Re: future past:Rihana-ye
|From:||Jonathan Knibb <j_knibb@...>|
|Date:||Monday, June 14, 2004, 12:51|
David Peterson wrote:
>For the strange, of course, there's always English. Consider that "after"
>means "towards the aft", or "behind", and "before" means "in front of"
>or "ahead". Yet, temporally, "after" means further in time, and "before"
>means earlier in time, whereas all the rest of the English metaphors
>work in *exactly* the opposite way: "Let's leave that meeting behind us,
>and move on ahead to our next meeting."
Having just yesterday finished Lakoff and Johnson's 'Metaphors We Live By',
I give their account with the zeal, and probably the inaccuracy, of the
According to them, there are two distinct metaphors at work. One
relates to the speaker moving through time as through space, hence
'That's all behind us now' = 'That's in our past'. The other relates to
*events* moving through time, with the speaker conceptualised as the
motionless centre relative to which the events move. Events necessarily
move from future to past - unlike the speaker, who moves from past to
future. Events are therefore thought of as facing towards us, as moving
towards and facing the past. So, in a sequence of events, the first to
arrive are 'before' = in front of the others.
The tension, and its resolution, can be felt in the pair of sentences:
'He awoke on the day before the exam. The exam lay before him.'
Was he before the exam or was the exam before him? Both - they are
facing each other.
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