Conceptualization and representation of the passing of time in Spanish phraseology: A gender study

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Abstract

According to the cognitive linguistics approach to phraseology, the majority of idioms are not linguistic but conceptual in nature. Moreover, they have to be seen mainly as a cultural product and, consequently, they are a splendid device for revealing the values of a given society. The aim of this study is to reveal the notion of the passing of time, as it is differently conceptualized for women and men in Spanish phraseology. Additionally, their dissimilar representations via linear structures based on the TIME IS SPACE conceptual metaphor will be proposed. The main conclusion of the study is that, according to Spanish idioms, men’s lives can be represented by a single-line structure divided into two opposite, isolated periods – childhood and maturity. On the contrary, women’s linear representation looks more like a continuous line that becomes a “forked” path a short time after women leave childhood behind. Finally, the relationship between the contemporary functioning of PUs and the endurance of the etymological stereotypes underlying these expressions will be considered.

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