The lack of a future tense in the Finnish language not only makes Finns more frugal but also healthier than many other nations, reports the daily Turun Sanomat, citing a study by an American economics professor.
Keith Chen hypothesises that languages that do not grammatically distinguish between present and future events lead their speakers to take more future-oriented actions. This is because future actions "feel" less distant, making speakers "more willing to save for a future which appears closer," states Chen in a yet unpublished paper.
"A Finnish speaker, for example, would say both Tänään on kylmä (today is cold) and Huomenna on kylmä (tomorrow is cold) using the unmarked verb on while French speakers would switch from Il fait froid aujourd’hui (it is cold today), to Il fera froid demain (it will be cold tomorrow),” explains Chen.
According to the Yale professor, grammatically separating the future and the present leads speakers to disassociate the future from the present. That said, Chen surmises that speakers of languages with separate future verb forms have saved 30 percent less by the time they retire.
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