Opportunity costs of language learning


It’s been a while.

One of the things that is rarely mentioned regarding language learning is the opportunity cost involved.

In essence, the time that you spend doing one thing stops you doing something else, or at the very least limits the time you can spend on other activities.

I like languages and find them interesting. I also find many other things equally interesting.

If you are going to learn something/anything new, then concentration and time are needed, and both are finite.

You might spend a lot of time with friends and family.

You might have an intellectually demanding job, and arrive home physically and mentally tired after a hard day.

You might have two jobs.

Who knows?

We are all different and we all have different amounts of ‘free’ time, so let’s talk about the time that I have available or want to spend on languages.

I have decided that I’m happy to use half an hour a day for language learning. Sometimes it might be more and that’s fine but I’ve made a commitment to myself that most days that is what I will do. I enjoy this half hour and it is enough for me to scratch the language itch.

I currently spend this on my secret language. By the way, I don’t include language maintenance in this half hour. I do this by reading, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube etc in French, Italian and Spanish when I’m in the mood. I also have the occasional lesson on iTalki.

This is also why I am no longer attempting to maintain my Croatian. The time that I would need and so opportunity cost for me is too great. I don’t know it well enough to passively maintain it. I can’t do this and have time to learn my ‘new secret language’ within my allocated 30 minutes.

Of course you might be able to do both. In reality, if I really wanted or needed to learn Croatian and my secret language, then I could but for me personally, half an hour is enough.

I have other fish to fry.

Besos, baci n Pax.


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