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    • A story, many stories at the Polyglot Gathering 2016 16 maggio 2016
      If you want to read this article in Italian, go here: https://goo.gl/Xc5Mo4 As you are reading the following text, from any device you’re doing it, and regardless of your background, I invite you to do a little experiment with me. Imagine for a moment that you are in a beautiful place. What is it? Think about it [...]
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A story, many stories at the Polyglot Gathering 2016

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 16 maggio 2016

If you want to read this article in Italian, go here: https://goo.gl/Xc5Mo4

As you are reading the following text, from any device you’re doing it, and regardless of your background, I invite you to do a little experiment with me.

Imagine for a moment that you are in a beautiful place. What is it? Think about it for a moment. It’s evening. The temperature is perfect for you. There are people with whom you really love spending your time. Maybe there’s a fire in the center and then one of these people stands up and begins saying: “Once upon a time …”

How would you feel as you are right here to listen to this story? But what story?
Or what stories?

It’s been some time that I dwell on storytelling, experiencing a bit here and a little there (if you have followed me last winter, you may know that I wrote a story about Francesca,  who learns to speak a language using a special method, and that I am collecting and mapping different stories).

The first story I could tell you could be about a person, like you, like me, coming from a big city or a small town (maybe Tropea, why not?), who is looking for inspiration in his learning and teaching (foreign languages) path. He is in a stalemate, actually is losing a bit of motivation, he’s less inspired to continue learning German, or to decide once and for all to speak Spanish and French. So, this person is in this situation when one of his dear former students (perhaps this is Conor Clyne), who has now become a friend, tells him about a special event, with the participation of all these people who love to learn, talk and share their passion for languages ​​and foreign cultures.

This person (come on, let’s call Antonio :-)) decided, after much reflection, excuses and second thoughts, to participate in this event and to share with others some of the ideas that he’s experimenting on himself and his students (guided imagery and storytelling). He gets ready to leave not knowing what it will be, what he will face. He takes a plane (maybe more than one) and reaches  a beautiful German city: Berlin.

The unavoidable Alberto

The inevitable and very nice Alberto Arrighini of italianoautomatico.com. Thanks to Dragoş for the photo.

Here Antonio can discover other stories, such as the one of Lydia, who realized that everyone has their favorite way to learn languages, and many, among those who are successful in language learning, use  a different method than the others.

The presentation of Lydia. Thanks to those who took the photo.

The presentation of Lydia. Thanks to those who took the picture.

There are those who learn quickly, there are those who would like to learn more quickly, and those who talk about slow learning, like Caeryc and Santiago, who spoke in multiple languages, managing to involve even those who do not speak and understand these languages, getting even the young Antonio (in heart and spirit :-)) to get moved.  There is also a very young man (Dragoş Luca) who manages to speak publicly in English about something he cares very much, letting a lot of people reflect about the human implications of being able to speak several foreign languages:  knowing the language spoken by a people different from ours can help us understand its culture, maybe so different from ours, can allow us to overcome the barriers (including the walls) and prejudices that each of us can also find within himself.

Along with Dragoş Luca. Thanks to those who took the photo.

Along with Dragoş Luca. Thanks to those who took the photo.

There are so many experiences, techniques, languages ​​that are shared at this event, that each participant is able to enrich himself in the heart, mind and spirit.

SHARING. This is what everyone (even Antonio) can breathe in the air during this event.

Sharing thoughts.
Life stories.

In order to learn, to teach, to live fully one or more foreign languages ​​in the most natural and possible way. Again, for the second year in a row.

Thanks to Dragoş and the people who attended his (Dragoş’s) presentation, Antonio was able to find out that in some cultures it is a grave offense to touch the others on the head, because they consider that it’s in the head that the soul resides. Thanks to Caeryc and Santiago he got moved while  listening to a song in Russian, although he could not understand the words: he later discovered that the song, originally sung by children, was about that age of passage that is the end of childhood. Thanks to Lydia he realized even more that each person learns in his own way, that sometimes maybe it’s better not to teach but to make them learn.

And it’s thanks to Conor, the organizers, and all participants (even those who have not been mentioned in this article) that this young man returns home from a wonderful experience that allowed him to learn, grow, socialize (he who considers himself a “ambiverse” that is a something between introverted and extroverted, as he was able to discover thanks to Julia Barnickle and Alexander Ferguson), have fun, open his mind, tell many stories (specifically the story of the Prince Swordsman, the third part of Francesca’s story, and two other stories that had not initially planned to tell: the happiest man in the world and the Ugly Servant; after all, his presentation was entitled: Storytelling in Language Learning), create many mind maps, and who knows how many other things that he has still not realized.

Guarda le mie slide

Guarda le mie slide

Look at the slide of my presentation: Storytelling in Language Learning

Look at my visual notes

Look at my visual notes

Look at my mind maps and my visual notes: Mind maps created by Antonio Libertine at the Polyglot Gathering 2016

And so this journey ends. Antonio can return to his home, not far from his beloved, beautiful and contradictory Tropea, enriched with experiences, inspiration and enthusiasm, ready to live experiences that may transform him every day, knowing that after living them, he may rest for a while ‘and then start all over again. Now he knows that sometimes you have to accept the call and embark on a new path, knowing that it is always good to “relax and enjoy the journey!”

And the person who tells the story in front of the fire, on this starry night while you are in the company of your special people and you blissfully listened to his stories, he just concludes, paraphrasing Steven Moffat, simply with this:

Remember that in the end we are all stories

Un abbraccio e un caro saluto da Antonio

P.S.: Don’t you think it’s time to read in Italian? https://goo.gl/Xc5Mo4

P.S.: Feel free to reread the article and follow the links… There are tons of resoursces for you to speak Italian better and better!

P.S.3: Here are some impromptu videos at the Gathering 2016. Have fun!


Pubblicato in inspirational | Nessun commento »

Share your experience to improve with foreign languages!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 8 maggio 2015

Sharing. A very common word in the social media days. Sharing is something that can be done even without using  Facebook too much. How? By having a shared passion, such as the passion for languages ​​- including their learning and teaching. No matter whether it’s one language or more than ten, what is important is to feel passion in what you do, and then share it with others.

While writing what  I have just written,  the words of Christopher McCandless came to my mind.  I heard them in the great movie “INTO THE WILD”:

“Happiness only real when shared”

What I have experienced just a few  days ago is happiness becoming real, and I can sum up this experience in one word. And that word is …



Life stories.




To learn, to teach, to fully experience one or more foreign languages ​​as naturally as possible.

But what  am I  talking about?

Do you know Berlin, the capital of Germany? A city that can impress you with its architectural wonders, its history, and its people. Whether you can imagine it or not, you should know that a few days ago Berlin was the place where a special meeting took place: for four days, about 350 among “polyglots”, language lovers, and enlightened entrepreneurs joyfully shared  their ideas , their activities, and  their life stories.

The ones that you will be able to see below are just some of the special people who got together at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in the first four days of May 2015 … In Lindsay Dow’s video below, you can get to see the first day’s highlights.


Although I will not mention all of them, you should know that all the people - from the organizers to the last of the participants - even those with whom I spoke very little - have a special place in my heart.

kyeonghunAmong them there was Kyeonghun Son, who came all the way from Korea. Along with other people, whose name I can’t unfortunately remember of, he sat down to chat with me (in English) at dinner and taught me how to present myself in Korean (and I let him learn how to do it in Italian)… I will always remember with pleasure the good and brisk walk around Berlin that we had after lunch one day, and the great feedback he gave me for my lecture… Oh yes, because I  was in Berlin  also to present something I care a lot about and  you can read about later in this post.

irinaThere was Irina Pravet who shared  with us her story and her insights  about her transition from Canada to Finland. She told us how  her way of being (sociable and spontaneous) had changed when she began to live in Finland and speak Finnish. She shared with us  how she went through a period of great distress, and the steps she went through to recover and find herself again. This is my mind map of her lecture - really exciting and touching at the same time!


Among other things, Irina brought me and Claudio to visit a beautiful and “secret” garden near the hotel where the conference was taking place.


Who is Claudio?


Claudio Sartori is a nice and charismatic Italian guy, currently living in Lithuania, who has come up with a special idea to overcome one of the biggest hurdles in language learning: that is finding relevant, fun, and at-the-right-level (+1) content  to read and listen to.  He managed to create a key resource for those who want to read, listen, watch a lot of interesting content without experiencing the frustration of not understanding anything at all. How? In this video you can find out how BLIU BLIU works.


Many people were curious to know about the origin of the name - BLIU BLIU… The story is more or less like this. Claudio had tried (like many others) to learn English without success for many years, then, recommended by a friend, he started to watch the episodes of FRIENDS - The famous tv series - again and again… and then, one day, he found out that he could finally speak English, better and better. In one of the episodes, there  was Joey needing to speak French although he didn’t have any clue about how to speak that language. Well, Joey began to”speak” in a very self-confident way something that did not  not sound French at all (and among other incomprehensible expressions, he said someghing sounding like BLIU BLIU), and then Claudio thought that sometimes being confident can play a key role in the way we are perceived by others and in our language learning path.

By the way, Claudio is looking for more authentic material in any language… so whatever your native language is, if you want to help him, record a little video and send it to him via email to claudio at bliubliu.com (sharing your video - or audio - with him, you will help many others to learn your language).

Among the others, there was also Alberto Arrighini, the nice Italian guy from Italiano Automatico, always very nice and more and more muscular (and surprisingly very tall): he made me laugh a lot (because he says he likes my laughter) and I was also involved in some interesting videos that he will publish on his channel as soon as possible.  Here’s a nice picture with  Gloria, a joyful lady from Catalonia.


Every person present at the Polyglot Gathering shared a part of themselves, with the aim to let the community grow and be empowered (in the most positive sense of the word). It’s a community of people -normal and special at the same time - who sometimes love to meet in person also to take stock of the situation.

And I? Why was I there? I know I am not a polyglot (have you read the page about me?), But I share with all of these people the passion for languages ​​and cultures. So I decided to go to Berlin to talk about something I really care about and  that, along with many other things, I love to use with many of my students: guided imagery for language learning. Visualizations are for me one of the many interesting things (including: reading, listening, speaking, have fun with the language) that can be used to reach - step after step - the goal of speaking a foreign language very well (and enjoy the process too!).

guided imagery in language learning

I decided from the very first moment to talk about that topic in English, although I was feeling  again a bit rusty with this wonderful language, common to many. It was a challenge for me, a way to get out of my comfort zone. Despite my human imperfections, I am happy for how it went and how people embraced it.

I remember with pleasure Kyeonghun Sons feedback: he told me that he felt as if I was sharing my energy with the audience… and I was very happy to hear it, because as I told him, I was feeling in a state of flow while guiding the people in front of me in a pleasant state of relaxation in which they could imagined being able to speak their target language very well! I felt - with all my being - the feelings that the words coming out of my mouth aroused.

I had to laugh a lot instead with Dimity’s comment: he joked about the fact that at that time (9 am) many people who had not slept much the night before (because of the nightlife in Berlin) were happy to go back to sleep and snore during the relaxation, guided by the sound of my voice.

There was a gentleman I can’t remember the name of, who told me he imagined a beautiful and positive scene in which he was sitting with other people in an office in the company he was working in and he felt great for being able to speak Dutch very well.

There was also Leslie who told me how easy it was for her to imagine the suggested situations, feeling wonderfully well at the end.

I thank these people for the feedback they have given me and I will add a couple of things before concluding this long post.

1) I remember that in the Q & A phase of the lecture I was asked if what I had just done was “ALPI” and I replied that I did not know about this field. Thinking again about it, probably I  didn’t hear well  and the person who asked me the question was thinking about NLP (PNL in Italian). Well, NLP also has a technique called Future Pace where you can ask the client to imagine being in a context that in the past would have triggered a problematic behavior. I think that the technique used during the lecture is more complete and can also be used in the ways that I mentioned toward the end (by the way, you will be able to watch my lecture, as soon as the video recording will be edited).

2) A concept about I could have also talked about during the lecture was state dependent learning. I think that I have already mentioned it in a few posts on this blog and  maybe I will talk about it again in the future.

Before concluding I would share a final thought with you who are reading, because …

You can also learn a lot by sharing what you know, discovering, and enriching yourself in the process.

Relax and enjoy the journey!


P.s.: if you feel like it, you can read about this experience in Italian!

P.s.2: if you liked this long post, share it as much as you like it!

Pubblicato in inspirational | 1 Commento »


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