Friday, February 3, 2012

Learning foreign languages

An interesting and stimulating essay by Larry Summers sparked a debate on the value of learning a second language. I’m undecided on the value of a 2nd and even a 3rd language. Both K1 and K2 are learning French (and have been since kindergarten) and recently K1 took up Mandarin Chinese in 6th grade. Supporters of a second language claim all kinds of benefits - from improved test scores to being more attractive to the opposite sex. One of the reasons that Summers may have said that is because technological advances may have made foreign language acquisition moot. Unfortunately, it has not - as Google Translate so aptly demonstrated while trying to speak Italian.

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