Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Construing Temporal Magnitudes: Implications for Event Conceptualisation

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Cognitive Semantics

The paper investigates the effect of alternating construals of temporal magnitudes on individuals’ reasoning about events that are explicitly embedded in time. Specifically, I analyse the meaning-making potential of “cumulative” and “fractional” construals, as in “30 minutes” and “half an hour”. Inspired by Cognitive Linguistics postulates, the hypothesis is that although these alternate constructions of time quantities are numerically equivalent, i.e. the objective time intervals designated are the same, they will differently prompt conceptualisation and reasoning about events they structure. This hypothesis is empirically tested with native and non-native speakers of English at four levels of time granularity, for seconds/minute, minutes/hour, weeks/month and months/year configurations.The findings show that there is a consistent major effect indicating a semantic-conceptual asymmetry between cumulative and fractional construals for the seconds/minute level, and a weaker, though analogous, effect for the months/year level, with the fractional construals ‘magnifying’ the quantity. Critically, the effect is found to hold in the case of conceptualisers for whom English, in which stimuli were presented, was their L2 while English native speakers appear to be ‘immune’.I discuss the potential motivation behind those patterns as well as the effect’s theoretical and practical implications. Finally, the findings are then related to a study on individuals’ intuitive predictions about meaning-making implications of alternating between cumulative and fractional construals of time.

Affiliations: 1: University of Łódź, Institute of English Studies, Pomorska 171/173, 90-236 Lodz, Poland,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Alter A. 2010. Quirks in Time Perception. Predictable quirks in how people perceive the passage of time. Psychology Today .
2. Alverson H. 1994. Semantics and experience: Universal metaphors of time in English, Mandarin, Hindi, and Sesotho . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
3. Bergen B., & Wheeler K. 2010. "Grammatical aspect and mental simulation". Brain & Language Vol 112, 150158.
4. Blom, J. D. 2010. A Dictionary of Hallucinations . New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media.
5. Boroditsky L. 2000. "Metaphoric Structuring: Understanding time through spatial metaphors". Cognition ,Vol 75(1), 128.
6. Caldwell-Harris C. L. 2015. "Emotionality differences between a native and foreign language: Implications for everyday life". Current Directions in Psychological Science , Vol 24(3), 214219.
7. Casasanto D.,, & Boroditsky L. 2008. "Time in the mind: Using space to think about time". Cognition , Vol 106, 579593.
8. Cheng R.-K.,, Macdonald Ch. J.,, & Meck W. H. 2006. "Differential effects of cocaine and ketamine on time estimation: Implications for neurobiological models of interval timing". Pharmacology Biochemystry and Behavior ,Vol 85 (1), 114122.
9. Cipolletti H.,, McFarlane S.,, & Weissglass C. 2016. "The moral foreign-language effect". Philosophical Psychology , Vol 29(1), 2340.
10. Clark H. H., 1973. "Space, time, semantics and the child". In T. E. Moore (ed.), Cognitive development and the acquisition of language . New York, NY: Academic Press, 27-64.
11. Clay E. R. (anonymous) 1882. The alternative: a study in psychology . London: Macmillan.
12. Costa A.,, Foucart A.,, Hayakawa S.,, Aparici M.,, Apesteguia J.,, Heafner J., & Keysar B. 2014. "Your Morals Depend on Language". PLoS ONE , Vol 9(4): e94842. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094842.
13. Deckert M.,, & Pęzik P. 2014. "Degrees of propositionality in construals of time quantities". Research in Language , Vol 24, 341353.
14. Deckert M. 2016. "Im-/precision in temporal magnitude representation: a corpus-based contrastive account", Linguistica Silesiana , Vol 37, 105124.
15. Eagleman D. 2012.
16. Ekman P. 1985/1992. Telling lies . New York: Norton.
17. Evans V. 2004. The structure of time: Language, meaning and temporal cognition . John Benjamins: Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
18. Evans V. 2013. Language and Time: A Cognitive Linguistics Approach . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
19. Evans V.,, & Green M. 2006. Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction . Mahwah, NJ and Edinburgh: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates/Edinburgh University Press.
20. Fausey C.,, & Boroditsky L. 2010. "Subtle linguistic cues influence perceived blame and financial liability". Psychonomic Bulletin & Review ,Vol 17( 5), 644650 doi:10.3758/PBR.17.5.644.
21. Fausey C.,, & Boroditsky L. 2011. "Who dunnit? Cross-linguistic differences in eye-witness memory". Psychonomic Bulletin & Review , Vol 18: 1, 150157. doi:10.3758/s13423-010-0021-5.
22. Flaherty M. 1999. A watched pot: How we experience time . New York, ny: New York University Press.
23. Fedden S.,, & Boroditsky L. 2012. "Spatialization of time in Mian". Frontiers in Psychology , Vol 3: 485. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00485.
24. Frenck-Mestre C., 2002. "An on-line look at sentence processing in the second language". In R. Heredia, Altarriba J. (eds.), Bilingual Sentence Processing. North Holland, 217236.
25. Geeraerts D.,, & Cuyckens H., 2007. “"Introducing Cognitive Linguistics”", In Geeraerts D., and Cuyckens H. (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 321.
26. Gentner D.,, Imai M.,, & Boroditsky L. 2002. "As time goes by: Evidence for two systems in processing space > time metaphors". Language and Cognitive Processes , Vol 17, 537565.
27. Hoff H.,, & Pötzl O. 1934. "Über eine Zeitrafferwirkung bei homonymer linksseitiger Hemianopsie". Zeitschr. ges. Neurol. Psychiat.Vol 151, 599.
28. James W. 1890. The Principles of Psychology , New York: Henry Holt.
29. Javadi A. M.,, & Aichelburg C. 2012. "When time and numerosity interfere: the longer the more, and the more the longer". PLoS ONE , Vol 7( 7): e41496. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041496.
30. Johnson E. J.,, & Goldstein D. G. 2004. "Defaults and donation decisions". Transplantation , Vol 78, 17131716.
31. Krulwich R. 2010. “Why Does Time Fly By As You Get Older?”
32. Langacker R. W. 1987. Foundations of cognitive grammar . Vol. 1, Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
33. Langacker R. W. 1991. Foundations of cognitive grammar . Vol. 2, Descriptive application. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
34. Langacker R. W., 2007. "Cognitive Grammar", In Geeraerts D., and Cuyckens H. (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 421-462.
35. Langacker R. W. 2008. Cognitive Grammar: A Basic Introduction . New York: Oxford University Press.
36. Langone J. 2000. The mystery of time: Humanity’s quest for order and measure . Washington, DC: National Geographic.
37. Loftus E. 1974. "Reconstructing memory. The incredible eyewitness". Psychology Today ,Vol 8, 116119.
38. Loftus E. 1975. "Leading questions and the eyewitness report" Cognitive Psychology , Vol 7, 560572.
39. Loftus E., & Palmer, J. C. 1974. "Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction: An Example of the Interaction Between Language and Memory". Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior ,Vol 13, 585589.
40. Loftus E.,, & Zanni G. 1975. "Eyewitness testimony: The influence of the wording of a question". Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society , Vol 5, 8688.
41. Lykken D. T. 1998. A tremor in the blood: uses and abuses of the lie detector . New York: Plenum Trade.
42. Matlock T. 2004. "Fictive motion as cognitive simulation". Memory and Cognition , Vol 32( 8), 13891400.
43. McGlone M.,, & Harding J. 1998. "Back (or forward?) to the future: The role of perspective in temporal language comprehension". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition ,Vol 24, 12111223.
44. Mischel W.,, Shoda Y.,, & Rodriguez M. I. 1989. "Delay of gratification in children". Science , Vol 244, 933938.
45. Núñez R.,, & Sweetser E. 2006. "With the Future Behind Them: Convergent Evidence From Aymara Language and Gesture in the Crosslinguistic Comparison of Spatial Construals of Time". Cognitive Science , Vol 30( 3), 401450.
46. Núñez R.,, Motz B.,, & Teuscher U. 2006. "Time after time: The psychological reality of the Ego- and Time-Reference-Point distinction in metaphorical construals of time". Metaphor and Symbol , Vol 21, 133146.
47. Oliveri M.,, Vicario C. M.,, Salerno S.,, Koch G.,, Turriziani P.,, Mangano R.,, Chillemi G.,, & Caltagirone C. 2008. "Perceiving numbers alters time perception". Neuroscience Letters , Vol 438: 3, 308311.
48. Ornstein R. 1969/1997. On the experience of time . Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
49. Pariyadath V.,, & Eagleman D. M. 2007. "The effect of predictability on subjective duration". PLoS One , Vol 2( 11):e1264.
50. Pariyadath V.,, & Eagleman D. M. 2008. "Brief subjective durations contract with repetition". Journal of Vision , Vol 8(16):16
51. Radden G. 2003. "The Metaphor TIME AS SPACE across Languages". In N. Baumgarten, C. Böttger, M. Motz, J. Probst (eds.), Übersetzen, Interkulturelle Kommunikation, Spracherwerb und Sprachvermittlung – das Leben mit mehreren Sprachen. Festschrift für Juliane House zum 60. Geburtstag. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht , Vol 8(2/3), 226239.
52. Segalowitz N. 2010. The cognitive bases of second language fluency. New York: Routledge.
53. Sporer S. L. 1997. "The less traveled road to truth: Verbal cues in deception detection in accounts of fabricated and self-experienced events". Applied Cognitive Psychology , Vol 11, 373397.
54. Talmy L. 2000. Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Vol. 1, Concept structuring systems . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
55. Tse P. U.,, Intriligator J.,, Rivest J.,, & Cavanagh P. 2004. "Attention and the subjective expansion of time". Perception & Psychophysics , Vol 66, 11711189.
56. Tversky A.,, & Kahneman D. 1981. "The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice". Science , Vol 211, 453458.
57. Vrij A.,, Edward K.,, Roberts K. P.,, & Bull R. 2000. "Detecting deceit via analysis of verbal and nonverbal behaviour". Journal of Nonverbal Behavior , Vol 24: 4, 239263.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Cognitive Semantics — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation