A Comparative Study of Food Metaphors in Filipino and English


Maria Olive Gay Padiernos, Sangcheol Lee

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Lakoff and Johnson (1980), whose work is pioneer in the cognitive approaches to metaphor, suggest that we cognitively interpret metaphors by mapping the relationship between a source and a target domain. According to their theory, metaphor is an ‘ordinary’ part of language, not ‘extraordinary’ both in thought and action as it is conventionalized in our cognitive structure. In cross-linguistic study, however, metaphor is rather seen as cultural-cognitive – as the mapping of metaphorical concepts involves not only a cognitive source but also a cultural source. In metaphorical languages such as Filipino, metaphor serves as an everyday language as it influences Filipino speakers’ attitudes, values, ways of thinking and evaluations. Several of these metaphors, thus far, are remarkably associated with food. Interestingly, English also has its share on the use of food metaphor. Although not pervasively used as an everyday language, some food metaphors found in English are conceptualized similarly to Filipino language in terms of individual’s personality or character, state of mind, state of affairs and living conditions. These food metaphors however, remain culture specific as variation in linguistic expression takes place. This study, therefore, attempts to reveal that there are culture-specific food metaphors in Filipino that manifest similarity (in meaning, interpretation, context and usage) to English food metaphors— hence, undergo the same conceptualization process.


1. Introduction
2. Conceptual Metaphor Theory
3. Cross-cultural Variation of Conceptual Metaphor
4. Food as Metaphors in Filipino and English
4.1 Peels as Food Metaphor
4.2 Character or Personality as Food Metaphor
4.3 The State of Mind as Food Metaphor
4.4 Living Conditions as Food Metaphor
4.5 Taste as Food Metaphor
5. Conclusion


  • Maria Olive Gay Padiernos Chungnam National University
  • Sangcheol Lee Chungnam National University


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