Autism, bilingualism and beautiful Iceland // Polyglot Conference Day 1

We’ve had a successful first day of the Polyglot Conference!

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Here’s a recap in what went down:

The amazing Vigdís Finnbogadottír (a.k.a the first ever elected female head of state) opened the conference with her wonderful humour and sobering comments about the impact of anglicisms on Icelandic language and culture.

I met the very lovely Tyler and also the very lovely Simon.

I got to gush to Benny Lewis about his book series.

That wasn’t enough gushing, so I then went to the Teach Yourself stand, and spoke to them for so long, they finally agreed to take my email address, probably so I quieten down.

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I met a professor of Old Norse, who gave me some helpful pointers if I want to do my dissertation on homoeroticism in Icelandic sagas.

I got to gush to Alex Rawlings about him as a person.

I got to practise all of my languages.

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I attended my favourite talk so far: Bérengère Digard discussed questions relating to Autism and Bilingualism, such as whether in non-verbal children, bilingualism should be abandoned, as well as the complications of active language learning in autistic people but also some advantages they may experience. This varied from the stress of the school-based language environment, where language classes often feature group work and general auditory processing disorders making the comprehension of even native languages much slower, to ease of identifying patterns and actively learning a language’s culture, rather than being expected to implicitly absorb it, having incredible benefits in combatting the isolation frequently experienced by those with autism. (I will never be able to do her talk or her research justice, so I do recommend you check out what she has online).

And I also got to see more of beautiful beautiful beautiful Iceland.

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I hope you’re having a lovely week, and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

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