Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor of General Linguistics, Department of General Linguistics, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran



This research investigates the social identity of the female gender in the Persian and English languages. To fulfil this end, proverbs of both languages, as the linguistic representations of their cultures, were gathered and analyzed based on the Fairclough’s Approach (1989) to discourse analysis. Accordingly, two corpora consisting of 1668 proverbs were collected from both languages (239 proverbs belonged to the English dictionaries and 1429 proverbs belonged to the Persian encyclopedias). The Persian corpus was gathered from Amsal-o-Hekam and Ketab-e-Koucheh encyclopedias, whereas the English corpus was collected from The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs, NTC’s Dictionary of Proverbs and Clichés, and The Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. The collected corpora were compared from a critical discourse analysis perspective. Based on the results obtained from a discursive juxtaposition, four major findings were discovered: First, the female gender displays greater degree of presence in Persian. Second, kinship system is more frequently used in Persian and the familial ties are tighter and stronger than those in the English culture. These findings are in line with the findings of sociologists who believe that family in the eastern societies enjoys a higher degree of solidarity and emotional linkage than in the European countries (Fokkema and Liefbroer 2008); Fokkema, de Jong-Gierveld and Dykstra (2012). Third, as far as the power relationships and the sexual hegemony are concerned, both languages showed nearly equal degrees of sexual discrimination and inequality. Furthermore, we concluded that the Persian language and literature is more caring about and attentive to the female gender. In other words, the female gender has received much more attention in the Persian culture compared to the English culture. As for the kinship system and the familial relationships, the Persian language showed a higher degree of social interactions. Finally, our diachronic comparison showed that the representation of female characters has improved across time as demonstrated by the current data and has gradually moved towards less dominance against the female gender in both Persian and English proverbs


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