Is it worth learning (another) foreign language?

    The Freakonomics podcast tried to calculate the return on investment from learning a second language. In the initial conditions to be solved in the podcast of the problem, there were some schools. Trying to quantify the benefits of knowing a second language from a strictly economic point of view is like trying to determine how tasty a sandwich is by only measuring the amount of calories it contains.

    Freakonomics , says learning another language will increase your earnings by 2%. If you earn $ 30,000 a year, you get only 600 bucks! And why do you say these sleepless nights?

    In fact, the conclusion of Freakonomics falls apart with a more thorough analysis, which shows that even from a purely economic point of view, the return on investment is somewhat larger, even taking into account only a two percent increase in wages.

    In the podcast episode, you can hear Albert Sayze, an economist at MIT , who just calculated this rather speculative at first glance value for many languages ​​in relation to English in his research (“Listening to What the World Says: Bilingualism and Income in the United States”) .

    High demand, supply shortages

    For a more complete justification of the benefits of knowing other languages, we will talk with an imaginary friend John, whose career went uphill thanks to his knowledge of several languages. Dutch is not a very popular language. At the moment, there are only 23 million native Dutch speakers and almost all of them speak good English. Why learn Dutch when you can unlock your world for a couple of billion Chinese, 405 million native speakers of Spanish or 295 million people for whom the Arabic is native?

    Very simple. Then what, although Dutch speakers make up only a miserable 0.32% of the world's population, they account for 1.3% of world GDP. Therefore, the Dutch language, has made John an extremely valuable collaborator for Dutch firms, which usually conduct their business in English. Even when his colleagues spoke English 99% perfectly, there was always 1% “translation difficulties” that became his job that only a native English speaker could do.

    Written based on an article in a language school.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    Another language

    • 3.3% I don't know any other languages 12
    • 21.3% I want to learn 76
    • 40.4% I know "..." with a dictionary of 144
    • 27.8% Excellent I speak one non-native language 99
    • 7% I generally polyglot 25

    Also popular now: