The podcast on Freakonomics Radio, called “Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Worth It?”, gives insight views on the psychological and economical benefits and drawbacks of learning a foreign language. The creator was trying to inform readers about pros and cons of learning L2 by interviewing children and researchers, such as Boaz Keysar, Albert Saiz and Bryan Caplan, in the field.
Firstly, in terms of psychology, the results of Boaz Keyser’s experiment showed that learning a foreign language has a positive influence on a decision-making process, and I completely agree with it. Based on my personal experience, I can say that the degree of taking risks and decisions varies depended on a language you think and speak. For instance, I usually act a bit braver when I speak Russian, or I feel very confident to express my feelings in English. Moreover, before listening to this podcast I had been saying “I am not a fluent speaker of any language because I choose what language to speak depending on situation/topic”. However, now, after becoming familiar with this psychological aspect of learning foreign language, I have realized that it happens because decision-making processes are not the same in different languages.
Talking about economical view, Albert Saiz claims that you are not going to earn much money from learning additional language in America since your income will increase only for 2-4 %. However, Saiz adds that in some countries, like Israel, Russia or Turkey, mastering English as a second language can raise your salary up to 10-20 %. In this sense, I would say that in our country, Kazakhstan, knowing English is also priority in getting well-paid job. Furthermore, Bryan Caplan supposes that forcing American children to learn L2, other than English, is wasting of time whereas for other countries learning English as a foreign language is a good opportunity to open many doors. Being a citizen of Kazakhstan, I support this point of view. Nowadays English is considered as one of the world languages, and it gives me a chance to deepen my knowledge in science, to communicate with English-speaking people, to travel all over the world, etc.
Overall, I would like to say that the podcast reached its purpose to inform readers about psychological and economical benefits and drawbacks. I suggest everyone to listen to the podcast because it was really interesting to get to know about the things which we usually do not pay attention to.