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1st Symposium on figurative thought and language

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1 1st Symposium on figurative thought and language
Time conceptualization in everyday and poetic discourse: From metaphor and beyond Dr. Anna Piata 1st Symposium on figurative thought and language Thessaloniki, April 2014

2 Time conceptualization in cognitive linguistics
Time is metaphorically structured in terms of space and motion This is evidenced in everyday metaphorical expressions of time across languages, including Modern Greek e.g., πέρασε χρόνια σε φυλακές ‘he passed (many) years in jail’ The Ego moving metaphor of time e.g., όσο περνάει ο χρόνος πλησιάζουμε τον στόχο ‘as time goes by we get closer to the target’ The Time moving metaphor A metaphorical mapping between time and space/ motion Space/ motion is the source domain and time is the target domain Such conceptual mappings constitute so-called conceptual metaphors Conceptual metaphor theory (Lakoff & Johnson 1980, 1999, Lakoff 1993)

3 From conceptual metaphors to conceptual blends
More recently, the conceptualization of time has been recast in terms of Conceptual integration, or blending, theory (Fauconnier & Turner 2002, 2008) Unlike conceptual metaphors, conceptual blends arise from integrating conceptual elements from both input spaces Thus, inputs are selectively projected onto the blended space The blended space may contain emergent structure Conceptual structure not present in either of the inputs All the spaces constitute a conceptual integration network Along these lines, it has been suggested that the conceptual structure of time arises in a generalized conceptual integration network of time An entrenched blend that is evidenced in everyday linguistic expressions

4 The generalized conceptual integration network of time
The generalized conceptual integration network of time emerges from two input spaces: A blend of events and experienced motion (e.g., The lecture went by quickly; cf. the Event structure metaphor) Varied among experiencers Subjective time Clock time, based on solar time and measured by time telling devices Uniform among experiencers Social time The generalized conceptual integration network of time contains conceptual elements from both time and space/ motion In this way, it accounts for the fact that time is not entirely understood in terms of space/ motion but has conceptual structure of its own (e.g., time goes away) Also, it explains construals of subjective time (e.g., time went by slowly/ quickly during the lecture) Protracted and compressed time (see Flaherty 1999)


6 Aims of the study To explore how time is conceptualized in poetic discourse; To investigate how non-conventional construals of time relate to conventional ones (i.e., everyday metaphors of time) and also to each other; To propose an empirically grounded and theoretically informed account of time conceptualization; To tackle the relationship between the two main theories of metaphor in cognitive linguistics Conceptual metaphor theory vs. Conceptual integration theory

7 The corpus of Modern Greek poetry
The corpus of MG poetry that was constructed for the needs of this study is: small; approximately 8,000 words specialized; a specific genre (poetry) monolingual; MG (no translations) synchronic Sources of data on-line literary anthologies; Center of Neo-Hellenic studies, National Book Centre of Greece, Cultural Thesaurus of the Greek Language, etc. literary e-journals; etc. The findings of the data collection belong to the literary production of the 20th century, especially to post-war poetry, with a preference for the work of specific poets

8 Linguistic expressions of time in the corpus of MG poetry
Category Percentage Creative metaphors of time 65.7 % Highly creative metaphors of time 15.6 % Non-metaphorical expressions of time 18.7 %

9 Creative metaphors of time
Non-entrenched metaphorical construals of time that are grounded in the conceptual structure of time (i.e., time conceptualized in terms of motion) The Ego moving metaphor The Time moving metaphor Base level of figurative creativity Time is construed in motional terms but in non-conventional ways Motional frames not conventionally associated with time or related to time in non-conventional ways Mechanisms of figurative creativity (Lakoff & Turner 1989) Extension, elaboration, questioning, composition Such metaphors call for a CIT analysis that refines and complements CMT They elaborate conventional metaphors but give rise to novel meanings

10 The Ego moving metaphor
(1) Όσοι στέκονταν κάποτε στις όχθες φύγανε. Άλλοι έρχονται, θα φύγουν κι αυτοί, για τη θάλασσα της λησμονιάς. Ταξιδιώτες είμαστε όλοι του άπειρου χρόνου. Ταξιδιώτες για λιμάνια-φαντάσματα. [G. Pappas] ‘We are all travellers in infinite time. Travellers to ghost-harbours.’ The conventional metaphor ταξίδι/ ταξιδεύω στον χρόνο ‘travelling in time’ is elaborated The experiencer of time is fulfilled in an unusual, creative way as a traveller Here travelling in time refers to infinite time Also, it concerns a particular kind of journey, namely a journey along a river as suggested by όχθες ‘banks’ and λιμάνια-φαντάσματα ‘ghost-harbours’


12 The Time moving metaphor
(2) Τι μένει τώρα να πούμε, τι μένει να κάνουμε. Σ’ αυτά τα άθλια σπίτια που κυλάμε τις μέρες μας. Ξανα-/ ζώντας ‘we roll our days’ το ναυάγιο της φωτιάς. Ακούγοντας, πάλι, στις πλάκες τα προδομένα της βήματα. Μέρες και νύχτες/ αγρύπνιας και μοναξιάς. [Th. Kostavaras] Κυλάω ‘to flow/ to roll’ is conventionally associated with time but in the intransitive construction that has the meaning of flowing, e.g. οι μέρες κυλούσαν μονότονα ‘the days were flowing monotonously’ Here it is creatively used in a transitive construction that evokes a different meaning, that of rolling Days are therefore construed as being caused to move The passage of time is not easy, regular and natural but rather strenuous, requiring effort on the part of the agent/experiencer


14 Highly creative metaphors of time
Non-entrenched, metaphorical but non-motional construals of time The personification of time Non-motional metaphors of time High level of figurative creativity Time is construed in terms of conventionally incompatible frames (i.e., non-motional) Such metaphors call for a CIT analysis Our folk understanding of time is also involved They may involve both imagistic and conceptual structure

15 The personification of time
(3) Άκουσε ο λόγος είναι των στερνών η φρόνηση  Κι ο χρόνος γλύπτης των ανθρώπων παράφορος  Κι ο ήλιος στέκεται από πάνω του θηρίο ελπίδας [O. Elytis] ‘time is an uncontrollable sculptor of humans while the sun stands over him like a beast of hope’ In (3) time is construed as a sculptor (γλύπτης) An instance of personification It prompts for an understanding of time as transforming humans through its passage in a way that they can’t control or impede The basic metaphor time is a changer (Lakoff & Turner 1989: 86) is combined with commonplace knowledge about sculpting Conceptual structure from both domains is involved (cf. Conceptual metaphor theory)


17 Non-motional metaphors of time
(4) Του μέλλοντος οι μέρες στέκοντ’ εμπροστά μας Σα μια σειρά κεράκια αναμμένα – χρυσά, ζεστά, και ζωηρά κεράκια. ‘Days to come stand in front of us/ like a row of lighted candles— golden, warm, and vivid candles’ Οι περασμένες μέρες πίσω μένουν, μια θλιβερή γραμμή κεριών σβησμένων· τα πιο κοντά βγάζουν καπνόν ακόμη, κρύα κεριά, λιωμένα, και κυρτά. ‘Days gone by fall behind us,/ a gloomy line of snuffed-out candles; the nearest are smoking still,/ cold, melted, and bent.’ (…) Δεν θέλω να γυρίσω να μη διω και φρίξω τι γρήγορα που η σκοτεινή γραμμή μακραίνει, τι γρήγορα που τα σβυστά κεριά πληθαίνουν. [C. Cavafy] ‘how quickly that dark line gets longer, how quickly the snuffed-out candles proliferate.’

18 Non-motional metaphors of time
Future years are construed as lit candles in front of the poet whereas past years as blown out candles behind him with the latter proliferating quickly (see also Pagán Cánovas & Jensen 2013) A construal of temporal compression The end of life is about to come soon for the poet Conceptual structure about candles is combined with conceptual structure about years to yield a novel conceptualization of time The poet is emotionally involved in experiencing the passage of time Sorrow at the view of blown out candles and nostalgia for their formerly shining light as well as fear for the rapid extinction of the candles still lit Time felt as passing more quickly after middle age and fear for the upcoming end


20 Non-metaphorical expressions of time
Non-entrenched, non-metaphorical, non-motional construals of time where an interval is construed in terms of another interval of a shorter or longer duration Non-metaphorical construals of compressed time Non-metaphorical construals of protracted time Maximum degree of creativity in the conceptualization of time Beyond metaphorical creativity Such construals make a case for CIT They go beyond metaphor Thus, they challenge what is generally assumed in cognitive linguistics

21 Non-metaphorical construals of compressed time
(5) Σαν το ’φεραν οι Χριστιανοί να το κρεμάσουν το δεκαεφτά χρονώ αθώο παιδί ‘the 17-year old poor boy’ η μάνα του (…) πότε ούρλιαζε, και κραύγαζε σα λύκος, σα θηρίο και πότε εξαντλημένη η μάρτυσσα μοιρολογούσε (…) «Δεκαφτά μέρες μοναχά», μοιρολογούσε, «δεκαφτά μέρες μοναχά σε χάρηκα παιδί μου». [C. Cavafy] “Only seventeen days”, she mourned, “I’ve enjoyed you for only seventeen years, my boy” A mother mourning the death of her 17-year old son construes the duration of his life in subjective terms 17 years are compressed into 17 days Hyperbole The mother’s grief cues to a strong affective grounding of the construal


23 Non-metaphorical construals of protracted time
(6) Χωρίς πικρία, χωρίς ελπίδα, χωρίς φόβο στη μέση του ταξιδιού,/ τριάντα χρόνια σκίζοντας τις σάρκες μου μ’ αλύπητα μαχαίρια να σ’ εξευμενίσω, στραγγίζοντας με λύσσα και την τελευταία σταγόνα του αίματός μου για να ξεδιψάσεις, τριάντα χρόνια-αιώνες, κάθε μέρα ‘thirty years-centuries’ τη ζωή μου καταστρέφοντας για ν’ αξιωθώ χαρούμενη επιτέλους να σε δω [A. Evaggelou] A protracted construal of the duration of the couple’s relationship 30 years construed as equal to the passage of centuries Hyperbole Protracted time here relates to the couple’s stormy relationship


25 Degrees of figurative creativity in the expression of time
Linguistic entrenchment Motional frame Metaphorical structure Type of conceptualization Conventionality + Conventional metaphors Base level of figurative creativity - Creative metaphors High degree of figurative creativity Highly creative metaphors Maximum degree of figurative creativity Non-metaphorical conceptualization

26 Concluding remarks Based on a corpus of MG poetry, the present study offers an empirically grounded analysis of time conceptualization in poetic discourse In doing so, it revises the standard analysis of time conceptualization as solely metaphorical At the same time, it proposes a categorization of non-conventional expressions of time on the basis of two criteria: metaphorical structure the type of the frame serving as input (motional) The proposed categorization of degrees of creativity can serve as a testable hypothesis for the psycholinguistic investigation of figurative creativity

27 Concluding remarks In theoretical terms, the proposed analysis puts forward a unified account of time conceptualization in terms of Conceptual integration theory At the same time, it offers an ideal testing frame for two prominent theories in cognitive linguistics, namely Conceptual metaphor theory and Conceptual integration theory It suggests that the two theories provide complementary insights in the sense that CIT complements and refines CMT Finally, a more general conclusion to be drawn is that research on conceptualization can benefit a lot from combining cognitive linguistics with the study of literature

28 References Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2002). The Way we Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. New York: Basic Books. Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2008). “Rethinking Metaphor”. In Gibbs, R. W. (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Flaherty, M. (1999). A Watched Pot. New York: New York University Press. Lakoff, G. (1993). “The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor.” In Metaphor and Thought, edited by Andrew Ortony. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we Live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh. New York: Basic Books. Lakoff, G. & Turner, M. (1989). More Than Cool Reason. A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Pagán Cánovas, C. & Jensen, M. (2013). “Anchoring Time-Space Mappings and their Emotions: The Timeline Blend in Poetic Metaphors”. In Language and Literature 22 (1):

29 Thank you!

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