The categories of time in the linguo-cultural aspect

Присяжнюк Мария Олеговна – студент факультета Романо-германских языков Московского государственного областного университета.

Аннотация: В данной статье рассмотрен вопрос вариативности восприятия времени в разных культурах мира. Для более тщательного рассмотрения данного вопроса все мировые культуры условно разделены на два типа: полихромные культуры и монохромные культуры. Данная тема разобрана в статье с двух точек зрения: психологической и грамматической.

Abstract: The key topic of the article is variability in the perception of time in different cultures of the world. For a more thorough consideration of this issue, all world cultures are divided into two types: polychrome cultures and monochrome cultures. This topic is discussed in the article from two points of view: psychological and grammatical.

Ключевые слова: культурный аспект, лингво-культурный аспект, лингвистика, грамматическое время, языки, время.

Keywords: cultural aspect, linguo-cultural aspect, linguistics, grammatical time, languages, time.

What is the main value of a person? Material goods? Close people? Knowledge? In my opinion, the most precious thing in everyone's life is life itself. The length of time that is allocated to each of us in order to achieve something, to experience certain feelings, to leave behind something in this world and so on. Today I would like to tell a little more about the concept of time from the point of view of science and human perception, to consider the categories of time in the linguo-cultural aspect.

In our experience, the present is not an infinitesimal moment. Our understanding of the present tense can be called the term " deceptive present." The term was discovered by William James. This concept includes a piece of the recent past and a piece of the impending future. Ernst Peppel proposed the idea that the "deceptive present" lasts about three seconds. Since this interval is approximately equal to the duration of purposeful movement (hitting the ball when playing Golf, handshake, etc.)

In the modern world, the multiplicity of time systems is gradually developing. One of the most common approaches to time perception is time as a structure. This approach divides cultures into two distinct groups.

The first group is monochrome culture. For this culture is characterized by the performance of actions consistently (one thing at a time), one focus of attention, following certain plans and schedules, short-term social relations. People belonging to such cultures like to devote most of their time to business relations and the acquisition of material goods. Monochrome culture can include the British, Americans, etc.

The second group is polychrome culture. This culture is characterized by simultaneous execution of several actions, multidirectional attention, lack of clear plans and schedules, friendliness, sincere conversations. Representatives of these cultures prefer emotional, warm ties between people to business relations and obtaining material wealth. This culture can include Russians, residents of CIS countries, etc.

I single out the concept of cultural time. It is in turn divided into informal time and formal time.

Informal time refers to the designation of time segments less defined in duration (now, soon...). This time in turn has two polar values (displaced, diffused time). The first meaning denotes punctuality and refers to the inhabitants of England, America and some other countries. The second orientation denotes a vague idea of time and refers to residents of Russia, CIS countries and some other countries.

 Formal time refers to a particular structural organization adopted in a particular culture for temporal orientation (minutes, hours, years...), as well as for convenience for the convenience of designating "socially significant" time segments ( for example, study periods-quarter, semester, half-year, trimester). An interesting example for the full disclosure of this concept can serve as the fact that in English-speaking cultures, the morning begins at 00: 00 and ends at 12: 00, and in Russian-speaking cultures, the morning begins at 04: 00 and ends at 12: 00.

As you know, time always lasts differently for a person. When we spend time in an interesting company, we may not notice how the evening "flies", however, when you stand in line at the store, even 2 minutes can "drag on forever". This phenomenon refers to the concept of psychological time. Scientists call psychological time-that perception of duration of time which the person tests, being in these or those situations and receiving these or those emotions.

Time is encoded in grammar in two ways.

  1. Grammatical time. Grammatical time can be understood as the "localization" of an event or state in time. For example, there is a significant difference between "She loves you", "She will love you" and "She loved you".
  2. Aspect. The aspect can be seen as a form of event flow in time, it deals with the difference between "to swap a fly" - instant action, "to run around" - action has no completion, "to draw a circle" - action has a beginning, culmination and completion. An aspect can also Express a point of view on an event. An event can be described as if it were seen from within, in the midst of the event as it unfolds ( She was climbing the tree) and as if that action was viewed from the outside, as taken as a whole (She climbed the tree)

From the point of view of the expressed concepts, grammatical time and aspect are radically different from each other – an event that unfolds in time in a certain way ( aspect) can occur yesterday, today, and tomorrow (time).

In English, the three basic tenses present no difficulty: the past tense is used for a situation that precedes the moment of speech; the present tense is used for a situation that coincides with the moment of speech; the future tense is used for a situation that follows the moment of speech.

For other times of the English language and many times of other languages, it is worth talking not only about the narrated event and moment, but also about the referential time( an event that was established in the course of communication and which serves as a" now " for the actors of the narrative. So we can determine the time by posing two questions:

  1. whether the event occurs before, after or simultaneously with the reference time
  2. whether there is a referential time before, after or simultaneously with the moment of speech

In English, referential time plays no role in the past, present, and future, but it is necessary to define two other basic tenses: Past Perfect, Future Perfect.

In English, the future tense status differs from the status of other tenses, as it is expressed not by the verb form, but by the auxiliary modal verbs should and will, as well as by going or going. Some learned linguists argue that the modal verb should be most correctly used for the first person, and will be for the second and third. If we change them, we get a Declaration of intent, not a true future tense.

In many languages, the future tense is associated with the concepts of possibility and determination. In English, the future tense has syntactic features similar to words expressing ought (should), opportunity (can, can, can), moral obligations (should, should).

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize once again the main points related to the category of time in the linguistic and cultural aspect. From the point of view of exact Sciences, time is measured in seconds, minutes, hours and other units, however for each person time is felt differently depending on that at this or that moment the person experiences. Also, all people allocate their time differently, putting different priorities. In many respects it depends on the culture of the country in which a person grew up. It is impossible not to say once again that time in English is expressed with the help of grammatical time (tense) and with the help of aspects. We all perceive time differently, but nevertheless, do not forget that it is a precious resource. Spend your time wisely and with pleasure. Value your life.


  1. Пинкер С. Субстанция мышления. Язык как окно в человеческую природу.
  2. Кузьменкова Ю.Б. От традиций культуры к нормам речевого поведения британцев, американцев и россиян.

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