Research Topic

Time in terms of space

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic explores the question: what is the relationship between representations of time and space in cultures around the world? This question touches on the broader issue of how humans come to represent and reason about abstract entities – things we cannot see or touch. Time is a particularly ...

This Research Topic explores the question: what is the relationship between representations of time and space in cultures around the world? This question touches on the broader issue of how humans come to represent and reason about abstract entities – things we cannot see or touch. Time is a particularly opportune domain to investigate this topic. Across cultures, people use spatial representations for time, for example in graphs, time-lines, clocks, sundials, hourglasses, and calendars. In language, time is also heavily related to space, with spatial terms often used to describe the order and duration of events. In English, for example, we might move a meeting forward, push a deadline back, attend a long concert or go on a short break. People also make consistent spatial gestures when talking about time, and appear to spontaneously invoke spatial representations when processing temporal language. A large body of evidence suggests a close correspondence between temporal and spatial language and thought.

However, the ways that people spatialize time can differ dramatically across languages and cultures. This research topic identifies and explores some of the sources of this variation, including patterns in spatial thinking, patterns in metaphor, gesture and other cultural systems. This Research Topic explores how speakers of different languages talk about time and space and how they think about these domains, outside of language.

The Research Topic will explore the following issues:
1. Do the linguistic representations of space and time share the same lexical and morphosyntactic resources?
2. To what extent does the conceptualization of time follow the conceptualization of space?


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be in line with the scope of the specialty and field to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Manuscripts discovered during any stage of peer review to be outside of the scope may be transferred to a suitable section or field, or withdrawn from review.

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