Pakistani Conceptual Metaphors

Conceptual metaphors surface all the time in our daily conversations, yet we are not cognizant of the fact that we are using one concept to relate and explain it to another concept. As a Pakistani-America, I use conceptual metaphors that are both unique to American and Pakistani culture, so I use a wide range of phrases and metaphors to verbalize my thoughts and ideas.

1. “You are an owl’s son” (owl = stupid)

In western culture, an owl is seen as wise because it can see and hunt in the dark, and it can twist its head nearly 360 degrees. However, in Pakistani culture an owl is seen as stupid or foolish because Pakistani people think the nocturnal creature is clueless and aloof during the daytime, which is when diurnal creatures such as ourselves are supposed to be active.

2. “Black and Yellow”   (B&Y = look awful)

This is how Pakistani people describe someone who does not “look to good”. One could be stressed, tired, depressed, nervous and a variety of other emotions, but to be “black and yellow” is to not look like one’s normal self.

3.  “You look like a hero” (Hero = handsome)

This is the ultimate compliment a male can receive. Translate this phrase in any language, and it will still be a form of flattery. When a male is looking good or dressed up to the nines, moms’ and relatives’ will call him a hero, in an accent of course.

About Ozzie Vehra

Osman Vehra is a student at Bucknell University, where he intends on majoring in financial management and accounting. Mr. Vehra grew up in Ridgewood, NJ and has a working proficiency in three languages: English, Urdu and Hindi. He also has an elementary proficiency in Spanish.
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