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
a hard winter), an extended period of time (e.g. The period of Daylight Saving Time goes on
September), or the temporal profile of a process (e.g. I slept
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
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