« Freakonomics Radio

300. Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

2017-09-14 | 🔗
There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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If you'd like to listen to free economic radio without ads the place to do that is sticker premium five dollars a month and you can get a free month trial by going to stick your premium dot com and use a promo code freak. You also get access to all our bonus. Episodes and you'll be supporting our show to that sticker premium: dot, com, promo code, freak thanks I'm sorry, I didn't understand saving naw man don't move that I've been marked stage in its assent, very infrequently Indiana seen as had been solely with ivy purchase. If that were so you that I'm always about both the sordid another conference with the besides shying eye on many smithing another. I didn't call came of age has won the more mind than jeer. What role did Young didn't meet those early June classic of wood. It I'm sorry, I don't under
and what you're saying making yourself understood? It is one of the most defining acts of being human and among the most important But after all these millennia on earth? One point: no, we haven't perfected it, but almost makes you wonder if we're working through some ancient curse, the story of the Tower of Babel is told in the Eleventh Serve genesis whether it happened denoted somewhat for me to Judge- and it comes down to Us- is a myth about the origin of linguistic difference, but it is definitely important, so the project was to build a tower and I'm quoting top may reach to Heaven and let us make a name lest we be scattered abroad, on the face of the whole earth and looks down on this and says see if they can do that, there's no
helping them from whatever else they can do so. I'm gonna go down and confound all of their languages. That was a tale created by people for whom different languages were a problem. So that way they will not be able to communicate with each other and accomplish this joint. ask their thinking whom we can communicate with the people over the mountains, and we might want to trade with them and will begin to think they might want to fight us. We can't even have a conversation. I think gods. Revenge on the builders of Babel was to blunt or capacity to make ourselves understood and to understand. It is a very rich story because it depicts the multiplicity of languages as a scourge, so the So babble is the air, an existential condition in which we live every day. So this is born them. You know the blessing in the burden there. There given the large number of languages ended diffidence. I say it is dealt with in two different ways. We use language to communicate, but we
cannot rely on it to make ourselves understood. The thing that really resonates with me the story is this sense that common language can produce common purpose and an absence of a common language can can found that common purpose. Today we hear the babble story, and many of us have to make an adjustment, because many of us think well. Ok, now they're lots and lots of languages, and so people can communicate and isn't that neat is it me well at depends on who you are where you live, which languages you speak and which ones you don't. So this is both them. You know the blessing in the burden today on for economics, radio, the blessings and burdens of linguistic diversity, or, to put it more bluntly, what are
the costs and benefits of our modern day tower of Babel. I find it fascinating that their seven thousand different ways to do what we're doing right now we talk, How talking began their many many theories as to why people started using language? and some of them are ones where you want it to be true, because it's cool and if we could start over or that look like the truth is that if we could start again, I dont think anybody would wish that the situation was the way. It came Betty and wisest thing. You ass a w anyway, still dear boy to lose my son, wise studios deceased, you guys you have become so. I may ride you for governor socket that cast exploded. Pussycat. She did to you, don't have to happen on the back.
She doesn't even know, then tat. Today's episode is part of a recurring series. We call earth to point out the idea pretty simple: if we had a chance to reboot our planet, taking all our entrenched path, dependent systems and institutions and rebuilding them from scratch, how would they differ from how the world works today? Our first couple episode looked at the economy of earth to point oh well. I don't think we should be spending large amounts of money and said other peoples. Countries, if you don't pay attention, to the people on the other end of that equation. Even if you think you have the power, it doesn't work and unconscious a basic income which you could pay for out of the gains from trade right
so I'm very strongly against the universal basic income. Ok, so we shouldn't be expecting a consensus, but is not part of the fun with today's language experts, for instance, you wouldn't expect all of them have the same favorite language, my favorite language ever is run. Well, I love lots and lots of languages. The French will never speak English. The Germans will never speak. French among the experts will be speaking with John Mc Warder associate professor of slavic languages. with six at Columbia, university and arm host of the Lexicon Valley podcast at Slate Lira boy did ski professor of cognitive science at the for City of California, San Diego Esther sure, I'm Esther of English at Princeton University, Michael Gordon, I'm a historian of science at Princeton University and Shlomo vapor. Yes, at the moment,
the director of the new economic school in Moscow along the way we learned that people who like to talk about talking, who have an intense interest in language, often come by that intensity, personal experience for John Mc Warder began when he was for when I happened to hear a little while speaking, what I later news hebrew and the idea that she could talk to her parents in a way, I couldn't understand just knocked me out for ever. Then I've just been kind of revelling in the fact that there are thousand nine hundred and ninety nine other ways to do this, and you want and how do they differ? Why are they different the way they are? That is what got me into language. Forebore did ski darted a bit later. You know it actually started. When I was a teenager, I was early argumentative as a teenager, and I loved to pick fights with people about big questions knew what is truth in what is justice
Liberty and things like that, and what I noticed was that a lot of the arguments hinged how we used these words and then these are the words seemed to shift as the conversation went on indifferent people use the words differently and at first I thought I study language I'll be able to get to the bottom of what truth. Justice and liberty really are and then I started actually studying language. I learned the exactly. The opposite is true that these meetings are constructed in conversation constructed in context as food The russian born vapor his interest in language came from living in many different countries. This included assistant in Canada, where he was expected to lecture in English. Oh well, fiscal. Oh my legs were eaten. There was no even place for improvising, I prepared you know, sleepless nights liberalization or sleepily and then the funding not financially very said, see happened two new ones, so I prepared them
for my lecture election was ninety minutes, but I was running out of time after fifteen minutes, so there forty minutes, I had nothing to say, When all was ready in all this experience day, I will now yet the no ideal, my children, after your overcomes its standing in front of front of their almost two hundred students who have to use the internet and overcome that can do many things this or that you know it was really painful, but you know that the lesson when a good lesson I will, I always came, prepare after led for Shlomo Vapor. It was a lesson learned for the young I'm a quarter and his Hebrew speaking friend the ride was just beginning. Let me ask you this with that example from when you were four years old, I sobbed like a child, and I wasn't I could,
he thought process going one of at least two ways: one would be kind of the the infinite possibility right and how exciting that is, or maybe not infinite, but the expansive possibility. The other would be this kind of existential, be no holy cow. That makes life more difficult than it needs money which waded. You go No. In thinking about my despair and finding out that my little Shirley spoke Hebrew, I have to peel back the layers of the union to remember how much of a burden what a tragedy, a foreign language, to me at the time I didn't like that, Suddenly this girl and she- and I were seeing each other to the extent that you couldn't be having a romantic relationship it for holding hands to the extent that she could talk in this way that I couldn't understand or produce. I was losing her ass time went on my feeling start to be hey. I'm gonna learn to do
it's my Mt Everest, I'm not an athlete, but I'm a link. Wheat, so sweet, but originally yet it was. A barrier to communication and connection. Course. In my mind, there were may be two languages. English, and this thing called he I didn't know how many others there were. I didn't know what the task would be. So I love you to talk about the origin of language. We know briefly Stephen it so hard because there was away to record it, and it happened long long before there is any kind of writing, and so, if you he had existed for twenty four hours. Writing comes along at eleven o six p m, and so, It was a long time ago and there's no other species That's creating fluent complex language now There are many many theories as why people started using language and
some of them are ones where you want it to be true, because it's cool so there's one theory that it started people singing and that that became language or has it the theory that it started, because this is it this is interesting. The idea is that humans are the only primates who aren't harry enough for infants to hold on all the time, because there isn't enough hair, and so you have to put the info down, while your foraging and so there's a theory. That speech began because human women could coup at their child and keep the child com as opposed to, if you're, a chimpanzee, where the child can always be up against you, but I think that probably started with humans needing to group together to scavenge animals dead at the distance that were too big for one human or even one little group of humans to deal with regard.
so why language started and develop them is. I would think that there would have been a large incentive for everyone to speak the same language, beaten, hers, weather see you till a Terry and or gossip or singing were cooing to one's family. It would just seem like there's a lot less transaction costs if we're all speaking the same language. So how did it come the b, and why did it come to be that so many languages bloomed language is inherently changeable, not because change is swell, but because, as you use a language overtime and you pass it on to new generations, brains tend to start here things slightly differently than they were produced and after a while you start produce in that way, and next thing you know you. a new sound, so it's telephone before there is no such thing as a telephone. It is exactly that and then
is is inherent to language as it inherent for clouds to change the shapes, and so it isn't that that happens languages and not others. That's how human speech goes is a lot of the linguistic diversity or the linguistic splintering that we talking about largely a function of the fact that spoken came so so so much before written that if there had been written that we wouldn't have splintered if writing had come along immediately. Quite certainly, there would have been less change from place to place, but in bed because until really about ten minutes ago, language was just spoken. It meant that it was alive, to change at the speed that it nor does and that change can happen in any one of various directions, which means that once you have to human groups, then their language after a certain period of time, is I'm gonna be the language that the original group spoke just because say the same ah might become, it might become.
and you can see how a language would become a new one overtime, so next thing you know you have thanks, The language is, instead of one just because languages change like cloud formations. Given our pretty advanced development of language and communication, what are the big problems with language as it now exists? Well, we have seven thousand languages and it's probably safe- to say that about half of them are severely endangered. Another thing that many people would consider a bad thing is that it's a certain roughly twenty big fat languages that are eating up so many of these small ones, and what makes this regrettable to many, and quite understandably, is that the one that's having power, really. The most success is english in English is just this one language that was the vehicle of a rapaciously in period,
power, and now America is the main driver and that language is eating up all of these the languages and in some ways their cultures took it. Let's take a step back here, because John MC quarter is brought up a few important points. Number one. Linguistic diversity has been a natural hallmark of human communication number two linguistic consolidation has also been a strong trend, or maybe a japanese better word for it most recently in the form of English, but an earlier centuries
or other big fat languages, gobbling up the others, greek and Persian, and French, sometimes one language would come to dominate a particular domain in western and central Europe. For instance, science was conducted in Latin Michael Gordon from Prince in that period of time is about twelve hundred to roughly seventeen. Fifty is the period of time when you could expect that every the interested in how falling bodies behave or how the circulation of the blood works. You could expect that anybody who wanted to know about that would be able to read a lot. So there are a lot of factors that may influence weather or how broadly a given language will spread, but the central conflict. It seems the central question we should be asking about language here on earth. One point: oh, is this: what is the right amount?
Linguistic diversity is seven thousand an acceptable number of languages for seven plus billion people is one a better number but think about it. First, on a personal level, what language or languages, do you speak? What benefits do you think that confers whether economic, cultural or otherwise? What do you think you lose by not speaking other languages and how you feel about people who do speak, those other languages- maybe you think of them is more unlike you than they actually are solely because they speak a different language and how does the language you used to express your ideas and emotions influence the ideas and emotions themselves. These are obviously hard questions, maybe unanswerable, but let's start with a bit of economic analysis of language. That's what Shlomo vapor has been thinking about, at least since that stressful first lecture.
If an English, you know it was a really know. This experience, I will never forget so that that makes me think about the costs. Of communicating in a language that you're, not that you don't have mastered. I mean, if you just think about the stress right. The cognitive stress, literally right, your brain, is working hard on justice, language, so it can't be working on the ideas and maybe the emotional stress in physical stress. What what do you think is the effective all that or its tremendous is. a lot of studies on the immigration that showed the emotional stress, because it not only of your site. We are all success. You you care for the feminine, to measure the costs of different people speaking different languages. Researchers like labour use a metric called linguistic distance when it comes to trade. For instance, vapor documented that a ten percent increase in the
mobility. The two people from different countries share a language increases their trading by ten percent. At times, it is difficult to isolate the input of languages, but in general so general statement is the clause. Saunders linguistic sense, under their wisdom of the trade in the issue that the trade between the gander. Let's say there are two nations that want to trade or maybe ten nations that want to trade. You can pick one thing: that they have most in common in order. May good trade forget about all the other stuff? Would it be a political viewpoint? That's shared cultural or existing. I would see language if you really separate among the city where the problem is that the link You can cultural, this sort of interdependent, but one study in the
colonel of international economics found quote at least two thirds of the influence of language comes from ease of communication alone and has nothing to do with ethnic ties or trust. Furthermore, it found the impact of linguistic factors was still stood. even after controlling for quote common religion, common law in the history of wars, as well as distance contiguity in two separate measures of ex colonialism. It's easy to see how this kind of thing might be. How, in practice a couple of days ago, I attended the the requirements and Peter work, and they listen to that through this speech of there, Prime Minister and Mr Monti is spoken hinder is chosen not to speak English. so we basically a delay, relied on translation on somebody, a single translator who translated his speech into Russian. Unfortunately, it wasn't very good russian, it was horrible,
It was unbelievably bed translation and I was just stand by the affected to continue to do that was obviously, there was no contact through the audience. Audience lost an interest, quickly, because when you re like give you emotions you I d is to sound translator, you don't know what will happen. How do you put a price on what gets lost in translation? That's hard to do, but it's not trivial on out. That's for sure there was such a tremendous chance for you with people open, actually expect in this speech and seen in these open for business saddled with russian businessman after that, and they were so hesitant about all these things speak English. Why would we go there, but the science here is not very precise. Louis. in the different areas, so that rate of China he's now grow in every way, in spite of journeys link
to have been very distant from everything else? So so it's important to look at the particulars in June. although in general literature ensured that linguistic diversity has a negative example. Generally speaking on economic growth, so linguistic diversity as a negative impact on economic growth. There is also the roughly forty billion there is a year we spend on global language services, primarily translation and interpretation, and another fifty plus Billy noisier spent learning other languages
obviously many reasons you might want to learn another language, but the primary driver seems to be economics. We looked at this in an earlier episode called, is learning foreign language really worth it? One european study found that a second language could increase your wages between five and twenty percent, depending on which language and country the biggest boost, perhaps not surprisingly, went to those learning English there still plenty of places where English won't do much good, but something like one point, five billion speakers. It is certainly become what John Mc Warder cause. being fat. Language does even more striking when you consider that only about four hundred million of them are native speakers. The reason why English is so popular around the world are so widely used has to do with the british Empire, Michael Gordon again. Otherwise, it's language of a small island in the North Sea, that happened to spread fairly globally.
whereas chinese is the language of a very large landmass. That's contiguous, but the rise of English is an all tied to british colonialism. So the story, partially about the rise of american power and the attractiveness of american higher education, the desire of people to get you stocks in the U S and to publish in U S, journals. Consider science previously dominated in the west, by Latin and in the east, by sanskrit and classical my today, there is basically one common language for communication in the elite, natural sciences, like physics, biology, chemistry, geology, which is overwhelmingly, Bush. By overwhelmingly I mean over ninety five percent of world publication in those sciences is in English and there's never been anything quite like that before this requires more than just a familiarity with English. What we
Our demand of people is extremely high level of both written and oral fluency in English. So it's very hard to get that fluency and it imposed educational burden on them and you have people injured, and we spend years learning English when their counterparts in Canada are just learning more science, and so that creates a MECCA that reinforces the elite status of anglophone institutions. There probably are people in the world who were be wonderful scientists, but can't get the English and therefore can't quite participate in the international community and if they can't participate What kind of science is the rest of the world missing out on the massive leverage of English in the scientific community and in other communities is something you probably don't think about much if you are a native english speaker, so the native speakers of English learn English for free from their pay
since the community around Them- and they benefit enormously from everybody else, spending years putting this language into their heads for a native speaker, that's the status quo. The problem with the status quo is it's not fair. The people who benefit most from it pay the least for it. One of the hardest things about a big dude language like English and its influence. That again, is John MC quarter. Is that it's easy? our generation to start to feel that that language is the real one, and so that's the way that a language can eat up another one and next thing you know the kids really only speak English or some kind of English and the Indian. Language is gone. That has happened, for example, the countless native american languages to an extent native american languages were beaten out of people in boarding school, but then to another extent where that damage was done? There is often a sense that well, English is what Sir,
can and what grandma speaks for grandma, but I'm not grandma all takes as well. Generation like that in the language is gone, Linguists predict that of the roughly seven thousand languages now spoken on earth, some three thousand will go extinct within the next century. I often Mclaughlin asking me haven't you don't get Camille in good faith and glasses. Are you proposed by a few Roma who bought some lie? You mechanically mingling, with suggestion manufacturers to music with Rebecca man on Spanish. I don't want my language sugar extinct coming up after the break Powell. Linguistic differences can lead to bloodshed so many people died in the war which in fact, is It could have been avoided. How language affects thinking certainly claims about types of thinking that become very hard without language,
and is the European Union our modern day tower of Babel thinks all sitting like last year in today's economic Hachinoki com is coming up next on for economics, radio, we ve been talking about talking how it came to be the seven plus a billion people on earth. One point no speak some seven thousand different languages and simple fact A great many of us can't understand most basic thing that someone else may be saying excision whose only twenty Tokyo uneasy and when he saw the Mongolia Dynastic Internet money faster
when they are known, ass, important ass. We need you to do or live excuse it worse about whom you may be tempted to think wait, a minute. Why don't we just standardize or language? Well that can get messy real fast. The bloodiest example actually probably over the course of this century. The Sri Lanka WAR, that is the economist, Shlomo Vapor There was a linguistic war and between two groups of people for some time. Thousand years to major ethnic linguistic groups. The Sinhalese and the tunnel head coexisted relatively peacefully, on an island in South Asia now known as Sri Lanka. Over time it was colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch than the British. The British gave it up in nineteen forty eight and in nineteen fifty six. What happens is that two Holly's majority, tried to impose still are all act, making this link
the majority, the only official language of the country, the cinema, is led government introduced the sin holler only ACT which Tommo leaders called a form of apartheid, Tommo protests turn violent and that violence began a full, fledged civil war that would last twenty six years. Tens of thousands of people die The reality, of course, is that the visitation of radio stance, but I think the intensity of the conflict would have been much lower than without this should act and the prices just staggering. So many people die in the war, which in fact is
it could have been avoided. Tommo was ultimately accorded official status alongside similes is still took a long time for things to settle down in two thousand and eleven, a reconciliation commission recommended that schoolchildren be taught in both Tommo and Sinhalese quote. It is language that unifies and binds a nation. Their report read: it is imperative that the official languages policy is implemented in an effective manner to promote understanding diversity and national integration, so does language bind us or divide us short answer both, I will say no tribalism devout very, very quickly. That's Leora boy did ski from using San Diego. She has found linguistic tribalism in many precincts. So if you join in online community, for example, let's say there
new tv show that comes out within a few weeks. I'll be praises and vocabulary items and means that can only be understood by people who participate in that linguistic community and very quickly becomes so. New people who joined the community. The new bees are at least initially excluded because they dont know how to use that set of a Cavalier Adams correctly in there. To spend some time learning offline communities. Have the same tendencies may show a lot of these very common pattern. quick innovation, quick change which you gettin Langley, it's all over the world and a desire to differentiate on the one hand, want to communicate with one another, but on the other hand, they want to have of the shibboleth they want to have some way.
every feeling who really belongs in who doesn't belong. This is called signalling theory or absolutely I'm curious to know from your perspective as an economist, much value people place on their language. In terms, identity and not just usefulness. I think that religion and language that the most important factors in identifying people identify themselves. So young people, our peoples, attachment to the language is a symbol of the identity and the desire for independence and never everywhere, in every case the importance of the language and attachment to language and importers of education of language of your own children This language is just the very difficult overestimate since we have seven thousand different languages One of the reasons that you might want to preserve them is that having a separate language in the world that we know is part of being a culture. John Mc Warder, again you don't
absolutely need one, because I don't want to say that an american jewish person isn't really jewess unless they speak fluent, yet it or Hebrew, but it certainly does help and when you don't have the languages, it's easier for the culture to disappear. So yet, but it is partly our fondness for our acceptance of diversity, which is a major philosophical advance. Over the way people felt as recently as a seventy or eighty years ago, again, the question becomes how much linguistic diversity is the right amount? Here's one answer enough for any one to feel connected to the community of their choice, but not so much as to hamper trade or start a war, its also we're thinking about the benefits of linguistic diversity and language generally that go beyond the utilitarian. There certainly cleans at bout types of thinking that become very hard without language
or become unlikely without language bore did ski, you may recall, is a cognitive scientist and I do a lot of work on language in cognition how the languages we speak shape. The way we think so, if you take bilingual, for instance, you'll see that they think differently the model angles of any of their languages and they do it, even when they're, not speaking the language of interest she study. This phenomenon in the lab certainly bring people any. teach them, knew little many languages, and I we measure in non linguistic tasks, how they ve changed. The way that they think Indonesian, for instance, doesn't include tenses, like English does so the researchers tested whether teaching indonesian speaker, some English, would change how they thought about time? We would show people pictures of someone, for example, about ticket Cabal are in the process of taking a bowler. Having just kick the ball and then test their memory. English modeling bulls, we're back.
than indonesian monolingual at remembering formation about time. That is when the ball was kicked then, when you look at bilingualism, indonesian, English bilingual, they start to shift so indonesian, english bilingual laws. Are better than monolingual indonesian speakers at remembering when something happened, and they also start to value that information more when deciding what's more similar. There's some debate over the reliability and significance of the sort of lab finding take the example of color right so languages. Out of the color spectrum differently in you can show that people who speak a language that makes a distinction, for example, to light blue and dark blue the way russian does. They are faster at distinguishing shades of Blue a fallen opposite. size of the color boundary, but you know their fast her by a few hundred milliseconds. So for theories of per cent.
And it's a big deal for practical purposes. It's not a big deal and again the so called bilingual advantage. Isn't a slam? Dunk empirical fact there is how for some compelling evidence suggesting that bilingualism may delay the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia. Very often people ask me, because they people have heard o bilingualism have increased. If control or they can do a little bit better on the sconces card, sorting task, which is like a task of switching. ability. Should I learn another language, so I can get these benefits and out to me that always sounds like you know. Should I climb Mt Everest there? I can turn my calves ah, Certainly, your calves will get more toned decline, Mt Everest, but he also will have claimed. Mt Everest, which will have a tremendous other benefits and hardships along the way
So if we can agree that linguistic diversity on earth, one point out has benefits and costs the magnitude of which we could debate forever. What, if anything, would we do different on earth to point out to even consider? one universal language, or are we better off with our modern day tower of Babel, so the curse of Babel is in the air existential condition in which we live every day. The Princeton English professor Esther Shore, reuse language, to communicate but we cannot rely on it to make ourselves understood the sordid unethical particular. it is our shying. I and many of us mean nothing another on annual. It didn't work any more than I had some final questions for the economist, Shlomo Labour about an institution he's been studying. Is the European Union really going back to him
it was being put together. Did that in any way parallel. Do you think the tower of Babel thing so vivid african canoe in Sport- can include its official leg she's, an official language of the union is finally to say that symbolic actually, which has only with Luxembourg, is, new refrain from imposing Luxembourg issues in the future. language of the union, but then what different these when the master entered the union, which has a smaller country than selection board, that, in my view, he became an official language of the union under the Luxembourg say that while we do not think so, Considering that, then there are, you know a couple dozen languages officially in you what is at translate to in cost in terms of translation, time and communication to build a Europe Asia, but its tremendous caused, not only financial costs but also in terms of communication. mobility, people to understand, on the one hand,
I would like to publish all the documents of the union on all that in all the languages of the people who understand, but then it becomes a nightmare. All that translation, I'm gather, is not done by machine learning by by robot. Not unless you know they are not yet not yet, and then, of course you can find people. We can speak here. You know in the same time, Maltese in Estonia, and so our need to have translated from Maltese, through stoning from commodities to English, from English has done and so on. These things there may give another even more pain, for example, about the patent application. So if you need a patents in different countries, you really have to do it in every country, because the legislation everywhere there is no unified legislation across the union saw its delays. So many things I say you made the argument along with a couple co authors, that the best thing for the EU to do would be to settle on three core languages: English, french and german. Although he said Italian could be a substitute for friendly
Of course we are, then you thought about a little bit more. You discussed how there could be six core languages, including Spanish, coalition again Italian Orton branch. The EU obviously read this How much did they love your idea? No, they didn't like. Well, it's not the people, didn't like it. Those who leaned over the level people agreed that it should be should be something like that, but it's so difficult due to change the policy, because you really The only countries having read the power or linguistic policy in Sweden in the European Constitution, Do you need really to go for every country to try to, The way they read the ride through, which is impossible. Let me ask you this summer, you ve made it clear that you consider breaks it too you know a bad move in a sad move, but, on the other hand, just plain devils advocate for a minute them, I hear you talk about just the language issue in the EU. I can see
why England would want to get the hell out? It sounds like if you can't even get to the point where you can the many sum of a billion dollars worth of simply translation costs because of the fact that everybody's language is essentially an official language. That just sounds to me like bureaucracy to the Nth degree and frustrate being an really hard to get anything substantial done. Tell me why you don't feel that way. New is the basic see minutes You know the conflict between globalization and localization, and I don't know we do a good job of doing that. So I would go with global a global languages high level and by the tail, but still keeping their locally the body, because you know sensibilities of the people, to everyone engage, so please give them For this reason to do so,
The truth is this. The final word today goes to John MC. Ordered language were not inherently mutable. If some language had developed, probably hundred fifty thousand years ago, and it had stayed more or less the same among all the different groups of humans, except maybe some different words. Then not only would a whole lot of communication problems not be there. Not only could we perhaps argue that some wars would have been less likely to take place, but I can guarantee you this noble. Today would be standing around saying: wouldn't it be nice have. Actually, there were seven thousand different languages and people had trouble understood each other, and we had to have translators and so as much as I delight,
in the variety of languages that there has come to be by accident. The truth is that if we could start again, I don't think anybody would wish that the situation was the way it came out if we could start again well by the power vested in me as podcast host. We can coming up next time on for economics, radio. We pretend that all the colonial baggage and global bureaucracy on earth, one point no dont exists and we try to come up with the optimal land, plan for earth to point out. I would say that an ideal in the future is that everybody in the world can communicate in one language and that then we'll have another language that they use with their in group and that we have as many of those languages as possible. We through
around some nominations for a universal language. It's called Esperanto because that was his pseudonym doctrinal Esperanto, which means the hopeful one. You would need Oddly, a language that had a lot less in it than many people would expect, and we talk about using technology in biology to make language more effortless that kind of leveraging the way children can soak up languages almost effortlessly would improve some aspects of the system. It's coming up next eyes: vain across the legislative elections. I decisive using a proxy and for Economics radio yeah economics. Radio is produced by w when my c studios and doubly productions. This episode was produced by Stephanie Tam. Our staff also includes Alison Hockenberry marriage. Jacob Gregory
asking Eliza Lambert Emma Morgenstern, Harry Huggins and bring terror, as we had help this week from SAM Bear. Special thanks to are in turn can with Donald the music you here throughout the episode composed by Luis Gara. You can and should subscribe to phenomena, radio on apple pod casts or sticker or wherever you capture your progress. We should also check out our archive at freak anomalies, dot com, where you can stream or download every episode we ve ever made, can also read the transcripts and you can find links to the underlying academic research. We can also be found on Twitter, Facebook or via email at radio. At freak now must not come as always thanks for listening. the amount of aid you guess, I'm busting out democracy and Pollyanna Gladwin arrogance. You dumb fists, way always way thanks they or face listening, lay
Transcript generated on 2021-01-23.