Re-Examining the Linguistic-Savings Hypothesis within English: Evidence from Monolinguals

11 Pages Posted: 25 May 2023

See all articles by Josie I Chen

Josie I Chen

National Taiwan University

Yue Han

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Tai-Sen He

Nanyang Technological University

Date Written: May 14, 2023

Abstract

Despite a growing body of literature supporting Chen's (2013) linguistic-savings hypothesis (LSH), direct causal evidence remains limited. Recent studies—including Chen, He, and Riyanto (2019) and Angerer et al. (2021)—administered linguistic manipulation on the use of the future tense within weak future-time-reference (w-FTR) languages to examine the LSH but found null results. One explanation for such results is that speakers of w-FTR languages may not be adequately "trained" to differentiate between present and future tenses. To address this concern, the present study re-examines the LSH within English, a strong future-time-reference language, using English monolinguals. Our design features a time preference task with two linguistic conditions: future tense (FT) and non-future tense (NFT). While the FT condition uses future tense to describe delayed rewards, the NFT condition uses present tense by omitting future tense marking. The descriptions in both conditions are grammatically correct and sound natural to native speakers. Yet we found no behavioral differences between the two linguistic conditions in the time preference task. Overall, the null results alongside previous studies reporting similar findings raise significant doubts about the validity of the LSH.

Keywords: time preference, future time reference, linguistic-savings hypothesis, English monolingual

JEL Classification: C91, D15, Z1

Suggested Citation

Chen, Josie I and Han, Yue and He, Tai-Sen, Re-Examining the Linguistic-Savings Hypothesis within English: Evidence from Monolinguals (May 14, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4450951 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4450951

Josie I Chen

National Taiwan University ( email )

1 Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 106, 106
Taiwan

Yue Han

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Tai-Sen He (Contact Author)

Nanyang Technological University ( email )

SHHK 04-40
48 Nanyang Ave
Singapore, 639818
Singapore

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