Cercle Polyglotte de Waterloo receives royal title for its 50th anniversary
Following its 50th anniversary, multilingual club Cercle Polyglotte de Waterloo has been awarded a royal title by the King of Belgium. It will now be known as the Cercle Royal Polyglotte de Waterloo asbl, the club announced in a statement.
It was founded in 1971 by a group of local educators to promote contact between people of different nationalities, reflecting Waterloo’s popularity for foreign residents. Its aim was to help those with an interest in foreign languages to improve their conversational abilities.
From the beginning, the emphasis was on language improvement rather than learning a new language. It enjoyed immediate success and has continued to run ‘tables de conversation’ for the past five decades.
The club provides a useful opportunity for people to use their knowledge of a foreign language in informal surroundings, sometimes as an extension of a formal learning environment. For a modest annual subscription, it also offers an environment in which people of different nationalities can form social groups and establish new friendships.
Similar clubs exist in other Belgian cities, including Brussels, Charleroi, Liège and Antwerp, as well as in other countries around the world.
Basic language skills required
On a practical level, club members join a language table for discussions on virtually any subject in the designated language of that table. Fluent speakers monitor the conversations and endeavour to ensure correct grammar. It’s necessary to have a basic knowledge of the language before joining as no lessons are given.
The multilingual circle welcomes new members to its weekly evening meetings. The languages available are dependent on the people who participate each week. Whenever possible, a native speaker is available to assist with any questions about correct use of the language spoken at any table. The club is currently seeking volunteers willing to act as table leaders.
It meets on Tuesdays at 20.00 at the Waterloo Tennis Club (behind the Hotel Ibis). For more details, call the secretary, Stéphane Lommaert on 0474 64 43 51 (after 20.00) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.