Are You Ready for Polygot Conference 2017?
October 20, 2017
This year's conference for polygots, people who know and are able to converse in several languages, is scheduled for October 27-29 at the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland. The modern glass honeycomb structure is conveniently located in the downtown area and serves as home to the national Icelandic opera & symphony. The unique convention center features a distinctive colored glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland. Although it might seem a bit remote, Reykjavik is known as "the place to keep you imagining", which seems most appropriate for hosting a conference for multilinguals.
For those of us who struggle with our native tongue, it might seem bizarre that people who speak several languages are motivated to meet with other polygots to exchange ideas. But, with globalization and a growing need for cultural openness, multilingualism is a flourishing social phenomenon and polygot conferences are becoming a non-digital social community. Yes, that's right. People actually converse with each other directly, so leave your favorite social media app in your room.
With a majority of populations in other parts of the world speaking more than one language, it is believed the number of multilingual speakers actually outnumbers monolingual speakers. Richard Hudson, professor emeritus of linguistics at the University College London, coined the term hyperpolyglot to distinguish someone who can speak twelve or more languages. Although being able to converse in multiple languages at the same time is not a measure of mastering those languages, some polygots speak more than 50 languages.
Why Iceland in October? Although October is definitely a transition month with the long days of summer quickly become shorter, Reykjavik is a celebrated center of literary history and culture. Moreover, it is home to fully-fledged coffee houses (not the stereotypical franchise baristas) as well as a land filled with natural beauty like the "Aurora Borealis." As for the weather, the average low temperatures are approximately 2 degrees Celsius (36 F) and the average high temperatures are 7 degrees Celsius (45 F). Averages aside, you can expect windy conditions, persistent cloud cover and light rain with an occasional sunny sky.