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We all use metaphor to make sense of things. For instance, in the West we use the WAR metaphor to talk about and understand illness. We speak of BATTLING a cold, FIGHTING an illness, and the WAR against AIDS. This process is so natural to us that we don’t even think about the fact that we are actually using metaphoric extension (or what I call a cognitive schema process) to understand complex concepts. The use of cognitive schema in this way constrains the meaning we make of things. The choice of metaphor we use (which is cultural) determines our understanding. Other cultures use other metaphors and develop other cognitive schema to understand illness.
This paper will examine the Nepali eating schema used for illness and address the applications that this has for HIV/AIDS prevention messages in the tiny Himalayan country of Nepal.