Antonio Pamies-Bertrán, Wang Yuan
December 1, 2020
There is a general consensus about the existence of a cognitive transfer by which we conceive time in terms of space, witnessed by the recurrence of this metaphor in many languages. We can distinguish two theoretical trends in the treatment of this conceptual metaphor: those based on universalistic apriorisms and those based on more relativistic and empirical assumptions. While the first tend to extrapolate from English, reducing this metaphor to very few basic models with a natural motivation, the second privilege Amerindian languages, with empirical data which do not fit in such speculative universals. This contrastive work on the two typologically distant languages Spanish and Chinese confirms the cross-linguistic productivity of other space-to-time associations ( reversed time , mirror time , vertical time , cyclic time ). Though our results show more similarities than differences in the overall available inventory, some specific divergences between Chinese and Spanish are also noted.