Chapter in:Time in Languages, Languages in Time
Edited by Anna Čermáková, Thomas Egan, Hilde Hasselgård and Sylvi Rørvik
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 101] 2021
► pp. 283–304
The expression of time in English and Czech children’s literature
A contrastive phraseological perspective
This chapter explores the expression of the concept of time in children’s narrative fiction cross-linguistically, comparing Czech and English. Specifically, it analyses multi-word units and patterns which the respective languages employ when referring to time. The new Engrammer software was developed to facilitate the extraction of n-grams with lemmatised cores and positional mobility, making it possible to compare temporal patterns in English with those used in highly inflectional Czech with variable word-order. The results of the study suggest that in children’s fiction in both languages, time plays an important role in structuring the text, frequently creating dramatic effects. Even though the formal means of expressing time may differ between English and Czech (e.g. diminutives in Czech vs. phrasal description in English), register appears to substantially influence the way time is framed in children’s literature in both languages.