Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Gabrielle Scouarnec, an author and a former teacher.
Hi! Gabrielle Scouarnec, how did you come to create bilingual recordings?
I am a former French teacher with a MA in French literature and a degree in Linguistics.
At first, in order to help my foreign students, I redacted recipes because, in recipes, verbs are in the simplest forms of French conjugations, and the vocabulary is repetitive.
Over time my students have been translating the recipes into many languages. Most learners enjoy eating cream, eggs, or butter, and though since I started the publication, I became (almost) vegan, I see no reason for changing the recipes. I have no desire to teach a way of life.
For intermediate and advanced students, I translated my own writings (at the time, they were not books yet) into English, the language we had in common, whatever our mother tongues. Why my own works? Because they are often funny.
As you may have experienced yourself, one can rarely rely on a word’s pronunciation to guess how to write it. Sure, reading is the best way to learn to spell. Still, it has two drawbacks: many of my French students did not like reading, and for my international students, there were few texts meant for beginners and nonetheless interesting for adults.
So, I invented cryptograms to help my pupils and my students in their learning of spelling. To make these not-so-secret messages more attractive, I put on a new hat: designer of decorative fonts.
But learning a language is not limited to be able to read and write it. You know those ads that promise you will be able to order drinks (and wow, your friends) in less than three months. But the difficulty will be to understand the waiter’s reply. Prefabricated dialogues, though useful, are boring. So I started to prepare bilingual recordings of well-known stories: one sentence, or paragraph, in one language, followed by the same sentence or paragraph in another language. Of course, I quickly started to record and split my own books.
Today, I live with the painter Pierre Guichard Laeuli, my dear husband, for almost half a century! In sunny (and isolated) Vicuña, Chile, we live with a variable number of dogs and cats: lost or abandoned animals that stop by our house because it is the last one before the dry pampas. I tell the story in The Lost Dogs of the Pampas, a trilingual book.
Where can language learners find your works?
Thank you so much for giving us your precious time. We wish you all the best for your journey ahead.