Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • That was a really good clap.

  • Good job, Amy.

  • Dès que j'ai deux ou trois ans, ma mere m'a parlée en français.

  • Dann im universitet, ich habe fur drei Jahren Deutsche gelerntaber Ich benutze es nicht

  • In researching bilingual brains, that is, how brains work when someone speaks more than

  • one language fluently, scientists have found there are differences.

  • Bilingual brains activate in different ways depending on the language they're speaking,

  • and and also demonstrate incredible cognitively flexibility, switching back and forth between

  • languages in a phenomenon called code-switching.

  • And a new study has found an interesting link between language and time: the language you

  • think in can impact the way you perceive time.

  • Every language has its specific vocabulary for organizing the world around us, but when

  • it comes to time, there are two general categories this is done: distance, as in crossing an

  • area, and volume as in a space being filled.

  • Swedish and English both use physical distances to express a measure of time.

  • In English we'd say “a short breakor “a long wedding.”

  • We use these descriptive terms as though the passage of time is a measurable distance.

  • In Greek and Spanish on the other hand, time is marked with terms that refer to volume.

  • In Spanish you'd say "a small break" or "a big wedding."

  • So the question the researchers had was whether people who think about time with distance

  • or volume measurements have a better sense of how much time has passed.

  • To measure this, they had Swedish-Spanish bilinguals watch a line grow across a screen

  • or watch a container being filled, the first a measure of time as distance and the second

  • a measure of time as volume.

  • And in each instance the subject was given a prompt in one of the two languages — 'duración'

  • in Spanish or 'tid' in Swedish.

  • The results showed that subjects perceived time as it's measured in the language of

  • their prompt.

  • When given the Spanish prompt, participants estimated time based on volume, in this case

  • how full the containers were.

  • When they were given the Swedish prompt they could better estimate time as distance, using

  • the line's travel as a marker.

  • So this might not matter to any of us on a day to day basis, but it's interesting to

  • have some scientific evidence pointing to how much language impacts the way we perceive

  • something universal, the passage of time.

  • And we even found this in our office!

  • Maybe it's because I've been exposed to multiple languages.

  • When I think of a big wedding I think of a lot of people and a long night.

  • But other people in our office only think about the number of attendees.

  • Language, it seems, can creep in and affect our most basic senses, from emotions to perception

  • and, apparently, time.

  • Which means it's possible that learning a new language could change the way you experience

  • the worldwhich in itself is wild to think about.

  • This episode is brought to you by Squarespace.

  • Whether you need a domain, website, or online store, make your next move with Squarespace.

  • Squarespace is used by a wide range of creatives and peoplemusicians, designers, artists,

  • restaurants, and more.

  • Start your free trial today, at Squarespace.com and enter offer code SEEKER to get 10% off

  • your first purchase.

  • So this is our human brain, but would the same thing happen to artificial intelligence?

  • We talk about giving computers consciousness in this episode right here.

  • So who out there speaks multiple languages and is aware of these different cues for understanding

  • time?

  • Let us know in the comments, be sure to like this video, and subscribe so you never miss

  • an episode of Seeker.

That was a really good clap.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US language squarespace prompt volume spanish swedish

How Bilingual Brains Perceive Time Differently

  • 4505 451
    Samuel posted on 2018/05/25
Video vocabulary