Лінгвістичні студії: Збірник наукових праць.

Olena Taukchi — CONCEPTUAL SCHEMES OF PLACE AND TIME IN AMERICAN LINGUISTICS

Стаття продовжує ряд публікацій автора, що досліджують процеси концептуалізації світу та
внутрішнього рефлексивного досвіду на матеріалі американського варіанта англійської мови, аналізують
залежність концептуалізації від різноманітних чинників: етносвідомості, соціуму, культури та субкультури
певної групи, індивідуальної свідомості.
Ключові слова: концептуальна метафора, концептуальна схема, лексична сполучуваність, лексичне
значення.

Every living being possesses a physical boundary that separates him from his external environment. Beginning
with the simple cell and up to the man, every organism has a detectable limit which marks its outline. There also exists
a non-physical boundary outside the physical one. It is difficult to delimit and it is termed ―the organism’s territory‖
[Hall 1993].
The act of laying claim to and defending a territory is called territoriality. Being greatly differentiated from
culture to culture and from language to language it has become the focus of our research. As well as a cursory analysis
of time, it being semantically connected with space. The associations and feelings that occur in a member of one culture
almost invariably mean something else in another. Thus, thousands of experiences teach us unconsciously that space
and time communicate.
Traditionally in English-speaking countries “space” begins with the nation of “place” which renders the
following literal meanings.
Place 1denotes an area or position:
I don’t like crowded places. Let’s find a quiet place where we can talk. Keep your credit cards in a safe place.
Will has broken his jaw in three places.
Place 2 is a particular town, country, building, shop, a house or a flat for living in etc.:
They live in a small place called Clovelly. With a bit of work this place could look lovely. This is the only place
that sells this type of bikes. The trip includes a visit to New York and other places of interest. Let’s have the party at my
place.
Place 3 renders the meaning of a seat on a train or a bus, in a theatre etc, or a position in a queue:
There is no place to sit. Would you mind saving my place while I go and get some ice-cream?
However, the smallest place category in the United States is not covered by a term like “hamlet“, ”village”,
“town” or things of the kind. It is a territorial entity, an area with no recognizable centre where a number of families
live. Like “time” the notion of “place” in English is defused, so that you never know where its centre is [Clark 1993].
Moreover, depending upon the culture in question, the formal patterning of space can take on varying degrees of
importance and complexity. A technical pattern which may have grown out of an informal base is that of positioned
value or ranking. We have canonized the idea of the ―positional value in almost every aspect of our lives‖ [Menken
1936].
Furthermore, the noun ―place‖ in English has developed several indirect meanings which make us fully aware of
―positional value‖ implications and apt to fight with each other as to who will be the first.
Place 4 denotes the position you achieve in a race or competition:
After a good performance at Wimbledon, she jumped six places in the world rankings. Sevilla finished in fifth
place in the Champions League. Rafferty completed his round in 69, to take third place at the halfway stage.
Place 5 is an opportunity to be a member of a sports team or to take part in a game or competition, an
opportunity to join a school, college, course, or to be part of an organization, business, etc. While rendering the
© Таукчі О.Ф., 2010 ЛІНГВІСТИЧНІ СТУДІЇ. Випуск 21

52
meanings “place 5“ enters a number of word-combinations: to win / to secure / to earn / to clinch / to gain / to fill / to
be offered a place:
Lewis has earned a place in the Olympic team. Arsenal clinched a place in the semi-finals with a 2-0 win at
Liverpool. Nursery places for children are scarce in some parts of the country. Steven has secured a place at
Manchester University. Course organizers are hoping that all the places will be filled. She was offered a place on the
committee. They are looking for someone to fill Jackson’s place on the management team.
Place 6 denotes the importance that someone or something has in people’s lives or in their minds (place 6 is
usually used in singular):
The house has a special place in the royal family’s affections. There was a hot discussion on the place of soap
operas in popular culture. De Klerk secured his place in history by releasing Mandela and starting the process of
change.
As a result in English-speaking countries they perceive space (both literally and metaphorically) as moving from
points and along lines. Their concept of space makes use of the edges of things. If there are no edges, they make them
by creating artificial lines (five miles west and two miles north, first / second etc place). Space is treated in terms of a
coordinate system. In contrast, Japanese and many other cultures and languages work within areas. They name ―space‖
and distinguish between one space and the next or parts of a space. To an Englishman or an American a space is empty,
one gets into it by intersecting it with lines.
Benjamin Whorf [Whorf 1956], describing how Hopi concepts of space are reflected in the language, mentions
the absence of terms for interior three-dimensional spaces, such as words for room, chamber, hall, passage, interior,
cell, crypt, cellar, attic, loft, and vault .This does not alter the fact that the Hopi have multi-room dwellings and even use
the rooms for special purposes such as storage, grinding corn, etc. B. Whorf also notes the fact that it is impossible for
the Hopi to add a possessive pronoun to the word for room and that in the Hopi scheme of things a room in the strict
sense of the word is not a noun and does not act like a noun. One might be led to assume by this that the Hopi would
lack a sense of territoriality, but nothing could be father from the truth. They just conceive of space as it were a number
of areas and use space according to their own conceptual scheme. In other words ―every language serves as the bearer
of a culture. If you speak a language you take part, to some degree, in the way of living represented by that language.
Each system of culture has its own way of looking at things and people and dealing with them. To the extent that you
have learned to speak and understand a foreign tongue, to that extent you have learned to respond with a different
selection of elements to the world around you, and for your relations with people you have gained a new system of
sensibilities, considerations, conventions, and restrains‖ [Bloomfield 1993].
Besides, even in typologically distant languages conceptual spatial and temporal metaphors are often interlinked
[Boroditsky 2001]. It can be also proved by dictionary definitions of the noun “space”:
1) time and freedom to do things how and when you want, especially in your relationships with other people.
The children were given little personal space or privacy;
2) a period of time:
It was an amazing achievement in such a short space of time. In the space of 36 hours, I had traveled halfway
round the world.
The noun “place” possesses a shade of temporal meaning: the right occasion or time for something.
Let’s not talk about it now. It isn’t the place. This is neither the time nor the place to discuss our relationships
[Macmillan 2002].
The noun time displays its semantic connection with words rendering spatial meaning as it enters the following
word-combinations: the length of time (the notion ―length ―is usually a characteristic feature of space indicators); a
long / short time (can be explained by analogy); a race against time (the noun race means ―moving quickly along a
road‖ and due to it is connected with spatial semantics).
Thus, it is evident that the word-combinations a space of time and neither the time nor the place, the length of
time consist of semantically equal elements; moreover, their components refer the same part of speech (a + a in content
and form) [Taukchi 2008]. Word-groups formed by two nouns present a perfect illustration of a lexical combinability
pattern. In this case the meaning of a word combination does not equate to a simple sum of the meanings their
components render but appears an intricate interlacement of lexical meanings and grammatical forms of combining
units. A long / short time and word combinations of the type represent an equation a + a semantically, but being
different parts of speech, they reflect the formula a + b formally [Taukchi 2008].
Being semantically equal to space, time has become an essential element of any culture. In English speaking
countries time is treated in terms of a coordinate system as well as space. In the United States the nature of the points on
a time scale is a matter of patterning, as is the handling of the intervals between them. By and large, the space between
the points is inviolate. That is, compared to spatial systems, there is only a limited amount of stretching or distortion of
the interval that is permissible [Traugott 1998].
According to Edward Hall’s point of view [Hall 1959], it is not necessary to leave the USA to encounter
significantly different time patterns. There are differences between families and differences between men and women;
occupational differences, status differences, and regional differences. In addition there are two basic American patterns
that often conflict. They are termed as the ―diffused point pattern‖ and the ‖displaced point pattern‖. The difference
between them has to do with whether the leeway is on one side of the point or is diffused around it. Розділ І. ТЕОРІЯ МОВИ

53
―Contrasting the behavior of two groups of people participating in the two patterns, one observes the following:
taking 8:30 a. m. as the point, participants in the ‖displaced point‖ pattern will arrive ahead of time anywhere from 8
a. m. to 8:25 a. m. Diffused point people will arrive anywhere from 8:25 a. m. to 8:45 a. m.‖ [Hall 1959]. As Edward
Hall points out, there is practically no overlap between these two groups.
Regionally in the United States there are seemingly endless variations in the way time is handled. These
variations, however, are comparable to the variations in the details of speech associated with the different parts of the
country. Everybody participates in the overall pattern which makes it possible for them to be mutually understood
wherever they may go. For example, in Utah, where the Mormons at first got so much technical about time and at
length developed strong formal systems emphasizing promptness, you find the displaced point pattern with very little
leeway. The more traditional part of the South, on the other hand, seems to slow things down by allowing leeway in
both patterns. One finds a greater permissible spread, or a wider range of deviation from the point, than in the urban
Northeast. The same could be said for the Old West.
A cross-cultural view of the category of time is highly instructive. Beginners in the study of classical Greek are
often troubled by the fact that the word opiso in one context means behind in another – in the future. Speakers of
English are used to thinking of themselves as moving through time. The Greeks, however, conceived of themselves as
stationary, of time as coming up behind them, overtaking them, and then, still moving on, becoming the past they lay
before their eyes.
As Clyde Kluckhohn puts it [Kluckhohn 1949], present European languages emphasize time distinctions. The
tense systems are usually thought of as the most basic of verbal inflections. However, in a great number of languages
time distinctions are only irregularly present or are of distinctly secondary importance. In Hopi the first question
answered by the verb form is that of the type of information conveyed by the assertion. Is a situation reported as
actuality, as anticipated, as a general truth? In the anticipatory form there is no necessary distinction between past,
present, and future. For example, in translating from Hopi into English an interpreter has to choose from the context
between “was about to run”, ”is about to run” and ―will run”. It means that Hopi is a so-called ―timeless language‖. It
recognizes psychological time, which is much like Bergson’s ―duration―, but this ―time‖ is quite unlike the
mathematical time, T, used by physicists. Among the peculiar properties of Hopi time are that it varies with each
observer, does not permit of simultaneity, and has zero dimensions; i. e., it cannot be given a number greater than one
(abstract nouns are not used in the plural form in this language, only the concrete, countable ones). The Hopi do not say,
―I stayed five days”, but “I left on the fifth day”. A word referring to this kind of time, like the word day, can have no
plural.
Hopi grammar, by means of its forms called aspects and modes, also makes it easy to distinguish among
momentary, continued, and repeated occurrences, and to indicate the actual sequence of reported events. Thus the
universe can be described without recourse to a concept of dimensional time. As a result, whenever a person moves
overseas, or just has to communicate with foreigners, he suffers from a condition known as ―culture shock‖, i. e. a
removal or distortion of many of the familiar clues one encounters at home and the substitution for them of other cues
which are strange. A good deal of what occurs in perceiving space and time nominations is responsible for culture
shock.
Understanding space and time involves not merely understanding separate words possessing spatial and temporal
meanings in their average significance, but a full comprehension of the whole life of community as it is mirrored in the
words. ―Even comparatively simple acts of perception are very much more at the mercy of the social patterns called
words than we might suppose‖ [Sapir 1929]. The words of different languages are not just externally different labels for
the same things; they apply to different ranges of objects and events. The differences are subtle and extend to
connotation, so a learner of a foreign language makes mistakes constantly through the prepossessions of his own
language. Complete and thorough understanding between two speakers of the same language is much more difficult to
attain than one usually realizes; but to attain any of such understanding between speakers of different languages
involves many more and much greater difficulties‖. If one wishes really to master a foreign language so that he may
understand with some completeness the native speakers of that language, he must find some substitute for the kind of
background experience he has had in his own language‖ [Fries 1945].

References
Boroditsky 2001: Boroditsky, L. Does Language shape thought? Mandarin and English speaker’s conceptions of
time [Text] / L. Boroditsky // Cognitive Psychology. – NY., 2001. – Vol.43, №1. – P. 1-22.
Bloomfield 1993: Bloomfield, L. About Foreign Language Teaching. [Text] / L. Bloomfield – English Language
Programs Division, US Information Agency. – Washington, D. C. 20547, 1993. – P. 293-306.
Clark 1993: Clark, H. Space, time semantics and the child [Text] / H. Clark // Cognitive development and the
acquisition of language. – NY., Academic Press, 1993. – P. 370-394.
Fries 1945: Fries, Ch. C. Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language [Text] / Ch. C. Fries. –
University of Michigan Press, 1945. – P.57-61.
Hall 1959: Hall, E. T. The Silent Language [Text] / E. T. Hall. – Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.,
1959. – P. 137. ЛІНГВІСТИЧНІ СТУДІЇ. Випуск 21

54
Hall 1993: Hall, E. T. Space Talks [Text] / E. T. Hall. – English Language Programs Division, US Information
Agency. – Washington, D. C. 20547, 1993. – P.147-157.
Kluckhohn 1949: Kluckhohn, C. The Gift of Tongues [Text] / C. Kluckhohn // Mirror for Man. – University of
Michigan Press, 1949. – P. 67-77.
Macmillan 2002: Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners. – Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2002.
– 1692 p.
Menken 1936: Menken, H. L. The American Language [Text] / H. L Menken. – University of Michigan Press,
1936. – P. 25-29.
Sapir 1929: Sapir, E. Language [Text] / E. Sapir. – Vol. 5. – The Regents of University of California, 1929. –
P. 160-166.
Taukchi 2008: Taukchi, E. Principles of Day and Night Subdivision into Periods and Communicative Strategies
[Text] / E. Taukchi // Lugansk Taras Shevchenko University Periodicals. Philology. – Part 2. – № 13(152) July 2008. –
P. 270-273.
Taukchi 2008: Taukchi, E. The Conceptual schemes of time in typologically distant languages [Text] /
E. Taukchi // Linguistic Research: Selected research writings. – Part 6. – Gorlivka-Trnava: Gorlivka Teacher’s Training
College for Foreign Languages Publishers, 2008. – P. 53-56.
Traugott 1998: Traugott, E. On the expression of spatiotemporal relations in language [Text] / E. Traugott //
Universals of human language word structure. – Stanford, C. A.: University Press, 1998. – Vol.3. – P. 207-236.
Whorf 1956: Whorf, B. L. Language Thought and Reality [Text] / B. L Whorf: of Benjamin Lee Whorf. MIT
Press; Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1956. – P. 207-219.

Статья продолжает ряд публикаций, исследующих процессы концептуализации объективной
реальности и внутреннего рефлексивного опыта на материале американского варианта английского языка;
анализирует зависимость концептуализации от различных факторов: этносознания, социума, культуры и
субкультуры определенной группы, индивидуального сознания.
Ключевые слова: концептуальная метафора, концептуальная схема, лексическая сочетаемость,
лексическое значение.

The present paper is the sequential of the author’s series research work series on the concept formation theory.
The study under discussion intends to reveal the general principles of association, reinforcement and generalization
that can account for creative aspect of any language use as it has emerged in American linguistics.
Key words: conceptual metaphor, conceptual scheme, lexical combinability, lexical meaning.

Надійшла до редакції 21 січня 2010 року.

Категорія: Лінгвістичні студії: Збірник наукових праць.

Літературне місто - Онлайн-бібліотека української літератури. Освітній онлайн-ресурс.