Based on a new study, language has an influential impact on people as it controls the way they experience time. A linguist from Lancaster University named Professor Panos Athanasopoulos and another linguist from Stockholm and Stellenbosch University named Professor Emanuel Bylund found that people who know how to communicate fluently in two languages perceive time differently. Of course, it will still depend on the context of the language wherein they are calculating the period of events.
The American Psychological Association published their discovery in the “Journal of Experimental Psychology: General”. They primarily reported this confirmation of cognitive flexibility for people who spoke two languages. Bilinguals who rapidly go to and fro between their languages usually and unconsciously experience a phenomenon referred to as code-switching.
However, various languages also represent varied views of the world, so they would have varied methods of arranging the world around them – and this includes time. For instance, English and Swedish speakers would rather mark the period of events, such as a long wedding or a short break. They perceive the distance traveled as the passageway of time.
On the other hand, Spanish and Greek speakers are more likely to mark time using physical quantities, like a big wedding or a small break. They perceive growing volume as the passageway of time.
The study discovered that bilinguals appeared to flexibly use both methods of perceiving duration, but it still depends on the context of the language. This changes how they see the passageway of time.
Professor Athanaspoulos mentioned that bilinguals easily start to adjust to perceptual extents that they weren’t familiar with before. Since these bilinguals use varied methods to unconsciously and effortlessly calculate time, this proof just validates how easy it is for language to sneak into the most basic senses, like visual perception, emotions and even sense of time.
It also reveals that bilinguals are adaptable thinkers, and there is more proof to imply that mentally going to and fro between varied languages every day confers benefits on the capability to multi-task and learn, and it can even be beneficial to their well–being in the long run.