Spatial representations of future in Homeric Greek

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate the space-time mapping of the futurein Homeric Greek. It is widely accepted that the spatial adverbs πρόσσω ‘infront’ and ὀπίσσω ‘behind’ in the Homeric poems are used to portray temporalevents located in a sequence of aligned entities that follow one after the otheron the same path (Dunkel, 1983, p. 66). In such a temporal sequence, orTime-rp model, those adverbs are associated respectively to past and futureevents in a bipartite spatial representation of time, without involving a deicticego-experiencer. After analyzing data from the Homeric poems in a cognitivelinguistic perspective, it is found that some temporal uses of the preposition πρό‘in front’ also refer to a space-time mapping in which the observer appears to bein-tandem aligned with temporal entities that are still related to each other in adeictically neutral field-based frame of reference (Moore, 2011). More in detail,in the classic passage of Iliad I, 70, the prophet Calchas imposes his vantagepoint to the sequence of occurring events which he is aligned with, mappingthe future events (τὰ τ’ἐσσόμενα) as being located in front (πρό) of the present(τὰ τ’ἐόντα). In this peculiar Time-rp construal, which is also attested in non-Indo-European languages, the future is the farther event that is statically seenin front of the present, thus contrasting to the more common Time-RP construalin which a later event is said to be after another event. Furthermore, Homeric Greek πρό ‘in front’ is related to a representation of the future that is common not only to ancient Indo-European languages, like Old Avestan, but also to non-Indo-European languages, in which the future is conceptualized as made of a hendiadyc structure, consisting of both distant future and imminent future events.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)25-41
Numero di pagine17
RivistaINVERBIS
VolumeI/2015
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015

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