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Reframing the Filipino value system: A comparative analysis of award-winning Filipino short stories using frame semantics

Richard Oandasan
Midway Colleges, Inc., Cabanatuan, Philippines. University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines


Long years of colonialism in the Philippines have shaped the way Filipinos think, behave, and perceive their value system. However, this value system has been regarded as irrational and negative over the years. Accordingly, this necessitates a re-understanding of Filipino values, which are collectively termed as “pamantayan,” towards a better appreciation for Filipino identity and cultural heritage. To this end, this paper attempts to demonstrate how the Filipino values are gleaned through the comparative interpretation of the themes of five award-winning Filipino short stories using the frame semantics approach (Fillmore, 1982). The analysis focuses on highlighting positive values through formalist stylistics with lexical and semantic analysis of character’s dialogues and use them to determine the frames they evoke. The analysis reveals that the most common Filipino values reflected in the stories are pride in one’s national identity, appreciation of one’s cultural heritage, love of family, hard work, and indebtedness. Further, the analysis shows that two main frames were evoked namely alienation and nostalgia. The alienation frame evokes elements such as native/native land, co-native, foreigner/foreign land, conflict, and avoidance. Meanwhile, the nostalgia frame includes elements such as the native, foreign land, native stimuli, and emotion. In the final analysis, it can be surmised that the Filipino values are not irrational and negative; conversely, they are rational and positive as depicted in the short stories. Clearly, the frame semantics approach has been a useful framework in further understanding the themes of the stories and reframing the Filipino value system. Accordingly, this framework may be replicated in gaining insights into and an in-depth understanding of cultures across the globe.


frame semantics, stylistics, short stories, Filipino value system

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023