A Cross-Cultural Study of the Conceptual Metaphor IDEAS ARE FOOD in English and Thai

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Wilasinee Siriboonpipattana


The objectives of this study are to investigate whether the conceptual metaphor IDEAS ARE FOOD is universal or culture-specific, and to examine perception and production of the conceptual metaphor IDEAS ARE FOOD between two groups of native speakers of Thai who are more and less familiar with English. The participants are junior and senior in undergraduate level studying at the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. The participants in the English–major group or the EMG study at the English Department, whereas those in the Thai–major group or the TMG study at the Thai Department. Besides the major subjects of the participants, the CU-TEP English proficiency score is used as a means to distinguish the familiarity with the language of the two groups. A questionnaire, which is a research instrument in this study, concerns the participants’ personal information and the utterances of the conceptual metaphor IDEAS ARE FOOD. The questionnaire aims to obtain data concerning the perception and production of the conceptual metaphor IDEAS ARE FOOD. The results gathered from the questionnaire show that the CU-TEP English proficiency score of the participants from the EMG is higher than those of the TMG. It is also found that the participants from the EMG understand and produce more utterances than those from the TMG. Considering the data from the production section, there are still words that are related to food in the reproduced utterances of the participants from the EMG and the TMG. This reveals that the conceptual metaphor IDEAS ARE FOOD is universal.


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Author Biography

Wilasinee Siriboonpipattana

Wilasinee  Siriboonpipattana  received her B.A. in English with first class honors from Chulalongkorn University. She is currently pursuing her M.Sc. in Clinical Linguistics (Erasmus Mundus European Masters in Clinical Linguistics).


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