nice one! indeed, each language is an expression and tool of the culture it belongs to, so to speak… you mentioned that people express the past and the future in the language, and this reminds me of the way a language emphasises this through its grammar, for one… as an example, the English language basically change its verbs to express the past and present but essentially doesn’t do so to express the future; instead it calls for the aid of special words, commonly ‘will’… thus: studied, study, will study… on the other hand, some languages like several of those in the asia-pacific region conjugate the verbs to show exact time (tense)… let’s take Tagalog, the regional language (not dialect) around the Manila area: UMinum = drunk, inum = drink, IInum = will drink… i heard that Chinese, on another line, does not change the verbs at all but add syntactic/semantic clues to express the past and the future… so there goes my digression… any thoughts about the possible (psychological or other) connections and implications of this quirk in language?
People live consciously, in the context of their past (i.e. always aware of their past) and aware of the potential of their future… This is something fundamentally different from other creatures. There are definitely many things that separate us from the animal kingdom; most see this separation as a good thing – progressive – some see it as destructive, either way it’s inevitable.
All languages that I know of, have developed a way to express past & future. Most major languages have, anyway; certainly every language that is commonly used in more than one country. Why? Why is this concept, this perspective important to so many people? Ok… thinking about this on an individual level – we learn from our past and hope for our future, but why so profoundly? There are those absolutely slave to their past and those whose despair of their future is so devastating that it…
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