1. Describe the first (or an early) phrase/idiom you remember figuring out the meaning to.
I don't remember any early ones. I remember in high school being embarrassed when I wrote "for all intensive purposes" in an essay and was corrected "for all intents and purposes." (I still think my version works.)
2. What is the first thing you remember reading for pleasure?
Goodnight Moon, Winnie the Pooh
3. (Especially for porcinea) Do you consider yourself "a reader"? If not, how would you describe your relationship to books and literature at the current time?
I tend not to describe myself that way ("I am a [verb]er"); I tend to describe what I do, rather than what I am. I read a fair number of books. Currently I'm reading my way through all the Hugo and Nebula award winners (except for Heinlein, whom I've already decided I don't care for reading). I also listen to books on tape in my car, and I consider that equivalent to reading, but some books work better on tape and some books work better in print. I used to read a lot more nonfiction than fiction and was slightly afraid of reading fiction at times. I think because it made me feel things I didn't want to feel.
4. What's the book (story/play/whatever) you've re-read the most often? What is it about that piece of literature that excites you the most?
I don't know which I read "the most" often, but some of the candidates are Kipling's The Jungle Book (though I haven't read that since I was a kid), Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and (on tape) John Le Carre's The Night Manager. The last excites me because it is a complexly told story about the redemptive power of romantic love, and it's read by my favorite reader, David Case.
5. If you suddenly woke up tomorrow with the writing talent and motivation to write anything you put your hand to, what kind of work would you start churning out?
Complexly told stories about the redemptive power of romantic love, I expect. :-)
6. Tell about the person in your life, if any, who most influenced your feelings about language and reading.
Probably my father. He loves language and reading, he read aloud to me endlessly when I was a kid. He taught me my enjoyment of language as sound/music.
7. What are you reading right now? And do you recommend it/them?
I'm reading Jo Walton's The King's Peace, which I recommend; and (on tape) Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, which I'd only recommend to people with a strong interest in hard SF and terraforming who don't mind somewhat inelegant writing.