The Cultural Schemas in the Meranaw Folktales: A Cultural Study

Cultural schemas, Conceptualizations, Cultural Linguistics, Folktales


  • Farraniva S. Acmed-Ismael
    Doctor of Philosophy in Language Studies, Associate Professor at Mindanao State University, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines
June 30, 2021


The rich potential of folktales as a resource on matters of great cultural significance is revealed in this inquiry. In this study, the twenty (20) Meranaw stories (tutul) was scrutinized and evaluated with the critical lens focused this time on the area of cultural conceptualizations. To determine the cultural conceptualizations constructed in folktales, the analytical tool of Cultural Linguistics was used, specifically, the cultural schemas. Findings pertaining to cultural conceptualizations realized through folktales are the following: the Event schemas of courtship and marriage,  honoring of the bride/wife (kapelawi/kalawi), thanksgiving (kakhandori), seasonal festivities (kalilang/kariyala), the Eid prayer (khutbah), and other social gatherings or communal celebrations (pakaradiyaan) are portrayed in the folktales; Role schemas which are not only about achieved and modified social roles or positions in a cultural group, it also includes an expected set of behavior associated with the roles.  The role of a Sultan in his kingdom is depicted in the folktales; Closely related to role schemas are image schemas which provide a structure for certain conceptualizations.  The latter is often readily imagined as iconic images, or popular conceptions of a person, for example, a datu is popularly imagined as a man of noble birth or a scion of the royal clan; Proposition schemas as models of thought and behavior are represented in the folktales by the order and customary law or norms of conduct (taritib ago igma). The two are the threads that establish and maintain relations in the fabric of Meranaw society. Strict adherence to taritib ago igma ensures harmony and order in society; Finally, emotion schemas contains affects and evaluations activated through association with other schemas.  Presumably a very important emotion is Meranaw culture is the sense of shame or loss of face.  Meranaw are a people who take pride in their lineage traced through the family tree (salsila).