I love how some countries are just somehow set up so that people speak more than one language. I am not talking here about countries like Switzerland or Belgium, where there are more official languages and people just kind of learn them all at school to understand other citizens of their own country. And I am not talking about countries like Morocco or Algeria, people of which learn a foreign language because of their colonial heritage. I am talking about countries like Poland, Hungary, Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sweden and the like. A common theme in these countries in this particular context is that their native language is relatively insignificant on the global scale, because not many other countries speak it, if any. But why do people of some countries learn it more than others, even though it should be similarly important to them?
The value of workers from these countries on international markets is quite diverse as a result. What I want to point out is that if you’ve ever watched TV in the Netherlands, for example, you may have noticed that lots of movies and TV shows are in their original language – usually English – and the TV channel shows subtitles in Dutch. I am not saying this is the principal reason why most Dutch people speak fluent English, but I am sure it helps. In other countries, such as the Czech Republic, the bulk of all foreign TV content is dubbed into the common tongue. I find this highly disturbing from my personal view, because I don’t like the dubbed versions, and also as an economist, since this situation is very inefficient. I feel confident when I say I have studied and learnt more languages than most people, and watching movies and TV shows in their original versions is one of my favorite ways to study them efficiently (since I would be watching movies and TV shows anyway, why not learn while doing it, right?) That’s why I call to all those responsible – don’t dub your TV channel’s content! It will be cheaper for you, many new people will start watching your channel (I can’t be alone on this), and you can sleep better knowing that you provide free language lessons to tens of thousands of people at a time.