You speak English, a futured language, and what that means is that every time you discuss the future or any kind of a future event, grammatically, you’re forced to cleave that from the present and treat it as if it’s something viscerally different. Now suppose that that visceral difference makes you suddenly disassociate the future from the present every time you speak. If that’s true, and it makes the future feel like something more distant and more different from the present, that’s going to make it harder to save.
If, on the other hand, you speak a futureless language, the present and the future, you speak about them identically. If that suddenly nudges you to feel about them identically, that’s going to make it easier to save.
Futureless language speakers, even after this level of control, are 30 percent more likely to report having saved in any given year. Does this have cumulative effects? Yes. By the time they retire, futureless language speakers, holding constant their income, are going to retire with 25 percent more in savings.
Can we push this data even further? Yes. Think about smoking, for example. Smoking is, in some deep sense, negative savings, right. If savings is current pain in exchange for future pleasure, smoking is just the opposite. It’s current pleasure in exchange for future pain. What we should expect then is the opposite effect. And that’s exactly what we find. Futureless-language speakers are 20 to 24 percent less likely to be smoking at any given in time compared to identical families. And they’re going to be 13 to 70 percent less likely to be obese by the time they retire.
In a fascinating episode of NPR’s TED Radio Hour titled The Money Paradox, behavioral economist Keith Chen shares some absolutely astounding research on how the tenses in a language influence that culture’s attitudes about saving and spending money.
Complement with this excellent, albeit flawed by virtue of being written in the futured English language, read on how to worry less about money.
The full TED Radio Hour is well worth a listen.
Super interesting and I haven’t listened to Chen/read Whorf but I kind of wonder if maybe there isn’t something more going on. And lo, he doesn’t mean “languages with no concept of separating present from future” but rather languages that allow you to speak of the future in the present tense. See also, and … PDFs. Pfft.
We have left iTunesU in favor of sharing content via YouTube and SoundCloud. We just were not seeing the statistics to continue with iTunesU. We found the administration of the account laborious and the statistical reporting onerous. It was clear to us from an administrative standpoint, it was a drain on staff time that simply wasn’t giving back enough as a distribution channel.
When people of colour are expected to educate white people as to their humanity, when women are expected to educate men, lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world, the oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions.
Things Bear Has Tried To Gnaw On Today
- Dining table foot
- Couch corner
- Table Cloth
- McSweeny’s Issue #16
- Side table leg
- Chair leg
- My toes
- New Yorker, March 17 issue
- The papers I’m trying to grade