Model for the Concept of Time in Persian Speakers’ Minds: Based on Metaphoric Gestures

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Model for the Concept of Time in Persian Speakers’ Minds: Based on Metaphoric Gestures

2 Associate Professor of Linguistics, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


This paper presents a study examining how Persian speakers use metaphoric gestures to represent different adverbs of time, and what these gestures reveal about the concept of time in their minds. A questionnaire containing 10 ambiguous questions, which made the participant use different adverbs of time, was given to 22 participants. They were filmed while trying to answer the questions. The corpus resulting from the analyses contained 299 gestures, all of which were made by hands. Since the frequency of gestures made by other body parts, like head or body, was very low, they were omitted from the corpus. The analyses also showed that 8 main gestures were used to demonstrate different adverbs of time. They can be categorized into 3 groups: those referring to the past, to the present, and to the future. Further analyses revealed that Persian speakers have a horizontal mentality of time, from back to front, and right to left. Finally, a schema is suggested for the concept of time in their minds.


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Volume 5, Issue 1 - Serial Number 1
September 2014
Pages 109-127
  • Receive Date: 19 November 2013
  • Revise Date: 02 August 2014
  • Accept Date: 21 September 2014
  • First Publish Date: 21 September 2014