Metaphors Across Languages

Author : David Gil and Yeshayahu Shen


Bibliographical references :

David Gil and Yeshayahu Shen. "Metaphors Across Languages: A Questionnaire (short version)".


"The goal of this questionnaire is to provide an overview of metaphorical expressions in a wide variety of the world's languages." (Gil and Shen, questionnaire, p.1)

Protocol summary

The questionnaire is divided in two parts:

- Part 1: there is a list of English words that have to be translated in the investigated language and then described according to their non-literal or metaphorical potential usages. This part gathers: 

  1. perceptions terms
  2. sensory terms
  3. body part terms
  4. texture terms
  5. food terms
  6. travel terms.

- Part 2 : the linguist has to "list as many metaphorical expressions as [they] can think of in [their] language"(Gil and Shen, questionnaire, p.3), according to the following domains:

  1. emotions
  2. mental states and activities
  3. time

Development context

''The questionnaire may be filled out in varying degrees of detail. Realistic response times might vary from half an hour to a few hours. The questionnaire is currently available in English, Indonesian and Portuguese versions, for use by linguists in different contact-language situations.'' (Typological tools for field linguistics website,

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