Learn English with Freakonomics

The Benefits of English

Published: 2.18.2018
Level 4   |   Time: 3:45
Accent: American

TOEFL: How English has become the dominant world language and the (unfair) advantages it gives its speakers.


You can download the file [ HERE ].


triangle Directions 목표 Direcciones Instruções


    It is important to read the vocabulary before you watch the video. This will improve your ability to understand the video. It will also help you understand how the new vocabulary is used naturally.

  2. WATCH the VIDEO

    The first time you watch the video, just try to understand the overall situation.


    First try to answer all the questions from memory. Then rewatch the video and try to answer the questions that you missed.

  4. WATCH and READ the SCRIPT

    Watch the video again while you read the script. Reading and listening at the same time will help you hear each individual word and improve your listening accuracy.


    There are several different activities that focus on test preparation, vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure.


    Es importante leer el vocabulario antes de ver el video. Esto mejorará su capacidad para comprender el video. También le ayudará a comprender cómo se usa el nuevo vocabulario de forma natural.

  2. VER el VIDEO

    La primera vez que vea el video, intente comprender la situación general.


    Primero intente responder todas las preguntas de memoria. Luego, vuelva a ver el video e intente responder las preguntas que se perdió.


    Mire el video nuevamente mientras lee el guión. Leer y escuchar al mismo tiempo lo ayudará a escuchar cada palabra individual y mejorará su precisión auditiva.


    Hay una serie de actividades diferentes que se centran en la preparación de la examen, el vocabulario, la gramática y la estructura de las oraciones.

  1. 어휘 읽기

    비디오를 보기 전에 어휘와 배경을 읽는 것이 중요합니다. 이렇게 하면 비디오를 이해하는 능력이 향상됩니다. 또한 새로운 어휘가 어떻게 자연스럽게 사용되는지 이해하는데 도움이됩니다.

  2. 비디오 보기

    비디오를 처음 볼 때 전체 상황을 이해하려고 노력하세요.

  3. 문제에 답하기

    먼저 모든 질문에 답을 해보세요. 그런 다음 비디오를 다시보고 놓친 질문에 답해보세요.

  4. 비디오 보면서 대본 읽기

    대본을 읽는 동안 비디오를 다시 보세요. 읽기와 듣기를 동시에 하면 각각의 단어를 듣고, 듣기 정확도를 향상시킬 수 있습니다.

  5. 액티비티 하기

    듣기 정확도, 발음, 어휘, 문법 및 문장 구조에 초점을 맞춘 다양한 액티비티가 있습니다.


    É importante ler o vocabulário antes de assistir ao vídeo. Isso melhorará sua capacidade de entender o vídeo. Também ajudará você a entender como o novo vocabulário é usado naturalmente.


    Na primeira vez que assistir ao vídeo, tente entender a situação geral.


    Primeiro, tente responder a todas as perguntas de memória. Em seguida, assista novamente ao vídeo e tente responder às perguntas que você errou.


    Assista ao vídeo novamente enquanto lê o roteiro. Ler e ouvir ao mesmo tempo ajudará você a ouvir cada palavra individualmente e a melhorar sua precisão auditiva.


    Existem várias atividades diferentes que se concentram na preparação para o teste, vocabulário, gramática e estrutura de frases.

triangle Vocabulary 어휘 Vocabulário Vocabulario

  • ☐ ☐ ☐ the primary driver [exp] - the main cause
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ wages [n] - money that you earn from work
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ a boost [n] - an increase
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ striking [adj] - unusual and extreme
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ contiguous [exp] - all together, not separated
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ tied to [v] - connected to
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ post docs [n] - research done by people with doctoral degrees
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ the natural sciences [n] - physics, chemistry, biology
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ overwhelmingly [adv] - with a large majority
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ oral [adj] - related to speaking
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ fluency [n] - the ability to use language easily and accurately
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ a counterpart [n] - a person with a similar position or job in another place
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ Anglophone [adj] - related to English
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ a mechanism [exp] - a system
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ massive [adj] - very big
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ leverage [n] - advantage
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ enormously [adv] - a lot
  • ☐ ☐ ☐ the status quo [exp] - the current situation unchanging

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb, [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Comprehension Questions 이해력 검사 문제 Perguntas de compreensão Preguntas de comprensión

  1. According to the speaker, what is the primary benefit of learning a second language?
    The cultural benefit
    The economic benefit
    The colonial benefit

  2. How much can learning a second language increase your wages?
    by 2-5%
    by 5-20%
    by 15-20%

  3. Which language gives second-language learners the greatest economic benefit?

  4. How many English speakers are there in the world?
    about 4 million
    about 400 million
    about 1.5 billion

  5. How many native English speakers are there in the world?
    about 4 million
    about 400 million
    about 1.5 billion

  6. According to the speaker, what factors have led to the rise of English?
    Its simple structure and grammar
    British colonialism
    American colonialism
    American educational dominance

  7. In the past, what were the languages of science?
    Classical Chinese

  8. Currently, what are the languages of science?
    Classical Chinese

  9. What percentage of natural science papers are published in English?

  10. According to the speaker, which English skills are currently required in academic fields?
    Written fluency
    Oral fluency
    American pronunciation
    British pronunciation

  11. What advantages do native English speakers have over non-native English speakers in science?
    They are better at science.
    They don't have to study English.
    They can devote more time to studying English.
    They can devote more time to studying science.

  12. Who does he suggest cannot participate in the international scientific community?
    Japanese scientists
    Canadian scientists
    Non-English speakers

  13. Why does the speaker suggest that the "status quo" is unfair?
    Non-native English speakers have to invest a lot in learning English, which mostly benefits native English speakers.
    Native English speakers have to invest a lot in learning English, which mostly benefits non-native English speakers.
    Native English speakers have to help non-native English speakers, which costs a lot of time and money.

triangle TOEFL Questions TOEFL 문제 Perguntas do TOEFL Preguntas de TOEFL

  1. What is the discussion mainly about?
    (A) The unfair advantages of being a native English speaker
    (B) The economic benefits of speaking English
    (C) How English benefits scientists
    (D) The best ways to learn English

  2. Why does the speaker refer to English as a big fat language?
    (A) English is mainly spoken in countries with obesity problems.
    (B) English has a very large vocabulary.
    (C) English is a dominant language in the world.
    (D) English is difficult to learn.

  3. According to the speaker, what factors have led to the rise of English?
    (Click on two answers.)
    (A) It is easy to learn.
    (B) It was spread by British colonialism.
    (C) It gives speakers economic benefits.
    (D) It is the preferred language for higher education.

  4. Why does the speaker state that communication in the natural sciences is "overwhelmingly" in English?
    (A) Science requires a high level of written English fluency.
    (B) More than 95% of scientific publications are in English.
    (C) Languages like Sanskrit and Latin are difficult to learn.
    (D) English has an elite status in the world today.

  5. Why does the speaker compare Canadian people to Japanese people?
    (A) Because Canadian people tend to be better than Japanese people at science.
    (B) Because Canada and Japan both have a colonial history.
    (C) Because Japanese people and Canadian people often compete for scientific jobs.
    (D) Because Canadians do not have to invest as much time studying English as Japanese people do.

  6. Which statements about English are made in the discussion?
    (Click on two answers.)
    (A) There are more than 1.5 billion native English speakers in the world.
    (B) In the past, English was the primary language of science in the West.
    (C) The majority of scientific publications are currently in English.
    (D) Learning English gives the greatest economic benefit to second-language learners.
    (E) British English is much more popular than American English.

  7. Why does the speaker suggest that some people can't quite participate in the international scientific community?
    (A) They don't have access to scientific publications.
    (B) Their English ability is not sufficient.
    (C) They don't have the economic ability to conduct scientific experiments.
    (D) They don't want to get post docs in English.

  8. What does the man mean when he says this?

    (A) Native English speakers benefit the most from the status quo.
    (B) Non-native English speakers will soon benefit from the status quo.
    (C) Native English speakers pay the most for maintaining the status quo.
    (D) Non-native English speakers need to change the status quo.

triangle Sentence Building 문장 만들기 Construção de sentença Construcción de oraciones [ ? ]


This activity is designed to improve sentence accuracy and complexity. Most students can produce the key content words in a sentence. However, they have difficulty with accuracy because the functional words are difficult or can seem unimportant. This activity will help learners eliminate problems with these functional words by giving them immediate feedback on the mistakes they are making. It will also help students develop their use of more natural, varied and complex sentence structures.

TIP: Say the sentence out loud. Notice the types of mistake you make often. Focus on those types of errors. (singular/plural, subject-verb agreement, article use, prepositions, gerunds and infinitives, noun clauses, adjective clauses, word order, and word forms.)


Esta actividad está diseñada para mejorar la precisión y complejidad de las oraciones. La mayoría de los estudiantes pueden producir las palabras clave del contenido en una oración. Sin embargo, tienen dificultades con la precisión porque las palabras funcionales son difíciles o pueden parecer poco importantes. Esta actividad ayudará a los alumnos a eliminar problemas con estas palabras funcionales al brindarles retroalimentación inmediata sobre los errores que están cometiendo. También ayudará a los estudiantes a desarrollar su uso de estructuras de oraciones más naturales, variadas y complejas.

CONSEJO: Diga la oración en voz alta. Observe los tipos de errores que comete con frecuencia. Concéntrese en ese tipo de errores. (singular / plural, concordancia entre sujeto y verbo, uso del artículo, preposiciones, gerundios e infinitivos, cláusulas sustantivas, cláusulas adjetivas, orden de las palabras y formas de las palabras).


이 액티비티는 문장의 정확성과 복잡성을 개선하기 위해 고안되었습니다. 대부분의 학생들은 문장에서 핵심 내용 단어를 생성 할 수 있습니다. 그러나 기능적 단어가 어렵거나 중요하지 않은 것처럼 보일 수 있기 때문에 정확성에 어려움이 있습니다. 이 액티비티는 학습자가 실수에 대한 즉각적인 피드백을 제공함으로써 이러한 기능적 단어의 문제를 제거하는 데 도움이 됩니다. 또한 학생들이 보다 자연스럽고 다양하며 복잡한 문장 구조를 사용하는 데 도움이 됩니다.

팁 : 문장을 크게 말하세요. 자주 저지르는 실수 유형과, 이러한 유형의 오류에 집중하세요. (단수 / 복수, 주어-동사 일치, 관사 사용, 전치사, 동명사 및 부정사, 명사절, 형용사절, 어순 및 단어 형태)


Esta atividade foi desenvolvida para melhorar a precisão e a complexidade das frases. A maioria dos alunos pode produzir as palavras-chave do conteúdo em uma frase. No entanto, eles têm dificuldade com precisão porque as palavras funcionais são difíceis ou podem parecer sem importância. Esta atividade ajudará os alunos a eliminar problemas com essas palavras funcionais, dando-lhes feedback imediato sobre os erros que estão cometendo. Também ajudará os alunos a desenvolver o uso de estruturas de sentenças mais naturais, variadas e complexas.

DICA: Diga a frase em voz alta. Observe os tipos de erro que você comete com frequência. Concentre-se nesses tipos de erros. (singular/plural, concordância sujeito-verbo, uso de artigos, preposições, gerúndios e infinitivos, cláusulas substantivas, cláusulas adjetivas, ordem das palavras e formas das palavras.)

Directions: Write sentences about the video clip using the words given. You can change the word form or add words, but you cannot change the word order.

Instrucciones: Escriba oraciones sobre el videoclip usando las palabras dadas. Puede cambiar la forma de la palabra o agregar palabras, pero no puede cambiar el orden de las palabras.

Instrucciones: Escreva orações sobre o videoclipe usando as palavras-chave. Você pode alterar a forma da palavra ou adicionar palavras, mas não pode alterar a ordem das palavras.

지시 : 주어진 단어를 사용하여 비디오 클립에 대한 문장을 씁니다. 어형을 변경하거나 단어를 추가할 수 있지만 어순은 변경할 수 없습니다.

Sentence 1

learn / second / language / could / increase / wage / as / as / 20%

Learning a second language could increase [your/one's/a person's] wages by as much as 20%.

Sentence 2

speak / English / second / language / offer / the / big / economic / boost

Speaking English as a second language offers the biggest economic boost.

Sentence 3

while / there / only / 400 / million / native / English / speaker / world / 1.5 / billion / people / speak / English

While there are only 400 million native English speakers [in/around] the world, 1.5 billion people (can) speak English.

Sentence 4

rise / English / global / language / can / partly / attribute / British / colonial

The rise of English as a global language can be partly attributed to British colonialism.

Sentence 5

rise / English / can / also / attribute / attractive / American / high / education

The rise of English can also be attributed to the attractiveness of American higher education.

Sentence 6

over / 95% / science / publication / English.

Over 95% of scientific publications are in English.

Sentence 7

use / English / academic / field / require / high / level / both / oral / written / fluency

Using English in academic fields requires high levels of both oral and written fluency.

Sentence 8

native / English / speaker / have / advantage / science / because / they / not / have / spend / time / learn / English

Native English speakers have an advantage in the sciences because they don't have to spend time learning English.

triangle Discussion 논의 Questões de discussão Discusión

  1. The speaker says that native English speakers have an unfair advantage because they don't have to waste time, effort, and money learning English. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  2. Do non-native English speakers have some important advantages that the professor doesn't mention (in academics)? What are they?
  3. The speaker says that English as a second language offers the greatest economic benefit. In your country, what other languages do you think offer economic benefit?
  4. The U.S. (~330M), the U.K. (~65M), Canada (~38M), Australia (~25M), Ireland (~5M), and New Zealand (~5M) (plus countries like the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Ireland, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago) have a combined population of near 500 million. Yet there are less than 400 million native English speakers in the world. How can you explain this?
  5. Do you think Chinese will ever pass English as the most important global language? If so, when? If not, why not?
  6. In your high school education, how often did you have to use (or read in) English in your science classes? Were any of your textbooks fully English?
  7. How much of your university education requires English? Are any of your textbooks in English? Are any of your classes taught in English?

triangle Script 대본 Roteiro Texto

There are 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 a foreign language really worth it?” One European study found that a second language could increase your wages between 5 and 20 percent depending on which language and country.

The biggest boost, perhaps not surprisingly, went to those learning English. There are still plenty of places where English won't do you much good, but at something like 1.5 billion speakers, it has certainly become what John McWhorter calls “a big fat language” which is even more striking when you consider that only about 400 million of them are native speakers.

The reason why English is so popular around the world or so widely used has to do with the British Empire.

Michael Gordon again.

Otherwise, it's the 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 isn't all tied to British colonialism.

So the story is partially about the rise of American power and the attractiveness of American higher education - the desire of people to get to postdocs in the US and to publish in US journals.

Consider science, previously dominated in the West by Latin and in the east by Sanskrit and Classical Chinese.

Today there is basically one common language for communication in the elite natural sciences, like physics biology chemistry geology, which is overwhelmingly English. By overwhelmingly, I mean over 95 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 now demand of people is an extremely high level of both written and oral fluency in English. So it's very hard to get that fluency, and it imposes an educational burden on them. And you have people in Japan who spend years learning English when their counterparts in Canada are just learning more science. And so that creates a mechanism that reinforces the elite status of Anglophone institutions. There probably are people in the world who would 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 that native speakers of English learn English for free from their parents and 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 the most from it pay the least for it.