LangFest, Celebration of languages in Montreal

Monday, September 3, 2018 Blog post author: Hamid Hamid
LangFest, Celebration of languages in Montreal

Demiks team had an opportunity to participate in LangFest 2018 in Montreal to share with the polyglot community, what happened this year during this language festival. We participated in a couple of workshops and also found some time to conduct interviews with organizers of this great festival as well as some of the speakers. This was the third round of LangFest which brought lots of polyglots and language enthusiasts together in Concordia University to meet, share stories, learn from each other and have fun.

We could confidently say that it was a huge success. Everyone enjoyed participating in talks, workshops and sharing their knowledge with other polyglots. Lots of fun activities and networking events were also organized for participants from all over the world. The festival happened during the week-end but networking events, dinners, picnics and other activities started a couple of days earlier.

What is LangFest

LangFest is North America’s premier celebration and conference for language learners and enthusiasts of all levels. LangFest attendees learn from and gain access to world-class language gurus, entrepreneurs, educators and industry professionals. You will be introduced to cutting edge tools, techniques and technologies to inform and inspire how you learn and use languages or teach them to others.

Talks and Workshops

This year more than 45 speakers (aka language gurus) participated in LangFest. The range of topics and variety of workshops to learn from was impressive. Among talks and workshops, there were some about learning languages but some also played with the idea of linking languages to politics, fitness, music, dance and other forms of arts. The last day of the festival started with screening an interesting short movie about a polyglot having trouble talking to women, called “The Hyperglot”. The reception of such a movie by other polyglots in the room, and the Q&A session with the producer, writer and actor, Michael Levi Harris, at the end was a very unique experience.

The Organizing Team

The co-founders of the festival Joey Perugino, Tetsu Yung and Nicolas Viau along with the volunteer team worked really hard to make everyone feel welcome. They tried their best to provide participants with a friendly environment to chat about what they all love -languages, in their favorite language. They were always around the corner to take your question and guide you to the next activity.

Watch this video to get a sense of what LangFest is about and meet the co-organizers of the festival.

LangFest 2018, Organizer Interview

Why LangFest is in Montreal?

Montreal is the perfect place for a language festival like LangFest because multilingualism is a major part of everyone’s life. The official language of Quebec province is French but the “bonjour, hi” opening line at every store, restaurant and government offices indicates the perfect bilingualism. Most people speak both English and French fluently and according to statistics, about 23 percent of the population recognize Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Italian and other languages as their mother tongue.

Montreal is one of the top tourist destinations in North America. Visiting the charming city of Montreal, ordering your smoked meat and poutine in French, chatting up the street artists in the subway (by the way they are all polyglots), enjoying a bike ride to the old port, Chinatown, Petite Italie, Little Maghreb, Little india, Plateau(France, Greece & Portugal) are top attractions for polyglots. All these features make Montreal earn the privilege to be home to a multilingual festival.

Who Were the Speakers?

More than 45 speakers participated this year. They were all excited to meet language learners and polyglots. They mostly stayed at the festival and spent time with others. We had a chance to meet some of them and have a quick chat to share some of the experience with those who could not be there this year.

Anja Spilker, Learn and Burn

Anja is the founder and CEO of ZALOA Languages, an online language school with virtual classes, taught by native teachers. As a language and fitness enthusiast, she is currently working on her new project “Learn&Burn”, a fitness program that makes it possible to learn vocabulary through fitness workouts. Anja ran a dynamic workshop during LangFest where participants learnt German language while doing their dose of workout for the day.

Here’s a resume of our conversation with Anja about LangFest and her new project, Learn&Burn.

LangFest Speaker, Anja Spilker Interview

This is the second year Anja participates in LangFest and both years she has done a workshop. Last year she was sharing stories and information about her social activities through language learning in Mexico.

Kevin Sun

Kevin Sun is a journalist and programmer from New York City, currently working as a data journalist for The Real Deal, a real estate magazine. Born in the USA and raised in China, Kevin has studied over thirty languages with varying degrees of success, and hopes to put more of these languages to use in his journalism career in the future. The history of Hindi language with all the influences from Sanskrit, Arabic, Farsi, etc. over centuries makes the Hindi language one of his favorites.

This is the second time Kevin participates in LangFest Montreal. This year he had a talk called “Introduction to Sranan Tongo (Surinamese Creole)”. It was a one hour workshop for assisted reading of Sranan folktales which gave participants an understanding of the fundamentals of the language. Kevin left the participants with resources to explore the language independently.

LangFest Speaker, Kevin Sun Interview

Who is the Audience for LangFest

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.

The closing ceremony

At the end of the festival, the organizing team gathered all the speakers, participants and sponsors in one room to celebrate another success. The three co-organizers of LangFest gave a short speech and shared some interesting statistics with the participants. It was impressive to see how many languages were understood and spoken by people in one room. Some freemiums, gifts and certificates were given away. The last but not the least, the weather reports indicated that the annual goodbye picnic was still possible.

Having a festival to cherish languages and bringing people closer to each other through the love for languages was a big missing part for a long time in Montreal. LangFest is up to high standards for celebrating differences, cultures and languages where we need it the most in a multicultural society.

Blog post author: Hamid
Hamid is an engineer and up and coming entrepreneur. He has a passion for languages and encourages those around him to never stop learning.

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