Edited By Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk and Krzysztof Kosecki
Duration in English and in French: a Linguistic Description of the Relation Between a Process and a Time Interval
Agnès Leroux, University of Paris, France
This article will deal with the construction of the meaning of duration in English and in French. Through a French/English contrastive analysis of some of the representations of the time interval in language I will address the issue of the difference in the referencing of duration. More specifically, I have surveyed the translations in French of the time marker for in English, and observed that the reference to the time interval as expressed in English with for is given another dimension altogether in French. The construing of a time interval in relation to the validation of a process corresponds to an occurrence which may or may not be located in time. However, this occurrence is made of different instants which are identified through their difference with instants exterior to the interval. This simultaneity of homogeneity/heterogeneity is essential to the formalisation of the representation of time-related intervals through language and is the key element to understanding the difference between for and its French translations.