Metaphors of Time across Cultures

Omid Khatin-Zadeh , Hassan Banaruee, Florencia Reali , Carlos Tirado, Susana Ruiz-Fernández, Yuki Yamada, Ruiming Wang, Robin Nicolas, Tariq Khwaileh, Malina Szychowska, Johanna Vestlund, Juan C. Correa, Danyal Farsani, Natalie Butcher, Bidisha Som, Ivan Volkonskii, Koen Plevoets, Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos

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Abstract

TIME is a highly abstract concept and prevalent in languages worldwide. Cross-cultural and cross-linguistic research suggests that TIME is embodied dissimilarly in different languages. Still the literature has not received sufficient attention in examining the differences. This study aimed to identify and compare how TIME is metaphorically represented and embodied worldwide. We investigated 14 languages; Arabic, Assamese, Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Kikuyu, Persian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish, which represent nine language families. The metaphors were categorized conceptually as TIME IS AN ORGANISM, TIME IS MOTION, TIME IS SPACE, and TIME IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY. We employed a two-part paper-based task. The first part consisted of generation of metaphor items and the second part consisted of a valence rating task. The key variables considered were 'metaphor category' and 'language family' while controlling for demographic variables such as gender, age and handedness. Data from 513 participants were collected. Results showed a significant association between language categories and the valences of time metaphors. The data of this study suggest that within the languages of a certain category, there might be some similarity between the valences of words that are used to realize a given conceptual metaphor.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cultural Cognitive Science
Early online date23 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2023

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