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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Your perception of time may depend on the language you speak

In Ted Chiang’s science-fiction masterpiece “Story of Your life” — adapted into the Hollywood blockbuster “Arrival” — the protagonist, a linguist named Louise Banks, learns the language of an alien race — one that completely alters her perception of time.
As she becomes increasingly proficient in this alien language, she begins to perceive time not as a linear sequence of events (wherein cause precedes effect), but as a chunk in which all events occur simultaneously.
The story is, of course, science-fiction, and thus takes certain creative liberties with real ideas and concepts (especially with what’s called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis). But the central tenet of the story — that language alters how the brain perceives time — may not be far off the mark.

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