Speak English? You will become poor!


A controversial theory from a Yale University behavioural economist, Keith Chen, claims that the language we speak affects our financial decision-making. [1]

The differences in the use of the notion of “time” can be important, even between languages which are similar (e.g. between European languages):

  • “If I wanted to explain to an English-speaking colleague why I can’t attend a meeting later today, I could not say ‘I go to a seminar’, English grammar would oblige me to say ‘I will go, am going, or have to go to a seminar’.
  • “If, on the other hand, I were speaking Mandarin, it would be quite natural for me to omit any marker of future time and say ‘I go listen seminar’ since the context leaves little room for misunderstanding,” says Prof Chen.
  • “In English you have to say ‘it will rain tomorrow’ while in German you can say ‘morgen regnet es’ – it rains tomorrow”.

According to the research, speakers of languages which only use the present tense when dealing with the future are likely to save more money than those who speak languages which require the use a future tense.

Language conveys ideas.

Ideas which subconsciously affect us without us knowing it.

Deciphering these effects is key to a good life.

A true life, beyond the messages thousands of years of civilization have imprinted on the words we use everyday…

Author: skakos

Spiros Kakos is a thinker located in Greece. He has been Chief Editor of Harmonia Philosophica since its inception. In the past he has worked as a senior technical advisor for many years. In his free time he develops software solutions and contributes to the open source community. He has also worked as a phD researcher in the Advanced Materials sector related to the PCB industry. He likes reading and writting, not only philosophy but also in general. He believes that science and religion are two sides of the same coin and is profoundly interested in Religion and Science philosophy. His philosophical work is mainly concentrated on an effort to free thinking of "logic" and reconcile all philosophical opinions under the umbrella of the "One" that Parmenides - one of the first thinkers - visualized. The "Harmonia Philosophica" articles program is the tool that will accomplish that. Life's purpose is to be defeated by greater things. And the most important things in life are illogical. We must fight the dogmatic belief in "logic" if we are to stay humans... Credo quia absurdum!

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