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Using language and thought to fix events in time is one of the most complex computational feats that humans perform. In the first book-length taxonomy of temporal frames of reference, Vyvyan Evans provides an overview of the role of space in structuring human representations of time.


Challenging the assumption that time is straightforwardly structured in terms of space, he shows that while space is important for temporal representation, time is nevertheless separate and distinguishable from it. Evans argues for three distinct temporal frames of reference in language and cognition and evaluates the nature of temporal reference from a cross-linguistic perspective.


His central thesis is that the hallmark of temporal reference is transience, a property unique to the domain of time. This important study has implications not only for the relationship between space and time, but also for that between language and figurative thought, and the nature of linguistically-mediated meaning construction.

Download the complete PDF version of the book here.

Table of contents


PART I  Orientation
1.  Introduction
2.  Acess semantics

PART II  Temporal Frames of Reference
3.  The nature of temporal reference
4.  Deictic temporal reference
5.  Sequential temporal reference
6. Extrinsic temporal reference
7. Time versus space

PART III  Meaning Construction and temporal reference
8 .  Conceptual metaphors and lexical concepts
9. Figurative meaning construction in LCCM Theory
10. Semantic affordances and temporal reference
11. Universals and diversity in the cross-linguistic respresentation of time


"Time is at once familiar and mysterious. Its status in the physical universe may be uncertain and contested, cultural conceptions of it may vary dramatically, but time is fundamental to all human experience. Vyv Evans furnishes linguists and other researchers with important new tools for thought about this fascinating domain."


Professor Chris Sinha, Distinguished Professor, Hunan University

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