Appraising the Portrayal of Female Characters in Folktales: A discourse-based study of the Heer Waris Shah


  • Naima Tassadiq University of Sargodha
  • Tazanfal Tehseem University of Sargodha


language, Women Representation, Cultural Effect


This paper aims at exploring the use of language in portraying the characters in folktales by employing Martin and White’s Appraisal Theory (2005). The study focuses on how the female characters are portrayed as an ambassador of the Punjabi culture, and how the protagonist has been attributed through language in the given circumstances. Folktales are embedded into the fabric of every society and the individuals and tales are inextricably linked. Each living society has its folktales that characterize the fundamental texture of that society. Above all, folktales of all locales of the world, races, and religions have widespread examples that rise above the limits and make a whole. The data selected for the present study comprises a folktale of Heer (Shah, 1766) where each stanza comprises 150 to 200 words and 10 to 15 clauses approximately, and transliteration is done by following the IPA standards. The findings reveal that the attitude toward female characterization is the epitome of a patriarchal mindset, though Shah’s Heer is courageous and knows about her rights but is very much at the mercy of the male members of the society. The females are exploited at the hands of males as male-centric voice controls generally through the record and the amount to need of magnanimity in supplementing women or perhaps, this express inclination against them makes his work disturbing.


Ahmad, Z. (2019). Deciphering Waris Shah’s Heer | Literati | The News International. Retrieved December 22, 2021, from

Alsina, V., Espunya, A., & Wirf Naro, M. (2017). An Appraisal Theory Approach to Point of View in Mansfield Park and its Translations. International Journal of Literary Linguistics, 6(1).

Atthakorn, K. (1976). Folklore. New York: Department of Teacher Education, 12.

Devi, B. (2019). Heer: Waris Shah. Think India Journal, 22(27), 317-321. Retrieved from

Dundes, A., & Bronner, S. J. (2007). Meaning of folklore: The analytical essays of Alan Dundes. Utah State University Press.

Fairclough, N. (1995). Media Discourse. London: Edward Arnold.

Gottschall, J., Berkey, R., Cawson, M., Drown, C., Fleischner, M., Glotzbecker, M., & Welch, E. (2003). Patterns of characterization in folktales across geographic regions and levels of cultural complexity. Human Nature, 14(4), 365-382.

Halliday, M. (1985). An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Arnold.

Halliday, M.A.K., & Matthiessen, M.I.M. (2014). Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar. (4th edn). Taylor and Francis Group: Routledge.

Leonardo, Z. (2002). The souls of white folk: Critical pedagogy, whiteness studies, and globalization discourse. Race ethnicity and education, 5(1), 29-50.

Lwin, S. M. (2015). Using folktales for language teaching. The English Teacher, 44(2), 74.

Manggala, S. A. (2017). The transitivity process patterns and styles in the characterization of the protagonist character in Phuoc’s “the story of Tam and Cam.”. Journal of Language and Literature, 17(1), 65-73.

Martin, J. R., & White, P. R. R. (2005). The language of evaluation: appraisal in English. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rodrigues-Júnior, A. S., & Barbara, L. (2013). Linguistic constructions of appraisal in the novel The Picture Of Dorian Gray and its Brazilian translation and adaptations: an exploratory analysis. Revista Brasileira de Linguística Aplicada, 13(1), 259–285.

Swales, J. (1990). Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings (Cambridge Applied Linguistics) (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Syeda, K. F. (2012). Waris Shah and William Shakespeare-the Poets of Passion. International Journal of English and Education, 1(2), 265–271.

Tehseem, T., Faiz, R., Azher, M., & Bokhari, Z. (2021). Exploring the Portrayal of Female Voice in ‘Heer Ranjha’: A Gender-Based Study. Review of Education, Administration & LAW, 4(1), 155–168.

Thompson, S. (1946). The Folktale. New York: The Dryden Press.

Thorns, W. J. (1846). Folk-lore. The Athenaeum, 983(29), 886-7.




How to Cite

Tassadiq, N., & Tazanfal Tehseem. (2023). Appraising the Portrayal of Female Characters in Folktales: A discourse-based study of the Heer Waris Shah. Balochistan Journal of Linguistics, 10, 21. Retrieved from