Well, it turns out that it might indeed say a lot, if a recent piece of research by an American economics professor is to be believed.
Keith Chen of Yale University found that people who speak a language like Finnish that does not have a strong future tense, actually make more provisions for their own future than people who do not speak such languages. In other words, Finns are more frugal and healthier, because they speak Finnish. Quite an extraordinary claim really!In his paper, professor Chen compares the behaviour of people of languages with different "future time references" (FTR). Strong-FTR languages are languages, like French and English, that require the speaker to use a future tense to describe future events ("I will go to town tomorrow"). Weak-FTR languages, are languages that do not force the speaker to do so. This includes languages like Finnish that have no future ("menen huomenna kaupunkiin" - "I go tomorrow to town"), but also languages like German that have one ("ich werde morgen in die Stadt gehen") but allow speakers to use the present tense ("ich gehe morgen in die Stadt").
It turns out that, according to professor Chen's research, weak-FTR language speakers, like Finns or Germans, are "31% more likely to have saved in any given year, have accumulated 39% more wealth by retirement, are 24% less likely to smoke, are 29% more likely to be physically active, and are 13% less likely to be medically obese" than strong FTR language speakers, such as Greeks or Americans.
The paper does not really offer any explanation as to why that should be. However, professor Chen speculates that it might be because weak-FTR languages make the future feel much closer and less distinguished from the present, and therefore more real.
He cites as evidence the way the present tense is used in many languages to describe the past with more immediacy (e.g. the typical jokes that start "a man walks [not walked] into a bar"). He also points to some linguistic research that shows that people who have distinctive words for things separate them better than people who don't. For example, Russians, who have very different words for light blue (голубой - goluboy) and dark blue (синий - siniy), do better than English speakers in distinguishing blues when the two colours span the goluboy/siniy border.
In short, the Finns paradoxically have a good future ahead of them because they have no future!
On the other hand, I as a Franco-Englishman....
Reference: "The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets", Keith Chen, Yale University, School of Management and Cowles Foundation (2012)