In this Freakonomics radio “Is Learning a Foreign Language Really worth It?” Stephen Dubner listens to different people, including young learners and adults who explain their values and views on second language learning. In this podcast the creators try to inform and persuade listeners by sharing people’s ideas about the importance of learning a second language at schools and pre-kindergartens. The main idea of this episode is that learning a second language changes people’s brain. As evidence people share their ideas about bilingual children who have a good memory, prosper in their life, and have a good psychological reaction.
The first episode is about the young learners at Little Red School House who expresses their positive views on learning a second language by enumerating reasons such as finding a good job, having a good salary, and finally being smarter than those who don’t speak a second language. Another episode with Professor Boaz Keyser tells about some evidence that the foreign language is much less emotional than a native language. As an example he gives a word love and amour. These words identical in meaning but a native English speaker perceives a lot more from the English word rather than the French word in relation to its meaning. Therefore, in his opinion it demonstrates a psychological reaction to the emotional related words. I think that this study makes sense because if I see a sign which says “Опасно” or “Dangerous”. I would say that I will be more frightened of a word “Опасно” because it is more familiar to me and I associate it with different situations.
Finally, the episode with Albert Saiz, an economist from MIT is about his research findings on the benefits of learning a language in relation to the income. He tells that bilingual graduates earn more that monolinguals. I think that it is true due to the fact that bilinguals have more opportunities to find a better job in different national and international companies.
In conclusion, it was rather easy and interesting to listen to this podcast due to the debate about the different views on learning a foreign language. In my opinion, this episode incorporates arguments, reasons, and evidences by sharing all the information which was listed above. The young learners as well as researchers managed to persuade the listeners about the advantages of learning a second language. I would say that learning a second language stretches our minds, develops our executive function, and helps us to learn a new culture.
How do you think is learning a second language worth it?