Analysis of Human-Nature Interaction in the Persian Proverbs: An Ecolinguistics Perspective

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor in Linguistics Ilam University, Ilam, Iran

2 M. A in Linguistics Ilam University, Ilam, Iran


The environmental crisis is one of the most important issues of the 21 st century. Eco linguistics explores the causes of this crisis in language. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effective linguistic factors in the eco - unfriendliness, to explore human interaction with nature, in Persian proverbs, which have high frequency in everyday conversations. The research was conducted using analytical, descriptive and library methods. In the first step, 373 proverbs, randomly and based on Morgan's table, as a suitable statistical society, from the total population of 10, 000 cases, were educed from the e-book “Ten thousand Persian proverbs and twenty five thousand equivalents”, the compilation of Dr. Ibrahim Shakour zadeh Bolouri. Then, the two concepts of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism, based on the Eco linguistics criteria, were examined. The results of the research showed that the majority of the studied samples transmitted the anthropocentric concept, with negative affective meaning. anthropomorphism, is sometimes referred to as a way to avoid anthropocentric insight to nature, but this study showed that in Persian proverbs, human beings in the attribution of their own characteristics to nature allocate negative ones to non-human species. This insight to nature divides the world into “us” and “others” poles. The bipolar view of the world in this age may be the source of many important global issues. Part of the proverbs referred to other concepts, except for the two above- mentioned concepts, such as specialism, eco centrism, and environmental metaphors, which were used in statistical sections. Using the same pronouns for human and non-human beings, collocations of verbs such as (know, believe, etc) with non-human species and the concept of eco centrism with positive affective meaning, were observed in Persian proverbs. The use of proverbs of this kind can have a positive effect on human attitude toward nature. Language speaker should consider negative dimensions of language use. Therefore, it can be said that speakers need to identify the harmful aspects of using language and be careful in using it.


Main Subjects

Berman, T., 1994.  The Rape Of Mother Nature: Women in the Language of Environmental Discourse, the trumpeter, Journal of Ecosophy, Vol 11, No. 4. pp. 258-269.
Bezi Hosseinzadeh, F., 2009. Ecolinguistic Discourse Analysis in Persian. MA thesis, Isfahan: Isfahan University. [In Persian]
Boel, L., 2005. Expressions of Ecocriticism, Nourozi, A., Fathali, H., Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies. [In Persian]
Chawla, S., 1991. linguistic and philosophical roots of our environmental crisis, Environmental Ethics, Vol 13, Issue 3, pp. 115-123.
Chen, S., 2016. Language and ecology a content analysis of ecolinguistics as an emerging research field. Ampersand, Vol 3, pp 108-116.
Fill, A., 1998. Ecolinguistics: state of the art, Language Sciences, Vol 23, No 1, pp. 3-16.
Ghatreh, F & Poshtvan, H & Talebi- Dastenaei- M., 2015. Ecological Approach in Linguistic Research, Journal of Zabanshenakht. Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Vol 11, No 6, pp 231-243. [In Persian]
Ghiasian, M.A & Shirini, A., 2016. An Ecolinguistic Approach to Anthropocentrism in Defining Animals in Moin Persian Dictionary. Journal of Researches in Linguistics. Vol 1, No 8, pp 53-10. [In Persian]
Goatly, A., 1996. Green grammar and grammatical metaphor, Journal of Pragmatics, Vol 25, Issue 4, pp 537-560.
Hajjar leib, L., 2017. Human Rights and the Environment (Philosophical, theoretical and Legal Perspectives), Reza Amini, Tehran: SAMT. [In Persian]
Halliday, M., 1990. New ways of meaning: The challenge to applied linguistics, Journal of applied linguistics, Vol 6, pp 7-36.
Haugen, E., 1972. The ecology of language, Stanford: Stanford University press.
Heuberger, R.,  2017 .Overcoming Anthropocentrism With Anthropomorphic and Physiocentric Uses of Language. In A. Fill, & H. Penz, The Routledge Handbook of Ecolinguistics. London: Routledge.
Jung, M. , 1996.  ecological criticism of language, in A. Fill, & P. Mühlhӓusler,  The ecolinguistics reader: language, ecology and environment . London and New York: Continuum. retrieved .2001
Le Vasseur, T.,  2015 . Difining ecolinguistics: Challenging emic issues in an evolving environmental discipline, J Environ stud sci, Vol 5, pp21-28.
Lindo A & Simonsen s., 2000 . The dialectics and varieties of agancy - the ecology of subject, person and agent, The symposium 30 years of language and ecology, Graz: university of odense.
Norenzayan, Ara  & Hansen, Ian G & Cady, Jasmine., 2008.  An Angry Volcano: Reminders Of Death And Anthropomorphizing Nature, Social Cognition, Vol 26, No 2, pp 190-197.
Parsapour, Z., 2013a. About Ecocriticism. Compilation, Introduction and Editing, Nourozi, A & Fathali, H., Tehran, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studie. [In Persian]
Parsapour, Z., 2013b. Ecocriticism. Tehran, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies. [In Persian]
Rakei, F & Naeimi, H, F., 2016. Metaphor and Ecocriticism- case study "Gileh Mard" & "Az Khame Chamber". Tehran, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies. Vol 1, No 7, pp 89-63. [In Persian]
Sealey, A & Okley, L., 2013. anthropomorphic grammar: some linguistic patterns in the wildlife documentary series life, De Gruyter mouton, Vol 33, No 3, pp 399-420.
Serpell, J. A., 2002.  Anthropomorphism and Anthropomorphic Selection—Beyond the “Cute Response, ”Society and Animales, Vol 10, No 4, pp.437-454
Shahnaseri, Sh., 2009. The Role of the Language and Science in Intensifying Environmental Crisis: An Ecolinguistics Perspective, Journal of Language and linguistics. Vol 10, No 5, pp 1-27. [In Persian]
Shakourzadeh, A., 1993. Ten Thousand Persian Proverbs and Twenty- Five Equivalent,  Mashhad, Astan-e Qods-e Razavi. [In Persian]
Stibbe, A., 2015.  Ecolinguistics, Ferdos Aghagolzadeh & Translation group, Tehran, Neveeseh- parsi. [In Persian]
Stibbe, A., 2017. A story of ecolinguistics,The second international symposium of ecolinguistics. Beijing, China.
Volume 11, Issue 2
February 2021
Pages 1-24
  • Receive Date: 05 August 2020
  • Revise Date: 20 November 2020
  • Accept Date: 25 November 2020
  • First Publish Date: 25 November 2020