Time and Space: The Language Clinch

Zdeněk Starý
2020 Studie z Aplikované Lingvistiky  
The fact that languages use the same means to express temporal as well as spatial distinctions might be a symptom of a deeper interconnectedness of Time and Space in language. The article focuses on aspect as a category that molds time into the language. Communicative acts with an imperfective verb can signal imperfectivity as well as perfectivity of the communication, and vice versa: communicative acts with a perfective verb can be interpreted not only perfectively, but imperfectively as well.
more » ... Morphological aspect (i.e. aspect given by the morphological make-up of the verb) is thus to be distinguished from aspect as an aspectual construal of the communication (sentence). Factors which contribute to the constitution of the aspectual construal of the communication are located not only within the verb itself (its morphological make-up), but also outside of the verb, or even beyond the realm of language means. On the basis of the study of aspectual construals of communication, the notion of perfectivity is classified in regard to event/state flow into five types. The underlying principle of this classification is asymmetry (point(s) of asymmetry) instaured into the event/state flow. While in cases where Time and Space share means of expression, their relationship is metaphorical (one input domain is talked about in terms of the other), the Time–Space link in perfectives does not facilitate the communication of temporal meanings in terms of spatial ones. In this sense its "metaphoricity" is "deponent". Perfectivity as a temporal category emerges directly from the asymmetry as a spatial concept: the temporal cogitandum is determined by the spatial cogitatum.
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