The spatial construal of TIME in Indonesian: Evidence from language and gesture

Speaker: Dr Gede Primahadi Wijaya Rajeg (University of Oxford)

Abstract: This talk discusses linguistic and co-speech gestural evidence for the spatial conceptualisation of time in Indonesian. Linguistic evidence corroborates the dominant patterns of space-time mapping for deictic times (i.e., future, present/now, and past); Indonesian speakers talk about the future as an event in front of them, while the past is behind them. The spontaneous gestural data reflect and extend the patterns observed in other languages. Forward and backward (i.e., sagittal) gestures tend to accompany future and past expressions respectively. Deictic times can also be construed through the leftward and rightward (i.e., lateral) gestures and the combination of the sagittal and lateral axes, which lack a linguistic analogue. The gesture for sequential-time (i.e., before-after) is more likely to be lateral. Our study contributes to (i) the exploration of universality and variation in the construal of time in language and gesture, and (ii) the growing interest within Cognitive Linguistics in converging and/or diverging evidence from different methods and data types.


About Dr Gede Primahadi Wijaya Rajeg: Gede Primahadi Wijaya Rajeg is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics, working on the AHRC project (2022-2024) to develop digital lexical resources for Enggano, a threatened language spoken in the Enggano island, off the southern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. He also holds a lectureship at the Faculty of Humanities, and convenes the Corpus Linguistics course in the Linguistics Doctoral program, both at Udayana University, Bali. He obtained his PhD from Monash University, Australia. He is interested in Cognitive Linguistics, Corpus Linguistics, and usage-based, Construction Grammar. Visit his ORCID page for more details: