This is an old article of which absolutely nothing remains because I modified it so much … (As I was at it, I thus also modified the date.)
About me, Olga, creator and main author of this website
I am no expert at language learning. It would for example be a nightmare for me to have to learn a language in three months or even in six. I am a very basic and slow language learner. I use books, a little audio, etc. Maybe you feel the same : not especially good at learning languages but not especially bad either. I inexplicably feel very good after having learned a new word though. I often feel like having decoded a new little piece of a secret language.
Languages have always played an important role in my life. First, I was born in quite an "international" family. Then, speaking English helped me tremendously to succeed in getting back on an official scholastic path in the United States. In France, I was getting nowhere. Later, teaching English allowed me to earn money (or ‘my life' as the expression goes).
Here is my story as seen through the lens of languages.
My family language background
When my grand-parents were still alive and we had a family meeting of some sort, we spoke five different languages depending on who was talking to whom. If I didn't understand something said in front of me, well too bad, deal with it !, it just meant it was not something that was told to me.
I think this particular family context is most probably responsible for my love for languages, but let me tell you how this funky situation came to be.
Having met in Great-Britain, my grand-parents spoke English together. It was anyway the only language they had in common at the beginning. They then first lived in Romania, the home country of my grand-father, so they spoke Romanian with their kids.
After the war, when my father was seven, the family moved to Norway, the home country of my grand-mother. There, the kids learned to speak Norwegian at school and thus got into the habit of talking Norwegian together. Are you following ? Two generations and already three languages !
Nine years later, my family took hold of its suitcases again and moved to France. My father was sixteen and it was a difficult move for him, having to learn French and take the high school diploma (the baccalauréat) only two years afterwards. His kids, my brother, my sister and I, we speak French together and with our parents, but my uncles moved to Switzerland and some of my cousins thus speak German between themselves and with their parents …
So here you have it : English, Romanian, Norwegian, French and German, that's five languages for three generations !
My academic path : from student to teacher of English
At school in France, language learning was obligatory. I started to learn English when I was ten and I liked it. I also took classes of Spanish later on, but I liked it much less and this is surely why it is presently so difficult for me to eventually get to speak fluently even though I live in Spain.
I quit school when I was fourteen (best decision of my life or almost), but continued learning English because I was playing tennis tournaments in Europe and English was of course the lingua franca among the players. At twenty, I couldn't get an equivalency of the high school diploma in France. Knowing English allowed me to go to the United States and take the GED (Graduate Equivalency Diploma), which then allowed me to directly enter into a university.
Later on, I was a teacher of English in France for a few years. I taught students of almost all ages, from kids in kindergarten to adults in companies. I loved teaching, but I must say I didn't so much liked to teach grammar. That's why I then started to draw playing cards so as to teach it in a funnier, less academic way.
I don't teach anymore, but I'm still working on those playing cards and am planning to present them to you one sunny day. Stay tuned !
Language learning and Crazy About Language Learning
My goal with this website is to share my love for languages with you : language learning for fun and to better discover the world …
And you, what's your story with languages ? Share it with us in the comments below !