Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Gertie Hoymann

Time in Space

How do different languages and cultures conceptualise time? This question is part of a broader set of questions about how humans come to represent and reason about abstract entities – things we cannot see or touch. For example, how do we come to represent and reason about abstract domains like justice, ideas, kinship, morality, or politics?

There are two aspects of this project: (1) Time arrangement tasks to assess the way people arrange time either as temporal progressions expressed in picture cards or done using small tokens or points in space. (2) A time & space language inventory to discover and document the linguistic coding of time and its relation to space, as well as the cultural knowledge structures related to time.


You will require (i) stimulus cards, (ii) poker chips, pebbles or some similar tokens (see below), (iii) coding sheets, (iv) a compass.


This Field Manual entry, and the accompanying stimulus materials, can be downloaded from the MPG Publication Repository:

How to cite this resource?

Boroditsky, L., Gaby, A., & Levinson, S. C. (2008). Time in space. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 11 (pp. 52-76). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492932.