Time passing is motion

Kathleen Ahrens, Chu-Ren Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

35 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we examine the conceptual metaphor TIME IS SPACE, which is argued by Yu(1998) to be a universal metaphor on the basis of data from Mandarin and English. We focus on one specific aspect of this metaphor, namely TIME PASSING IS MOTION. We point out that the source domains of MOTION and SPACE must be clearly differentiated. Once these two domains are differentiated, the inconsistencies in the what is traditionally called the TIME IS MOTION metaphor disappear for both English and Chinese. We also demonstrate that where TIME IS A MOVING POINT OVER A LANDSCAPE, the ego is attached to this point and must be plural when the verb is an achievement verb of movement, but may be singular when the verb is an activity verb of movement. Lastly, we conclude that when TIME IS A MOVING ENTITY the orientation of the ego is a conceptual subsidiary that can be parameterized by different languages, as well as by language change and variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-519
Number of pages29
JournalLanguage and Linguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2002

User-Defined Keywords

  • Conceptual metaphor
  • Time
  • Space
  • Source domains


Dive into the research topics of 'Time passing is motion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this