where the writers are
Learning a Language Blog

Although I was raised in Canada, I was born in Australia, the country my parents had immigrated to, in order to escape the Russian occupation of Estonia. Hence, my first language was Estonian, the only language spoken at home.

My mother later described how I would sit at the kitchen table at the age of three and point at inanimate objects, asking her what they were in English. It must've come easily to me, as I don't remember much difficulty with the language until an episode in kindergarten.

We were asked to say a word that started with "L". I raised my hand and said "liim". The teacher looked completely puzzled, asked me to repeat it and then moved onto someone else. Completely embarrassed at my error, I realized I had used the Estonian word for glue!