Podcast Episode 26: Language Careers, Language Events, Language Inspiration

In this episode, Lindsay and Kerstin discuss a good bunch of topics around the topic of language learning in person.

This episode is brought to you with support from Other Cats to Whip, a cute French book that you can buy for 10% off using the code FLUENT.

  • What was language learning like before the internet?
  • What’s so great about an event like the Language Show?
  • Our ideas for Langathon and Language Speed Dating
  • Language and Careers: What’s out there beyond Teaching and Translating?
  • Lindsay’s passionate explanation of “Primary Languages” in the UK, and how to instil a language passion for life in younger learners
  • Our appreciation of multilingual actors and subtitles in TV and movies

Our podcast also featured a short interview with Dan McIntyre from the University of Huddersfield and our discussion around what fluency involved.

Tip of the Week

Lindsay chose Tip 2 as the winning tip for this episode and added more great ideas on how you can present to people, even when they are not learning your language.

1) Draw a trilingual vocab chart to practice vocab divergence

2) Prepare a presentation for your tutor or buddy

3) Swipe in two languages using the Swiftkey Keyboard app

Links and Interesting Stuff from This Show

Language Learning Events around the World

Language Show Live

Polyglot Gathering

Polyglot Conference

Polyglot Workshops

Creative Language Learning Podcast 26 language show

Podcast Episode 18: World Views and Polyglots with Lindsay Dow

Episode 18 is packed full of language learning news and chat with Lindsay from Lindsay does Languages, my trusty and lovely co-host. I hope you'll join us for all the debate and learning!

creative language learning podcast 18

We discussed

  • A truly useful and helpful definition of Polyglot by Richard Simcott
  • What the Polyglot Gathering is and how it went down in Berlin in 2015
  • If a language you learn really makes you think differently, and
  • Whether Kerstin should make herself study more Russian or allow herself the fun of exploring a bit of Welsh

In Episode 16, I'm introducing our new co-host: Lindsay Dow from Lindsay Does Languages I’m bringing Lindsay in for more Creative Language Learning Podcast because she's just been so much fun for you to listen to.

Article of the Week

"How the Language you Speak Changes your View of the World" in the Independent

closely related Does your Language Shape how you Think? in the NY Times

Tips of the Week

Lindsay's tip of the week was tip number 1, of course because she is completely involved in the awesome Script Challenge this year. Unplug your computer, get a book from the library and write down those words.

1) Go Old Skool with handwriting

2) Use your internal thesaurus when you get stuck

3) Play video games in another language (here's a relevant article from Learn out Live)

Links for Episode 18 of the Creative Language Learning Podcast

This episode is brought to you by FlashSticks, the printed language learning post-its. Use code KERSTIN10 for 10% off.

Four Big Lessons from the Language Show in London

"Beautiful Russian woman"

"Beautiful Russian woman"

The Language Show is the UK's biggest and only language-focused trade show, held in London and attracting thousands of language lovers. So far I've been resisting the call of Europe's great Polyglot Conferences so far (more about those later) but for this one I made my way down to big London to see the latest trends, technologies and products out there in language learning.

The Language Show is free to attend, runs over three days and features a huge amount of workshops, cultural performances and taster language lessons to try out. It's held at the London Olympia, an absolutely huge trade centre and beautiful Art Deco building too. I visited the trade show floor on Saturday 18 October, and here's what struck me the most:

Lifelong Learners Still Overlooked

Here in the UK, the most common setting for language learning is definitely school. And since this year has seen new UK legislation passed that introduces languages to kids in primary schools, the biggest focus of the exhibition was definitely on teachers and primary school teachers. The vast majority of stalls were aimed at teachers in the school system, and it was REALLY SAD to see so little representation of us lifelong learners. We are forced to think outside the box all of the time, but the offer of books and materials available is still so focused on school that language learning feels like a classroom skill, not a life skill.

Society is also becoming more innovative when it comes to showing what kind of job opportunities are open to language lovers. Translating, interpreting and teaching were represented everywhere, but other companies weren't all that present. The biggest I saw were the army with their handsome spy recruiters and SC Johnson, as well as several London-based agencies.

Politices are Powerful

Some goodies from the EU, Deutsche Bahn and the Goethe Institut

Some goodies from the EU, Deutsche Bahn and the Goethe Institut

One big thing that I learnt from this exhibition is how extremely powerful the government legislation really is when it comes to this cause. When government decides to put money behind language teaching for children, and not for adults in Further Education or just in no formal education environment, then the industry follows. Lifelong learners stay invisible, and stay scared of trying out a language as a cool hobby. We have so much further to go.

Without the European Union, there would be so much less diversity and investment in languages here in the UK. The EU exhibition stands were not only huge and absolutely covered in amazing information about every country and its official languages, but they also provide a huge opportunity for employment to anyone who can speak another language.

Languages are a Space of Innovation!

I innovated my badge because everyone kept asking me which "Key stage" I'm at. Key stage life!

I innovated my badge because everyone kept asking me which "Key stage" I'm at. Key stage life!

I met so many small, independent publishing houses and companies developing not just new technologies, but fun products and ideas. Big shout out to Flashsticks, a company that I am always supporting for their cute and simple little pre-printed vocab post-its. They filmed a short interview with me, so look out for that on the Flashsticks blog very soon.

Some great products included big maps of languages for your personal grammar paradise, new Flashsticks box sets and super cute publications in over 20 languages from the EU.

Language and Travel are Forever Linked

I loved seeing amazing displays from embassies and tourist offices around Europe, and from Germany in particular there were promotions of Deutsche Bahn and the youth hostels. I really enjoyed a German workbook published by the cologne youth hostels with maps, role play ideas and other exercises. Watch out for that, German students!

(The companies mentioned did not pay me to write any of this. I'll accept donations though.)

Polyglot Conferences and Language Shows

This year, I missed attending two great "polyglot" conferences because I couldn't get over my personal dislike of the word polyglot (see here) and the arrogance that too many YouTube polyglots display at times. I felt that the environment was masculine and dominated by one-upmanship, and it didn't make me want to be in a place where people discuss how many languages they can possibly add by next Tuesday. The Language Show seemed a lot less intimidating to me, as a space where I can walk around at my own pace and just check out what's on offer for me as a language teacher, blogger and student.

I was excited to meet up with three great bloggers from the UK: Compassionate Language Learner J, my podcasting buddy Lindsay and German blogger Angelika. Lindsay was just back from the "Polyglot Gathering" in Novi Sad and had lots of good things to say about it, which was fab, and actually reassured me that these types of events do end up a lot friendlier than you think. I LOVED meeting the three other bloggers and talking about our mission of being non-male language writers and promoters on the internet.

Here is a tiny tiny video of Lindsay and Angelika, which I filmed with Hyperlapse and then saved at a mega speed. You can see their amazing smiles :D

Here's my conclusion:

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do no matter where you are based is to get out of your little life box and meet some people. Being in a room full of people who all share your "thing" is a great feeling -- very energising and motivating.

We all have one thing in common: A shared belief that language learning is a major DO in this world, and we have to get out and share that!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.