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Moving along paths in space and time 1


In cognitive linguistics, motion metaphors of time (e.g. Christmas is approaching, We left the crisis behind) have been actively studied during the last decades. In addition to motion verbs, prepositional expressions are an important element in such metaphors. This work combines insights from Cognitive Grammar and Conceptual Metaphor Theory to account for uses of English path prepositions in motion metaphors of time. It is argued that such expressions conceptualize time as a path where a mover is advancing. The nature of the mover varies: it can be an individual entity metaphorically in motion (e.g. We went THROUGH a hard winter), an extended period of time (e.g. The period of Daylight Saving Time goes on PAST September), or the temporal profile of a process (e.g. I slept THROUGH the afternoon). The nature of the mover correlates with the grammatical function of the path expression, which alternates between a complement of a motion verb and a free modifier. Accordingly, the time path can relate with figurative (motion-related) or veridical (duration-related) conceptualizations of time. While a spatial path is direction-neutral, a time path can, with few exceptions, only be scrutinized in the earlier $\rightarrow$ later direction.

Corresponding author
Author’s address: Hämeenkatu 1, Department of Finnish and Finno-Ugric Languages, School of Languages and Translation Studies, 20014 University of Turku, Finland
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This research was funded by the Academy of Finland (Project 285739) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Grant 152335). I thank the three anonymous referees of Journal of Linguistics for their invaluable feedback on earlier versions of this work. I also thank Ellen Valle for correcting my English.

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