The episode of the podcast ‘Why don’t we speak the same language?’ is a discussion about the benefits and costs of linguistic diversity among several scholars in various fields like linguistics, economics, history and cognitive science. The discussion is elicited by the Bible story of Babel Tower to unfold the main idea as the diversity of language may cause confuse even conflict among different ethnic groups and impede the economic growth to some extent although there are still some benefits such as cognitive development and cultural interchange. The need to address this issue is to develop the knowledge of international language to bridge the mutual understanding and foster the international trade on one hand, and maintain the local languages to preserve the cultural diversities and encourage individual pluralism on the other hand.
The organization of the episode is well developed and logically consistent, at the beginning the answer to the title as ‘Why don’t we speak the same language?’ is given by the understanding of the nature of human language is changeable and the speaker gives some examples of the change of the sound and development of the word. Then they gradually come into the discussion of the both sides of this linguistic diversity if we as human must accept that our languages cannot simply be unified as one language for all.
On the negative side, the diversity has caused some issues such as misunderstanding between different ethnic groups and this even aggravated into serious conflicts and war. The argument is supported by the evidence of the linguistic war lasted for 26 years in Sri Lanka. The recent reconciliation of linguistic differences enables the society to alleviate the tension between local ethnic groups and promote the integration and stabilization. Further the argument of the cost of linguistic diversity is also given from economic perspective with the examples not only the paramount costs for language translation and learning but also the incidence of the trade between different linguistic groups will increase if they have common lingua franca.
Notwithstanding there are some burden because of linguistic diversity, we still have bless from this and this is explained from the cultural and cognitive perspectives. What is interesting here is that the influence of the language on the way we think is shown by the experiment of Indonesian monolingual speakers who react slower than English speaker in time counting exercises because there is less tense verb in their language while bilingual Indonesian speakers have reacted more fast than monolingual counterparts. Thus the arguments for supporting the linguistic diversity are solidified by vivid and interesting examples and these make the argument more persuasive and strong.
Generally, the episode has finally convinced me with the statement of the people of different ethnic groups should learn the world language to promote the internationalization; meanwhile the problem of losing local small languages needs our attention in order to preserve our cultural varieties. This is achieved by the logical development of arguments and each argument is supported by various evidences, and some of them are from opposite stances; this enables the argument to be strong and persuasive.