Meet Brenda, The Curvy Linguista
You ever meet someone and they just have that “je ne sais quoi”? That’s what I thought about Brenda when we first connected on social media. For some reason, when I looked at her pics, I was mesmerized and found her to be gorgeous! I later found out she lives in Europe (my dream!) AND is multilingual. Seemed like a kindred spirit, so I decided I reach out and express my desire to showcase her on the site.
BGLL: Hi Brenda, thanks for allowing me to feature you on my site. Tell me about yourself.
Brenda: My name is Brenda Tjon-Fo and I am originally from Surinam. I live in Amsterdam, Netherlands and am black and Asian. I previously studied Media, Information & Communication at HvA (Hogeschool van Amsterdam) and currently work at KFC-Nederland in the marketing department in Executive Guest Experience. I also have a collaborative blog online that I use as an outlet for self-expression.
BGLL: Which languages do you speak? Which one is your native language?
Brenda: I speak Dutch, English and Sranang Tongo. I use all the languages I speak daily. Dutch obviously because of where I live, Sranang Tongo with my mom and English at work.
BGLL: How did you learn those languages?
Brenda: My parents are from Suriname so that's how I learned how to speak Sranang Tongo. I was a slow reader as a kid when watching American movies. I always was too slow! Meaning, a new set of subtitles would appear before I was finished reading the previous one. I decided this problem could only be settled by teaching myself English. I would memorize a few English words I picked up each time I watched a movie and ask my mom what they meant. By the time I was 9, I was fluent in English.
BGLL: Wow, that’s amazing! Which one of those languages are your favorite?
Brenda: Both English and Sranang Tongo. I can't pick one over the other. English, because I can use it and pretty much each part of the word meaning I can connect with and meet new people. Sranang Tongo because that's where my roots are and I can gossip without many people knowing what I'm talking about!
BGLL: What tips would you offer those trying to learn languages?
Brenda: Use it! Go somewhere where the language is spoken and use it! If you don't have the opportunity to go somewhere, surround yourself with people that speak the language. Books can only take you half of the way.
BGLL: How can we keep up with you on social?
Brenda: The site for my blog is www.tjonleon.com, my Instagram is @brendatjonfo.