Speak English? You Might Be Broke And Live With Your Parents


I know, it’s not your fault that you spent $50 on a round of drinks last night, a Monday night, and you still haven’t applied for those ten jobs you’ve been meaning to send your resume in for. It’s just that you feel like living for the moment. The river of time rushes ever further away, right? Well, it turns out that some of that actually may not be your fault, directly.

Interesting video here. So the gist is that what native language you speak may introduce a certain determinism about how you think of the world in terms of time and priorities. Dr.¬†Keith Chen’s study entitled “The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior” revealed that languages, like English, that linguistically and conceptually separate the future and the present may allow or even cause the speaker to mentally divorce the future from the present and thereby put things off, not save, spend badly, etc. However, other languages don’t divorce the future from the present in this way and instead treat them as conceptually equal in such a way that they are given the same priority.


I think it puts a new spin on what we might inadvertently mean when we say that certain behaviors are cultural. Certainly, it’s easy to at least understand how having to have specific descriptions for each of your uncles might at least change the way you view your family simply because your awareness of them is more detailed. The nice thing is that once aware of these differences they seem to stand out more in your thinking so there’s at least something you can do about it.