On Wednesday I attended the first (sold out) DRONGO Festival – a festival of multilingualism in the Netherlands. Although I could not attend the whole-day program, for those who could, there were a wealth of things to do. There was a lecture series, covering topics such as early bilingualism, bilingualism and speech issues and Dutch as a second language. Fortunately for the Dutch speakers among us, this year all the lectures were in Dutch. However, outside of the lecture stream, there were other interesting and fun activities available in other languages. There were multilingual games (language Lego anyone?), mini-language lessons (I would have liked to attend the Fries lesson) and a chance to try out working in an interpreter’s cabin. In addition, there was a marketplace mainly made of up organizations that support language learning and teaching, and language schools.
I thought it was a fantastic initiative, and was only disappointed by the lack of access (linguistically) for non-Dutch speakers. However, given the location and the audience, the language choice made sense, and the organisation of a true multilingual-multilingualism festival would be a huge challenge. Maybe next year!