Languages Magazine

Studies Say Foreign Language Affects Habits

By Tlb

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“…A new study in the United States now suggests that it could be the language you speak that affects your attitude toward a range of healthy habits, comprising everything from diet and exercise to how much money you save for your retirement.”


Interesting topic, isn’t it? I just recently found an article entitled “Does this language make me look fat?” and I find it really very interesting. We can discuss what the article detailed later but the whole concept of it is that a person’s language can affect his or her eating and diet habits.


According to M. Keith Chen, associate professor of economics at Yale University, languages like Mandarin, Japanese, German, and even Estonian have no explicit future tense on their grammar are spoken by people who, statistically, are healthier and wealthier.


Quoting what the article posted by Daisy Sindelar, “”The Japanese have been saving [money] for decades, despite effectively negative interest rates,” Chen says.


“The Chinese save like crazy. Germans are known as big savers. All of the Scandinavian and Nordic countries are also invariant savers. So that was the first relationship [between language and behavior] that I was really interested in.
“Is it possible that if your language doesn’t force you to think differently about the future and the present, then it’s actually easier for you to save for the future, because, well, the future feels more similar to the present to you.”


In addition, he also discovered that “English, Czech, Russian, Persian, Turkish, Georgian, and other “strong” FTR languages, by contrast, scored more poorly in terms of overall physical and fiscal responsibility.”


Families that speak weak-FTR languages are 24 percent less likely to have ever smoked intensely — meaning more than a pack a day for a year. They’re 13 percent less likely to be obese. They have better grip strength by the time they retire. In numerous measures, they’re in better long-run health.


I don’t write this article to discourage learners to learn language in a language school like English or Russian. In fact, this study is even showing us that even the languages have its own cultural differences as well.


I’d like to personally ask you with your point of view. Feel free to comment.


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