HomeIAMURE International Journal of Literature, Philosophy and Religionvol. 7 no. 1 (2015)

A Semantic Analysis of “Pakikisama”, a Key Filipino Cultural Relationship Concept: The NSM Approach

Angela E. Lorenzana

Discipline: Literature, Social Science



The study applied the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) to the investigation of pakikisama or ‘getting along with others’. The study aimed to use language in representing cognition and to identify the elements that make the concepts culture-specific. Hence, the study of a language, especially of its vocabulary, can reveal one’s way of thinking, show the essential features of a particular culture and offer important clues for its distinction from others. Using linguistic evidence as data, the study is a semantic analysis, a type which falls under descriptive-qualitative research. The native meanings of the concepts are couched in cultural scripts offering an objective representation through the use of semantic primitives or semantic primes. To date, there are 63 semantic primes which make possible the bias-free, culture-independent and non-ethnocentric description of the meaning and its comparison with related concepts in other languages. The study includes a semantic explication which reveals the Filipinos’ unique way of looking at things by demonstrating their dominantly inherent ‘group’ cognitive structures. The study recommends that the concepts be compared with those from other ethnolinguistic groups in order to promote goodwill and understanding among people of diverse cultural types.