Abstracts and materials


  1. 1 Keynote lectures
    1. 1.1 Kensy Cooperrider: Research on time concepts: Where we are and where we could go
    2. 1.2 Francis Steen: The Garden of Forking Paths: Multimodal constructions of alternative and possible times in television news
    3. 1.3 Julio Santiago: Attention, space, and the conceptual representation of time across cultures and religions
    4. 1.4 Rafael Núñez: Spatial construals of time: What do they tell us about the interplay between biological and cultural evolution?
  2. 2 CREATIME: Converging research on time conceptualization
    1. 2.1 Temporal co-speech gestures: A comparison between spatial and non-spatial temporal expressions
    2. 2.2 Film flashbacks and the conceptualization of time
    3. 2.3 Spatial representations of time, emotion, and viewpoint in language and literature
    4. 2.4 Conceptual integration templates for time: converging evidence from big multimodal data
  3. 3 CREATIME demo: Multimodal data extraction and annotation
    1. 3.1 Language
    2. 3.2 Gesture
  4. 4 Blitz presentations
    1. 4.1 Catherine Barsics: Time perspective and emotional future-oriented thoughts
    2. 4.2 Edmond Cane: The continuity in Albanian tenses: the evolution of non-temporal frames into temporal ones
    3. 4.3 Mohamed Douifi: Language, cognition and the metaphor of Time
    4. 4.4 Yan Gu: The future is changing: The effect of Mandarin space-time metaphors on Chinese deaf signers’ spatio-temporal reasoning
    5. 4.5 Enrique Gutiérrez: Conceptualization of time in Spanish phraseology: A gender study
    6. 4.6 Liron Lavi: From time to time: the repetitive creation of chronology and the construction of political meaning
    7. 4.7 Elo Rohult: Time-metaphors variations in (popular) scientific texts translations

Call for blitz presentations

Keynote lectures

Kensy Cooperrider: Research on time concepts: Where we are and where we could go

Questions about how humans understand time have puzzled thinkers for centuries, but only very recently have we begun to piece together satisfying answers. A key piece of the puzzle—now explored over several decades of research—is that people construe temporal concepts in terms of spatial concepts. In the first part of the talk, I’ll review some emerging trends in research on spatial construals of time, including work on how such construals develop in children, how they vary across cultures, and on their fundamentally multiform character. In the second part of the talk, I’ll consider where research on time concepts could go next. A promising general direction, I suggest, is to move beyond the current focus on the “timeline” in several ways: by investigating construals of time that are not purely linear, or not even purely spatial; by considering relations between how people construe time and how they construe its cousins, such as order and causality; and by examining how time concepts vary cross-culturally beyond merely drawing on different spatial concepts.

Francis Steen: The Garden of Forking Paths: Multimodal constructions of alternative and possible times in television news

A common conception of the news is that it reports on past and on-going events -- on what has happened or is still happening. Much of the news, however, is in fact devoted to a much richer conception of time: one that is not linear from past through the present to the future, but that branches into multiple trajectories of alternative and possible times. These trajectories are not arbitrary fantasies, but typically aim to construct scenarios that were or are or may become possible. Time, in this expanded everyday conception, consists of a surface or manifest reality -- the world of facts -- that is supported by and grounded in an unmanifest actuality. It is by invoking temporal trajectories in this unmanifest actuality that the news is able to make claims about the causes of individual historical events; to identify possible past, present, and future opportunities for intervention; to reason about blame, guilt, and responsibility; and to motivate future action. The possible is treated as more fundamental than the real, and human agency is treated as a capacity to engage with and to direct a world that constantly branches.

Julio Santiago: Attention, space, and the conceptual representation of time across cultures and religions

Across the languages of the world, people speak about time using spatial terms (e.g., “we have a great future ahead”, “my best days are behind me”). The received view is that the spatial conceptualization of time arises from perceptuo-motor experiences (e.g., moving forward from a past to a future location) and linguistic experiences (the way time is talked about in a language). Once a conceptualization is in place, it is considered to be quite stable. Against this view, we have recently shown that the conceptualization of time depends on attention (the Temporal Focus Hypothesis; De la Fuente et al., 2014, Psych Sci, 29, 1682): people who hold strong values regarding tradition and the past tend to locate the past in front. Moreover, if participants are made to pay attention to either their past or future, they tend to locate the attended time in front. This talk will give an update on a follow-up cross-cultural project aimed to provide a thorough test of the Temporal Focus Hypothesis and to study its links with other dimensions of temporal experience, such as temporal depth and perspective, temporal discounting, the emotional valuation of past and future events, and continuity with the past and future self. The data support attentional flexibility and finds that different measures of temporal experience form unexpected groupings.

Rafael Núñez: Spatial construals of time: What do they tell us about the interplay between biological and cultural evolution?

Some connected publications:

CREATIME: Converging research on time conceptualization

Temporal co-speech gestures: A comparison between spatial and non-spatial temporal expressions

In this study, we compare the co-speech gestures triggered by a number of English temporal expressions as a means of finding out about English speakers’ conceptualization of time. The temporal expressions examined belong to three different categories. The first category involves temporal expressions that do not employ spatial language (earlier, later) and are thus non-metaphoric; the other two consist of spatial temporal metaphors (that is, temporal expressions which include spatial language), which are further subdivided into directional expressions, that is, spatial expressions which mention explicitly the direction as in back in those days or months ahead, and non-directional spatial expressions such as distant past or near future, which include spatial terms -distant, near- but do not make reference to a specific spatial location. The aim of the study is to determine whether or not there is a difference in co-speech gestures (and thus, a different conceptualization) among these different categories. Data was obtained through the NewsScape Library, a multimodal corpus which contains more than 10 years of television news and talk shows and allows us to gather high-quality, natural data. We collected a total of 412 temporal co-speech gestures, divided among the three categories (147 for non-spatial, 144 for spatial directional and 122 for spatial non-directional expressions). All the data was qualitatively analyzed by two different coders to ensure its attestability. Our results show that, even though most of the time-related gestures are performed in the lateral axis, there is a statistically significant increase of sagittal gestures when using spatial non-directional language. Additionally, non-directional metaphorical language shows much higher levels of congruency (86%) than the other two categories (59% non-spatial and 67% directional). We hypothesize that sagittal gestures are more frequent in non-directional metaphors because the speaker needs to establish a clear temporal point by gesturing, since such information is not implicitly indicated in language.

Film flashbacks and the conceptualization of time

Among all the resources that movies usually employ to represent the passing of time, the flashback or temporal retrospection is the most attractive one from a multimodal point of view: it uses different visual resources (various types of framing, camera movements, expression and motion of the actors, transitions and visual effects, and many more), as well as acoustic ones (music, dialogue, various sounds and sound effects, and so forth) which are combined to represent a temporal leap from the present to the past.  The question that follows then is: how is time conceptualized and rendered in film flashbacks, and how do viewers make sense of them? Is there a time-space mapping in those representations, in the same way as in many verbal and gestural depictions of time? To provide an answer, we take a look at the multimodal cues that a movie offers in a retrospective scene and analyze the cognitive processes that those cues activate in the viewers, and which make the comprehension of the flashback possible. Among those formal cues, the “eyeline match” structure reveals itself as a fundamental one in many film retrospections. This classic film technique, which contributes to the “continuity system”, consists on the combination of at least a shot of a character looking on a certain direction off-screen and a shot of an object (or another character) towards which the first person looks. Ultimately, what lies at the basis of that continuity device is a joint-attention scheme, upon which the flashback is built. Also, the “eyeline match” provides the foundation for a time-space mapping that represents the past as being in front of the character.

Spatial representations of time, emotion, and viewpoint in language and literature

Research in temporal metaphors distinguishes between Moving-Ego and Moving-Time mappings; in the Ego-moving version, speakers are construed as moving with respect to some fixed temporal landmarks; in the Time-moving versions, time itself is construed as moving with respect to the speaker. Both these metaphors involve time events in reference to an Ego, which specifies the present time Now (in that sense, both are deictic). Most of the research carried out so far has been focused on psycholinguistics and has not examined spontaneous everyday speech or poetic figurative language. In our corpus linguistic studies we have asked questions such as which verbs do use people in their everyday language and how frequently, or how affective factors influence the choice of the Moving-Ego or Moving-Time perspective. Our data come from NewsScape, a multimodal corpus constructed from an extensive television library database which can be used as a linguistic corpus, and from PoetiCog, a corpus of poetic texts (19th-20th century) in three languages (English, Modern Greek and Spanish) stored in and accessed through SketchEngine. We expose the entrenched templates and their usage patterns, as well as some of the many ways in which such templates are exploited creatively for novel, ad-hoc meanings in on-the-go oral communication as well as in poetic discourse. 

Conceptual integration templates for time: converging evidence from big multimodal data

The picture that is emerging from the CREATIME studies indicates that time is constructed through more complex patterns than what mere conceptual transfer or direct projection can explain. Our data show a complex interplay not only between cognition and cultural background, but also between mental habits and the circumstances of communication or action: specific purposes, context, conditions of the communicative exchange, pragmatic functions, and so forth. Temporal representations are swiftly adapted, playing with a variety of parameters to serve ad-hoc rhetorical goals: speed, directionality, orientation (left-to-right, right-to-left, up-down, etc.), axis (sagittal, lateral, vertical), manner of motion, distance in space, various aspects of agency, integration and separation of viewpoints, and many more. Moreover, time itself, without the intervention of other concepts, is manipulated with great agility to produce a wide variety of effects: durations can be stretched to centuries or reduced to seconds, time leaps are created by conflating moments and viewpoints through different verbal and multimodal patterns, scenes with impossible interactions between past and future elements are created, temporal relations are even suppressed to carry out certain reasoning or to express emotions, among other phenomena. A fluid model that triangulates cognition-culture-action is needed to account for the construction of temporal meaning, and for any other complex conceptual work. The templates at work include basic cognitive structures and cultural representations, mappings between them, and knowledge on how to build effective representations based on the mappings. Besides, the templates also include the practical know-how about their own use in various cultural and communicative settings, for a variety of purposes in discourse, action, and reasoning.

CREATIME demo: Multimodal data extraction and annotation


Using corpus linguistic software such as CQPWeb, CREATIME studies thousands of instances in which conceptual patterns are used in conventional time expressions, in oral communication (television) as well as in written corpora. We look for regularities in how these expressions are adapted to context and goals and in how they are modified creatively for specific purposes. We are also building PoetiCog, an electronic corpus with hundreds of poetic works in English, Spanish, and Modern Greek (with Ancient Greek, Latin, and other literatures forthcoming). We identify patterns in the poetic manipulation of a variety of aspects of time: its spatial configuration, its representation as substances or people, or its compression and expansion.


CREATIME’s workflow includes gesture analysis as long as it offers evidence of the conceptualization patterns shaping our discourse on time. This presentation aims to reflect on the methodological and theoretical implications underlying CREATIME’s co-speech gesture analyses.
  1. An overview of the categories used in CREATIME gesture tagging is offered, with reference to how it relies on –and goes beyond, in certain aspects– other existing ontologies for gesture annotation.
  2. Our approach to co-speech gesture differs from mainstream analyses that seek to offer individual and exhaustive descriptions of body behavior using software that allows for it (e.g. ELAN or motion capture). In contrast, our use of big amounts of data calls for a less atomized approach that makes it possible to detect recurrent body behavior and significant patterns in the way speakers gesture when talking about time. We will reflect on the advantages and limitations of such an approach.
We have also been recently collaborating with computer scientists at Case Western Reserve University (Soumya Ray and Sergiy Turchyn) in the development of tools for automatic gesture recognition. We will offer an update of the advances in CREATIME gesture annotation fostered so far by this collaboration.

Blitz presentations

Catherine Barsics: Time perspective and emotional future-oriented thoughts

Time perspective —the tendency to focus on the past, present, and/or future— has a pervasive influence on many aspects of human cognition and behaviour, such as decision making, planning, motivation, self-regulation, and sense of identity. Over the last decade, important progress has been made in understanding the representations and processes that support our ability to mentally explore possible futures. More particularly, many thoughts and mental images that people form about their personal future refer to emotionally significant events. Such emotional future-oriented thoughts (EmoFTs) were studied in natural settings and under laboratory conditions. The results showed that EmoFTs are frequent, occur in various contexts, and are perceived to fulfill important functions, mostly related to goal pursuit and emotion regulation. The phenomenological characteristics of EmoFTs (e.g., representational format) vary according to valence. When distinguishing between anticipatory and anticipated emotions (i.e., emotions experienced in the present versus emotions expected to occur in the future), a positivity bias in the frequency of EmoFTs is found to be restricted to anticipated emotions. These findings shed further light on the properties of futureoriented- thoughts, and emphasize the importance of their affective components.

  • Barsics, C., Rebetez, M. M. L., Rochat, L., D’Argembeau, A., & Van der Linden, M. (2017). A French version of the Balanced Time Perspective Scale: Factor structure and relation to cognitive reappraisal. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne des Sciences du Comportement, 495(1), 51–57. doi: 10.1037/cbs0000065
  • Barsics, C., Van der Linden, M., & D'Argembeau, A. (2016). Frequency, characteristics, and perceived functions of emotional future thinking in daily life. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(2), 217–233. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1051560
  • Baumgartner, H., Pieters, R. & Bagozzi, R. P. (2008). Future-oriented emotions: Conceptualization and behavioral effects. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(4), 685–696. doi:10.1002/ ejsp.467
  • Rebetez, M. M. L., Barsics, C., Rochat, L., D’Argembeau, A., & Van der Linden, M. (2016). Procrastination, consideration of future consequences, and episodic future thinking. Consciousness and Cognition, 42, 286–292. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2016.04.003

Edmond Cane: The continuity in Albanian tenses: the evolution of non-temporal frames into temporal ones

Recent research has introduced a rich account on the evolution of temporal frames from spatial ones. Basic temporal frames may also stem from other type frame. This paper presents the emergence of continuity (in Albanian tenses) onto the verb-shaped event frames based on the contexts of the referential particle “po”. Albanian has a richer framework of referentiality compared to other Balkan or European languages - its much wider scope of definite articles is just a part in it. One such available frame, in the course of evolution, seems to have blended within the tense frame as projected on the verb event frames. The evidence supports the claim that the cross-domain mapping is not a simple imposition or crossing (Fauconnier & Turner 2008, Coulson & Cánovas 2009, Casasanto & Boroditsky 2008; etc.). Instead, it involves preference/choice/feasibility of one frame or pattern over another, emergence of the initial novel blend which thus begins to idiosyncratically/selectively ‘recruit’ or match experiences, scenes. Further, it extends to novel different scenes, thus expanding its distribution or scope of experience, which then, brings in or feeds its own return, with new features acquired, that become ‘pertinent features’ and thus reshape the prototype.

There is investigating into: i) the distribution of the relevant frames as well as the web of oppositions these are entrenched. The paper exploits data from folk oral songs dating back to 800-1500 years earlier, comparing the distribution and other values of the [‘po’ + X] construction, which at present is [‘po’ + present /imperfect] as the Albanian instance of continuous tense. It can be observed that in the old use, the ‘po’ would stick to and project its referential value onto nouns, onto the participle of complex tense verbs while preceding the auxiliary, as well as to verbs. When qualifying verbs, the link was rather loose, with very frequent breaking into of one or more clitics. The current state of ‘po’ is only in the service of verbs, more particularly two tenses on the verbs: the present and the imperfect, exercising its power on the tenses rather than on the verb. The earlier referential value seems to have been massively converted into temporal progressive frame, vesting the verb-based event frame, although there are authors who insist on the partial remaining of the assigning/referential value applied onto the event. This particular structuring has resisted to and thus prevailed over the later progressive pattern [be+participle], introduced externally.

Evidence shows a particular instance of conventional blending, with features of the blending to be observed in the particular cross-domain mapping as well as in the contrast between the different historical states of the said frames. The structuring and the circumstantial peculiarities in Albanian seem to have affected the content contributed by this subframe within the broader frame of the respective tenses. A cross-linguistic inspection reveals the idiosyncratic nature of blending in a language. Compared to English speakers, Albanians appear to have a double-layer perception of continuity in events, contributed respectively by two opposition frames: continuous/non-continuous and perfect/imperfect. Besides, this particular pattern with ‘po’, has provided for the Albanian speakers to perceive a set of verbs/events in a double-side frame (continuous/non-continuous), while the English speakers can hardly notice aspectual opposition in them. This is a usage-based and language based shaping, which impacts a sort of common ‘inflation’ into verbs like: want, have, understand, etc.

  • Agalliu, F. (1982, No. 2). Mbi pjesëzën ‘po’ në gjuhën shqipe. Studime Filologjike , pp. 59-70
  • Boroditsky, L. (2001). Does language shape thought?: Mandarin and English speakers' conceptions of time. Cognitive psychology, 43(1), 1-22.
  • Casasanto, & Boroditsky, (2008). Time in the mind: Using space to think about time. Cognition, 106(2), 579-593.
  • Coulson, S., & Cánovas, C. P. (2009). Understanding timelines: Conceptual metaphor and conceptual integration. Cognitive Semiotics, 5(1-2), 198-219.
  • Cane, E., 2016, A constructional case study regarding the legitimacy of continuous tenses in Albanian ICCG9, Ruiz de Fora, http://www.ufjf.br/iccg9/home/book-of-abstracts/
  • Evans, V. (2013). Language and time: A cognitive linguistics approach. Cambridge University Press.
  • Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2008). The way we think: Conceptual blending and the mind's hidden complexities.
  • Lakoff, G. (1993). The contemporary theory of metaphor.
  • Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2008). Metaphors we live by. University of Chicago press.
  • Grady, J., Oakley, T., & Coulson, S. (1999). Blending and metaphor.Amsterdam studies in the theory and history of linguistic science series 4, 101-124.

Mohamed Douifi: Language, cognition and the metaphor of Time

Time has always been one of the most puzzling notions due to its invisibility and inability to be adequately defined- except with reference to time per se. Indeed, the various metaphysical and scientific approaches developed so far around this concept helped us better fathom the complex rules of nature and the universe we live in. From Saint Augustine’s analogical meditations to Wittgenstein’s ‘philosophical grammar’ the problem definition remains unresolved and encased with much ambiguity. This inherent complexity is quite manifest in language and the cognitive processed involved in objectifying such a fluid concept.

This presentation will provide a brief sketch on the ways in which time is conceptualised, and how language use could affect our perception of it. In cross-cultural settings we face a variety of situations where time expressions could be highly problematic. A request like “will you please give me five minutes of your time?” may or may not pinpoint an exact time frame that is truly equivalent to five minutes. I would argue that the discrepancy in using time expressions is by no means a product of culture, the day-to-day practices of people, their worldviews and ways of seeing. In this sense, the shared stock of knowledge and “mental models” of the participants in a given communicative situation play a significant role in making sense of such expressions. With reference to the views of modern philosophy and cultural theory, particularly those associated with Wittgenstein, I would like to trigger a discussion about the above mentioned questions, yet with a systematic focus on language use.

Key words: Time expressions, language, culture, cognition.

  • Heidegger, M. 1972. On Time and Being. New York: Harper and Row.
  • Klein, W, & Ping, L. (eds.). 2009. The Expression of Time. Vol. 3. Walter de Gruyter, 2009.
  • Wittgenstein, L. 1974. Philosophical Grammar. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • Wittgenstein, L. 2001 .Wittgenstein’s Lectures. New York: Promethus Books.
  • Wittgenstein, L. 2010. Philosophical investigations. NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Yan Gu: The future is changing: The effect of Mandarin space-time metaphors on Chinese deaf signers’ spatio-temporal reasoning

Although Chinese Sign Language (CSL) and Mandarin Chinese both have vertical metaphorical timelines (Gu, Mol, Hoetjes, & Swerts, 2017), CSL makes use of sagittal metaphorical timelines differently than Mandarin: Chinese signers can use past-at-back/future-in-front space-time metaphors (China Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, 2003) whereas Mandarin speakers can additionally have past-in-front/future-at-back metaphors (Gu, Zheng & Swerts, 2016). The study aims to find out whether such linguistic differences lead Chinese deaf signers to having a different time conceptualisation than Mandarin speakers, and whether acquiring Mandarin sagittal space-time metaphors influences deaf signers’ spatio-temporal reasoning. Using a clock paradigm (Study1), we examined Chinese deaf signers’ (N=15) interpretation of a Mandarin sagittal space-time metaphor; with a temporal diagram task (Study2), we tested their sagittal space-time mappings. Each study had a comparison group of Mandarin speakers (N1=38; N2=37). Results show that, first, Chinese deaf signers displayed a different spatio-temporal reasoning than Mandarin speakers. Signers with higher Mandarin proficiency tended more to interpret the Mandarin space-time metaphor as the way Mandarin speakers did. Second, there were effects of CSL on signers’ understanding of time, as well as cross-modal influences from learning Mandarin space-time metaphors. Furthermore, signers can gradually establish the past-in-front mappings as a function of an improved Mandarin proficiency. These findings not only show the cross-modal influence of language on thought within a culture, but also have practical implications for deaf education.

Keywords: space and time; Chinese deaf signers; language and thought; cross-linguistic influences

  • China Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (2003). Chinese Sing Language (中国手语). Beijing: Huaxia Publishing House.
  • Gu, Y., Mol, L., Hoetjes, M., & Swerts, M. (2017). Conceptual and lexical effects on gestures: the case of vertical spatial metaphors for time in Chinese. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. doi:10.1080/23273798.2017.1283425
  • Gu, Y., Zheng, Y., & Swerts, M. (2016). Which is in front of Chinese people: Past or future? A study on Chinese people’s space-time mapping. In Papafragou, A., Grodner, D., Mirman, D., & Trueswell, J.C. (Eds.). Proceeding of Cogsci 2016 (pp. 2603-2608). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Enrique Gutiérrez: Conceptualization of time in Spanish phraseology: A gender study

According to the cognitive linguistics approach to phraseology, the majority of idioms are not linguistic but conceptual in nature (cf. Dobrovol’skij & Piirainen, 2005a; Kövecses, 2002). Moreover, they have to be seen mainly as a cultural product (Dobrovol’skij & Piirainen, 2005b) and, consequently, they can be used as a direct and fruitful device for revealing the cultural and social values of a given group, including female and male conceptualizations in Spanish society.
On the other hand, the time is space conceptual metaphor (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Lakoff, 1993) explains how humans organize and comprehend a non-spatial concept as time. In this sense, the representation of time in terms of linear structures, such as, for instance, timelines, can be a useful cognitive device for gaining a better understanding of temporal events.

The aim of this study is to reveal the notion of (the passing of) time as it is conceptualized in two different ways for women and men in Spanish phraseology. Additionally, its representation via linear structures will be proposed. 

The main conclusion of the study is that, according to Spanish idioms, men’s life can be represented by a single-line structure divided into two opposite, isolated periods – childhood and maturity. On the contrary, women’s linear representation looks more like a continuous line, since, contrary to the male conceptualization, female children and (young) women share similar positive values – beauty, fineness, sensitivity, small size, etc. However, a short time after women leave childhood behind the straight line becomes a “forked” path – either they find a husband, being able to fulfill their “main task in life” as mothers and homemakers, or they do not, ending up alone and useless to society.

  • Dobrovol’skij, D. & Piirainen, E. (2005a). Figurative Language: Cross-cultural and Cross-linguistic Pers­pec­tives. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Dobrovol’skij, D. & Piirainen, E. (2005b). “Cognitive theory of metaphor and idiom analysis”, Jezikoslovlje, 6(1): 7-35
  • Kövecses, Z. (2002). Metaphor: A Practical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors We Live by. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.
  • Lakoff, G. (1993). “The contemporary theory of metaphor”. In: Ortony, A. (ed.) Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 202-251.

Liron Lavi: From time to time: the repetitive creation of chronology and the construction of political meaning

‘Man’, as Aristotle famously observed, ‘is a political animal’ and as such he communicates and acts together with others in the political sphere (Aristotle, 1999, part 1: 5). In this presentation I maintain that these shared communications and actions construct the political world insofar as they are embedded in time. Introducing the concept of chrono-work, I argue that these interactions gain and construct political meaning through a repetitive creation of chronological sequence. I then apply chrono-work to the realm of elections and democracy to explore the role of chrono-work in the meaning of elections and the construction of democracy. With discourse analysis of post-election temporal discourse in Israel, I argue that chrono-work is a discursive process of election interpretation that, if succeeds, facilitates a social construction of democracy after the elections.

Bringing into conversation prominent scholars of time (Heidegger, 1962; Nietzsche, 2006; Ricoeur, 1988, 1985, 1984), the concept of chrono-work is presented here as a political temporal mechanism that iteratively narrates events, experiences, and expectations into a meaningful and comprehensible chronological story. Events in the present gain meaning insofar as historical and daily events from the past are connected to future horizon(s) and imagination(s) and a chronological sequence is created. Chronology is, from this perspective, a political endeavor as the past-present-future continuum is repeatedly constructed, de-constructed and re-constructed to create (new) meaningful narratives. In this construction a political story is narrated, determining causal relations, setting rationales for legitimacy, and constructing collective identities.

Applied to the realm of elections and democracy, chrono-work comes to suggest that democracy is constructed through the ongoing weaving of different times, tempos and rhythms into a chronological sequence (Ezrahi, 2012; Keenan, 2003; Lefort, 1988). More specifically, in elections as ‘acts of democracy’ democracy is constructed through chrono-work – as the political cards are reallocated the present elections, past events, and future horizons are weaved together to form a (new) narrative about the political world and the political community. Politicians, journalists and citizens take part in this enterprise – to construct meaning into the elections as democratic institutions and thus “hold together” democracy as a social construct.

I trace chrono-work empirically in post-election discourse in Israel. Through a close analysis of chrono-work in print media discourse following Israeli election, I reveal three temporal aspects that affect its success: the length of the past and future horizons, the texture of the timeline, and the ability to cast a future horizon. Subsequently, I trace in the text the connections between chrono-work and the construction of democracy, pointing to the implications of successful and unsuccessful chrono-work for the ability to imagine democracy and a self-sovereign ‘we’.

Introducing chrono-work as a temporal mechanism in which chronology is not given, but rather created to construct political meaning, this study turns our attention from static accounts of time in politics – schedules, deadlines, historical narratives, etc. – to the temporal mechanism that operates within politics and shapes ‘the political’ in dynamic and unexpected ways. 

  • Aristotle, 1999. Politics. Batoche Books, Kitchener.
  • Ezrahi, Y., 2012. Imagined democracies: necessary political fictions. Cambridge University Press, New York.
  • Heidegger, M., 1962. Being and time. Harper & Row, New York.
  • Keenan, A., 2003. Democracy in question: democratic openness in a time of political closure. Stanford University Press, Stanford.
  • Lefort, C., 1988. The question of democracy, in: Democracy and Political Theory. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 9–21.
  • Nietzsche, F., 2006. Thus spoke Zarathustra. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Ricoeur, P., 1988. Time and narrative III. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Ricoeur, P., 1985. Time and narrative II. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Ricoeur, P., 1984. Time and narrative I. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Elo Rohult: Time-metaphors variations in (popular) scientific texts translations

My aim is to discuss how some time-bounded expressions from Stephen Hawking’s book “A Brief History of Time” have been changed in the translations from English into Estonian and Finnish. All three observed languages have, for the most part, the same metaphors in their linguistic and conceptual TIME-arsenal. Additionally, it seems reasonable to assume that the translation of a (popular) scientific discourse demands rather exact following of the wording of the source-text instead of its free re-creation. Thus, it seems natural to presume that there are the means as well as reasons for the target texts to stay so close to the source text as possible.

Despite that we can find so-called shifts (as departures from formal correspondence) in translated time-expressions. Most of the changes happen mainly in places, where the author explains the new content of the time-terms in modern physics and the new and the old meanings are in conflict. The explanations can be seen as conceptualizations on the level of physical thought, which defines TIME as an inseparable part of SPACE-TIME, which in turn functions as a matrix-domain and the time-terms situated in this background need to be understood rather as cases of metonymy or synecdoche. But because the new meaning is mediated to the reader via language, it is based on conventional linguistic time-metaphors, by stressing and re-organizing them in a novel way.

Yet the main topic of my thesis is to explore not only the linkage between the new meaning and old form but to compare the linguistic level of original expressions to their translations into Estonian and Finnish, too. I will briefly demonstrate three cases of my study – history, the arrow of time and to take time. All three could be translated into Estonian and Finnish literally, but partly in Estonian and almost always in Finnish translation they are substituted - either with their metonymical counterpart (e.g. ‘path’, ‘direction’) or they are linked to some other conventional time-metaphor (Moving Time instead of LANDSCAPE and RESOURCE). I am far from judging if those changes as false or right, it seems to be more reasonable to handle them as evidences of the (re-)creation of the novel meaning on the conceptual level, whereby by focusing systematically on the different aspects of the conventional TIME-concept the same new meaning – if not exactly, then at least equally – as in source-text is achieved.

  • Hawking, Stephen. 1988. A Brief History of Time. London: Bantam Press.
  • ––. 1989. Ajan lyhyt historia. (tr. R. Varteva) Helsinki: WSOY. 
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