Article published in:Conceptualizations of Time
Edited by Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk
[Human Cognitive Processing 52] 2016
► pp. 67–84
Temporal Language and Temporal Thinking May Not Go Hand in Hand
Do people think about time the way they talk about it? This chapter examines dissociations between temporal language and temporal thinking in speakers of English and of Darija, a dialect of Moroccan Arabic. In both languages, conventional metaphors suggest that the future is ahead of the speaker and the past is behind. Yet, English speakers typically conceptualize the future as rightward and the past as leftward – a spatial mapping that is not conventionalized in any known spoken language. Darija speakers typically conceptualize the past as ahead and the future a behind them – a spatial mapping that directly contradicts their verbal metaphors. Darija speakers’ “backward” mapping of time does not appear to arise from any feature of their language, or from their physical experience with the natural world, but rather from their cultural bias to focus on the past (i.e., to value their ancestry and practice ancient traditions). Analyses of verbal space-time metaphors reveal that humans’ temporal thinking depends, in part, on spatial mappings. Yet, essential features of these mappings, including their spatial orientation and direction, may be absent from language and can only be discovered using extra-linguistic methods. Beyond the influences of language and of physical experience, cultural values and non-linguistic cultural practices can play important roles in shaping our mental representations of time. As a result, at any moment people may be thinking about time differently from the way they are talking about it, using different spatial schemas.
Keywords: cultural values, Darija, gestures, metaphor, space-time mapping
Published online: 14 June 2016
1994 Semantics and Experience: Universal Metaphors of Time in English, Mandarin, Hindi, and Sesotho. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University.
Casasanto, D., & Bottini, R.
Casasanto, D., & Henetz, T.
Casasanto, D., & Jasmin, K.
1998 Metaphoric Gestures and Some of Their Relations to Verbal Metaphorical Expressions. In J.-P. Koenig (ed.), Discourse and Cognition: Bridging the Gap, 189–204.
1973 Space, Time, Semantics, and the Child. In T.E. Moore (ed.), Cognitive Development and the Acquisition of Language (pp. 27–63). New York: Academic Press.
Cooperrider, K., & Núñez, R.
de la Fuente, J.. et al.
2001 Space on Hand: The Exploitation of Signing Space to Illustrate Abstract Thought. In M. Gattis (ed.), Spatial Schemas and Abstract Thought (pp. 147–174). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Fuhrman, O., & Boroditsky, L.
Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M.
1980 Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2010 Salud y ritual en Marruecos. Concepciones del cuerpo y prácticas de curación. [Health and Ritual in Morocco. Conceptions of the Body and Healing Practices.] Barcelona: Bellaterra.
1992 Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Núñez, R., & Sweetser, E.
Parrill, F., & Sweetser, E.
2004 The Metaphor TIME AS SPACE Across Languages. In N. Baumgarten, et al. (eds.), Übersetzen, interkulturelle Kommunikation, Spracherwerb und Sprachvermittlung – Das Leben mit Mehreren Sprachen: Festschrift für Juliane House zum 60 Geburtstag. Aks-verlag: Bochum, Germany.
1978 On the Expression of Spatio-temporal Relations in Language. In J.H. Greenberg (ed.), Universals of Human Language: Vol. 3. Word Structure (pp. 369–400). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Tversky, B.. et al.
Cited by other publications
Gu, Yan, Yeqiu Zheng & Marc Swerts
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 04 july 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.