Document Type

Journal Article

Department/ Unit

Language Centre


In this paper, we examine the conceptual metaphor TIME IS SPACE, which is argued by Yu(1998) to be a universal metaphor on the basis of data from Mandarin and English. We focus on one specific aspect of this metaphor, namely TIME PASSING IS MOTION. We point out that the source domains of MOTION and SPACE must be clearly differentiated. Once these two domains are differentiated, the inconsistencies in the what is traditionally called the TIME IS MOTION metaphor disappear for both English and Chinese. We also demonstrate that where TIME IS A MOVING POINT OVER A LANDSCAPE, the ego is attached to this point and must be plural when the verb is an achievement verb of movement, but may be singular when the verb is an activity verb of movement. Lastly, we conclude that when TIME IS A MOVING ENTITY the orientation of the ego is a conceptual subsidiary that can be parameterized by different languages, as well as by language change and variation.

Publication Year


Journal Title

Language & Linguistics

Volume number


First Page (page number)


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Conceptual metaphor, Time, Space, Source domains

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Linguistics Commons