JAN 08, 2019 07:05 AM PST

How bilingualism affects your sense of time

Research shows that bilingual brains work differently than monolingual brains. Even more fascinating, studies have also shown that depending on the languages you speak, your brain activates differently in comparison to people who speak other languages. One such way this comes into play is how speakers of different languages perceive time. Because every language has its particular vocabulary for organizing the world - i.e. time, sense of directions, relationships to each other - it makes sense that people who speak different languages might perceive time differently (a fact that you've likely noticed if you've ever traveled to a different country or culture!). 

In general, there are two types of ways to express time across all languages: distance and volume. English and Swedish, for example, express time using distance. You could say you need "a short break" or you have "a long time" before you need to leave. But in Spanish and Greek, for instance, volume is used to express time (in these languages you would say "a small break" or "a big time"). And it turns out, these small differences affect how we view the passage of time - something that is itself independent of our perceptions. Want to find out how? Watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 06, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 06, 2019
NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta
In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly capt...
DEC 06, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 06, 2019
A More Practical Theory Regarding Tabby's Star
A distant star system called KIC 8462852, also commonly known as ‘Tabby’s Star,’ has a particularly interesting reputation for dimming sp...
DEC 06, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 06, 2019
NASA Unveils New Space Suits for the Artemis Program
NASA’s Artemis program promises to revolutionize deep space travel in ways that many never thought imaginable. One of the most significant things Art...
DEC 06, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 06, 2019
The Penguin Life Isn't Always Easy
Mother nature isn’t kind to wildlife; many assume their position as either the prey or the predator depending on the cards they’re dealt. Unfor...
DEC 06, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 06, 2019
What You Need to Know About NASA's Upcoming WFIRST Space Telescope
There are several space telescopes observing the cosmos at the very time of this writing, and there are plans to launch even more of them in the near futur...
DEC 06, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 06, 2019
Climate Crisis Will Impact Children The Most
Many are already feeling the impacts of climate change around the world. Heat waves, severe storms, and flooding have affected humans of all ages. However,...
Loading Comments...