Eugene Ionesco (1909 - 1994) was a Romanian-French playwright, and one the foremost figures of the French avant-garde theater.
Ionesco was born in 1912 in Romania of a French mother and Romanian father; his formative years were spent in France. In 1925 he returned to Romania when he learnt the “native” language. He subsequently taught French. Does a perfect knowledge of two languages enrich one’s appreciation of language in general?
“Bilingualism involves a sort of intellectual acrobatics. I think that it is indispensable for my work as a writer. But I don’t believe that different languages represent totally different visions of life, nor that nationality is an isolating factor. From my experience as a bilingual speaker, I would say that there can be an exact translation from on language to another, because there is a commonly shared structure which is permanent and universal. Although children learn a different language depending on where they were born, nevertheless the process is the same in all cases. For we all have the same anxieties and ask the same questions; and nationality, like politics, is secondary to the central problem of man’s existential condition.”
Excerpt from Through Parisian Eyes [PDF]