A concept of container in temporal phrases – a comparative study
Abstract The aim of this article is to present a comparative analysis of some temporal expressions in three languages: Polish, Spanish and French. We would like to analyze if in the conceptual structure of these expressions appears a concept of container. This concept is one of the main spatial notions and it is considered a complete experiential gestalt (Przybylska, 2002, p. 108) from which other, more detailed concepts are derived. The domain of space is cognitively less complex that the domain of time and it is often used as a source domain for the metaphorical representation of temporal relations. Therefore, the spatial notions often appear in the imaginative schemes referring to time (for example: a container). In this presentation we would like to study if the speakers of Polish, Spanish and French languages perceive temporal intervals (days of the week, months, years and other intervals) in the same way (e.g. as containers) and use the same grammatical structures to express them. Our observations confirm that some temporal intervals conceptualized as container in one language can be interpreted differently in the remaining languages. We observe this phenomenon due to the analysis of grammatical elements that appear in the temporal expressions and the semantic functions that they express.