”. Daar was ‘n paar tafels waar ons net in Italiaans, Spaans, Duits, Frans, Russies of Slowaaks kon praat. Ek het by die Italiaanse tafel gesit en ek het met ander polyglots uit Kanada, België en Slowakye Italiaans gepraat. Vir die res van die breuk, het ek in die tuin gesit want dit was die “No English Zone”. In die tuin, kon ons in enige taal praat behalwe Engels, dus  het ek in al my ander tale gepraat. Die beste deel was dat ek in Afrikaans met 6 verskillende mense kon praat (hoewel hulle almal Nederlands of Belgies was).  Hulle kon my baie goed verstaan. Dit was ook baie nuttig om Afrikaans te oefen want ek leer Afrikaans sedert net 3 maande.

In die middag het ek na ‘n aanbieding oor ‘n inheemse Amerikaanse taal gegaan.  Hierdie keer was dit oor Tunica, ‘n uitgestorwe taal, wie se laaste inheemse spreker in 1948 gesterf het.  Sommige mense wil egter die taal weer herleef en 32 van hulle het dit geleer. ‘n Taalkundige het in die 1930’s saam met die laaste spreker gewerk om ‘n boek te produseer. Tunica is ‘n geïsoleerde taal en is dus nie soortgelyk aan enige ander tale nie.

Later het ons die Internasionale Kultuuraand gehad. Enigiemand kon ‘n lied of dans uit hul land uitvoer. Dit was baie plesierig en my gunsteling was ‘n groep wat die Napulitano-lied,  “’A città ‘e Pulecenella”, gesing het.  Verlede jaar het ek ‘n projek gedoen om Napulitano in 90 dae te leer en jy kan my video HIER sien.

Danube River, Bratislava

Sondag was die laaste dag van die Gathering en my gunsteling aanbieding was oor Austronesiese tale met Brian Loo, wat een van my gunsteling sprekers is. Hy het sommige van die Austronesiese tale vergelyk en hy het ons oor die taal Urak Lawoi ‘ vertel. 5000 mense praat hierdie taal in sommige eilande in Thailand.

My laaste dag was vry en ek het besluit om die bus na Gyor in Hongarye te neem. Die reis was net een uur van Bratislava en ek het ‘n lekker dag in ‘n nuwe land gehad. Gyor was ‘n baie pragtige dorpie met kleurvolle geboue, mooi blomme oral en vriendelike mense. Ek sal eendag weer na Hongarye terugkeer!

Volgende jaar, sal ons miskien weer in Bratislava wees, of miskien in Tsjeggië of Pole.  Waar dit ook al is, hoop ek om volgende jaar weer daar te wees!