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Time is money – everywhere? Analysing time metaphors across varieties of English

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Abstract

In the Western world, time is money is one of the most well-known conceptualmetaphors, known not only by linguists or cognitivists, but also in business andin everyday life. Time is a valuable commodity, like money, which we spend,save, waste, and even try to borrow or lend. With regard to other parts of theworld, Lakoff and Johnson claim that “the Westernization of cultures throughoutthe world is partly a matter of introducing the time is money metaphorinto those cultures” (2003, 145). Such a Westernization could reasonably beassumed for instance in countries with English as an official language. But dopeople in such countries indeed live by this metaphor? This chapter presents aninvestigation into linguistic realizations of time is money in parallel Englishlanguagecorpora from a range of Western and non-Western countries andshows that the answer to the above question is not a straightforward Yes or No.

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