Memory and Utterance Temporality

Keywords: memory, mnemonic processes, mnemonic utterance, time, temporality, tense forms.


Objective. The paper presents a psycholinguistic perspective of the memory-time linkage problem extensively discussed by cognitive psychologists. Accepting the concept of personal memory as a linguocognitive system including the processes of encoding, storing, retrieval, and forgetting, the authors aim to examine how these processes are verbalized in regard to their temporal orientation. The present study is specifically focused on analyzing the morphological component of the verbal code (namely, tense forms) used by English speakers to represent their mnemonic experiences at each stage of cognitive processing.

Methods. Research procedures consisted in content analysis of each empirical item, distribution of sample fragments in accordance with the mnemonic situation type, structural and morphological analysis of mnemonic utterances and finding correlation between the type of a mnemonic utterance and the organization of its temporal structure.

Materials. The empirical database used in the research counts 7.500 communicative contexts selected from publicly available English sources and contains fragments of fiction, mass media and computer-mediated communication. The primary selection principle required that each research item should meet the criteria of the mnemonic situation, that is, include 1) the subject of the mnemonic experience, 2) the memory process being verbalized, 3) the mnemonic utterance as a verbal representation of the mnemonic content.

Results. The yielded results demonstrate the role of present, past and future tense forms in shaping the temporal structure of mnemonic utterances in English, suggest correlations between the temporal type of a mnemonic utterance and the cognitive-communicative conditions under which it was produced, which allows concluding that memory association with the past is an empirically ungrounded stereotype while the temporal structure of a mnemonic utterance is a heterogeneous one.


Download data is not yet available.


Artyunina, A.A. (2013). “My” i “ya” kak lingvisticheskie markery vospominanij [“We” and “I” as linguistic markers of memories]. Vestnik Irkutskogo gosudarstvennogo lingvisticheskogo universiteta – Irkutsk State Linguistic University Journal, 3(24), 133–13 [in Russian].

Iskhakova, R.F., & Homyakova, E.G. (2009). Pamyat i vospriyatie: nekotorye aspekty yazykovoj reprezentacii [Memory and perception: some aspects of language representation]. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta – St.-Petersburg State University Journal, 1(1), 84–88 [in Russian].

Krejdlin, G.E. (1997). Vremya skvoz prizmu vremennyh predlogov [Time through temporal prepositions], Logicheskij analiz yazyka. Yazyk i vremya [Logical analysis of language. Language and time] (pp. 139–151). Moscow: Izdatelstvo “Indrik” [in Russian].

Ogorodnikova, L.A. (2012). Podhody k issledovaniyu pamyati i mnemicheskih sposobnostej v otechestvennoj i zarubezhnoj psihologii [Approaches to studying time and mnemonic capabilities in Russian and foreign psychology]. Yaroslavskij pedagogicheskij vestnik – Yaroslavl’ Journal of Pedagogy, 2, 308–312 [in Russian].

Rogacheva, Yu.N. (2003) Reprezentaciya frejma “pamyat'” v sovremennom anglijskom yazyke [Representation of the “memory” frame in contemporary English]. Candidate’s thesis. Belgorod [in Russian].

Sereda, G.K. (1985). Chto takoe pamyat? [What is memory?]. Psihologicheskij zhurnal – Journal of Psychology, 6, 41–48 [in Russian].

Tivyaeva, I.V. (2013). Mnemicheskoe vyskazyvanie i procedura ego identifikacii [Mnemonic utterance and how to identify one]. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Filologiya – Tomsk State University Journal of Philology, 372, 45–48 [in Russian].

Tivyaeva, I.V. (2017). Kognitivno-kommunikativnyj podhod k issledovaniju jazykovoj reprezentacii processov pamjati [Cognitive-communicative approach to verbal representation of mnemonic processes]. Voprosy psiholingvistiki – Journal of Psycholinguistics, 1(31), 124–139 [in Russian].

Block, R.A., & Gruber, R.P. (2014). Time perception, attention, and memory: A selective review. Acta Psychologica, 149, 129–133.

Chafe, W. (1973). Language and Memory. Language, 49(2), 261–281.

Clewett, D., & Davachi, L. (2017). The ebb and flow of experience determines the temporal structure of memory. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 17, 186–193.

Copmann, K., & Griffith, P. (1994). Event and story structure recall by children with specific learning disabilities, language impairments, and normally achieving children. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 23(3), 231–248.

Crone, Ph. (2015). Mnemonic Imperatives, Awareness, & Maximize Presupposition. In California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics Workshop 8. Stanford University.

Crone, Ph. (2017). Raising Awareness with Imperatives. In A. Kaplan at al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (pp. 122–130). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Faber, M., & Gennari, S.P. (2015). Representing time in language and memory: The role of similarity structure. Acta Psychologica, 156, 156–161.

Fuhrman, R., & Wyer, R.S. (1988). Event Memory: Temporal-Order Judgments of Personal Life Experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(3), 365–384.

Gershman, S.J. (2017). Predicting the past, remembering the future. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 17, 7–13.

Graybeal, C. (1981). Memory for stories in language-impaired children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 2(3), 269–283.

Harner, L. (1976). Children’s understanding of linguistic reference to past and future. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 5(1), 65–84.

Howard, M.W. (2018). Memory as Perception of the Past: Compressed Time in Mind and Brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 32(2), 124–136.

Kintsch, W. (2014). The Representation of Meaning in Memory. New York: Psychology Press.

Moore, M.E., & Johnston, J.R. (1993). Expressions of past time by normal and language-impaired children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 14(4), 515–534.

Ochs, E. (1994). Stories that step into the future. In D. Biber & E. Finegan (Eds.), Sociolinguistic perspectives on register (pp. 106–135). New York: Oxford University Press.

Pennebaker, J.W. (2013). The secret life of pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us. Austin, Texas: Bloomsbury.

Smorti, A., Peterson, C. & Tani, F. (2016). The Language of Memory: Narrating Memories of Parents and Friends. The Open Psychology Journal, 9(1), 95–110.

Wang, Y., & Gennari, S. (2019). How language and event recall can shape memory for time. Cognitive Psychology, 108, 1–21.

Xu, X., & Kwok, S.Ch. (2019). Temporal-order iconicity bias in narrative event understanding and memory. Memory, 27(7), 1–12.

Abstract views: 195
PDF Downloads: 124
How to Cite
Oschepkova , V., & Tivyaeva , I. (2019). Memory and Utterance Temporality. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 26(2), 296-320.