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Metaphors of Time

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  • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
    Nicely poetic title isn t it? As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial metaphors when describing time. So for instance in English time
    Message 1 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
      Nicely poetic title isn't it?

      As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial metaphors
      when describing time. So for instance in English time can fly, or flow, and
      the arrow of time seems to be oriented on a clear back-to-front direction
      (we talk of past events as being "behind us", while we'll "face" the future
      with courage. And of course we'll embrace our loved ones "be*fore*" we go
      to war).

      Needless to say, as with many things we take for granted in language, those
      metaphors are not universal. They seem to be common, but other languages
      may use other spatial metaphors when referring to time. For instance, some
      might have an arrow of time that goes vertically (I believe David
      Peterson's High Valyrian language does just that, with the past being
      "below", and the future "above"). And I've heard of at least one natlang
      where time goes front-to-back, with people facing the past and turning
      their back to the future (which in some way makes sense, as the past is
      known and can be looked at, while the future is not). I can't find it at
      the moment though.

      Knowing which metaphors are used to describe time in a spatial way is
      important, because words like "before", "after", "within" and "ago" are
      often related to the way people conceptualise time.

      Well, this last week, I've been thinking very hard about how Moten handles
      time. So far, I didn't have a way to indicate that an event happened before
      another one, or that something would happen within 5 days. Did Moten have a
      spatial metaphor of time at all, and if so, what would it look like? I just
      didn't know. Now, Moten could still express moment in time, duration and
      frequency, but this is far from enough when you need to talk about time,
      which is usually about setting the relative position of events on the
      timeline.

      Well, this changed a few days ago, when I had an epiphany: in Moten, rivers
      and other waterways (_jem_ in Moten) seem to have a special importance. For
      instance, the verb _jemagi_ (literally "to river-go") is the generic word
      for "to travel" using any kind of transportation except one's own feet.
      Another example is the word for "way" or "road", which is _senodjem_
      (literally "ground river"). Well, time is often described as a river, isn't
      it? With people being taken by its current and moving unwillingly and at
      speed towards an uncertain future (who knows whether the river will stay
      quiet or will turn into falls?!). With rivers being so important to the
      Moten psyche, wouldn't they use such a metaphor?

      But there was something missing there, something I didn't quite get: the
      metaphor of time passing as someone being taken by the current didn't seem
      quite right. And then I got it! While they see time as a flowing river,
      they don't see the present as a boat following the flow of time. Rather,
      they see it as an unmoving island in the middle of the river! In other
      words, rather than having an unmoving timeline with the present hurled from
      the past towards the future, they have an unmoving present, with time
      itself (and thus events) flowing past it. This means in particular that
      past events are seen as being "downstream" (i.e. they've already passed the
      unmoving present), while future events are "upstream" (they've not reached
      the island yet). Moreover, you can turn your gaze downstream, and look at
      the events that happened (until they are too far to be discerned and have
      to be remembered), or upstream, and hopefully (if the river of time doesn't
      flow too fast) see events looming before they actually happen.

      What does it mean from a linguistic point of view? Well, simply speaking,
      it means that the concepts of "upstream" and "downstream" are used to
      position events relatively in time. This starts with two *verbs*: _iso|n_:
      "to be/move/go downstream" and _izeki_: "to be/move/go upstream". Both are
      very commonly used in a temporal sense, with _iso|n_ meaning "to predate,
      to precede, to go before" and _izeki_ meaning "to follow, to go after". In
      particular, they are used where English would use the prepositions "before"
      and "after" (but do so while keeping their verbal nature). Here's a simple
      example:

      Umpedin jagi itos fedetun izeki ito.
      Ump<e><d>i-n jagi itos
      House<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC go.INF be.PRS.DEP
      f<e><d>et-n izeki ito.
      party<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC follow.INF be.PRS.
      I'm going home after the party.

      Literally "that (I) go to the house follows the party".

      Two other important words are *nouns* this time: _so|nem_: "the downstream
      part of a river or flow" and _zekjem_: "the upstream part of a river or
      flow" (both compounds of the verbs above with _jem_). _So|nem_ is also used
      to mean "the part of a journey that has already been travelled", and is the
      most common word used to mean "the past", while _zekjem_ also means "the
      journey ahead" or "the future". They are also used as postpositions to mean
      "ago" and "within" respectively:

      veldadvaj (di)so|nem
      vel(d)-ad<v>a-i (di)-so|n<e>em
      five-year<GEN.SG>-GEN (TEMP)-downstream<ART>
      five years ago

      Literally "downstream of five years".

      So that's it, Moten's way of handling time. My questions to the list are
      then:
      – is it naturalistic, and especially: is there an ANADEW for such a
      metaphor?
      – what are your conlangs' metaphors of time?

      Cheers!
      --
      Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
      President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)

      Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
    • Gleki Arxokuna
      El mar 13, 2014 5:23 PM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets ... and ... future ... those ... Yes. And this language is called English (why
      Message 2 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
        El mar 13, 2014 5:23 PM, "Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets" <tsela.cg@...>
        escribió:
        >
        > Nicely poetic title isn't it?
        >
        > As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial metaphors
        > when describing time. So for instance in English time can fly, or flow,
        and
        > the arrow of time seems to be oriented on a clear back-to-front direction
        > (we talk of past events as being "behind us", while we'll "face" the
        future
        > with courage. And of course we'll embrace our loved ones "be*fore*" we go
        > to war).
        >
        > Needless to say, as with many things we take for granted in language,
        those
        > metaphors are not universal. They seem to be common, but other languages
        > may use other spatial metaphors when referring to time. For instance, some
        > might have an arrow of time that goes vertically (I believe David
        > Peterson's High Valyrian language does just that, with the past being
        > "below", and the future "above"). And I've heard of at least one natlang
        > where time goes front-to-back, with people facing the past and turning
        > their back to the future (which in some way makes sense, as the past is
        > known and can be looked at, while the future is not). I can't find it at
        > the moment though.

        Yes. And this language is called English (why talking about Aymara when
        English is just as weird)

        >
        > Knowing which metaphors are used to describe time in a spatial way is
        > important, because words like "before", "after", "within" and "ago" are
        > often related to the way people conceptualise time.
        >
        > Well, this last week, I've been thinking very hard about how Moten handles
        > time. So far, I didn't have a way to indicate that an event happened
        before
        > another one, or that something would happen within 5 days. Did Moten have
        a
        > spatial metaphor of time at all, and if so, what would it look like? I
        just
        > didn't know. Now, Moten could still express moment in time, duration and
        > frequency, but this is far from enough when you need to talk about time,
        > which is usually about setting the relative position of events on the
        > timeline.
        >
        > Well, this changed a few days ago, when I had an epiphany: in Moten,
        rivers
        > and other waterways (_jem_ in Moten) seem to have a special importance.
        For
        > instance, the verb _jemagi_ (literally "to river-go") is the generic word
        > for "to travel" using any kind of transportation except one's own feet.
        > Another example is the word for "way" or "road", which is _senodjem_
        > (literally "ground river"). Well, time is often described as a river,
        isn't
        > it? With people being taken by its current and moving unwillingly and at
        > speed towards an uncertain future (who knows whether the river will stay
        > quiet or will turn into falls?!). With rivers being so important to the
        > Moten psyche, wouldn't they use such a metaphor?
        >
        > But there was something missing there, something I didn't quite get: the
        > metaphor of time passing as someone being taken by the current didn't seem
        > quite right. And then I got it! While they see time as a flowing river,
        > they don't see the present as a boat following the flow of time. Rather,
        > they see it as an unmoving island in the middle of the river! In other
        > words, rather than having an unmoving timeline with the present hurled
        from
        > the past towards the future, they have an unmoving present, with time
        > itself (and thus events) flowing past it. This means in particular that
        > past events are seen as being "downstream" (i.e. they've already passed
        the
        > unmoving present), while future events are "upstream" (they've not reached
        > the island yet). Moreover, you can turn your gaze downstream, and look at
        > the events that happened (until they are too far to be discerned and have
        > to be remembered), or upstream, and hopefully (if the river of time
        doesn't
        > flow too fast) see events looming before they actually happen.
        >
        > What does it mean from a linguistic point of view? Well, simply speaking,
        > it means that the concepts of "upstream" and "downstream" are used to
        > position events relatively in time. This starts with two *verbs*: _iso|n_:
        > "to be/move/go downstream" and _izeki_: "to be/move/go upstream". Both are
        > very commonly used in a temporal sense, with _iso|n_ meaning "to predate,
        > to precede, to go before" and _izeki_ meaning "to follow, to go after". In
        > particular, they are used where English would use the prepositions
        "before"
        > and "after" (but do so while keeping their verbal nature). Here's a simple
        > example:
        >
        > Umpedin jagi itos fedetun izeki ito.
        > Ump<e><d>i-n jagi itos
        > House<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC go.INF be.PRS.DEP
        > f<e><d>et-n izeki ito.
        > party<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC follow.INF be.PRS.
        > I'm going home after the party.
        >
        > Literally "that (I) go to the house follows the party".
        >
        > Two other important words are *nouns* this time: _so|nem_: "the downstream
        > part of a river or flow" and _zekjem_: "the upstream part of a river or
        > flow" (both compounds of the verbs above with _jem_). _So|nem_ is also
        used
        > to mean "the part of a journey that has already been travelled", and is
        the
        > most common word used to mean "the past", while _zekjem_ also means "the
        > journey ahead" or "the future". They are also used as postpositions to
        mean
        > "ago" and "within" respectively:
        >
        > veldadvaj (di)so|nem
        > vel(d)-ad<v>a-i (di)-so|n<e>em
        > five-year<GEN.SG>-GEN (TEMP)-downstream<ART>
        > five years ago
        >
        > Literally "downstream of five years".
        >
        > So that's it, Moten's way of handling time. My questions to the list are
        > then:
        > – is it naturalistic, and especially: is there an ANADEW for such a
        > metaphor?
        > – what are your conlangs' metaphors of time?
        >
        > Cheers!
        > --
        > Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
        > President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)
        >
        > Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
      • Adam Walker
        Very, very nice. I reeeeeeaaaly like this. I wonder how Dabish does this. What with the water words being taboo half the year, maybe .... Better not to
        Message 3 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
          Very, very nice. I reeeeeeaaaly like this. I wonder how Dabish does this.
          What with the water words being taboo half the year, maybe .... Better
          not to speculate out loud before I've actually given some thought to this...

          Adam


          On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 8:23 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <
          tsela.cg@...> wrote:

          > Nicely poetic title isn't it?
          >
          > As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial metaphors
          > when describing time. So for instance in English time can fly, or flow, and
          > the arrow of time seems to be oriented on a clear back-to-front direction
          > (we talk of past events as being "behind us", while we'll "face" the future
          > with courage. And of course we'll embrace our loved ones "be*fore*" we go
          > to war).
          >
          > Needless to say, as with many things we take for granted in language, those
          > metaphors are not universal. They seem to be common, but other languages
          > may use other spatial metaphors when referring to time. For instance, some
          > might have an arrow of time that goes vertically (I believe David
          > Peterson's High Valyrian language does just that, with the past being
          > "below", and the future "above"). And I've heard of at least one natlang
          > where time goes front-to-back, with people facing the past and turning
          > their back to the future (which in some way makes sense, as the past is
          > known and can be looked at, while the future is not). I can't find it at
          > the moment though.
          >
          > Knowing which metaphors are used to describe time in a spatial way is
          > important, because words like "before", "after", "within" and "ago" are
          > often related to the way people conceptualise time.
          >
          > Well, this last week, I've been thinking very hard about how Moten handles
          > time. So far, I didn't have a way to indicate that an event happened before
          > another one, or that something would happen within 5 days. Did Moten have a
          > spatial metaphor of time at all, and if so, what would it look like? I just
          > didn't know. Now, Moten could still express moment in time, duration and
          > frequency, but this is far from enough when you need to talk about time,
          > which is usually about setting the relative position of events on the
          > timeline.
          >
          > Well, this changed a few days ago, when I had an epiphany: in Moten, rivers
          > and other waterways (_jem_ in Moten) seem to have a special importance. For
          > instance, the verb _jemagi_ (literally "to river-go") is the generic word
          > for "to travel" using any kind of transportation except one's own feet.
          > Another example is the word for "way" or "road", which is _senodjem_
          > (literally "ground river"). Well, time is often described as a river, isn't
          > it? With people being taken by its current and moving unwillingly and at
          > speed towards an uncertain future (who knows whether the river will stay
          > quiet or will turn into falls?!). With rivers being so important to the
          > Moten psyche, wouldn't they use such a metaphor?
          >
          > But there was something missing there, something I didn't quite get: the
          > metaphor of time passing as someone being taken by the current didn't seem
          > quite right. And then I got it! While they see time as a flowing river,
          > they don't see the present as a boat following the flow of time. Rather,
          > they see it as an unmoving island in the middle of the river! In other
          > words, rather than having an unmoving timeline with the present hurled from
          > the past towards the future, they have an unmoving present, with time
          > itself (and thus events) flowing past it. This means in particular that
          > past events are seen as being "downstream" (i.e. they've already passed the
          > unmoving present), while future events are "upstream" (they've not reached
          > the island yet). Moreover, you can turn your gaze downstream, and look at
          > the events that happened (until they are too far to be discerned and have
          > to be remembered), or upstream, and hopefully (if the river of time doesn't
          > flow too fast) see events looming before they actually happen.
          >
          > What does it mean from a linguistic point of view? Well, simply speaking,
          > it means that the concepts of "upstream" and "downstream" are used to
          > position events relatively in time. This starts with two *verbs*: _iso|n_:
          > "to be/move/go downstream" and _izeki_: "to be/move/go upstream". Both are
          > very commonly used in a temporal sense, with _iso|n_ meaning "to predate,
          > to precede, to go before" and _izeki_ meaning "to follow, to go after". In
          > particular, they are used where English would use the prepositions "before"
          > and "after" (but do so while keeping their verbal nature). Here's a simple
          > example:
          >
          > Umpedin jagi itos fedetun izeki ito.
          > Ump<e><d>i-n jagi itos
          > House<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC go.INF be.PRS.DEP
          > f<e><d>et-n izeki ito.
          > party<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC follow.INF be.PRS.
          > I'm going home after the party.
          >
          > Literally "that (I) go to the house follows the party".
          >
          > Two other important words are *nouns* this time: _so|nem_: "the downstream
          > part of a river or flow" and _zekjem_: "the upstream part of a river or
          > flow" (both compounds of the verbs above with _jem_). _So|nem_ is also used
          > to mean "the part of a journey that has already been travelled", and is the
          > most common word used to mean "the past", while _zekjem_ also means "the
          > journey ahead" or "the future". They are also used as postpositions to mean
          > "ago" and "within" respectively:
          >
          > veldadvaj (di)so|nem
          > vel(d)-ad<v>a-i (di)-so|n<e>em
          > five-year<GEN.SG>-GEN (TEMP)-downstream<ART>
          > five years ago
          >
          > Literally "downstream of five years".
          >
          > So that's it, Moten's way of handling time. My questions to the list are
          > then:
          > - is it naturalistic, and especially: is there an ANADEW for such a
          > metaphor?
          > - what are your conlangs' metaphors of time?
          >
          > Cheers!
          > --
          > Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
          > President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)
          >
          > Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
          >
        • John Q
          One of the conlangs I showcased in my talk at LCC5 has this same upriver-downriver metaphor for time. Unfortunately I don t recall which conlang it was. It
          Message 4 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
            One of the conlangs I showcased in my talk at LCC5 has this same upriver-downriver metaphor for time. Unfortunately I don't recall which conlang it was. It was either Jan Strasser's Tmasare' or Jona Fras' High Eolic or Martin Posthumus' Alashian or one of the two conlangs by Aaron Toivo I talked about (Jamna Kopiai or Ndak Ta).

            --John Q.
          • Jim Henry
            On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets ... An early version of gjâ-zym-byn did that, with the before and after adpositions being
            Message 5 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
              On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
              <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
              > For instance, some
              > might have an arrow of time that goes vertically (I believe David
              > Peterson's High Valyrian language does just that, with the past being
              > "below", and the future "above").

              An early version of gjâ-zym-byn did that, with the "before" and
              "after" adpositions being derived from the "below" and "above"
              adpositions with a prefix that wasn't used in any other contxt. In
              February 2000, I decided I'd have dedicated before/after prefixes
              instead. The phonemes used for the before/after prefixes were chosen
              to sound similar to the below/above prefixes, though, so the old
              time-metaphor is sort of still there.

              --
              Jim Henry
              http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry/
              http://www.jimhenrymedicaltrust.org
            • Leonardo Castro
              ... But isn t this one front-to-back? I ve had some problems with French avant because it sounds like advance and I relate advance with progress and
              Message 6 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
                2014-03-13 14:29 GMT+01:00 Gleki Arxokuna <gleki.is.my.name@...>:

                > El mar 13, 2014 5:23 PM, "Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets" <
                > tsela.cg@...>
                > escribió:
                > >
                > > Nicely poetic title isn't it?
                > >
                > > As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial
                > metaphors
                > > when describing time. So for instance in English time can fly, or flow,
                > and
                > > the arrow of time seems to be oriented on a clear back-to-front direction
                > > (we talk of past events as being "behind us", while we'll "face" the
                > future
                > > with courage. And of course we'll embrace our loved ones "be*fore*" we go
                > > to war).
                >

                But isn't this one front-to-back? I've had some problems with French
                "avant" because it sounds like "advance" and I relate advance with progress
                and future, so I would to feel that "avant" meant "after". I solved this
                problem by imagining that I'm in a race where the most "advanced" arrive
                before me.
              • Jeffrey Brown
                I believe that Aymara and Malagasy (natlangs) have the future behind and the past ahead. Does anyone know of any languages (natlangs or conlangs) where time
                Message 7 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
                  I believe that Aymara and Malagasy (natlangs) have the future behind and
                  the past ahead.
                  Does anyone know of any languages (natlangs or conlangs) where time cannot
                  be spatialized? Not merely that spatial metaphors for temporal events are
                  not attested, but rather that such a metaphor would be considered
                  nonsensical.



                  On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 10:23 AM, Leonardo Castro <leolucas1980@...>wrote:

                  > 2014-03-13 14:29 GMT+01:00 Gleki Arxokuna <gleki.is.my.name@...>:
                  >
                  > > El mar 13, 2014 5:23 PM, "Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets" <
                  > > tsela.cg@...>
                  > > escribió:
                  > > >
                  > > > Nicely poetic title isn't it?
                  > > >
                  > > > As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial
                  > > metaphors
                  > > > when describing time. So for instance in English time can fly, or flow,
                  > > and
                  > > > the arrow of time seems to be oriented on a clear back-to-front
                  > direction
                  > > > (we talk of past events as being "behind us", while we'll "face" the
                  > > future
                  > > > with courage. And of course we'll embrace our loved ones "be*fore*" we
                  > go
                  > > > to war).
                  > >
                  >
                  > But isn't this one front-to-back? I've had some problems with French
                  > "avant" because it sounds like "advance" and I relate advance with progress
                  > and future, so I would to feel that "avant" meant "after". I solved this
                  > problem by imagining that I'm in a race where the most "advanced" arrive
                  > before me.
                  >
                • BPJ
                  I m sure that if the Sohlçan do anything like this then time either flows outward or upward like water towards the sea or out of a spring so that the future
                  Message 8 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
                    I'm sure that if the Sohlçan do anything like this then time either flows
                    outward or upward like water towards the sea or out of a spring so that the
                    future is on the *inside* because it hasn't emerged yet. So they would say
                    that "many years have emerged behind the days of Dozbxim" rather than gone
                    by since then.

                    /bpj
                  • Herman Miller
                    ... Tirëlat doesn t have the conventional metaphors of time as space, even the ones that are still conventional in English. Follow meaning come after is
                    Message 9 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
                      On 3/13/2014 9:23 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:

                      > What does it mean from a linguistic point of view? Well, simply speaking,
                      > it means that the concepts of "upstream" and "downstream" are used to
                      > position events relatively in time. This starts with two *verbs*: _iso|n_:
                      > "to be/move/go downstream" and _izeki_: "to be/move/go upstream". Both are
                      > very commonly used in a temporal sense, with _iso|n_ meaning "to predate,
                      > to precede, to go before" and _izeki_ meaning "to follow, to go after". In
                      > particular, they are used where English would use the prepositions "before"
                      > and "after" (but do so while keeping their verbal nature).

                      Tirëlat doesn't have the conventional metaphors of time as space, even
                      the ones that are still conventional in English. "Follow" meaning "come
                      after" is "kejla" in Tirëlat, but "follow" meaning "go behind" is
                      "miku". But I like the "current" metaphor. Perhaps in some older
                      language in Tirëlat's ancestry the words for time might have had
                      something to do with current. Maybe not currents of water, but wind.
                      "Before" and "after" could be related to the ideas of "upwind" and
                      "downwind".
                    • James Kane
                      I m surprised no-one mentioned Chinese, in which time flows vertically but _downwards_. The two words shàng on, above and xià below are used temporally
                      Message 10 of 24 , Mar 13, 2014
                        I'm surprised no-one mentioned Chinese, in which time flows vertically but _downwards_. The two words shàng 'on, above' and xià 'below' are used temporally for before and after. 'Shàngge yuè' means last month (literally the month above) and 'xiàge yuè' means the month after.

                        Not sure about the river metaphor but it's interesting in that it's not relative to the direction of the experiencer, like the difference between right and left and east and west.

                        James

                        > On 14/03/2014, at 2:23 am, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Nicely poetic title isn't it?
                        >
                        > As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial metaphors
                        > when describing time. So for instance in English time can fly, or flow, and
                        > the arrow of time seems to be oriented on a clear back-to-front direction
                        > (we talk of past events as being "behind us", while we'll "face" the future
                        > with courage. And of course we'll embrace our loved ones "be*fore*" we go
                        > to war).
                        >
                        > Needless to say, as with many things we take for granted in language, those
                        > metaphors are not universal. They seem to be common, but other languages
                        > may use other spatial metaphors when referring to time. For instance, some
                        > might have an arrow of time that goes vertically (I believe David
                        > Peterson's High Valyrian language does just that, with the past being
                        > "below", and the future "above"). And I've heard of at least one natlang
                        > where time goes front-to-back, with people facing the past and turning
                        > their back to the future (which in some way makes sense, as the past is
                        > known and can be looked at, while the future is not). I can't find it at
                        > the moment though.
                        >
                        > Knowing which metaphors are used to describe time in a spatial way is
                        > important, because words like "before", "after", "within" and "ago" are
                        > often related to the way people conceptualise time.
                        >
                        > Well, this last week, I've been thinking very hard about how Moten handles
                        > time. So far, I didn't have a way to indicate that an event happened before
                        > another one, or that something would happen within 5 days. Did Moten have a
                        > spatial metaphor of time at all, and if so, what would it look like? I just
                        > didn't know. Now, Moten could still express moment in time, duration and
                        > frequency, but this is far from enough when you need to talk about time,
                        > which is usually about setting the relative position of events on the
                        > timeline.
                        >
                        > Well, this changed a few days ago, when I had an epiphany: in Moten, rivers
                        > and other waterways (_jem_ in Moten) seem to have a special importance. For
                        > instance, the verb _jemagi_ (literally "to river-go") is the generic word
                        > for "to travel" using any kind of transportation except one's own feet.
                        > Another example is the word for "way" or "road", which is _senodjem_
                        > (literally "ground river"). Well, time is often described as a river, isn't
                        > it? With people being taken by its current and moving unwillingly and at
                        > speed towards an uncertain future (who knows whether the river will stay
                        > quiet or will turn into falls?!). With rivers being so important to the
                        > Moten psyche, wouldn't they use such a metaphor?
                        >
                        > But there was something missing there, something I didn't quite get: the
                        > metaphor of time passing as someone being taken by the current didn't seem
                        > quite right. And then I got it! While they see time as a flowing river,
                        > they don't see the present as a boat following the flow of time. Rather,
                        > they see it as an unmoving island in the middle of the river! In other
                        > words, rather than having an unmoving timeline with the present hurled from
                        > the past towards the future, they have an unmoving present, with time
                        > itself (and thus events) flowing past it. This means in particular that
                        > past events are seen as being "downstream" (i.e. they've already passed the
                        > unmoving present), while future events are "upstream" (they've not reached
                        > the island yet). Moreover, you can turn your gaze downstream, and look at
                        > the events that happened (until they are too far to be discerned and have
                        > to be remembered), or upstream, and hopefully (if the river of time doesn't
                        > flow too fast) see events looming before they actually happen.
                        >
                        > What does it mean from a linguistic point of view? Well, simply speaking,
                        > it means that the concepts of "upstream" and "downstream" are used to
                        > position events relatively in time. This starts with two *verbs*: _iso|n_:
                        > "to be/move/go downstream" and _izeki_: "to be/move/go upstream". Both are
                        > very commonly used in a temporal sense, with _iso|n_ meaning "to predate,
                        > to precede, to go before" and _izeki_ meaning "to follow, to go after". In
                        > particular, they are used where English would use the prepositions "before"
                        > and "after" (but do so while keeping their verbal nature). Here's a simple
                        > example:
                        >
                        > Umpedin jagi itos fedetun izeki ito.
                        > Ump<e><d>i-n jagi itos
                        > House<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC go.INF be.PRS.DEP
                        > f<e><d>et-n izeki ito.
                        > party<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC follow.INF be.PRS.
                        > I'm going home after the party.
                        >
                        > Literally "that (I) go to the house follows the party".
                        >
                        > Two other important words are *nouns* this time: _so|nem_: "the downstream
                        > part of a river or flow" and _zekjem_: "the upstream part of a river or
                        > flow" (both compounds of the verbs above with _jem_). _So|nem_ is also used
                        > to mean "the part of a journey that has already been travelled", and is the
                        > most common word used to mean "the past", while _zekjem_ also means "the
                        > journey ahead" or "the future". They are also used as postpositions to mean
                        > "ago" and "within" respectively:
                        >
                        > veldadvaj (di)so|nem
                        > vel(d)-ad<v>a-i (di)-so|n<e>em
                        > five-year<GEN.SG>-GEN (TEMP)-downstream<ART>
                        > five years ago
                        >
                        > Literally "downstream of five years".
                        >
                        > So that's it, Moten's way of handling time. My questions to the list are
                        > then:
                        > – is it naturalistic, and especially: is there an ANADEW for such a
                        > metaphor?
                        > – what are your conlangs' metaphors of time?
                        >
                        > Cheers!
                        > --
                        > Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                        > President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)
                        >
                        > Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                      • Douglas Koller
                        ... That s hardly thorough-going usage, though. The past has gone and the future has yet to come (Cf. vergangen and avenir ) ( last *year* is not the
                        Message 11 of 24 , Mar 14, 2014
                          > Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:19:39 +1300
                          > From: kanejam@...
                          > Subject: Re: Metaphors of Time
                          > To: CONLANG@...

                          > I'm surprised no-one mentioned Chinese, in which time flows vertically but _downwards_. The two words shàng 'on, above' and xià 'below' are used temporally for before and after. 'Shàngge yuè' means last month (literally the month above) and 'xiàge yuè' means the month after.

                          That's hardly thorough-going usage, though. The past has "gone" and the future has yet to "come" (Cf. "vergangen" and "avenir") ("last *year*" is not the "year above" but the "gone year" and a word for "next year" is "coming year"). And "before" and "after" deal with "fore-ness" and "aft-ness", just like what we're accustomed to. I suspect the time line is still by and large horizontal. Last month and last week being "up" could just as well be chalked up to the vertical flow of traditional Chinese writing as to the conceptual flow of time. Even in the West, weeks on calendars and times on timetables are oriented vertically, so next week, next class, next movie showing, next train could be seen as "down/below". I'll have to get a native speaker into a full nelson to suss that one out. :)

                          Kou
                        • James Kane
                          Well at the very least the words for before and after come from above and below, rather than fore and aft. I m not sure how far the metaphor goes though and
                          Message 12 of 24 , Mar 14, 2014
                            Well at the very least the words for before and after come from above and below, rather than fore and aft. I'm not sure how far the metaphor goes though and I'm sure you'll know more :)

                            James

                            On 14/03/2014, at 8:23 pm, Douglas Koller <douglaskoller@...> wrote:

                            >> Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:19:39 +1300
                            >> From: kanejam@...
                            >> Subject: Re: Metaphors of Time
                            >> To: CONLANG@...
                            >
                            >> I'm surprised no-one mentioned Chinese, in which time flows vertically but _downwards_. The two words shàng 'on, above' and xià 'below' are used temporally for before and after. 'Shàngge yuè' means last month (literally the month above) and 'xiàge yuè' means the month after.
                            >
                            > That's hardly thorough-going usage, though. The past has "gone" and the future has yet to "come" (Cf. "vergangen" and "avenir") ("last *year*" is not the "year above" but the "gone year" and a word for "next year" is "coming year"). And "before" and "after" deal with "fore-ness" and "aft-ness", just like what we're accustomed to. I suspect the time line is still by and large horizontal. Last month and last week being "up" could just as well be chalked up to the vertical flow of traditional Chinese writing as to the conceptual flow of time. Even in the West, weeks on calendars and times on timetables are oriented vertically, so next week, next class, next movie showing, next train could be seen as "down/below". I'll have to get a native speaker into a full nelson to suss that one out. :)
                            >
                            > Kou
                            >
                          • MorphemeAddict
                            Apparently Akkadian used the metaphor of the past in front of the face, i.e., moving backwards into the future. stevo On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM,
                            Message 13 of 24 , Mar 14, 2014
                              Apparently Akkadian used the metaphor of the past in front of the face,
                              i.e., moving backwards into the future.

                              stevo


                              On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <
                              tsela.cg@...> wrote:

                              > Nicely poetic title isn't it?
                              >
                              > As most of you probably know, many languages make use of spatial metaphors
                              > when describing time. So for instance in English time can fly, or flow, and
                              > the arrow of time seems to be oriented on a clear back-to-front direction
                              > (we talk of past events as being "behind us", while we'll "face" the future
                              > with courage. And of course we'll embrace our loved ones "be*fore*" we go
                              > to war).
                              >
                              > Needless to say, as with many things we take for granted in language, those
                              > metaphors are not universal. They seem to be common, but other languages
                              > may use other spatial metaphors when referring to time. For instance, some
                              > might have an arrow of time that goes vertically (I believe David
                              > Peterson's High Valyrian language does just that, with the past being
                              > "below", and the future "above"). And I've heard of at least one natlang
                              > where time goes front-to-back, with people facing the past and turning
                              > their back to the future (which in some way makes sense, as the past is
                              > known and can be looked at, while the future is not). I can't find it at
                              > the moment though.
                              >
                              > Knowing which metaphors are used to describe time in a spatial way is
                              > important, because words like "before", "after", "within" and "ago" are
                              > often related to the way people conceptualise time.
                              >
                              > Well, this last week, I've been thinking very hard about how Moten handles
                              > time. So far, I didn't have a way to indicate that an event happened before
                              > another one, or that something would happen within 5 days. Did Moten have a
                              > spatial metaphor of time at all, and if so, what would it look like? I just
                              > didn't know. Now, Moten could still express moment in time, duration and
                              > frequency, but this is far from enough when you need to talk about time,
                              > which is usually about setting the relative position of events on the
                              > timeline.
                              >
                              > Well, this changed a few days ago, when I had an epiphany: in Moten, rivers
                              > and other waterways (_jem_ in Moten) seem to have a special importance. For
                              > instance, the verb _jemagi_ (literally "to river-go") is the generic word
                              > for "to travel" using any kind of transportation except one's own feet.
                              > Another example is the word for "way" or "road", which is _senodjem_
                              > (literally "ground river"). Well, time is often described as a river, isn't
                              > it? With people being taken by its current and moving unwillingly and at
                              > speed towards an uncertain future (who knows whether the river will stay
                              > quiet or will turn into falls?!). With rivers being so important to the
                              > Moten psyche, wouldn't they use such a metaphor?
                              >
                              > But there was something missing there, something I didn't quite get: the
                              > metaphor of time passing as someone being taken by the current didn't seem
                              > quite right. And then I got it! While they see time as a flowing river,
                              > they don't see the present as a boat following the flow of time. Rather,
                              > they see it as an unmoving island in the middle of the river! In other
                              > words, rather than having an unmoving timeline with the present hurled from
                              > the past towards the future, they have an unmoving present, with time
                              > itself (and thus events) flowing past it. This means in particular that
                              > past events are seen as being "downstream" (i.e. they've already passed the
                              > unmoving present), while future events are "upstream" (they've not reached
                              > the island yet). Moreover, you can turn your gaze downstream, and look at
                              > the events that happened (until they are too far to be discerned and have
                              > to be remembered), or upstream, and hopefully (if the river of time doesn't
                              > flow too fast) see events looming before they actually happen.
                              >
                              > What does it mean from a linguistic point of view? Well, simply speaking,
                              > it means that the concepts of "upstream" and "downstream" are used to
                              > position events relatively in time. This starts with two *verbs*: _iso|n_:
                              > "to be/move/go downstream" and _izeki_: "to be/move/go upstream". Both are
                              > very commonly used in a temporal sense, with _iso|n_ meaning "to predate,
                              > to precede, to go before" and _izeki_ meaning "to follow, to go after". In
                              > particular, they are used where English would use the prepositions "before"
                              > and "after" (but do so while keeping their verbal nature). Here's a simple
                              > example:
                              >
                              > Umpedin jagi itos fedetun izeki ito.
                              > Ump<e><d>i-n jagi itos
                              > House<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC go.INF be.PRS.DEP
                              > f<e><d>et-n izeki ito.
                              > party<ART><ACC.SG>-ACC follow.INF be.PRS.
                              > I'm going home after the party.
                              >
                              > Literally "that (I) go to the house follows the party".
                              >
                              > Two other important words are *nouns* this time: _so|nem_: "the downstream
                              > part of a river or flow" and _zekjem_: "the upstream part of a river or
                              > flow" (both compounds of the verbs above with _jem_). _So|nem_ is also used
                              > to mean "the part of a journey that has already been travelled", and is the
                              > most common word used to mean "the past", while _zekjem_ also means "the
                              > journey ahead" or "the future". They are also used as postpositions to mean
                              > "ago" and "within" respectively:
                              >
                              > veldadvaj (di)so|nem
                              > vel(d)-ad<v>a-i (di)-so|n<e>em
                              > five-year<GEN.SG>-GEN (TEMP)-downstream<ART>
                              > five years ago
                              >
                              > Literally "downstream of five years".
                              >
                              > So that's it, Moten's way of handling time. My questions to the list are
                              > then:
                              > – is it naturalistic, and especially: is there an ANADEW for such a
                              > metaphor?
                              > – what are your conlangs' metaphors of time?
                              >
                              > Cheers!
                              > --
                              > Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                              > President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)
                              >
                              > Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                              >
                            • Brian Woodward
                              ... [snip] ... [snip] Does this mean the speakers of Moten believe they can predict the future or actually see into the future? I can see certain phrases
                              Message 14 of 24 , May 9, 2014
                                >
                                > On Mar 13, 2014, at 8:23, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
                                >
                                [snip]
                                > This means in particular that
                                > past events are seen as being "downstream" (i.e. they've already passed the
                                > unmoving present), while future events are "upstream" (they've not reached
                                > the island yet). Moreover, you can turn your gaze downstream, and look at
                                > the events that happened (until they are too far to be discerned and have
                                > to be remembered), or upstream, and hopefully (if the river of time doesn't
                                > flow too fast) see events looming before they actually happen.
                                [snip]

                                Does this mean the speakers of Moten believe they can predict the future or actually see into the future?

                                I can see certain phrases coming out like "the river brings a prophecy" or "to search the waters for an outcome".

                                That would be neat!

                                Altrius

                                >
                                > Cheers!
                                > --
                                > Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                                > President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)
                                >
                                > Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                              • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                                ... Not so much predict as forecast . Events can be foreseen in time just like a wooden log seen upstream can be expected to eventually float all the way to
                                Message 15 of 24 , May 10, 2014
                                  On 10 May 2014 00:08, Brian Woodward <altrius13@...> wrote:

                                  > >
                                  >
                                  > Does this mean the speakers of Moten believe they can predict the future
                                  > or actually see into the future?
                                  >
                                  >
                                  Not so much "predict" as "forecast". Events can be foreseen in time just
                                  like a wooden log seen upstream can be expected to eventually float all the
                                  way to where you are right now. The metaphor is not perfect, but metaphors
                                  of time as space seldom are :P.


                                  > I can see certain phrases coming out like "the river brings a prophecy" or
                                  > "to search the waters for an outcome".
                                  >
                                  >
                                  Mmmm... I don't know. The Moten culture is as much a mystery to me as it is
                                  to anyone else (what with the only known native speaker of the language
                                  suffering from some kind of amnesia that kept his knowledge of the language
                                  intact, but made him forget anything relating to his origins. things are
                                  slowly coming back, like cultural metaphors like the one I mentioned in
                                  this thread, but it's still not enough to open much of a door to whatever
                                  the Moten culture is like). In any case, that single known native speaker
                                  isn't the type to believe in predicting the future (beyond *forecasting*,
                                  as I mentioned above), but that doesn't say much about the culture he's
                                  coming from.


                                  > That would be neat!
                                  >
                                  >
                                  There could be some expressions involving streams. I do know the Moten
                                  culture places special importance on waterways (since for instance the word
                                  for road literally means "river of ground"), so it's not implausible. But
                                  I'm going out on a limb here and I'll need to study the language more to be
                                  able to reply for certain :).

                                  Cheers,
                                  --
                                  Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                                  President of the Language Creation Society (http://conlang.org/)

                                  Personal Website: http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                                • Thomas Ruhm
                                  I often write about Berbice Dutch, but it isn t the main porpose. I rather try to help people to learn unusual languages, unusual in the sence, that they are
                                  Message 16 of 24 , May 11, 2014
                                    I often write about Berbice Dutch, but it isn't the main porpose. I rather try to help people to learn unusual languages, unusual in the sence, that they are not learnt often. First I wanted to establish language houses for integrated learning. Translations into conlangs would fit the porpuse and I think it might be fun. Most articles I only wrote in German, but I might add more translations on my own. There is also an English quote about Vulgar Latin, which I translated into German.

                                    warjapu.wordpress.com
                                  • Leonardo Castro
                                    Do you mean to translate your posts into our colangs? And post the translation in your blog? or otherwhere? Até mais! Leonardo ... Translations into conlangs
                                    Message 17 of 24 , May 11, 2014
                                      Do you mean to translate your posts into our colangs? And post the
                                      translation in your blog? or otherwhere?

                                      Até mais!

                                      Leonardo



                                      2014-05-11 11:15 GMT+02:00 Thomas Ruhm <thomas@...>:

                                      > I often write about Berbice Dutch, but it isn't the main porpose. I rather
                                      > try to help people to learn unusual languages, unusual in the sence, that
                                      > they are not learnt often. First I wanted to establish language houses for
                                      > integrated learning.

                                      Translations into conlangs would fit the porpuse and I think it might be
                                      > fun. Most articles I only wrote in German, but I might add more
                                      > translations on my own. There is also an English quote about Vulgar Latin,
                                      > which I translated into German.
                                      >
                                      > warjapu.wordpress.com
                                    • Thomas Ruhm
                                      I mean translate my posts into your languages and then send them to me, that I can add them as translations. I can write that they where sent by an anonymous
                                      Message 18 of 24 , May 11, 2014
                                        I mean translate my posts into your languages and then send them to me, that I can add them as translations. I can write that they where sent by an anonymous translator or can add the name. Now I am going to play a game. By-nii!
                                      • Thomas Ruhm
                                        I would also consider topic suggestions. But I don t write long articles because I find that very hard. The quote about Vulgar Latin says that the Romance
                                        Message 19 of 24 , May 12, 2014
                                          I would also consider topic suggestions. But I don't write long articles because I find that very hard. The quote about Vulgar Latin says that the Romance languages didn't come from dialects, but from a colloquial quasi-standard. Maybe I will write about anime once in a while. One of the posts is an onion soup.
                                        • Leonardo Castro
                                          ... Both our native languages and conlangs? I just restarted studying German in Duolingo (I would prefer Livemocha in its old version) and don t have a
                                          Message 20 of 24 , May 13, 2014
                                            2014-05-11 17:30 GMT+02:00 Thomas Ruhm <thomas@...>:

                                            > I mean translate my posts into your languages


                                            Both our native languages and conlangs?

                                            I just restarted studying German in Duolingo (I would prefer Livemocha in
                                            its old version) and don't have a complete conlang of my own. Maybe some
                                            day I'll be able to translate your posts into Portuguese or into my conlang.


                                            > and then send them to me, that I can add them as translations. I can write
                                            > that they where sent by an anonymous translator or can add the name. Now I
                                            > am going to play a game. By-nii!
                                          • Thomas Ruhm
                                            Both would be alright. I am happy for every translation. Somebody already offered me a Portuguese translation today, but I will write more posts anyway.
                                            Message 21 of 24 , May 13, 2014
                                              Both would be alright. I am happy for every translation. Somebody already offered me a Portuguese translation today, but I will write more posts anyway.

                                              warjapu.wordpress.com

                                              > 2014-05-11 17:30 GMT+02:00 Thomas Ruhm <thomas@...>:
                                              >
                                              >> I mean translate my posts into your languages
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Both our native languages and conlangs?
                                              >
                                              > I just restarted studying German in Duolingo (I would prefer Livemocha in
                                              > its old version) and don't have a complete conlang of my own. Maybe some
                                              > day I'll be able to translate your posts into Portuguese or into my conlang.
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >> and then send them to me, that I can add them as translations. I can write
                                              >> that they where sent by an anonymous translator or can add the name. Now I
                                              >> am going to play a game. By-nii!
                                            • Thomas Ruhm
                                              Today I posted the first Italian translation. I got it yesterday. I am happy about it. I didn t write who made the translation, but I wrote that most
                                              Message 22 of 24 , May 15, 2014
                                                Today I posted the first Italian translation. I got it yesterday. I am happy about it. I didn't write who made the translation, but I wrote that most translations are made by helpers and that I am very grateful for that.
                                              • Thomas Ruhm
                                                I would like to have an article translated into Itlani. I don t want to be daring, but I think it might be better to mention the languages by name. I also like
                                                Message 23 of 24 , May 16, 2014
                                                  I would like to have an article translated into Itlani. I don't want to be daring, but I think it might be better to mention the languages by name. I also like romconlangs and I was thinking about Shshi. Maybe I will also look for somebody to make translations into Modern Indo-European.
                                                • Jim Hopkins
                                                  Haova ta Itlanit sholese tarumya pashni isteryara ruzay ta brovakenova bashit sosaferese ra-pilayaru. I would love to translate something into Itlani for you
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , May 16, 2014
                                                    Haova ta Itlanit sholese tarumya pashni isteryara ruzay ta brovakenova
                                                    bashit sosaferese ra-pilayaru.

                                                    I would love to translate something into Itlani for you but I do not have
                                                    the link to your blog.

                                                    Tsiasuk (aka Itlani Jim)


                                                    In a message dated 5/16/2014 6:03:02 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                                    thomas@... writes:

                                                    I would like to have an article translated into Itlani. I don't want to be
                                                    daring, but I think it might be better to mention the languages by name. I
                                                    also like romconlangs and I was thinking about Shshi. Maybe I will also
                                                    look for somebody to make translations into Modern Indo-European.=
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