Eurasian National University named after L.N. Gumilev
The Influence of Culture and Way of Life on Time Representation
The concept of time is considered differently in various cultures, according to the history, traditions and way of life of their representatives, their values and thoughts.
With understanding the real idea of time there appears the wish to use it correctly. The presence of time is considered as wealth, and its absence – as poverty.
Time plays a central role in everyday life of typical North Americans. They try to use their time wisely, they schedule it in advance, establish timetables. “Time”, “preciseness” are highly valued in the USA society, which is reflected in the American idiom ‘time is money’. Much like money, they speak of spending time, saving time and wasting time. It reflects American attitude to money and time as highly valued commodities, where time is even more appreciated, because money can be lost and regained while time cannot.
People’s attitude to time reflects in the English language as in many other languages of the world. The Englishmen appreciate quick work without any loss of time, they hurry when time is not enough.
So when they say ‘in two shakes of a lamb’s tail’, they mean that work, request will be done as quickly as possible.
“This work is very easy and I will finish it in two shakes of the lamb’s tail”.
The idiom ‘against the clock’ denotes that a man doesn’t have enough time to do something on time, and he hurries very much.
“She worked against the clock to finish her novel”.
But people cannot always appreciate time and very often ‘let grass grow under the feet’, or begin to idle and to waste their time in vain.
“Stop letting grass grow under your feet! If you are not hurry, you will miss your train!”
‘Like clock work’. The sense of this phrase is that particular events happen regularly like clockwork, at the same time.
“He is as regular as clockwork in his habits – he gets up at 6 o’clock every morning”.
People say ‘not born yesterday’ when they want to show that nobody will cheat them.
“This car has a lot of faults. You must think I was born yesterday if you expected me to buy this car”.
The Englishmen say ‘time of your life’ when they are pleased with their pastime and do everything they want.
“The children were tired out when they arrived home – they’d had the time of their lives playing in the mud, without their parents there to tell them to keep clean”.
Australian aboriginals, instead of living in future, the life after death, they live in the past, in the epoch called “the time of dreams”, in which the Earth has perceived its real form.
The word ‘punctuality’ has different senses. In the USA to be late for the meeting is considered as absence of interest to the case and insult to the partner. But in Latin America to be late for forty-five minutes is commonly accepted. That is why the meeting of people from the USA and Latin America can end unsuccessfully, because of using of time in different cultures.
The 24-hour clock, which in Britain is considered normal in many applications is largely unused in the USA outside of military, police, or medical applications.
‘Fifteen minutes after the hour’ is called ‘quarter past’ in British usage and ‘a quarter after’ in American usage. ‘Fifteen minutes before the hour’ is usually called ‘quarter to’ in Britain and ‘a quarter of’ or ‘a quarter till’ in America. ‘Thirty minutes after the hour’ is commonly called ‘half past’ in both BE and AE. ‘Half after’ used to be more common in the USA. The AE formations ‘top of the hour’ and ‘bottom of the hour’ are not commonly used in BE.
Various variants of the English language have similarities and differences of time representation. The differences are dependent on the way of life, the history and peculiarities of countries where the English language appeared.
Australian English has peculiarities of British English and American English including specific features of aboriginals and various nations that live in this country.
Different variants of language emphasize national peculiarities of a speaker and smooth contradictions between necessity of achievement the understanding and of keeping own national culture.
1) Èâàí÷åíêî À.È. Àíãëèéñêèå ïîñëîâèöû è èõ ðóññêèå àíàëîãè. – ÑÏá.: ÊÀÐÎ, 2006. – 525ñ.
2) Êóíèí À. Â. Àíãëî-ðóññêèé ôðàçåîëîãè÷åñêèé ñëîâàðü/ À.Â. Êóíèí. - Ì.: Ðóññêèé ÿçûê, 1999. – 501ñ.
3) Îðëîâ Ã.À. Ñîâðåìåííûé àíãëèéñêèé ÿçûê â Àâñòðàëèè: ó÷åáíîå ïîñîáèå äëÿ ïåä. âóçîâ. – Ì.: Âûñøàÿ øêîëà, 1978
4) Øâåéöåð À.Ä. Ëèòåðàòóðíûé àíãëèéñêèé ÿçûê â ÑØÀ è Àíãëèè. - Ì.: Âûñøàÿ øêîëà, 1971