LingvaFest‘2018 is Slovakia’s first polyglot festival

The international festival of languages visits Slovakia for the first time, offering record-holders, scholars and polyglots.

Opening of the summer course of Slovak language, illustrative.Opening of the summer course of Slovak language, illustrative. (Source: TASR)

The festival of various languages and cultures, connected to the annual “European Languages Day” (falling on September 26 this year), LingvaFest‘2018, starts this weekend in the Slovak capital.

Its headquarters will be the University of Economics in Bratislava (Petržalka) where people learning and teaching foreign languages, language students, polyglots, and schools and universities focusing on linguistics will flock on September 28 and 29, between 9:00 and 18:00.

What is on offer?

All participants will be able to try out “language crash courses” of 24 languages from the most well-known to some exotic (Thai, Farsi, Indonesian) as well as extraordinary ones like Esperanto, Latin or even Klingon (from Star Trek) and Na’vi (from Avatar), organisers informed.

Events offered during the weekend include creative workshops, lectures by global scholars in TED-cinema and famous polyglots and linguists on how to learn foreign languages, simultaneous interpretation, panel discussions, presentations by publishing houses, language schools, foreign-stay courses, teaching tools and methods, and a presentation on foreign cultures and art.

VIP guests and programme

Famous attendees include French singer jOmO, inscribed in the Guinness Book of records for the “most-multilingual concert in the world” (22 songs in 22 languages), the local KaFe Band with a repertory in six languages, Slovak rapper Suvereno, and ethno-world genre musician Zdeněk Hladík, presenting various musical elements from different countries.

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Lectures and workshops will be led by the youngest polyglot recorded, Russian Bella Devyatkina who, at the age 6, speaks eight languages fluently; Slovak polyglot Lýdia Machová, and Irish diplomat Seán Ó Riain – a polyglot who now works in Vienna on the UN agenda on nuclear disarmament and who will instruct on the Irish language. Afghani student living in Slovakia, Zahra (aged 17), will teach Farsi and perform Bollywood/Indian dances. Also on the guest-list is Swiss linguist André Mueller with a course on Taiwanese and Klingon as well as Na’avi; Indian living in Slovakia, Singh – presenting Punjabi/Indian culture, and Filipino linguist John Bertrand. Slovak writer Daniel Hevier will focus on the Slovak language, writing and playing with it.

First but hopefully not last

“We think that LingvaFest‘ has a chance to become an annual event, as the knowledge of languages is crucial and invaluable these days,” Peter Baláž, coordinator of the Edukácia@Internet association, which organises the event, comments, adding that the event’s first year was drafted to be really varied and representative.

Thus, the festival can become an annual celebration of languages, which is fully in line with the idea of the European Union – “United in Diversity”, as well as a space for discussing teaching methods, presenting new ideas and networking, Baláž summed up.

In the two days, LingvaFest‘2018 offers more than 100 various programmes, crash-courses in 24 languages, and involves 30 institutions.

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