This month, we got a chance to talk with Brian Powers, creator of the blog "Languages Around the Globe". He talked to us about his beginnings and where he wants to be going, along with his thoughts on blogging and more.
How did Languages Around the Globe come into being? What is the main message or goal, if any, of it?
I used to work as program coordinator for a literacy/TESOL company in Connecticut called The Literacy Volunteers of Eastern Connecticut. I met a lot of really fascinating learners from around the world and quickly found that I was more interested in learning their languages than I was in teaching mine. Probably not a great quality in a teacher, but I digress.
I turned to the Facebook language and linguistics community to try to pick up on more information or tips and tricks that I could perhaps apply to my work and eventually it turned into something I found myself embroiled in quite thoroughly. In August 2012 I started my own FB page, Languages Around the Globe, as a fun sort of hobby thing. It served as a great way to keep me interested in what I did and learning about the things that mattered while contributing to a more multilingual world in some small way.
LATG was nothing more than a Facebook page for about a year and a half. In Spring 2014 I began writing down thoughts that I had about various language products and experiences during my own learning projects. Realizing that I had already developed the perfect platform on which to share this content LATG more or less immediately launched into a reasonably well-read site owing to an existing following.
It was never my intention for things to go as far as they have but since then I've more or less turned LATG into something of a full time job. It's incredibly rewarding, tons of fun, I get to spend all of my time learning languages and meeting awesome people from around the world.
Do you find blogging a gratifying experience, or do you feel there is now too much competition in the blogsphere?
The great thing about blogging, especially in a niche such as languages and linguistics, is that for the most part there really is no competition. That's not to say that there aren't other bloggers. Actually there're quite a few. It's a very well populated niche. The thing about language blogging is that it's not a competition. I'm not selling a product, what I do is readily available for free. We more or less help each other out, promote one anothers' content and function as a really diverse web of writers, learners and enthusiasts. It's extremely gratifying.
Are there any blogs, websites, podcasts, video channels, etc., that you like to follow or have inspired you in your own work?
I try to keep up decent relations with other enthusiasts in the niche. LATG is one of the founding members of something called the Digital Language Collective (DLC). It's something of a "cool-kids-club" for language writers, vloggers, and others who have made languages their online profession in some way. It's a fantastic way to keep up on everyone's latest content. The list of pages and sites that I'm a fan of is extensive.
Early on though I was inspired a lot by the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages and linguistics publications such as Geocurrents.
Do you have any professional training or education as a writer which helps you in your blogging?
As a writer I don't have any specific training beyond that required of those in an academic setting. I studied cultural anthropology as an undergraduate and as with most scientific fields there is a certain degree of literacy that needs to be presented for one to be taken seriously. I took writing courses during my studies as they were required.
Beyond that, I suppose I've always read a lot, something I think will naturally impact one's writing skills in a positive way.
It is probably a cliche question, but what got you interested in languages, especially considering you are in the USA, which is stereotyped as the monolingual country?
I've always been interested in languages. This passion didn't really present itself in me until after finishing my undergrad studies, but if I think back on it, it was always there. While I was in school I on more than one occasion attempted to pursue linguistics coursework, but my university did not offer a degree program. I settled for anthropology, which I love and also attribute very much to my interest in language learning and linguistics as a scientific field.
Are any members of your family or friends as you were growing up interested in languages as well?
Not really, unfortunately. My sister took Italian courses during her own university studies, but she never speaks any of it around me. She gave me all of her textbooks but beyond that nope, my friends and family are more or less monolingual.
What would you like to see LATG become in the future?
Well I'm moving to Germany in March of this year. Preparing for this move and then of course getting settled in a new country is really taking its toll on my schedule, and I expect it will continue to do so for the next few months. There has been a reduction in activity recently, but I'm making an effort to turn that around and hope to be back in the saddle as soon as possible, writing, reviewing and of course learning.
I never got into this for the money but in a perfect world it would be great to be able to fully support myself through my activities with LATG. It's the perfect scenario, you know? Earn enough money doing something I absolutely love that also allows me to travel, work on my own time and keep my mind engaged.
I'm hoping to return to grad school in Germany once my German language skills improve to an adequate level, so stay tuned for lots of articles about that! I'm hoping to pursue a field related to the work I've been doing and would love the opportunity to tie LATG to my studies.
Whatever happens, it's going to be awesome.
You can find Brian at Languages Around the Globe (latg.org)
|In Others's Words|
All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.
|Letter From The Editor - Making it Happen|
|Motivation - Expressing oneself and the expression of oneself in language learning|
|Motivation Killers in Learning a Language|
|Mixing Languages and Relationships|
|In Others' Words - Brian Powers|
|At the Cinema - Cutting Room Floor|
|Languages in Peril - Cyprus' Language Revival Approach Problem|
|Where Are You?|
|At A Glance|
Find previous issues in the archives.
Letter From The Editor - No Politics • Make Your Own Language Group • A History of Research in Study Abroad • Parrot Time on Patreon • Languages in Peril - Sayonara, Ainu • At the Cinema - La Coppia dei Campioni • Where Are You? • Book Look - The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots • Basic Guide to Romanian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Hope and Failing • Six Ways To Choose Which Languages To Learn • Learning Spanish - The trials, the tribulations and one triumphant learning hack • At the Cinema - The Last King (Birkebeinerne) • Celebrations - Birkebeinerrennet • Where Are You? • Book Look - Langenscheidt Dictionaries • Basic Guide to Swedish • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Culture and Language, Again • Learning A Language Is Learning Its Culture • Revisited - Early Bardic Literature in Ireland • Languages in Peril - Save Medan Hokkien! • In Others' Words - Ulrike and Peter Rettig • At the Cinema - Monster Hunt • Where Are You? • Book Look - Language Alter Ego • Basic Guide to Italian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - A Kind Word • Language and Power: The Hidden Struggle • 4 Ways To Learn Through Reading • Language Learning is for everyone! • Languages in Peril - The Decline of Sicilian • At the Cinema - The Host • Where Are You? • Book Look - Italian Short Stories for Beginners • Basic Guide to Hungarian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Making it Happen • Motivation - Expressing oneself and the expression of oneself in language learning • Motivation Killers in Learning a Language • Mixing Languages and Relationships • In Others' Words - Brian Powers • At the Cinema - Cutting Room Floor • Languages in Peril - Cyprus' Language Revival Approach Problem • Where Are You? • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - The Importance of Travel • Broadening The Mind Travels The World • The Secret Life of Diacritics • There Are No Wrong And Right Gestures, Only Cultural Differences • Google Translate Exposed: - The Truth Behind Everyone's Favorite Translator • At the Cinema - Queen • Book Look - The A to Z of Learning German • Where Are You? • Basic Guide to Papiamentu • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Free Things • The Cost of Free Language Resources • Review of Polyglot Workshops: Brazil • Easier Way to Learn Languages Fast • Dream, decide, do - tips from a polyglot • At the Cinema - Cambio de Ruta • Languages in Peril - Talysh • Where Are You? • App Rev - Tandem • Book Look - Language Master Key • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Studying in Summer • Polyglot Events All Around The World - You Are Not Alone • Playing Games with Language • Spanish E-training – The 'Big Bang' Investment • Can a Language Die? • At the Cinema - La Casa del Fin de los Tiempos • Languages in Peril - Scottish Gaelic • Words in Your Mouth - Apple • Celebrations - Nag Panchami • Where Are You? • Book Look - Fluency Made Achievable: The Fluent Guide to Core Language Skills • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Sounds Like • How Do You Say It? - A look at sound notation systems • Of Pidgins and Creoles - A look at how some languages are born • Who Are You To Learn A Language? • At the Cinema - Dil Chahta Hai • Languages in Peril - Yumans on the Edge • Words in Your Mouth - Egg • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Breaking with Tradition • Are You Wasting Your Money on Language Classes? • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 2: Voice Chats • Why English Is Different Than Any Other Language • The Digital Language Collective • At the Cinema - Viva La Libertà • Languages in Peril - The Tribes of the Tamil-Kannada • Words in Your Mouth - Rice • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Thirteen • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 1: Text Chats • Why Do People Learn Languages? • The Question Of Practice - An International Language Is Possible • At the Cinema - Chinese Puzzle • Celebrations - Fastelavn • Words in Your Mouth - Cheese • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Over Time • Which Language Is...? • The Ultimate Fate of Language Learning • 5 Funny Words In Afrikaans From My Perspective • At the Cinema - Everybody's Famous! • Word on the Streets - Why Writers are Important • Words in Your Mouth - Milk • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - World Ambassadors • Coming Home to Faroese - The Why and How of Learning a Small Language • Danish and Faroese: A Biography • At the Cinema - Ludo • Basic Guide to Faroese • Celebrations - The Faroese Festival Summer • Revisted - The Faroe Islands • Word on the Streets - Famous Faroe Islanders • Where Are You? • The Grind: Why the Faroese Hunt Whales • The Legend of the Scottish Princess • Faroese Ballads - Nornagest Ríma and Ormurin Langi
Letter From The Editor - Expansion • Religion in Culture • Languages in Peril - Decline of the Gallo-Italics • Language Learning and Translation • Word on the Streets - Italian Greats • Book Look • At the Cinema - Xingu • Celebrations - Hangul Day • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Bread
Letter From The Editor - Tracing Words • Constructed Languages - Making It All Up • Language Conflicts - Flemish vs. Walloon • Rohonc Codex - Hungarian Enigma • At the Cinema - Il Comandante e la Cicogna - Garibaldi's Lovers • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Sausage • Book Look • GlobTech - Using Locale
Letter From The Editor - Globalization • Speaking with Aliens • Celebrations - Esala Perahera - The Festival of the Tooth • Language Conflicts - Bokmål vs. Nynorsk • At the Cinema - Pane e Tulipani - Bread and Tulips • Revisited - Words Which Have Changed Their Meaning • Languages in Peril - Keeping Up With The Kartvelians • Where Are You? • Sections - Reviews • Word on the Streets - Indonesian Innovators • GlobTech - Google Translate Section
Letter From The Editor - The Highlander Condition • When Languages Meet • At the Cinema - Mal Día Para Pescar - Bad Day to Go Fishing • Celebrations - Tanabata - The Star Festival • Languages in Peril - The Romanian Relatives • Revisited - Words Made By Great Writers • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Immersion • Sections - Links
Letter From The Editor - Price of Fame • Liber Linteus - Mummified Language • Pencak Silat • At the Cinema - Bombay • Celebrations - Inti Raymi - Festival of the Sun • Cracking the Code • Languages in Peril - The Chibchan Family • Revisited - Words From The Names Of Animals • Word on the Streets - Great German Authors • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Internet • Sections - Neighborhood
Letter From The Editor - Why Polynesian? • Rongorongo - Island Chants • Otto Dempwolff - Islands of Language • At the Cinema - Whale Rider • Celebrations - Pasifika Festival • Special Feature - Avoiuli • Languages in Peril - The Island Invasion • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui's Home • Word on the Streets - Malay Masters • Where Are You? • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui Snaring the Sun
Letter From The Editor - Linguist or Polyglot • The Phaistos Disc - Puzzle of Crete • Otto Jespersen - Progress of Language • At the Cinema - Kukushka - The Cuckoo • Celebrations - Carnival • Languages in Peril - The Salish Tragedy • Word on the Streets - Kannada Writers • Where Are You? • Revisited - Stories In The Names Of Places • New Souls • Language Learning Methods - Software • Sections - Parleremo YouTube
Letter From The Editor - Freaking Out • The Voynich Script - Cryptic Codex • Benjamin Whorf - Relativity of Language • At the Cinema - Lost in Translation • Languages in Peril - The Polish Connection • Word on the Streets - Romanian Poets • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Holi • A Language Dream • Revisited - Words From National Character • Language Learning Methods - Classes • Sections - Language Exchange
Letter From The Editor - Truth in Advertising • Linear A & Linear B - Lost Minoan • Edward Sapir - Patterns of Language • At the Cinema - Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner • Word on the Streets - Norwegian Notables • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Valentine's Day • Languages in Peril - The Rhaeto-Romance Trio • Revisited - Proverbs • Linguistics Love Song • Language Learning Methods - Books • Sections - Recordings
Letter From The Editor - A New Parrot Time • The Rosetta Stone - Triple Cypher • Ferdinand de Saussure - Signs of Language • At the Cinema - L'auberge Espagnole • Languages in Peril - The Finno-Ugrics • Word on the Streets - The Russian Zone • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Day of the Dead • Revisited - Slang • We Are The Linguists • Language Learning Methods - Audio • Sections - Journals
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