Monolingual Brits

Well, yes:

I know what many will say: what\’s the use of learning another language when English has become a lingua franca? The knowledge of other languages, dear monolingual friends, is quite simply essential: life-enhancing, mind-blowing, even life-saving. It will make you richer; get you the girls or the lads of your dreams; spare you huge embarrassments; help you get out of tricky situations; and, most importantly of all, help you avoid being a laughing stock.

But then so will the study of economics make you rich, get you laid and enhance your life. With the added extra that it will also aid you in understanding when the politicians in your life try to rip you off.

14 thoughts on “Monolingual Brits”

  1. Studying economics will not get you laid. On this point, I am a world expert.
    There are two reasons for this:
    1. Economics is a male-dominated field, as are businesses that employ economists. So you’ll not meet many women in the ordinary course of events.
    2. Economics will give the impression that you are insensitive – and might (pace Marglin) actually make you so. To women, this is a turn-off.
    Better to study English, or psychology.

  2. Chris: You should switch to Development Economics. You’ll meet lots of women and they won’t think you are an unfeeling bastard.

    Methinks Tinbergen would have had something to say about trying to achieve all these objectives with one instrument. May you would be better off studying economics to achieve Tim’s first goal, and then doing yoga for the other two?

  3. A pedant writes: when you say “monolingual”, do you in fact mean monoglot?

    Tim adds: I don’t know, do I? Doesn’t the “glot” part refer to speaking, rather than readin’ n’ ‘ritin’?

  4. Economics gets you laid? Who knew?

    But I was already getting a fair share before I ever thought about Economics.

    Where’s my extra entitlement? Do you have to sign up for ’em like Social Security? Do you have to show you have “what it takes” (as far as knowledge of Economics, that is)?

  5. being an unfeeling bastard is said to be attractive to women. If you add big biceps and a porche – you only need to grunt.

  6. Learning a foreign language is hard. It is not a task to be undertaken lightly, and on a strict cost-benefit level it makes little sense to expend the effort required to achieve proficiency if all one needs to do is converse with waiters on a two week holiday on the continent. If one is actually living full time in a non-English speaking country, then learning the language is utterly essential to maximise one’s enjoyment. But if not, then the problem arises of which foreign tongue to learn. If you’re a non-English speaker, the question answers itself. But what if you’re a Brit and spend the time to learn German, and then the missus decides she wants to go to Alicante?

    In my case, I learnt Spanish to the level of effective bilingualism and it has improved my quality of life enormously. But when I’m talking to an expat Dane, or Japanese, is it really reasonable that we both speak in Spanish, which is the mother tongue of neither of us?

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