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# Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future

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ballest127 wrote:
Hi GMATNinja,

I have a question on Choice C.

If I were to negate it, it would be "All English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present. "

If so, can I say that it could damage the argument ?

For example, for English people, when they are discussing the present, they tend to sway forward, just as they do when discussing the future.

If this is the case , can I say that the bodily movements doesn't suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

Thank you very much.

An even better approach is to evaluate (C) without applying the negation test (which can get very unwieldy).

Remember the conclusion of this argument:

"These bodily movements suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time."

Here's how the logic breaks down:

• English speakers sway backward when discussing the past and forward when discussing the future.
• Aymara speakers gesture forward with their hands when discussing the past and backwards when discussing the future.
• Therefore, these bodily movements suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

The author jumps from language speakers, to those speakers' bodily movements when discussing future and past, to how any given person mentally visualizes time. But that last logical leap isn't explicit!

Choice (D) connects these dots explicitly:

• English speakers sway backward when discussing the past and forward when discussing the future.
• Aymara speakers gesture forward with their hands when discussing the past and backwards when discussing the future.
• How people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.
• Therefore, these bodily movements suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

As long as we assume (D) is true, we can conclude that the bodily movements discussed in the passage (which only relate to the future and the past) suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time

This doesn't mean that (D) proves that the conclusion is true. It just means that the author's logic relies on the truth of choice (D), and that's exactly what we're here to confirm. That's why we keep (D) around.

Choice (C), on the other hand... we'll, let's take a look.

Quote:
(C) Not all English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present.

Again, this is where the negation test gets dicey.

The question here is NOT, "Does the 'opposite' of this statement weaken the argument?" The question is, "Does the argument depend on this assumption?"

In other words, if the argument can work without choice (C), then we can eliminate it.

If we do not assume that (C) is true, that doesn't necessarily mean that ALL English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present. Rather, that just means that, for this argument, we have no idea what English and Aymara speakers do when discussing the present.

But we don't NEED to know anything about the present to reach the conclusion.

Maybe all English and Aymara speakers do sway/gesture when talking about the present. That doesn't change the evidence discussed in the passage (which, again, only relates to the future and the past). Does swaying/gesturing in the present weaken the force of that evidence? Maybe, maybe not (maybe some speakers sway back and forth when discussing the present because it lies on the fence of the future and past?).

Regardless, (C) does not provide the logical link between bodily movements of English and Aymara speakers and how one mentally visualizes time. Only (D) bridges the gap in the author's argument.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
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conclusion ; bodily movements, therefore, suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.
option D negation; How people move when discussing the future does not correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time
negates the conclusion ; sufficeint
IMO D

Bunuel wrote:
Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future “ahead,” whereas in Aymara the past is “ahead” and the future “behind.” Research indicates that English speakers sway backward when discussing the past and forward when discussing the future. Conversely, Aymara speakers gesture forward with their hands when discussing the past and backward when discussing the future. These bodily movements, therefore, suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

The linguist's reasoning depends on assuming which of the following?

A. At least some Aymara speakers sway forward when discussing the past and backward when discussing the future.
B. Most people mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward.
C. Not all English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present.
D. How people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.
E. The researchers also examined the movements of at least some speakers of languages other than English and Aymara discussing the past and the future.

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Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future “ahead,” whereas in Aymara the past is “ahead” and the future “behind.” Research indicates that English speakers sway backward when discussing the past and forward when discussing the future. Conversely, Aymara speakers gesture forward with their hands when discussing the past and backward when discussing the future. These bodily movements, therefore, suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

Type-assumption
Conclusion- the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.
Pre-thinking- we need to link the bodily movements and how one visualizes time

A. At least some Aymara speakers sway forward when discussing the past and backward when discussing the future.- incorrect, need not be true as we are told that Aymara speakers gesture forward and backward with their hands
B. Most people mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward.- incorrect, even on negating this statement, the argument stands.
C. Not all English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present.- incorrect, we are not given information what these speakers do when discussing the present
D. How people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.- Correct
E. The researchers also examined the movements of at least some speakers of languages other than English and Aymara discussing the past and the future.- incorrect, we are not provided information about any language besides English and Aymara

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jamalabdullah100 It's true that the linguist made a general conclusion. However, (E) discusses other studies and fails to provide any additional results....and therefore doesn't make the current general conclusion any stronger, which is what we want to do in Assumption questions: make the conclusion tighter.

Quote:
Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future “ahead,” whereas in Aymara the past is “ahead” and the future “behind.” Research indicates that English speakers sway backward when discussing the past and forward when discussing the future. Conversely, Aymara speakers gesture forward with their hands when discussing the past and backward when discussing the future. These bodily movements, therefore, suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

The linguist's reasoning depends on assuming which of the following?

The linguist’s reasoning is that “bodily movement…suggest that language affects how one mentally visualises time.” He supports this statement with two pieces of evidence: 1) English speakers sway backward (past) and sway forward (future), 2) Aymara gesture forward (past) and gesture backward (future). The biggest gap in the conclusion is that somehow this swaying and gesturing (bodily movements) is adequately linked to language and not linked to the mental visualisation of the conclusion. As such, this missing link makes (D) a good answer choice.

Quote:
(A) [NONE OF THE] At least some Aymara speakers sway forward when discussing the past and backward when discussing the future.

We don’t care whether the Aymara speakers sway forward or backward. Their gestures are limited to hands….so this isn’t relevant here. Also, even if Aymara speakers don’t sway forward - their hand gestures still prove that language could affect time pictures.

Quote:
(B) [SOME] Most people mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward.

People’s visualisation of time as “running either forward or backward” isn’t required for the conclusion to hold. Some people might not be able to visualise time at all…doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for language to not be influenced by time.

Quote:
(C) [ALL] Not all English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present.

This is sort of given in the premise. But the proportion of not all, which means “SOME”, move and some speakers don’t move….doesn’t impact the conclusion.

Quote:
(D) How people move when discussing the future [DOES NOT] correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.

This answer choice is correct because it correctly distinguishes the link that the argument is missing between language, mental visualisation, and body language. Also if there is no correlation between language and mental imaging, then the conclusion is impossible!

Quote:
(E) The researchers also examined the movements of [NO] at least some speakers of languages other than English and Aymara discussing the past and the future.

This answer choice is interesting. It provides additional evidence from a research study of “some speakers of languages other than English and Aymara”….which seems OK at first but the researchers’ examination provides no clear results. Even if we hypothetically inserted this sentence into the argument before the conclusion, there would be no effect. Even the (really forced this one here) possible negation, “…examined the movements of NO speakers of languages other than English and Aymara…” doesn’t break the conclusion. The conclusion could still hold. In assumptions, we need to ensure that the negated answer choice makes the conclusion IMPOSSIBLE.
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Prompt: The word assuming in question stem means its a weaken question.

Logic: Body movements are being correlated to the language that one uses.

What we are looking for before going for POE?

Something that touches the conclusion-- the body movement to language spoken and is MUST be true.
Kind of a missing premise which if negated makes the conclusion fall.

(A) At least some Aymara speakers sway forward when discussing the past and backward when discussing the future.
The stem says
Aymara speakers gesture forward with their hand It doesnt say the entire body sways.
This doesnt touch the link bofy movement and language spoken so it is out and this needs to be must be true.Whether body moves
or not doesnt matter.

(B) Most people mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward.

1.So this touches one element of the conclusion and that is mentally visualisation part but it doesn't speak about the correlation with bod movements.

2.This is a general stated fact.We are concerned only about two languages that English and Amyra.

3.Next point(Negation)
Not more than half mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward..
It doesnt weaken the conclusion that body movements are correlated to language one speaks.(since our segment is only two languages)

(C) Not all English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present.

Negation(Not all is some which is 1 to 99) ..
So we don't need 100% or all ..as long as we are above 50% we are good.

(D) How people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.

Exactly the one we are looking for.
Negation:
How people move when discussing the future does not correlates to any extent with how they mentally visualize time.
The negated statement totally shatters the conclusion that body movement is related is language one speaks.

(E) The researchers also examined the movements of at least some speakers of languages other than English and Aymara discussing the past and the future.
Out of scope .Segment under discussion is only of these two languages.

Hope it helps!!
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
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Hi GMATNinja,

I have a question on Choice C.

If I were to negate it, it would be "All English and Aymara speakers tend to sway or gesture forward or backward when discussing the present. "

If so, can I say that it could damage the argument ?

For example, for English people, when they are discussing the present, they tend to sway forward, just as they do when discussing the future.

If this is the case , can I say that the bodily movements doesn't suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

Thank you very much.
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
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ballest127 It's hard to know how we should interpret that idea, so we can't really say the statement is necessary. It's possible that people always sway or gesture when talking, but that when they are thinking of the past or future, it influences the direction of that movement. In that case, thinking of the present might lead us to sway/gesture in a random direction. It's also possible that our discussions of the present are influenced by thoughts of the past or future that influence our motion. It's even possible that English speakers gesture when speaking of the present, and Aymara speakers sway, and thus we behave differently than when we are speaking of the past or future. So we can imagine all these possibilities, but in the end, it's simply not clear that the occurrence of these motions during speech means that they are not influenced by what we are talking about.

A simple analogy might be that a drummer might play faster when happy and slower when sad. The drummer's tempo may be influenced by certain emotions, and then in the absence of these emotions, the tempo could do anything it liked. The drummer might keep a steady beat or shift all over the place, and that wouldn't affect the truth of the previous idea at all.
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
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GMATNinja

I didn't select D as it just seemed too obvious - almost as if it were restating the premise or logic of the deduction made by the Linguist.

I don't suppose you could kindly better articulate why it fills in the gap?
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dcummins

"Too obvious" is not an objection we want to make on an assumption answer. True, if an answer really did restate the argument, that wouldn't be an assumption, since assumptions are by definition unstated. However, the answer choice is not going to restate the argument, so if it seems to do so, look again.

Notice that D actually provides an unstated link between premise and conclusion. The premises are about language and movement. The conclusion connects language and visualization. To draw the connection between the premises and conclusion, we need to connect movement (mentioned in the premises but not the conclusion) with visualization (mentioned in the conclusion but not the premises). That's why D is needed.
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
How to attack Option B -
Negation of option B – 1 to 50 people mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward
Interpretation - Even if others are visualizing the time running in some other direction – (North West, South West, North East, South East)– my conclusion is still not attacked that language one speaks affects how one visualizes time. May be the language of 1 to 50 people makes them visualize North West as forward and South East as backward; The fact is that even in the negated scenario language is till commanding the how one mentally visualizes time
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
jitmo31 wrote:
How to attack Option B -
Negation of option B – 1 to 50 people mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward
Interpretation - Even if others are visualizing the time running in some other direction – (North West, South West, North East, South East)– my conclusion is still not attacked that language one speaks affects how one visualizes time. May be the language of 1 to 50 people makes them visualize North West as forward and South East as backward; The fact is that even in the negated scenario language is till commanding the how one mentally visualizes time

Approach:
Step 1: Understand the meaning of option
Step2: Check impact on Conclusion
Step3: If does not WEAKEN, try negate.
Step 4: If breaks down the reasoning of conclusion then it is an assumption

Argument conclusion: the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.
Let's see for Option B and option D

Quote:
(B) Most people mentally visualize time as running either forward or backward.

Step1: >50% people mentally visualize time as running forward or backward
Step2: Strengthen the conclusion
Step3: Few people mentally visualize time as running either f or b. It means many people dont visualize time as running either forward or backward. They may visualize in other directions.
Step4: If they can use other ways to visualize forward or backward then it doesn't break down our reasoning
Hence this can not be an assumption.

Quote:
(D) How people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.

Step1: Any way people move correlates matches with mentally visualization
Step2: Supports our conclusion.
Step3: No way people move correlates with mentally visualization. It means whatever people move f or backward or any other direction, it doesn't match with mental visualzation.
Step4: Whole argument is based on mental visualization by hands actions. By negate, my whole reasoning has broken down. We have no other reasoning as for option B to escapae or save our conclusion from breaking down.
Hence undoubtedly this is correct answer.
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
Hi experts, MartyTargetTestPrep GMATNinja

Is A wrong because it (1) gets to granular and makes another claim that "speakers sway forward" and not just "gesture forward with their hands" and (2) (if anything) it restates part of the argument and doesn't actually bridge any gaps - in a way I can almost see this as a strengthener.

So A almost seems to go in the same direction as the argument but not provide the necessary assumption (as answer choice D does)
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
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samgyupsal wrote:
Hi experts, MartyTargetTestPrep GMATNinja

Is A wrong because it (1) gets to granular and makes another claim that "speakers sway forward" and not just "gesture forward with their hands" and (2) (if anything) it restates part of the argument and doesn't actually bridge any gaps - in a way I can almost see this as a strengthener.

So A almost seems to go in the same direction as the argument but not provide the necessary assumption (as answer choice D does)

(A) is additional evidence. It's not an assumption necessary for connecting the evidence already presented to the conclusion.
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
Hello Experts,

Can anyone help me understand one thing or help me with my confusion.

The correct ans is:

D) How people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.

My concern/confusion is that this option is only talking about one aspect i.e. future, but the overall argument is talking about future and past. Can we really take this out of consideration and go with the option that is only talking about future?

Even though the conclusion seems to be generic:

These bodily movements, therefore, suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
ankur2510 wrote:
Hello Experts,

Can anyone help me understand one thing or help me with my confusion.

The correct ans is:

D) How people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time.

My concern/confusion is that this option is only talking about one aspect i.e. future, but the overall argument is talking about future and past. Can we really take this out of consideration and go with the option that is only talking about future?

Even though the conclusion seems to be generic:

These bodily movements, therefore, suggest that the language one speaks affects how one mentally visualizes time.

The question is not asking for an assumption that, if made, ensures the conclusion follows logically. Rather, it asks for an assumption made by the argument. In other words, it’s not asking for a sufficient assumption — something that, if true, means the conclusion MUST be true. Instead, it’s asking for a necessary assumption — something that must be true in order for the conclusion to be properly drawn.

So, does it have to be true that how people move when discussing the future correlates to some extent with how they mentally visualize time? Yes, the connection between the movement and visualization is the entire basis of the author’s logic. It, ALSO, has to be true that there is a correlation when discussing the past. But, by itself, (D) has to be true, and it is the best answer choice.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Linguist: In English, the past is described as “behind” and the future [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
The question is not asking for an assumption that, if made, ensures the conclusion follows logically. Rather, it asks for an assumption made by the argument.

Hi GMATNinja,

Can you throw more light on this? It seems all abstract to me. Don't get me wrong here as I believe I do understand what you are trying to say, but while solving question under time constraint, how do we internalise this process?

Even I rejected option D, one issue for me was that it only dicusses about the future, and not past.
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