A study from Lancaster University and Stockholm University, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, revealed that bilingual people think differently depending on the linguistic context in which they estimate the duration of events.
Linguistic professors Panos Athanasopoulos and Emanuel Bylund explained that bilinguals often alternate between their languages consciously and unconsciously.
On the other hand, different languages often refer to time differently. For example, Swedish and English speakers refer to physical distances: “Take a short break” while Spanish speakers refer to physical quantities and volumes: “Take a short break”.
The researchers asked native Swedish speakers who also spoke Spanish to estimate how much time was going by looking at either a line that runs through a screen or a container that is filling up. The participants were invited to use the word “duracion” (the duration in Spanish) or “tid” (the Swedish equivalent).
When they used Spanish words, bilinguals based their estimates on the volume of a container that is filling. When they used Swedish words, they changed their behavior and suddenly gave time estimates by distance, referring to the lines traveled, rather than volume.
“The fact that bilinguals feel time differently effortlessly and unconsciously integrates with a growing body of evidence demonstrating the ease with which language can intrude into our most basic senses, including our emotions, our visual perception, and also the sense of time, “he says.
Professor Athanasopoulos also said that the results show that bilinguals are more “flexible thinkers” than those who speak just one language.
“There is evidence that switching mentally between different languages on a daily basis provides advantages over learning ability and multiple tasks, and even long-term benefits for mental well-being,” says -he.
Source du article in English Bilingual people would live time differently: