03 Oct

A very special guest!

Dear friends and readers, this week, I have a treat for you. I have convinced a dear friend of mine to write a little something for you from the point of you of a lover of languages and student of French. So without further ado, I give you A Polyglot Mum:

So here I am, sitting on the sofa at the A Polyglot Mum headquarters, writing a guest piece for the formidable Arnaud, whom I met over Twitter and has, over the last few months, become a firm friend and mentor, not to mention my Skype French conversation teacher.  It is a privilege for me to write for Arnaud in my capacity of languages student but I have to admit I am wracking my brains nervously to be remotely interesting so not to send you all to sleep, but perhaps it’s too late for that anyway!

So I’m Leila, and as my blog by-line says, I’m a mother, language learner and coffee drinker… I might have to put geek on the end of that, as am also currently going through a Star Wars-athon with the kids!

Languages have always been a passion for me, ever since I started learning French in secondary school way back when. Although I grew up bilingual speaking Farsi and English at home, I never really had too much exposure to European languages (although I knew who Alain Delon was!) and most of my time was taken up studying pianoforte from a very young age. There was no time for anything else. French was the first language I was introduced to in school and although I knew the usual words such as bonjour and au revoir, I promptly fell in love with it after hearing the musical nuances and beauty more and more in each word.

A year later, we also began learning German and that was it. Languages had burrowed their way into my heart and I went on to do the usual standard G.C.S.E. exams and at that point I would have gone on to A level but my parents made a big life decision and we moved… to America.

After a senior year studying Spanish over there, things took a different turn. I loved languages, yes, but there wasn’t really a huge push for anyone to learn them over there and so because I didn’t carry on, when I returned to the U.K. a few years later, I made a few decisions that changed my path (and my major to biochemistry) but not ones I regret at all, because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t gone that way.

Fast forward a few decades and the usual life situations, I found myself at a point where I could finally devote some time to doing something I wanted to do. I tried my hand at a few different things. Food is also a passion of mine but having had my whole life embroiled in the restaurant family business; it wasn’t something I was going to commit to. The children were now old enough to entertain themselves and after much soul searching, I decided to get back into learning languages. Of course French would be on the list, I had managed to speak a little each time I visited France over the years so there was no question there and after a few conversations with the Open University, it was decided I would take Spanish as well.

I began reading for my degree in 2012 and chose The Open University for premium distance learning, and am now studying my final French module alongside Upper Intermediate Spanish. Because I am a little insane, I also sometimes study a bit of Dutch, but only sometimes, as spare TIME has become a very valuable commodity.

So there you have it, in a couple of years, I will have made the achievement of a lifetime, for me anyway, but there are so many more languages to learn too…Who knows? Maybe German and Italian will be next!