Polyglot Gathering: much Esperanto spoken

Posted on 23. Jun, 2014 by in Events

On June 15-18, polyglots (people who speak multiple languages) came to Berlin to enjoy a rich program with like-minded individuals at the Polyglot Gathering (at which Transparent Language was also a sponsor). In fact, whenever I had to explain our event to outsiders, I usually just said, “Our participants speak an average of six languages.” So, when it comes to language-learning, that makes me average there! How does this relate to this blog about Esperanto though? Well, out of the 230 participants, 54 indicated during registration that they understand Esperanto and it really did feel like no matter where you went, you kept hearing Esperanto somewhere or another!

30 langs

So, having said all that, I’d like to share my own personal experience as one of the three head organizers. Judith Meyer was the head organizer, Martin was in charge of participant administration and I did whatever was left over, which was mostly setting up tech for lectures and helping our amazing volunteers find their place at the gathering. Amusingly enough, the Polyglot Gathering was modelled after Esperanto youth conferences in Europe, so it already felt very familiar to me.

Technically speaking

From the technical side, the first major issue was that an important button on our loudspeaker in the main room broke in the middle of the first day. There’s a button that you should push down for microphone, but not have pushed in for line in. The button just wasn’t holding, so Gavan Fantom had to rig an interesting mesh of tape and cardboard to keep the button down: an amusing solution.

As far as laptops and projectors went, I didn’t notice the general tendency of Windows laptops today to start using non-VGA video connectors. Many laptops today have HDMI or mini-HDMI connectors, but both projectors we had were relatively old, so next time I’ll be sure to have HDMI and mini-HDMI to VGA adapters on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.


It was quite a shock to start writing back and forth with 30 potential volunteers for the Polyglot Gathering. Our volunteers were amazing! Some helped prepare the conference bags or film the gathering. Others helped with cleanup, lending equipment, and another drove us around the city. I want to thank all our volunteers for helping us make this an unforgettable experience for all our participants.


I want to give a special shout out to Georg Jähnig who took it on himself to organize the filming of the entire conference, and what an undertaking that was! We had cameras running in two rooms, and the setup for the big room was not simple, including separate recording for video and audio, which later needs to be merged together. While everything ran quite smoothly, I think next time I’d like to raise the participation price, so that we can have film students professionally film the event. That would also help to alleviate some of the burden on our volunteer team to help us focus better on other aspects of the event.

Looking back

Polyglot Gathering Feedback

Having taken time to recover from the event, I can now look back with pride at how smoothly it all went. The notes we got from participants on our feedback flipchart still warms my heart every time I read it, even though I can’t read many of the obscure languages that appear there, ha! In a few weeks, we’ll meet up to decide if and when we’d like to organize it again. If you’d like to attend a similar, but more-academically oriented event, on Oct 10-12, the Polyglot Conference will take place in Novi Sad, Serbia, but sign up soon, because registration closes on July 7!

A German experiences NASK

Posted on 26. May, 2014 by in Interview, Uncategorized

Lena helps film at NASK

Lena helps film at NASK

Last week, I interviewed Fábio Montiero about his participation in NASK and the awesome video he made about it. This week, I’m here with Lena, a German who attended the intermediate course at NASK last year! In case you missed last week’s interview, NASK is the Nordamerika Somera Kursaro where people interested in learning Esperanto get together to improve their Esperanto at an American university!

Why did you attend NASK? Were you living in America at the time or did you fly over from Germany specifically for this course?

I actually went to the US for about three months and decided to spend some vacation time there as well. So, I figured it would be nice to finally learn enough Esperanto to communicate. Therefore, I looked up programs that were near me and found NASK in Raleigh, NC. Since I have never really spoken Esperanto before, I started with the post-beginners course, but during the first day I realized that this was too easy and switched to the intermediate course.

What was it like learning there? How did it compare to your usual university courses?

It was awesome. We had 3 hours of class every morning after breakfast. And I really liked going to class, since we always had interesting topics, and Derek, our instructor, always had very good ideas. For me, grammar is not very easy, but Derek’s explanations were really good.

I think there is a big difference between NASK and regular University courses. NASK is total immersion. We tried to speak only Esperanto, which worked surprisingly well. The Esperanto community is also very motivating. Esperanto speakers have a certain and unique mindset, which creates a wonderful learning environment. I think this makes all the difference to other courses.

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What was the most interesting experience you had there?

The participants and the feeling of belonging and acceptance. I never found such a big, heterogeneous group of people which are that interesting and interested. This was the most wonderful experience and I was really sad to go back to my normal life.

What would you tell people who are considering going to NASK this summer?

NASK participants in North Carolina

NASK participants in North Carolina

Try to speak only Esperanto; it is the best way to practice! And get the English-Esperanto-English Dictionary (2010 Edition) by John Wells.

Here you can find more information about NASK this year, which will be taking place in British Columbia on June 29-July 8!

Globeto films at NASK

Posted on 21. May, 2014 by in Events, Interview, NASK

Fábio Montejro at NASK

Fábio Montejro at NASK

Today I’m with Fábio Monteiro, the Brazilian who made the cool videos about NASK! What is NASK you say? It stands for the Nordamerika Somera Kursaro where people interested in learning Esperanto get together to improve their Esperanto at an American university! A few years ago, I interviewed Ellen Eddy about their new format. This year, I want to interview a few of last year’s participants to get a different perspective on the event.

So, Fábio, why did you decide to attend NASK?

Pasintjare mi simple decidis lasi ĉion en Brazilo kaj vojaĝi dum kelkaj monatoj. Mia itinero konsistis el Usono, Meksiko kaj Kubo. Pro tio ke mi estas Esperantisto nature mi profitis la okazon por partopreni je kelkaj E-eventoj. Tiel mi elektis NASK-on kiel unua vojaĝ-celo, ĉar mi ja multe aŭdadis pri la kvalito kaj valoro de la kurso, krome la dato kaj la loko perfekte enmetiĝis en mia itinero.

Last year I just decided to leave everything in Brazil and travel for a few months. My itinerary consisted of the USA, Mexico and Cuba. Because I’m an Esperanto speaker, of course I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in some Esperanto events. That’s how I chose NASK as my first destination, because I did indeed hear a lot about the quality and value of the course. The date and location perfectly fit into my travel itinenary.

What did you learn there? What course did you take?

Mi partoprenis en la supera kurso gvidita de la ĉiliano José Antonio Vergara. Fakte en tiu nivelo ni ne multe lernis pri la lingvo mem, ĉar tio supozeble ne estas plu bezonata, anstataŭe ni pli diskutis pri la historio, evoluo kaj nuntempa situacio de la Esperanta movado. Mi tre profitis la debatojn!

I participated in the advanced course led by the Chilean, José Antonio Vergara. In fact, in that level we don’t learn much about the language itself, because that isn’t really needed anymore, but instead we talk about the history, evolution and current situation of the Esperanto movement. I really profited from the debates!

How did you end up making the video there?

Unu el la celoj de mia vojaĝo estis filme kaj fote registri ĉion kio estis interesa por posta muntado de raportaĵoj. Tial krom la lecionoj mi ankaŭ okupiĝis pri filmado kaj intervjuoj. La filmetoj pri NASK estas nur la unuaj rezultoj de tiu vojaĝo. Tamen mia malmola disko esta plenplena da filmoj en Esperanto kiu devos aperi en la venontaj monatoj.

One of the goals of my trip was to film and take pictures of everything interesting to later edit it into video reports. So, besides the lessons, that’s why I was also busy with filming and interviews. The short films about NASK are only the first results of my travels. However, my hard drive is packed with Esperanto films, which should appear in the coming months.

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Mi multe bedaŭras ke nuntempe mi ne havas sufiĉe da tempo por munti novajn filmojn ĉar mi ĵus akiris novan postenon kaj laboras plentempe. Tial mia laboro por Esperanto bedaŭrinde denove fariĝis flanka kaj libertempa. Krome kelkaj homoj ne scias tion sed muntado de filmoj laŭ iom prefesia nivelo vere postulas multe da tempo…

I’m very disappointed that I now don’t have enough time to edit new movies, because I just started a new job and work full-time. That’s why my work for Esperanto, unfortunately, now moved back to my free time. In addition, some people don’t realize it, but editing films at a professional level really takes a lot of time…

Could you tell us a little more about your work for Globeto?

Fábio filming Globeto at NASK

Fábio filming Globeto at NASK

Temas pri rubriko ĉe mia “YouTube”-a paĝo, kie mi enmetas nur filmetojn en Esperanto aŭ pri Esperanto. Globeto ne estas oficiala, movada, ŝtata aŭ ligita al ia specifa Esperanta entrepreno. Ĝi estas simpla projekto, tute sendependa kaj iom privata, ĉar ĝi estas farita de sola Esperanta ĵurnalisto. Tiel mi esperas kontribui la Esperantan kulturon, la disvastigadon de nia lingvo, kaj la lernadon de novaj esperantistoj, kiuj volas lerni Esperanton per pli nuntempaj kaj amuzaj metodoj. Ĉiuj viaj legantoj estas invitataj spekti ĝin ĉe la kanalo de Globeto!

Globeto is a section of my YouTube page where I only upload short films in Esperanto or about Esperanto. It is not official, of the movement, state or related in any way to a specific Esperanto enterprise. It’s a simple project, completely independent and somewhat private, because it’s done by a single Esperanto reporter. That’s how I hope to contribute to Esperanto culture, spreading our language and helping new Esperanto speakers who want to learn Esperanto using more current and fun methods. All of your readers are invited to watch it at la kanalo de Globeto!

Here you can find more information about NASK this year, which will be taking place in British Columbia on June 29-July 8!