eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2022): 0.2
PDF | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2012.4.03

Engin Arik

Much evidence points to the conclusion that temporal concepts are drawn primarily from the conceptualization of space. Sign languages provide a particularly suitable area for observing such a relationship since they employ a three-dimensional signing space as a major building block for articulation. This paper addresses spatial and temporal language in Turkish Sign Language (TID), which has a full-fledged grammar and a natural language used by the deaf community in Turkey. It investigates descriptions of static and dynamic spatial situations and expressions of time. Results showed mismatches between the axial information in the stimuli and the use of left-right and front-back axes in the signing space. Furthermore, results also showed that the temporal language did not always correlate with the deictic use of the front-back axis. Thus, these findings suggest that temporal language may only partially be derived from spatial language.


Arik, Engin (2009) Spatial language: insights from sign and spoken languages. PhD Dissertation. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University.

Arik, Engin (2010a) A crosslinguistic study of the language of space: sign and spoken languages. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Arik, Engin (2010b) “Describing motion events in sign languages”. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 46, 4, 367–390.

Arik, Engin (2011) “Left/right and front/back in sign, speech, and co-speech gestures across languages: what do data from Turkish Sign Language, Croatian Sign Language, American Sign Language, Turkish, Croatian, and English reveal?”. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 47, 3, 442–469.

Arik, Engin (2012, in press) “Expressions of space during interaction in American Sign Language, Croatian Sign Language, and Turkish Sign Language”. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics.

Bohnemeyer, Jurgen, Nicholas Enfield, James Essegbey, Iraide Ibarretxe-Antunano, Sotaro Kita, Friederike Lupke, and Felix K. Ameka (2007) “Principles of event segmentation in language: the case of motion events”. Language 83, 495–532.

Boroditsky, Lera (2003) “Linguistic relativity”. In Encyclopedia of cognitive science. Lynn Nadel, ed. London: MacMillan Press.

Burgess, Neil (2006) “Spatial memory: how egocentric and allocentric combine”. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10, 2, 551–557.

Bybee, Joan, Revere Perkins, and William Pagliuca (1994) The evolution of grammar: tense, aspect, and modality in the languages of the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Casasanto, Daniel and Lera Boroditsky (2008) “Time in the mind: using space to think about time”. Cognition, 106 579–593.

Clark, Herbert H. (1973) “Space, time, semantics, and the child”. In Cognitive development and the acquisition of language. Timothy E. Moore, ed. New York: Academic Press.

Cogen, Cathy (1977) “On three aspects of time expression in ASL”. In On the other hand: new perspectives on American Sign Language. Lynn A. Friedman, ed. New York: Academic Press.

Comrie, Bernard (1985) Tense. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Dahl, Osten (1985) Tense and aspect systems. New York: Basil Blackwell Inc.

Emmorey, Karen (1996) “The confluence of space and language in signed languages”. In Language and space. Paul Bloom, Mary Peterson, Lynn Nadel, and Merrill Garrett, eds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Emmorey, Karen (2002) Language, cognition, and the brain: insights from sign language research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates.

Engberg-Pedersen, Elisabeth (1993) Space in Danish Sign Language: the semantics and morpho­syntax of the use of space in a visual language. Hamburg: Signum-Verlag.

Evans, Vyvyan (2003) The structure of time: language, meaning and temporal cognition. Philadelphia, PA: Benjamins.

Friedman, Lynn A (1975) “Space, time, and person reference in American Sign Language”. Language 51, 940–961.

Gentner, Dedre (2001) “Spatial metaphors in temporal reasoning”. In Spatial schemas and abstract thought. Merideth Gattis, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gentner, Dedre and Lera Boroditsky (2002) “As time goes by: Evidence for two systems in processing spaceàtime metaphors”. Language and Cognitive Processes 17, 5, 537–565.

Gentner, Dedre and Mutsumi Imai (1992) “Is the future always ahead? Evidence for system-mappings in understanding space-time metaphors”. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Bloomington, IN: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Grinevald, Collette (2006) “The expression of static location in a typological perspective”. In Space in languages: linguistic systems and cognitive categories. Maya Hickmann and Stéphane Robert, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Benjamins.

Haspelmath, Martin (1997) From space to time: temporal adverbials in the world’s languages. Munich and Newcastle: Lincom Europa.

Kemmerer, David (2005) “The spatial and temporal meanings of English prepositions can be independently impaired”. Neuropsychologia 43, 797–806.

Klatzky, Roberta L (1998) “Allocentric and egocentric spatial representations: definitions, distinctions, and interconnections”. In Spatial cognition – an interdisciplinary approach to representation and processing of spatial knowledge. Christian Freksa, Christopher Habel, and Karl F. Wender, eds. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lyons, John (1977) Semantics: Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Matlock, Teenie, Michael Ramscar, and Lera Boroditsky (2005) “On the experiential link between spatial and temporal language”. Cognitive Science 29, 655–664.

McGlone, Matthew S. and Jennifer L. Harding (1998) “Back (or forward?) to the future: the role of perspective in temporal language comprehension”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 24, 5, 1211–1223.

Miller, George A. and Philip N. Johnson-Laird (1976) Language and perception. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Newman, John (2002) The linguistics of sitting, standing, and lying. Philadelphia, PA: Benjamins.

Núñez, Rafael E. and Eve Sweetser (2006) “With the future behind them: convergent evidence from Aymara language and gesture in the crosslinguistic comparison of spatial construals of time”. Cognitive Science 30, 401–450.

Núñez, Rafael E., Benjamin A. Motz and Ursula Teuscher (2006) “Time after time: The psycho­logical reality of the ego- and time-reference-point distinction in metaphorical construals of time”. Metaphor and Symbol 21, 3, 133–146.

O’Keefe, John and Lynn Nadel (1978) The hippocampus as a cognitive map. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Pederson, Eric, Eve Danziger, David Wilkins, Stephen C. Levinson, Sotaro Kita, and Gunter Senft (1998) “Semantic typology and spatial conceptualization”. Language 74, 557–589.

Radden, Günter (2003) “The metaphor TIME AS SPACE across languages”. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht 8, 2–3, 226–239.

Svorou, Soteria (1994) The grammar of space. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Talmy, Leonard (1983) “How language structures space”. In Spatial orientation: theory, research, and application. Herbert L. Pick and Linda P. Acredolo. New York: Plenum Press.

Tenbrink, Thora (2007) Space, time, and the use of language: an investigation of relationships. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Torralbo, Ana, Julio Santiago, and Juan Lupianez (2006) “Flexible conceptual projection of time onto spatial frames of reference”. Cognitive Science 30, 745–757.

Traugott, Elizabeth C. (1978) “Spatio-temporal relations”. In Universals of human language. Vol. 3: Word structure. J. H. Greenberg, ed. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Back to Issue