Chinese hands of time: The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoning

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisScientific

Abstract

Chinese hands of time: The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoning

Culture and language may not simply influence how we think about time, but also shape the way we move our hands to refer to time. Across languages and cultures, people use space to represent time. In this dissertation Chinese and Dutch people’s conceptualisation of time is investigated, with a focus on co-speech gestures, mental space-time mappings, and cultural temporal values. These issues are studied cross-culturally and within the Chinese culture, including analyses of different Chinese populations.

The results show that, firstly, Chinese may have different mental space-time mappings than Spaniards and Moroccans, in line with their different cultural values towards time. Secondly, within the Chinese culture, Mandarin-English bilingual speakers gesture differently about time when speaking Mandarin Chinese than when speaking English (Figure 1). Thirdly, Mandarin speakers can gesture the past to their front (Figure 2 below) and the extent to which they perform past-in-front/future-at-back mappings is sensitive to the wording of Mandarin space-time metaphors. Furthermore, Mandarin-Chinese Sign Language (CSL) bimodal bilinguals perform different temporal gestures than Mandarin-speaking non-signers, even when both speak in their L1 Mandarin Chinese. Finally, deaf users of CSL display a different spatio-temporal reasoning than Mandarin speakers, and there is an effect of written Mandarin proficiency on signers’ spatio-temporal reasoning. All these studies suggest that there are not only long-term effects of cultural attitudes on the spatialisation of time, but also immediate effects of the linguistic space-time metaphors that probe people’s mental representations.
LanguageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Swerts, Marc, Promotor
  • Hoetjes, Marieke, Co-promotor
  • Cozijn, Rein, Co-promotor
  • Cienki, Alan, Member PhD commission, External person
  • Gullberg, Marianne, Member PhD commission, External person
  • Kita, Sotaro, Member PhD commission, External person
  • Maes, Fons, Member PhD commission
  • Özyürek, Asli, Member PhD commission, External person
Thesis sponsors
Award date5 Jun 2018
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789460932922
StatePublished - 2018

Fingerprint

Gesture
Language
Space-time
Mandarin Chinese
Chinese Culture
Chinese Sign Language
Bilingual Speakers
Spaniards
Conceptualization
Cultural Values
Spatialization
Deaf
Proficiency
Bimodal
Co-speech Gestures
Mental Representation

Cite this

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title = "Chinese hands of time: The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoning",
abstract = "Chinese hands of time: The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoningCulture and language may not simply influence how we think about time, but also shape the way we move our hands to refer to time. Across languages and cultures, people use space to represent time. In this dissertation Chinese and Dutch people’s conceptualisation of time is investigated, with a focus on co-speech gestures, mental space-time mappings, and cultural temporal values. These issues are studied cross-culturally and within the Chinese culture, including analyses of different Chinese populations.The results show that, firstly, Chinese may have different mental space-time mappings than Spaniards and Moroccans, in line with their different cultural values towards time. Secondly, within the Chinese culture, Mandarin-English bilingual speakers gesture differently about time when speaking Mandarin Chinese than when speaking English (Figure 1). Thirdly, Mandarin speakers can gesture the past to their front (Figure 2 below) and the extent to which they perform past-in-front/future-at-back mappings is sensitive to the wording of Mandarin space-time metaphors. Furthermore, Mandarin-Chinese Sign Language (CSL) bimodal bilinguals perform different temporal gestures than Mandarin-speaking non-signers, even when both speak in their L1 Mandarin Chinese. Finally, deaf users of CSL display a different spatio-temporal reasoning than Mandarin speakers, and there is an effect of written Mandarin proficiency on signers’ spatio-temporal reasoning. All these studies suggest that there are not only long-term effects of cultural attitudes on the spatialisation of time, but also immediate effects of the linguistic space-time metaphors that probe people’s mental representations.",
author = "Yan Gu",
note = "Series: TiCC Ph.D. Series Volume: 63",
year = "2018",
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publisher = "Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics LOT",
school = "Tilburg University",

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Chinese hands of time : The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoning. / Gu, Yan.

Utrecht : Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics LOT, 2018. 191 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisScientific

TY - THES

T1 - Chinese hands of time

T2 - The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoning

AU - Gu,Yan

N1 - Series: TiCC Ph.D. Series Volume: 63

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Chinese hands of time: The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoningCulture and language may not simply influence how we think about time, but also shape the way we move our hands to refer to time. Across languages and cultures, people use space to represent time. In this dissertation Chinese and Dutch people’s conceptualisation of time is investigated, with a focus on co-speech gestures, mental space-time mappings, and cultural temporal values. These issues are studied cross-culturally and within the Chinese culture, including analyses of different Chinese populations.The results show that, firstly, Chinese may have different mental space-time mappings than Spaniards and Moroccans, in line with their different cultural values towards time. Secondly, within the Chinese culture, Mandarin-English bilingual speakers gesture differently about time when speaking Mandarin Chinese than when speaking English (Figure 1). Thirdly, Mandarin speakers can gesture the past to their front (Figure 2 below) and the extent to which they perform past-in-front/future-at-back mappings is sensitive to the wording of Mandarin space-time metaphors. Furthermore, Mandarin-Chinese Sign Language (CSL) bimodal bilinguals perform different temporal gestures than Mandarin-speaking non-signers, even when both speak in their L1 Mandarin Chinese. Finally, deaf users of CSL display a different spatio-temporal reasoning than Mandarin speakers, and there is an effect of written Mandarin proficiency on signers’ spatio-temporal reasoning. All these studies suggest that there are not only long-term effects of cultural attitudes on the spatialisation of time, but also immediate effects of the linguistic space-time metaphors that probe people’s mental representations.

AB - Chinese hands of time: The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoningCulture and language may not simply influence how we think about time, but also shape the way we move our hands to refer to time. Across languages and cultures, people use space to represent time. In this dissertation Chinese and Dutch people’s conceptualisation of time is investigated, with a focus on co-speech gestures, mental space-time mappings, and cultural temporal values. These issues are studied cross-culturally and within the Chinese culture, including analyses of different Chinese populations.The results show that, firstly, Chinese may have different mental space-time mappings than Spaniards and Moroccans, in line with their different cultural values towards time. Secondly, within the Chinese culture, Mandarin-English bilingual speakers gesture differently about time when speaking Mandarin Chinese than when speaking English (Figure 1). Thirdly, Mandarin speakers can gesture the past to their front (Figure 2 below) and the extent to which they perform past-in-front/future-at-back mappings is sensitive to the wording of Mandarin space-time metaphors. Furthermore, Mandarin-Chinese Sign Language (CSL) bimodal bilinguals perform different temporal gestures than Mandarin-speaking non-signers, even when both speak in their L1 Mandarin Chinese. Finally, deaf users of CSL display a different spatio-temporal reasoning than Mandarin speakers, and there is an effect of written Mandarin proficiency on signers’ spatio-temporal reasoning. All these studies suggest that there are not only long-term effects of cultural attitudes on the spatialisation of time, but also immediate effects of the linguistic space-time metaphors that probe people’s mental representations.

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

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Gu Y. Chinese hands of time: The effects of language and culture on temporal gestures and spatio-temporal reasoning. Utrecht: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics LOT, 2018. 191 p. (TiCC Ph.D. Series).