Chatterbox #81 – An interview with Georgina

Here’s another friend of Culips—Georgina! She speaks English, French, Cantonese, and Japanese, all fluently! In this episode, we talk to her about her experiences learning these languages, and we find out what she recommends for learning to speak another language. This episode is sure to motivate you. Georgina is proof that we can all learn to speak other languages



Expressions included in the learning materials
An interview with Georgina

  • To come in handy
  • Um and uh
  • Every know and then
  • Like
  • Might as well
  • Canadian and Chinese food
  • For starters
  • I would say
  • To break into something
  • To do something on the side
  • An open door

Sample transcript:

Maura: So we always try to choose someone to interview that has something a little bit interesting about them that we can talk about. And I have to say that out of all the people that we’ve interviewed on Culips, I think that Georgina speaks the most languages, which is pretty cool and I’m pretty jealous of, I have to say.

Georgina: Thanks. That’s very flattering of you. Maura: So, first tell us a bit about yourself. You’re from Montreal and what else do we need to know about you? Georgina: Uh, I’m from Montreal. I’ll tell you how many languages I speak. Because I was born in Montreal, obviously I speak English and French. Um, I’m Chinese, so I also speak the Chinese dialect of Cantonese. And because I love Japan, I, uh, for the past five years, I have been learning how to speak Japanese. So I speak those four languages.

Maura: Very impressive.

Georgina: Thank you.

Maura: So, you grew up in Montreal and you grew up speaking three different languages then, right?

Georgina: Basically, yes.

Maura: And how did you learn and manage three different languages at the same time?

Georgina: Well, it was basically at school it’d be, uh, French and English. That’s where I would mostly speak, like, learn, French and English. But at home, my parents also insisted that I spoke Chinese with them, even though I would speak mostly English when I was at school and sometimes when I could, when I couldn’t find the words, I would speak to them in English.

Maura: OK. So when you were going to school, were you going to a bilingual school? Or did you go to school in just English or French?

Georgina: I went to a bilingual school. So at the bilingual school, because we’re in Quebec, we had 60% French and 40% English. Some of the classes that I had, for example, like math, were in French. So even though I say I’m an Anglophone, I know all of those crazy math terms in French more than I do in English.

Maura: Does that ever come in handy now that you’re done school?

Georgina: No. I don’t do anything that has anything to do with math, so it’s actually quite a relief.

Maura: OK, cool. And you also said that you grew up with your family speaking Chinese. Now, one thing that I’ve heard people say who have lived a similar situation is that they can speak the language that was their parents’, um, native language, but they have trouble reading or writing. Is that true for you as well?

Georgina: That is so true. Um, another thing now in Canada we have, uh, satellite TV. So my parents love to watch Chinese shows. And, uh, because there’re so many different Chinese dialects what they do now is they’ll just have subtitles in Chinese in a Chinese show. And I would read that, every now and then, just to see, just to test myself. And I usually can’t understand what’s going on. And sometimes they use words that I don’t understand. So yeah, my vocabulary is very, very limited in Chinese.

Maura: OK. You’re Canadian, you were born here, you grew up in Canada, but how close do you feel to Chinese culture and the traditions? Did you practice any of those growing up?

Podcast/Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast