There’s an article coming out in the Journal of Comparative Economics called “Talking in the Present, Caring for the Future: Language and Environment” (Mavisakalyan et al. 2018). The authors claim:
- We identify future tense marking in language as a determinant of environmental action.
- Individuals speaking such languages are less likely to behave pro-environmentally.
- Climate change policies are less stringent in places where language marks the future.
This has my Whorfian alarm bells going off like crazy. The language I speak determines how I feel and act towards the environment?! Say what? That is just too bonkers to be true.
Because it’s not true. But let’s check out why.