Perception of time

Discussions regarding actual culture and history of Earth.
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Batrachus
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Perception of time

Post by Batrachus » Fri 18 Jul 2014, 07:15

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-diff ... ime-2014-5
This is pretty interesting article. You should also google term "Lewis model".

I like the way how the perception of time mirrors in the vocabulary.

Let's take a look at some of the slavic languages, for example Czech.

minulost (past) - literally missed-ness.
přítomnost (present) - literally present-ness, where present is the opposite of absent
současnost (present) - literally with-time-ness
budoucnost (future) - literally will-be-ness

As we see, Czechs percieve the past as something unimportant, unworthy of dealing with. The most important for us is the present, which is here with us, present. The word for future is derived from auxillary word for future tense. It will just come and you can't do much about it. I think that Czech (and I assume also other Slavs) are historically mostly multi-active, though today (germanic influence?) we're more linear-active.

Now English. All English words for time are borrowed from Latin.

past - this means something like over, but also after, behind.
present - literally preset.
future - the same thing as above, literally will-be-ness

Does it only seem to me that old Romans were fixed mainly to the past? The future just comes like for Slavs and the present is "preset". The are helpless, lol. It looks lke the only thing they are interested in is the past - like the cultures with cyclic time.

The word history (comes from Greece) means something like knowledge. The past is pretty much the only thing that we know something about.

What are the words for time terms in your language? How do you solve this in conlangs?
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Re: Perception of time

Post by cntrational » Fri 18 Jul 2014, 07:51

I'd advise against looking too deeply into etymologies. Most people barely notice them.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 18 Jul 2014, 13:01

Yes, this is all essentially magic.

Don't look to outlets like 'business insider' for genuine insights into either linguistics or sociology.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Micamo » Fri 18 Jul 2014, 14:53

By this logic, english speakers think that farmers are the devil.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Thakowsaizmu » Fri 18 Jul 2014, 21:39

Micamo wrote:By this logic, english speakers think that farmers are the devil.
They aren't?
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 19 Jul 2014, 18:01

No, they're just moustache-twirling evil idol-worshippers.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Ahzoh » Sun 12 Apr 2015, 16:35

Micamo wrote:By this logic, english speakers think that farmers are the devil.
How?
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Lambuzhao » Sun 12 Apr 2015, 20:15

@ Ahzoh:

Your homework,
Wayward Knave-




Malevolent Aggroculture 101
Spring 2015
CCBU

Required Reading/Viewing
Spoiler: show
I tried to cover from the sublime to the ridiculous. Your guess as to where in the continuum these fall.

Parable of the Evil Farmers
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NLT

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8LiI4Nz6pQ

Roots (Alex Haley)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvjyRh5SJAY


Motel Hell (film)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SEETfVyA3k

Children of the Corn (film)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlubhgatEQw

Undercover at Smithfield Foods
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_vqIGTKuQE

And the farmer hauls another load away...
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Lambuzhao » Sun 12 Apr 2015, 20:30

Ahzoh wrote:
Micamo wrote:By this logic, english speakers think that farmers are the devil.
How?
After reading the article, I can say this in partial answer. Farmers are beholden to a lot of factors in the cycle of Nature, which are somewhat predictable, but slight changes can also cause some far-reaching unforeseen effects.

While of course, the farming life traditionally was jam-packed with plenty and even at times 'too much' work to do while the sun shines (and even before it shines), I would imagine the clever farmer would traditionally have had a sort of "dual-timekeeping" which touches upon the 'wider picture' and the 'cyclic' models, rather than just the straight and narrow arrow.

Thus, most (modern, post-industrial) English speakers would find this non-linear kind of rhythm quaint to illogical to abhorrent.

Hmmmm. Now that I think of this, perhaps the above list might form a kind of basis of an American's metacritical bias against farmers and farming (?!).
[O.o]
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Micamo » Mon 13 Apr 2015, 08:49

Ahzoh wrote:How?
The word "villain" descends from the latin "villa" which means "farm." If you take etymology as being reflective of a cultural subconscious, that means that english speakers think that farmers are evil.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Salmoneus » Mon 13 Apr 2015, 16:06

Don't even have to go back to Latin. "Villain" has meant 'tenant farmer' through most of English's history. It can be found with that meaning in a lot of literature, and in modern works of history. Although often the agricultural meaning is now spelled "villein" to disambiguate.

The meaning of 'villain' as 'antagonist or evildoer' only dates from 1822, although it had probably developed a more general perjorative sense some time before them (like modern 'yokel' or 'redneck', maybe).

That's the 'moustache-twirling' bit of my joke. The 'idol-worshippers' was because I wasn't certain that was what Micamo was aiming at with her choice of the word 'devil', so I covered both options. The other pun is that "pagan" is also an old word for "farmer" (well, 'inhabitant of rural area', it included people in farming villages who weren't farmers), which drifted into "incompetant fighter", then "civilian", and became juxtaposed with the "soldiers" of christ to mean someone who hadn't converted to christianity yet, and who therefore was ignorant and without purpose.

"Heathen" may similarly be a reference to agriculture, as one who makes a living on the barren heath, rather than in the fertile farming ground or in the towns.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 12:17

I have heard that whether a language has a strong future tense(a language that almost always uses the future tense when talking about a future event is a languuage with a strong future tense; a language that does not have a mark for future tense or doesn't always use the future tense when talking about a future event is a language with a weak future tense. English is an example of a language with a strong future tense; while Chinese and Japanese are examples of languages with weak future tenses) or not influences whether the speakers will have more future-oriented behaviors like saving, smoking, weight-control, etc., and ironically, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses(that is, languages that have weak future tense) have more future-oriented behaviors, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses save more, smoke less and are less likely to be overweight. Such an effect still exists even after controlling other variables that may influence the behaviors of people.

See the following links for related researches:

http://www.responsivetranslation.com/bl ... ser-users/

http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/ke ... gPaper.pdf

Sorry if I have been off-topic, but it seems that the morphosyntactic structure of a language does also influence how its speakers perceive time.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Lao Kou » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 12:32

k1234567890y wrote:I have heard that whether a language has a strong future tense(a language that almost always uses the future tense when talking about a future event is a languuage with a strong future tense; a language that does not have a mark for future tense or doesn't always use the future tense when talking about a future event is a language with a weak future tense. English is an example of a language with a strong future tense; while Chinese and Japanese are examples of languages with weak future tenses) or not influences whether the speakers will have more future-oriented behaviors like saving, smoking, weight-control, etc., and ironically, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses(that is, languages that have weak future tense) have more future-oriented behaviors, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses save more, smoke less and are less likely to be overweight. Such an effect still exists even after controlling other variables that may influence the behaviors of people.
Good Lord, will this never go away? :roll:
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Re: Perception of time

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 12:51

Lao Kou wrote:
k1234567890y wrote:I have heard that whether a language has a strong future tense(a language that almost always uses the future tense when talking about a future event is a languuage with a strong future tense; a language that does not have a mark for future tense or doesn't always use the future tense when talking about a future event is a language with a weak future tense. English is an example of a language with a strong future tense; while Chinese and Japanese are examples of languages with weak future tenses) or not influences whether the speakers will have more future-oriented behaviors like saving, smoking, weight-control, etc., and ironically, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses(that is, languages that have weak future tense) have more future-oriented behaviors, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses save more, smoke less and are less likely to be overweight. Such an effect still exists even after controlling other variables that may influence the behaviors of people.
Good Lord, will this never go away? :roll:
who knows? Life will find its own way. :)
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Re: Perception of time

Post by cntrational » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 13:21

Here's the problem with your explanation there.

English doesn't have a strong future tense. It doesn't have a morphosyntactic future tense at all.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 13:24

cntrational wrote:Here's the problem with your explanation there.

English doesn't have a strong future tense. It doesn't have a morphosyntactic future tense at all.
they listed English as one with strong future tense, as English speakers almost always use the aux verb "will" when talking about the future.

but probably it's the way I give explanations...
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Ahzoh » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 13:27

I have yet to read the PDF but this smells of Sapir-Whorfian bullshit.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 13:33

Ahzoh wrote:I have yet to read the PDF but this smells of Sapir-Whorfian bullshit.
maybe...it is only a tendency, not something fixed, there are some exceptions(e.g. Korean is listed as a strong future tense language, but Korean people save much), and you have rights to choose whether you want to believe or not, just see it as an reference.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 13:35

The article in the OP seems filled with mostly unsupported gross cultural generalizations.

Also, as has been stated, Business Insider is little better than Buzzfeed for linguistic insight.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by cntrational » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 13:38

Examine these following sentences. They all indicate a future time, but fail to use "will".

1. Hurry! The train leaves in five minutes.
2. Lisa can't watch TV until her grades improve.
3. When is the last day to register to vote?
4. She's going have a baby.
5. We're having pizza for dinner!

Now look at these sentences that use "will":

6. Will you please pass the salt?
7. A lion will attack only if it's hungry.
8. No matter what, John just won't listen to anything I say.
9. The game will be finished by now.

It's difficult to argue that these are really future, time or tense. You could say 6 is talking about the immediate future, but you can just as easily say "Please pass the salt". All that "will" is doing here is to soften the request.

7 could be interpreted as making a prediction, but it is better interpreted as a timeless statement of fact. True for nearly all lions.

8 uses the negative contraction of "will not", but doesn't describe a future event. It's similar to 7, but describes an event true in the past and up to the present, but doesn't explicitly state that it has to be true in the future.

9 makes its present-ity explicit with "by now". "Will" here does nothing but indicate that it is a prediction, but a prediction of the past.

And if you need to have it hammered in more, I'll quote a bunch of guys:
David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language wrote: How many tenses of the verb are there in English? If your automatic reaction is to say "three, at least"--past, present, and future--you are showing the influence of the Latinate grammatical tradition. . . .

[ i]n traditional grammar, [t]ense was thought of as the grammatical expression of time, and identified by a particular set of endings on the verb. In Latin there were present tense endings . . ., future tense endings . . ., perfect tense endings . . ., and several others marking different tense forms.

English, by contrast, has only one inflectional form to express time: the past tense marker (typically -ed), as in walked, jumped, and saw. There is therefore a two-way tense contrast in English: I walk vs I walked--present tense vs past tense. . . .

However people find it extremely difficult to drop the notion of "future tense" (and related notions, such as imperfect, future perfect, and pluperfect tenses) from their mental vocabulary, and to look for other ways of talking about the grammatical realities of the English verb.
(The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Bas Aarts, Oxford Modern English Grammar wrote:English has no future tense, because it has no future tense inflections, in the way that many other languages do, nor any other grammatical form or combination of forms that can exclusively be called a future tense.
Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy, Cambridge Grammar of English wrote:There is no future tense ending for English verbs as there is in other languages . . ..
Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language wrote:[W]e do not recognise a future tense for English. . . . [T]here is no grammatical category that can properly be analysed as a future tense. More particularly, we argue that will (and likewise shall) is an auxiliary of mood, not tense.
Randolph Quirk et al., A Grammar of Contemporary English wrote:[M]orphologically English has no future form of the verb in addition to present and past forms. . . . In this grammar, then, we do not talk about the future as a formal category...
tl;dr: Don't conflate semantic future time with grammatical future tense.
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