GA Trade July-Aug 2014 - page 20

S P O T L I G H T S
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
to communicate in several languag-
es, I do have a personal advantage.
I think that if there is a common
language, like Latin, German or
French used to be, it always
facilitates transactions between us.
As Bastiat pointed out in his
famous petition: “If we block the
fan, it would be good for the candle
makers,” but I do believe that our
globalized world and economy
require a globalized language.
GAT:
It seems that most people
who took the effort to learn a
second language find it easier to
learn additional languages,
especially when they are younger.
AS:
Absolutely right, economists
would regard this as marginal
or extra costs. It is an investment
to learn a foreign language. It is
time-consuming to understand
the principles of grammar and
conjugation. However, once you
have acquired these skills, you can
use them to learn additional
languages. Since you do not have
to relearn the basic principles,
learning a second foreign language
requires less effort than learning a
first one and is therefore more
economic. Languages for multi-
lingual children are like a tool,
whereas monolingual children think
of languages as something that is
ingrained, they are not able to tell
that it is actually a tool.
These costs of learning a foreign
language demonstrate how impor-
tant it is to do this early. For
somebody in their 30s or 40s it is
more useful to study accounting
than a foreign language. However, if
children in the U.S. started learning
foreign languages at 4 or 5, we
would regard the costs of this invest-
ment as non-consequential, which
also positively influences the ROI.
GAT:
Mr. Saiz we appreciate
your time and thank you for
this interview.
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