A fascinating insight into how we fold our perceptions of time into language, or language influences such perceptions.  It made me realise that my assumptions about time, how I engage with and experience it, may have been strongly shaped by the languages I grew up with.

‘Hopi has only limited tenses, noted Whorf, makes no reference to time as an entity distinct from space, and, though relatively poor in nouns, is rich in verbs … English divides time into linear segments by making use of many tenses. It is a noun-rich, verb-poor tongue that contrasts fixed space with a flow of time … A Hopi would be confounded by the idea that time flowed from the past into the present.’

See also Adam Nicolson on similar distinctions between Indo-European and other languages.


Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams (London: Picador, 1987), pp. 274-75

Photo credit: Andrik Landfield Petrides at unsplash.com


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