Friday, 8 February 2013


Today I had the day off work to go to Expo-langues, the annual convention for those who teach languages. It was amazing to see so many languages under one roof; from Arabic to Urdu via Chinese, Spanish and Russian. I picked up one or two little things:

There were several leaflets about immersive intensive courses, which are really exciting, and also leaflets about prospective jobs - I had never realised the possibilities open to students of linguistics. I also picked up brochures for Masters programmes because it's good to keep one's options open, and compared to UK prices it doesn't seem a bad idea to look abroad for further educational possibilities. An extra language has opened up a whole other country to study in, and for me that's awesome.

The EU's languages and employment department had a big stall and was handing out free stuff as fast as it could - there might be a metaphor there - like rubbers, pens, umbrellas and DVDs. The DVD is actually excellent, and all the films can be seen online here. I'd really recommend Change Please, as it has a really cool premise and the ending is brilliant. Falling in Language is also very cute. 

I got a Russian lesson and a Japanese lesson for free, joined a tea ceremony at the Hanban stall and watched possibly the most awful playing of Much Ado About Nothing ever, although I could only sit through the latter for thirty minutes. With so much amazing stuff on offer, wasting one's time on sub-par interpretations of the Bard is futile. 

There was also a weird moment where either somebody was winding me up, or I've had my identity mistaken in a huge way. A lady on one of the stalls broke off in the middle of a conversation with a customer to wave and wink at me. Intrigued, I went over, where she asked the customer to excuse her, took me five paces over and asked why I hadn't called.

Somebody with spotless morals would, at this point, have admitted that they were not the person who hadn't called. 

I am not quite that person. I apologised, said I had lost her number, and now have a date.

Very surreal situation.

I also picked up another couple of contacts and made acquaintances, as well as meeting a man who can only be described as a mad genius. He genuinely believes that English can be taught in a week. Personally, I found the idea fascinating, although the man himself should stick to writing books and get someone else to do his PR - nobody trying to sell something should be made so furious by a request for proof. He rattled through the material, banged his board for emphasis, refused to speak in English despite me being English and him being English and at the end just turned and walked away. Very bizarre man. I'm going to share his video here, and I want you all to know that his accent has not improved an ounce nor has his presence become any more friendly.

Be that as it may, his idea seems to have some merit. Check it out for yourself.