We are an absolutely average Hungarian family. We all speak Hungarian as our native language.
Let me be selfish, and start with myself.
As for my profession, I am a teacher of English, who had never been interested in teaching young children before my daughter was born. But now I’m here with E., who we raise bilingual, and my most challenging “teaching project” is on. I have never thought how rewarding and fun could be working with children.
I got my MA degree at Károli Gáspár University in 2001. My major was English Language and Civilisation, my minor was Teaching Hungarian As A Foreign Language.
The latter I haven’t been practising since the teaching practice, as right after uni I got a grant (Tempus Public Foundation -Comenius) and started to teach/work as a language assistant in Drogheda, Ireland for a school year. I was working on a European project with the kids (all boys in a Catholic Primary school – St. Joseph CBS), as well as introducing the Hungarian culture and language to them.
|St. Joseph’s CBS Sunday’s Gate, Drogheda|
I returned home and started my English teaching career at language schools, at companies and privately. I have been teaching general, business and specialised English, like law, tourism, marketing and PR to mention a few.
Later on, at uni I needed to learn another language to receive my degree at the end of my studies, so I picked up some French (basic level), which I found extremely challenging. Around 2005 my German studies began, I even spent a month in Berlin to improve my basic level of German. I managed quite well but due to some incidents in my life I stopped it and most of it faded away. Then in 2013 Spanish was the language I took up. My motivation lay in the fact that my sister-in-law is a Spanish speaker from Columbia. I was fed up with sitting at rare whole-family gatherings and not being able to communicate with my sweet sister-in-law. Duolingo was the first way to learn the basics, then I went on
to a teacher to have speaking lessons. Now it’s on hold a little bit, but I really need to spend more time on my Spanish.
He has always been interested in languages and learnt a lot of them. His English, German, Spanish and French are quite active. He also studied some Russian, Italian, Croatian and Chinese. His brain capacity is amazing, but it is also true that he practises his knowledge in many ways. He’s extremely diligent and well-organised in every facets of his life.
He revises a language for three days, then he changes the language for another three days and so on (for instance, from Monday till Wednesday he revises Spanish; he goes through a list of vocabulary and sample sentences containing grammar patterns, too. Then he changes to French on Thursday until Saturday etc.) Nowadays he’s started to use a mobile application, Quizlet, which helps him learn and practise his languages in a fun way. It is available on PCs as well.
Daddy’s other hobby is history and his factual knowledge in the field is outstanding. His favourite magazine is Rubicon which he has been subscribing for several years.
E. has always been very responsive and positive about the two languages. She’s never been confused but she’s enjoyed the versatile language environment ever since.
English has meant playtime, fun time to her with Mommy, and more and more with Daddy. I’ve been emphasising the amusing side of her second language acquisition. It was absolutely natural for her to communicate with our English nanny, A. from the very beginning (from the age of 8 months) and the time spent with A. has also been entertaining and pleasant for her.
We also started the Helen Doron Early English course when she was 10 months old and she saw English can be even more fun.
Since she started nursery she’s realised that there are some other people she can have a great time with (Ms. B.- the English speaking nursery teacher) thanks to her English. Although her Hungarian improves much faster due to her peer group.
As for her personality, she is witty and clever, quick on the uptake and she’s got an endless thirst for knowledge. She’s open and curious about the world, though she doesn’t like changes in her everyday routines and life.
I feel very lucky with her. She is the best confirmation I could have got as a first child, as the first “language project”.
December 2015 – our whole world changed when Baby Sister, L. was born. As I’m adding some info about her she is still tiny, only 4 months old. She’s crying quite a lot, she enjoys body contact to a great extent and when she is in a good mood (full tummy, Mommy’s closeness, Daddy singing to her, E. doing anything in front of her) she is smiling and smiling all the time.
As far as I can see her now she’s a different character from her big sister: she’s rather sensitive and emotional. I started her English upbringing on the same basis as with E. but from her birth.
Since I updated our family profile, L. has turned 1. She’s trying to say words and babbles a lot in her own baby language. The sisters are on better and better terms. Playing together is a great challenge. However, E. is a great helper as for our English time.
Our family description wouldn’t be full if I left out our Doggy, M. He’s the most adaptable, peaceful and friendly dog I have ever known. He also gives us a lot of opportunities to practise English (showing body parts on him, doing things to him: feeding, walking, cuddling, playing, cleaning just to mention a few) and it’s sooo nice to pat or stroke him.
He makes us laugh, feel empathy and understand him without words. He’s like our “zero” son.
10 February 2017 is a dark day for our family as we needed to say goodbye to our beloved dog and let him go over the rainbow. He was 10 years old and we stopped his suffering which was caused by a very aggressive tumour in his mouth. He’ll always live in our hearts.
Our journey is going on without him.
At the end of 2018 we moved out of Budapest and now we live in a detached house with a beautiful garden, closer to nature much to our great delight.
We are regularly visited by native speakers of English (nannies/babysitters) to enhance the necessity of English in our daily life.