5 Huge Reasons to Attend Women In Language 2020

12th September 2020

Whether you want to learn Twi to connect with Ghana, or Yoruba to understand Nollywood movies, learning a West African language will change your life.

Have you heard of Women in Language? 

It’s an online language event where you can learn from women experts in language learning - this year’s line-up is amazing 🙌

I had a little chat with organiser Lindsay Williams about what’s happening in Women in Language this year (and some great reasons to get involved!)

If you’d like more info about this year’s event, Lindsay will share the details in the rest of this post...

5 Huge Reasons to Attend Women In Language 2020

Hello! Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages here. Katie has kindly let me hop on her blog to share this post with you. 

I’ve been co-hosting Women In Language now for over 2 years. Women In Language is now heading for its third major annual event, and we can’t wait to bring it to you live 17-20th September 2020.

If you’d like to join us live for this year’s Women In Language event, you can! 

The 4 day event happens online, so you can join from anywhere in the world. And, best of all, tickets are just $29. Learn more and get your Women In Language 2020 ticket here.

And as always, there’s so many great reasons to attend this year! In this post I’ll share just 5 reasons to attend Women In Language 2020.

Number #1: Get Excited For Our Dream Teams!

Something we’re trying for the first time at Women In Language this year is our Dream Teams, multiple inspiring speakers sharing the stage at the same time.

Here’s the three Dream Teams to look out for at this year’s event…

How Listening to Friends Talking Will Make You a Better Speaker of Italian (or Any Foreign Language) with Elfin Waters, Barbara Rocci, and Silvia Perrone.

Their dedication to their podcast for Italian learners, Con Parole Nostre is exactly why we wanted to hear from them together at this year’s Women In Language.

Here’s how they describe the session in their own words:

You can’t hope to truly learn a language without friends. Or anything else really. So what if that were your starting point?

Con Parole Nostre is a podcast for Italian learners based entirely on conversations between real-life friends Elfin, Barbara and Silvia.

We laugh, we cry, we argue and most of all chat without any script whatsoever.

In this presentation, Silvia, Barbara and Elfin share how friendship and community are key in becoming fluent Italian speakers and how by speaking spontaneously, we give a more accurate and helpful portrayal of Italian language and culture but also emotions. 

Awakening to Yourself Through Languages with María Ortega García & Jessica Tefenkgi Ruelle

Another Dream Team this year is our Mindfulness Dream Team with María Ortega García and Jessica Tefenkgi Ruelle.

Here’s how they describe their session:

If you are learning languages or speak more than one language, you have probably experienced feeling a little bit different in each of them. It may feel like you become somehow a different person.  

This is because acquiring a new language allows you to awaken some parts of you that were until then unknown, or forgotten. It’s not that you are a different person in your different languages. It’s rather that every new language is a gateway to discover new parts of you: behaviours, gestures, feelings, worldviews, etc

In this talk, we invite you on the journey of discovering your plurality thanks to your foreign languages. Learn the beautiful process of reuniting with your authentic self and creatively expressing who you really are.  Shed the barriers of trying to translate “you”, and instead embrace each of your original voices in your foreign languages, learn to make them your own and awaken to yourself through them. 

Neo Andean Experiences: The Quechua Collective of New York with Elva Ambia & Jessica Huancacuri 

Finally, learn a little about Quechua and the Quechua Collective with Elva Ambia & Jessica Huancacuri.

Here’s what to expect with this talk:

Founded in 2012, The Quechua Collective of New York is a community based organization comprised of native Quechua speakers, heritage speakers, and students from the New York area. The organization's mission is to preserve and diffuse the Quechua language through workshops, cultural events, and educational programming, and to celebrate and promote Quechua language and culture. 

Director and native Quechua speaker, Elva Ambia, and Assistant Director and heritage speaker, Jessica Huancacuri, both Peruvian immigrants, will each share their unique journeys; what led them to start and participate in an organization such as The Quechua Collective, and how working with the organization affects their daily mission to persevere their mother tongue and native culture. Themes of immigration, decolonization, the Andean diaspora, language resilience, and cultural re connection will be explored. 

Number #2: Become a More Inclusive Language Learner

A real theme that’s come through when our speakers suggested their talks this year is that of social justice and inclusion, in particular in the language learning space.

To give you an idea of what I’m, talking about, here’s a glimpse at some of our talk topics we’ve got lined up…

Decolonizing Language Learning & Coaching: Holding Space for Inclusion with Chesline Pierre-Paul

In Chesline’s own words…

How are the ways language learning and coaching can be activated as forward-moving forces that bring into the fold and into power inclusivity and decoloniality? Let’s look at language as advocacy. Language as an equalizer. In this talk, we will destabilize the regimes of systemic privilege that pervade language learning/coaching. In this talk, we will come together to create an aspirational and mobilizing interspace where we will learn to stand tall, strong, and affirmed as we learn to hold space for each other with a brand-new refreshing awareness of a decolonized language learning & coaching experience. This is an open space to articulate inclusion, decoloniality, responsible privilege, and equitable allyship. Let’s build ourselves up through language as the next-gen cohort of history-making woke, badass, and breath-stealing Super Sheroes, Queeroes & Heroes that we are. Time to get woke and real about inclusivity and decoloniality in the lingosphere. Today. 😉

Disrupting in Language: The Impact of Bilingualism on Black Identity in the Age of #BLM with Dr Kami Anderson

The current global climate has raised pertinent issues in regards to race and identity from which the discipline of language is not exempt.  How does one navigate the intersections of race, language and identity in daily life?  How does being bilingual make racial identity more salient? Dr. Kami J. Anderson will discuss how she sees language as an empowerment tool particularly for women of color by using her own life's experiences as the backdrop.  This talk will not only allow us to engage in dialogue around the oft times ignored benefits of language, but also allow us to reflect on the ways we may personally use our own language ability as a tool for empowering ourselves.  

Multilingual Community Building & the Role of Linguists and Language Learners in Social Justice Movements with Jamila Ball, Esq

This session will discuss the critical role of linguists and language learners in social justice movements. Participants will be called to analyze the value of linguists and language learners decolonizing our minds around language. We will discuss issues related to individual identity (e.g., race, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.) and why "language justice" isn't enough. A special emphasis will be placed on the linkages between intersectionality and multilingualism.

NaTakallam & The Power of Language: Fostering More Welcoming Societies with Aline Sara

There are many studies that speak to the power of language and growing up in a multicultural setting. Learning a language isn’t just learning another language, it’s learning another culture – it’s a window into the world! 

It also fosters more empathy and social abilities, which we have witnessed working at NaTakallam. Learning more than one language, facilitates the environment to foster more welcoming societies, something needed now more than ever. Learning languages builds bridges between cultures, at a time when our political leaders are building walls.

In 2015, Aline Sara co-founded NaTakallam (“We Speak” in Arabic), an award-winning social enterprise that connects refugees to remote work opportunities in the language sector. Sara has overseen the growth of NaTakallam from a small startup to a globally recognized organization that has distributed over $800,000 in self-earned income to refugees, providing services to individuals and organizations, including Ivy League schools, UN agencies and corporations.

Number #3: Join Live Language Exchanges

This year at Women In Language, we’re bringing something new to the event...open online language exchange!

Our two Speak Easy sessions across the 4 day event are for learners of all languages at all levels.

When joining the call, we ask which language you want to practise and open breakout rooms for each language.

Think of it as a super friendly chance to speak your language out loud with other learners!

We’re really excited to be bringing language exchange sessions to Women In Language for the first time.

Number #4: Learn From Our Incredible Panels!

The panels have been a firm favourite ever since our first event back in 2018. And this year, we’ve got two great ones for you.

We’ll be discussing The Intricacies of Learning Heritage Languages with Desta Haile, Marissa Blaszko and Esther Ciganda. All three have different experiences to draw from when it comes to learning heritage languages, so this will be a really fascinating panel for those with a second (or third!) language in their heritage.

But even if that doesn’t describe you, don’t worry! Women In Language co-host Lindsay Williams, who has no heritage language to speak of, will be hosting, and she’ll be there to ask all the questions you’d otherwise be too embarrassed to ask.

And then there’s our second panel, How to Build Confidence as a Language Expert with Sara Maria Hasbun, Lina Vasquez, Emma Green. 

If you’ve ever wondered how people (especially women) have the confidence to call themselves experts, this one’s for you. Joining Lina, Sara Maria and this panel’s host Kerstin Cable will be Emma Green.

Emma works with Teach Yourself languages, so can give the perspective from the other side: what do companies look for when approaching language experts?

Number #5: Boost Your Own Language Skills

And of course, no Women In Language would be complete without plenty to boost your own language learning skills. Here’s just a taste of what to expect in 2020:

How to Learn a Language like a 5-Year-Old with Devy Baseley

Here’s what to expect in Devy’s talk:

In this presentation, Devy will talk about what can make your language learning more successful and help you retain more of what you learn by focusing on some of the ways five-year-olds learn and assimilate new things.

In the language learning world, there’s a myth that implies that it’s easier for children to learn because their brains are like sponges so let’s see what aspects of this we can use to our advantage when learning languages as adults.

Although everybody has an individual way to learn, there are some keys and principles to learning more effectively.

You can become proficient or fluent in your target language without being totally immersed in the country or language or having started as a child, in fact as a teacher for over 25 years as well as a language learner and lover, Devy will distil how to use the natural abilities we all have.

Accent Acquisition and Your Vocal Instrument with Eliza Simpson

Here’s what Eliza has to say about her presentation:

This talk will address the core practices of accent acquisition and how to engage your vocal instrument for greater fluency, pronunciation, retention, and confidence. 

As a dialect coach for film, TV, and theater I work with actors to deliver convincing performances in various dialects.  Learning an accent can seem daunting, but the truth is that accent acquisition uses the same process as any other physical skill. Mastering this skill will give you more authentic pronunciation and increase your retention. Focusing on the physical action, you will find that fluency improves and your confidence in your new language increases. Accent acquisition not only empowers your speech, but it can significantly speed up your language learning process. 

Ditch the Apology! How to Stop Apologising in Any Language with Shanthi Cumaraswamy Streat 

Read Shanthi’s own words to learn more on this session:

One of the things we do as language learners is to apologise for our ‘bad’ language before we start speaking. Apologising is also a favourite pastime for us women. We apologise for everything whether it’s in a social or professional context. It’s the way we were brought up. To be submissive. To minimise our expertise. To not speak up. 

I spent years apologising before speaking in business meetings and often find myself apologising when I am at the post office in Milan. 

In this talk, I’ll explore why we have this urge to apologise and share what I try and tell myself and do whenever I feel compelled to apologise.

Better Strategies for Learning (and Loving) Languages Through Reading with Marissa Blaszko

Here’s what to expect from Marissa’s presentation:

This workshop is for anyone who would like to make reading a more enjoyable and productive part of their language learning, regardless of level. We'll meet those goals by exploring: (1) how to set your unique goal, (2) how to use reading strategies specific to that goal, (3) how to find books that will set you up for success, and (4) additional ways to use reading as part of your at-home language immersion. Language learners will leave the workshop with an actionable plan at any level, as well as a WIL-exclusive planner and tracker pdf. Language teachers will leave with new ideas for advanced-level students.

BONUS: 17 Other Amazing Reasons to Join Women In Language 2020!

This is just a snippet of the incredible line up at this year’s event taking place 17-20 September 2020.

You’ve still also got 17 other sessions to enjoy with your ticket!

If you’d like to join us for the event, tickets are available for just $29 at womeninlanguage.com.

See you there!

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