How language affects the sense of time

Bilinguals have different opinions of the event duration, depending on the situation. The determining factor is, what language they hear before. This experiment showed the Swedish scientists. The fact that it can adjust the sense of time, once again confirms that it strongly affects our feelings and thinking.

Language is an important means of communication. It brings people together and helps them to find common ground with each other. But this power of language is not exhausted. As part of the cultural consciousness it reflects the knowledge of the entire group. Also it changes the brain, determining the specificity of the perception and thinking of those who owns it.

Because of the language impact is easy to trace the people who grew up bilingual (bilingual). The sounds of different languages they work in separate areas of the brain, while retaining the ability to easily switch between them. That is, the sounds and the syllables of them will sound each time differently, depending on the language the person expects to hear.

But not only the sounds of the bilinguals perceived differently depending on the context. Language and impact on other areas of perception.

Scientists led by Emmanuel Brandom (Emanuel Bylund) from Stockholm University explored this with the example of perception of time. They noticed that in English and Swedish the duration of the event describe primarily the physical distances, in particular the “short pause” or “long’s wedding”. But in Spain and Greece, talking about the “little pauses” and “big weddings”. Some languages describe time as passed the street, the other — rather as a growing number of.

These observations scientists used for your test. In the bilinguals, who spoke Swedish and Spanish, had several times alternately to determine the duration of the time interval. On the screen they were shown an animation that was confusing: a line that became longer and longer, or a container that is filled. Each time it occurred at a different speed — or rather slower. The video was not a reliable indicator of the actual duration.

At the beginning of each test round Biland and his colleagues invited subjects to a short address, in which sounded or Spanish word duration “duarción,” or its Swedish equivalent of “tid”.

What effect on the behavior of the participants?

The results were clear: a container configured to Spanish Guinea was wrong. In their assessments, they focused on how full the container is. If they looked at the line that has grown, their perception of time was not under the influence. When the subjects started the test with the Swedish words, confusing them enter the line, but the container in their judgments are not affected.

Without keywords, subjects successfully analyzed the time — regardless, watching the line or container. The language effect on the perception disappeared. “The fact that bilingual flexible and seem to unconsciously choose one of the ways to estimate the time, is another indication of language power, — said a colleague of Bernada Athanasopoulos Panos (Panos Athanasopoulos) from Lancaster University. — More and more clearly emerges is the ease with which language slips into our fundamental senses, in particular visual perception and, as it turned out, a sense of time,” says the linguist.

At the same time, the results showed that bilinguals can think flexibly. Their “jumping” from one language to another has a positive effect on the learning process and can play a role long brain workout.

Leave a Reply