Senior Member
English (US - northeast)
I've been part of this wonderful forum for a few years. Here's a little background info on me.

I'm male. I'm tall. I'm retired. I raised 2 kids. After college (BS in Aerospace Engineering at MIT), I was a military pilot (cargo planes) for a few years, then a software engineer for many years. I lived in New England (northeast US) for many years, then moved to California. For about 20 years, my hobby was social partner dancing. I have played games my whole life. I played online MMORPG games (like WoW) from 2001 to 2020.

Since age 13, I've been a language nut. I took everything available in high school (Spanish, Latin, French) and college (nothing), but after that I was mostly too busy with work and children. Now that I am retired, I have been studying Chinese since 2018. I can understand most things I hear or read in Spanish and French, but I'm not fluent. I'm not a "polyglot". I have taken classes (or done self-study) in some other languages, and I often read things about languages and about foreign language study.

I've only lived in the US. When I was a cargo pilot (1971-1975), I sometimes slept overnight in Iran, Turkey, Japan, Germany, or Spain. Back then I got used to finding my way around and buying things in a place where I didn't speak or read the language.
  • Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I have already introduced myself in this thread; it's in German though.

    So, I'll do it again in English. :)

    Im 63 years old and I'm retired now. I have 4 children (all in their thirties now); two of them are professional classical musicians but the other two (and my wife) are also very good amateur musicians, so when they were still living at home, our house was full of live music (some of the neighbours were not so happy with that :oops:).

    I worked as an IT systems engineer for 40 years (38 years of it in the same company). @dojibear One of our data centers was in Manchester, New Hampshire, so I spent quite some time there (for some strange raison, mostly during the (very cold) winter months). The "lingua franca" in that company was English. I must have written thousands of pages of documentation in English.

    My mother tongue is Dutch, but since we lived very close to Brussels, French has always been sort of my second nature. When I was young, we only had three television channels; one in Dutch and two in French. In secondary school, we also had French, English and German. I also followed the Latin curriculum (old system; first year, 9 hours weekly, then 7, then 5 and the last three years, 4 hours weekly). Those were the lessons where I started to appreciate grammar, just for the sake of it. In university, I started mathematics but after the bachelor years, I changed to IT science and that's the field I worked in during all my professional life.

    When I was about 30 years old, I started studying Spanish. My aunt had a house in Spain and we regularly went there to spend our vacations. I thought it would be a good idea to study Spanish in an evening school for adults. I was lucky enough to have some very good old-fashioned teachers who completely disregarded the current didactical directives (= no grammar, just blablabla, lots of pictures, everything has to be attractive, ...). It just brought me back to my years of studying Latin and it revived my love for grammar. And I continued studying Spanish up till now. Contributing in this forum has also helped me a lot in learning new things and putting (grammar) things into perspective.

    I'm pretty fluent in English, French and Spanish. I understand almost everything in German (I do follow quite some German youtube channels) and I'm fluent enough to get along when we spend our holidays in Germany or Austria. I wouldn't be able though to write in German what I'm writing here now without a dictionary and a grammar on my lap.


    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    I majored in Accounting in university and am now in a Master's programme, studying Marketing.

    I think I am moderately interested in mathematics — not as much as mathematicians feel but more than the ordinary people, or people around me are. I joined Quora in the year of 2019, having posted more than 2,000 answers, mostly about maths. I help people with their maths, for free, for fun, and am learning maths there, from professional mathematicians and maths achievers.

    It is good to know information technology professionals here. I imagine that they are exceedingly good at maths, logic and algebra, and statistics perhaps, in particular.

    I learnt about WordReference in the year of 2018, and became a member here that year. At first I was stupid and admittedly over-confident about my command of English and posted lots of misleading, if not factually incorrect, answers in the English-Only, and I am sorry for that. Now I post almost exclusively in the Chinese forum (中文 + 方言).


    Senior Member
    After college (BS in Aerospace Engineering at MIT), I was a military pilot (cargo planes) for a few years, then a software engineer for many years.

    How did you become a pilot? Wasn't that horrible and dangerous and risky? How many years did it take to become a pilot? Did your being a pilot have any relation with your Aerospace education?


    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Becoming a pilot had no connection with my college studies. At that time, the U.S. had mandatory military service for young men. It was called "the draft". You could voluntarily join some branch of the military. If you didn't join one, you were "drafted" into the army as a low-level soldier. At that time, the U.S. was at war in Vietnam, so a low-level soldier would probably be trained in fighting for 1 year, then spend 4 years fighting in the jungles of Vietnam.

    THAT is horrible and risky. Compared to THAT, almost anything is better.

    I was not draftable in 4 years of college or in my first job. Then in 1970 I became draftable. In 1970 I was also newly married and we were expecting our first child. So I researched the branches of the military, and what would happen to me if I signed up in each branch. All of them would require me to spend at least 12 months away from my family, except for one. In the Air Force, I would only be away for 3 months in Officer School. So I went to the Air Force recruiter. He said that (at that time) they were only accepting applications for pilots and navigators. So I applied to be a USAF pilot, and was accepted before I was drafted.

    Officer school was 3 months. Pilot school was 13 months. After pilot school and getting an assignment, there was "upgrade school", 3-12 months learning to fly your specific kind of aircraft. My upgrade school was 3 months.