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Linguistic Аutobiography

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When I considered the field of my future professional activity several years ago I did not feel even the slightest hesitation choosing linguistics. I had long before opened the gate to a magical garden, full of beautiful, rare and often exotic flowers - the garden, or rather the huge park where a language was growing, developing, gathering strength and plunging into unpredictable depths, forming its unique image and character. I started my linguistic education with our own Bulgarian language, so rich, so colourful, expressive and suggestive, that it sounded like a wonderful song, no, not birds' song, not even the babble of water or the whisper of a slight wind in the foliage of the trees. It really seemed to me like the song of the entire nature around us together with the wisdom of the old people in the small deserted villages high up in our mountains. And I heard in those wonderful folk songs kept the spirit of our country and our land. It was a real challenge to study its roots and rules and experience the pleasure to use it expressing my thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Then another language came, the English. At first my motives to start learning it were,

I admit, perfunctory. They were grounded on the mutual desire of us all to be modern in a world that is fast and irresistibly growing integrated. To know a foreign language, other than your native, was a kind of capital investment into your professional development. But step by step the desire to study and learn was converted into a thirst to work on this language, to use it not only as a means of elementary communication but as a steady cultural brick built into my personality, my individuality. For me working on a language includes not only learning it but also diving deeper and deeper into its origin, traditions and the principals of forming its lexical wealth and the accumulating of the different colours of the speech as well. I will give you an example now. Once I went on an excursion to England and most of my colleagues with whom I was, were people of the old school, when they studied only Russian. So they had to cope with the circumstances almost speechlessly. I felt I was curious to watch what they could and would do. To my surprise they managed to see what they wanted and buy what they had chosen by only using the simple language of the signs and a couple


of English words they had very carefully picked up beforehand from some small dictionaries and from what they have heard on television or in the phrase-books.

What I mean is that you can learn a couple of phrases and be ready to meet your plain everyday needs - end of the story. But that does not mean that you have something to do with the real language. This is by no means my method of approach. My aim is to become fully acquainted with the language regardless of whether it is my native or a foreign one.

I am now at the beginning of this great road of the knowledge I would like to acquire and the desire to compare two so different languages as Bulgarian and English on the ground of their past, development into the tame and modern transformations attains a certain significance for me. It seems a really fascinating scientific field offering challenges and some promise of accumulating innovative ideas. I feel convinced it will give me pleasure and the sense of personal success.

Now I ask myself with a hidden smile was it not a far, far off poor mark I received at school because I did not know how to carry a word over to the next line and it seemed such a shame and I, quite a young girl then, felt as a stigma to hear my mothers words, 'You are Bulgarian and you don't know your language'. By the way, my family respects learning the languages quite a lot. My mother and father used to talk to me in Italian, German, English and Esperanto when I was a little



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