The Language of Time: A Linguistic Perspective


Irena Stanic Rasin

All animals—except humans—live in a continuous present. Time is a human concept. And that concept is framed differently depending on the language we speak. English speakers tend to think of time in terms of distance—what a long day, we say. Spanish speakers, on the other hand, tend to think of time in terms of volume—what a full day, they say. Recounting the past, communicating in the present, and discussing the future are at the core of our daily activities. Yet these boundaries are often blurred. In this fascinating evening, we will explore alternatives to time’s arrow from a linguistic point of view, through examples of languages whose tenses defy chronology with their reverse, or even circular, concept of time. Irena Stanic Rasin is an author and translator who has taught Italian courses at ACE for many years. She holds master’s degrees in English and Italian language and literature and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Croatian philology in the intercultural context.


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