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Time at the interface of felt experience and social rhythms: Temporal construals in Modern Greek poetry

Rather than being homogeneous, temporal experience is varied in that time can be felt as passing slowly or quickly corresponding to ‘protracted duration’ and ‘temporal compression’ respectively (Flaherty 1999). The present paper deals with construals of protracted duration and temporal compression that are manifested in metaphorical expressions of time found in Modern Greek poetry. Such metaphors prompt for a conceptualization of time in subjective terms thereby suggesting that time lies in the interface between its psychologically real experience and the social norm enacted by the clock. Following Fauconnier and Turner (2008) it is proposed that construals of subjective time can be accounted for within a generalized integration network of time. However, the empirical evidence under examination suggests that subjective time may be equally expressed in poetry in non-routine ways such as in the form of mapping asymmetrical events or by virtue of novel metaphors. Such cases, it is argued, also exploit the generalized integration network of time yet in a way that tacitly overrides our shared representations of time and therefore requires the overarching mechanism of conceptual integration. It thus transpires that conceptual integration theory may offer a unified account of construals of subjective time that either align with, or deviate from, its everyday conceptualization. Finally, in bringing together insights from social psychology and cognitive linguistics the present study essentially points to an interdisciplinary approach in the study of time conceptualization.

Keywords: protracted duration, temporal compression, generalized integration network of time, conceptual integration, poetry

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