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Revista San Gregorio

versão On-line ISSN 2528-7907versão impressa ISSN 1390-7247

Revista San Gregorio  no.38 Portoviejo Jan./Mar. 2020 

Estudio de caso

Lyrical Structuralism in Contemporary Poetry with an Emphasis on the Poem "The Song of Knitting Wool"

El estructuralismo lírico en la poesía contemporánea con énfasis en el poema "The Song of Knitting Wool"

Ali Ruhbakhsh Mobasseri

Reza Ashrafzadeh

Batool Fakhr Eslam

1Islamic Azad University, Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran.

2Full Professor and Faculty Member of Islamic Azad University, Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran.

3Islamic Azad University, Neyshabur Branch, Neyshabur, Iran


La "canción de la codorniz" se encuentra entre los impresionantes poemas del gran poeta contemporáneo, Mahdi Akhavan Thaleth; Además de tener un lenguaje dialectal y contener palabras fraccionales, el poema presenta una maravillosa variedad de sentidos y literatura lírica. Desde la perspectiva lingüística, "la canción de las codornices" es una muestra vívida de la aplicación de los sonidos del poeta para inducir sus sentimientos afectuosos a los lectores.En el primer paso, este estudio buscó mostrar las propiedades líricas y generadoras de símbolos de la poesía de Akhavan (con una mirada particular a la canción de la codorniz) y capturar el estructuralismo sociopolítico de la obra para llegar a su estructuralismo lírico; En el segundo paso, el estudio trató de investigar la representación del poeta de los sentidos en el poema, que comúnmente se denomina el efecto de las vocales sobre el significado. Lo que se puede contar como el logro de la presente investigación es el incentivo de los sentimientos afectivos basados ​​en las vocales inductivas y la sociología del trabajo. Basado en una percepción libre de la teoría por el francés Maurice Grammont y el ruso Roman Jakobson, el presente estudio concluyó que la alineación de las vocales con las significaciones del poema resultó en un aumento de la función poética y que dicha alineación podría intensificar el significado y también que la coordinación podría impedir la percepción del significado si no estuviera alineado con las denotaciones de las palabras.

Palabras clave: Mahdi Akhavan Thaleth; Canción de codorniz; Sonidos e inducciones; Literatura lírica; Estructuralismo; Maurice Grammont


The “song of quail” is amongst the impressive poems by the great contemporary poet, Mahdi Akhavan Thaleth; apart from having a dialectal language and containing factional words, the poem presents a marvelous array of senses and lyrical literature. From the linguistic perspectives, “the song of quail” is a vivid sample of the poet’s application of sounds for inducing his affectionate feelings to the readers. In the first step, this study sought showing the lyrical and symbol-generating properties of Akhavan’s poetry (with a particular glance at the song of quail) and capturing the sociopolitical structuralism of the work thereby to arrive at its lyrical structuralism; in the second step, the study tried investigating the poet’s depiction of senses in the poem which is commonly termed the effect of vowels on the meaning. The thing that can be recounted as the present research’s accomplishment is the affectionate feelings’ inducement based on inductive vowels and sociology of the work. Drawn on a free perception of the theory by the French Maurice Grammont and the Russian Roman Jakobson, the present study concluded that the alignment of the vowels with the poem’s significations resulted in the increase in the poetical function and that such an alignment could intensify the meaning and also that the coordination could bar the perception of the meaning if it was not aligned with the words’ denotations.

Keywords: Mahdi Akhavan Thaleth; Song of quail; Sounds and inductions; Lyrical literature; Structuralism; Maurice Grammont.


The morphological investigation of the great literary works entails a vast breadth of such sciences as psychology, sociology and linguists. Relying on linguistic and sociological study of the song of quail, the present study has arrived at the recognition of its lyrical literature.

Figuring out the reason for the selection of the name “song of quail” by the poet helps comprehending the work in general, on the one hand, and serves the addition of symbols as the stylistic characteristic of Akhavan Thaleth’s poetry, on the other hand,

Quail is a bird called Karrak in Persian; it is smaller than partridge; it is named Salvi in Arabic and Belderchin in Turkish (Borhan) (Anandraj); it also has other names in Persian such as Vartidge, Samaneh, Badbadeh, Budaneh, Salvi, Samanat and Samani (Dehkhoda, 1995, v.11, 16108, under the title of Karrak).

Quail is from the family “pheasant” and the race galliformes. Its sound is composed of three syllables and it is similar to the rainy weather. The hunters take advantage of two ways for capturing it alive: the first way is “spreading a trap and installing a colorful tent above it and decorating it with colorful stones or images and illustrations and placing seeds on the trap. Upon seeing the images and colorful stones, the bird comes to the trap and falls into it” (Ashrafzadeh, 2009, v.2, p.904).

The quail is a symbol of a deceived person who falls in the trap of material lusts. The second method of hunting the quail or Karrak is that “the hunters imitate the sound of the opposite sex” (see also Akhavan Thaleeth, 2005, p.153). This bird, wishing to visit its beloved, falls in the trap; this issue has been used by Akhavan as a tool for creating a novel symbol in Persian literature; the symbol’s theme is the stimulation of the affectionate feelings for the prey’s entrapment.

Statement of the Problem and Study Question

Like any other poem, the song of quail features lingual niceties, on the one hand, and the things seen and heard in the poem’s words enable a deep conception of the poet’s peripheral world, on the other hand. However, how linguistics and sociology can be matched and what would be the result? How much such an alignment of the messages and vowels’ directions is realized real? Or, in other words, how do vowels influence the affections? The study problem is formed here.

The thing that we recognize from the political setting of that period is the effect of the faction of the Iranian people’s masses on the thought of many of the enlightened minds during the 1950s and 1960s. Even assuming Akhavan’s being a member of the party of the Iranian people’s masses, how much song of quail can be a reflection of the factional mindsets? Of course, it was more suitable if we looked at individual psychology for clarifying the song of quail? But, the present study’s scope is so narrow that it cannot even comfortably deal with the lingual and social morphology so sufficiency was made to the investigation of the most accentuated corners of this painting tableau.

Song of quail is drawn on the factional and police literature and guides the audience towards the sociopolitical world of Iran during those years and also towards the idea that why Akhavan Thaleth, as a poet in the focal point of the party of Iranian masses’ attention, has not become a fan of the party of Iranian masses never in such a way that his name can be embedded in the party’s chart? In fact, the song of quail is the artificial sound made by the hunters who intended to hunt the opposite mindset via giving void hopes.


In order to investigate such works, the best and the most important reference is the artwork itself but use has been made of library research for collecting and processing the information. Disregarding the linguistic attitude, the present study was an effort for portraying the then social and political situation in brief. However, the study dealt with the study’s main plan which was the very lyrical morphology of the song of quail more than the other sections. Such a morphological investigation, as well, has been carried out based on the linguistic studies by Roman Jakobson and Maurice Grammont.

Background of the Study

Mahdi Akhavan Thaleth is a poet who has been greatly studied by the academicians; hence, there are written many criticisms about his works. In addition to the books that have investigated the poems by this great figure in Persian literature (the most important of which were utilized herein), there are countless articles written in this regard, as well. The followings are the most important researches published in the area of morphological study of Akhavan’s poems:

Stylistic analysis of Akhavan’s poetry (then, after the thunder) with a function-oriented approach by Dr. Professor Mustafa Aasi and Dr. Mohsen Nobakht; it was published in the journal of linguistics, fall and winter, 2012, pp.69-98. The study revolves more about the exploration of Halliday’s lingual pattern and function; it also investigates the function of language and function of words.

Deviations in the poetical collection “from this Avesta” by Dr. Ishaq Toqiyani and Dr. Somayyeh Sadeghian in the journal of contemporary Persian literature, spring and summer, 2012, pp.61-79; as it is understood from the title, the study emphasized on the various kinds of lexical, syntactic, phonological, temporal and semantic deviations.

The standpoint of ancient language in the poetry by Akhavan Thaleth by Dr. Professor Mazaher Mosaffa and Dr. Sayed Mansour Jamali; it is more about the stylistics and lexical archaism as well as the lingual level of Akhavan’s works.

Succinct linguistic investigation of two samples of contemporary poetry by Dr. Ameneh Zaheri Abdvand; the article, as well, investigated the verbal and discourse foregrounding. Dealing with Roman Jakobson’s lingual functions and investigating the divergence aspects of poetry and prose, the study presented distinct materials in this regard.

Besides giving a short glance at the fundamental linguistic topics, including the deviations and lingual functions and so forth, the current research adopted a novel approach to the effect of the vowels on the human affections. The history of such researches has been solely seen in the book “sounds and inductions” by Mahvash Ghadimi. The thing that has been studied herein was a different and more serious approach to the vowels in the Persian language.

Sociopolitical Morphology of the Song of Quail

Party of Iranian People Masses

Disregarding the nature of the party of Iranian people masses, this government`s opposition was very fascinating on the surface. The party of Iranian people’s masses was in consistency in terms of its political attitudes to the then enlightened minds. Their attitudes were composed of three substantial parts: 1) constitutionalism; 2) socialism; and 3) nationalism: “the enlightened minds realized constitutionalism, materialism and nationalism in three vital means for success in the creation of a modern, strong and advanced Iran. They used to say that the first, counteracts the sultanate’s reactive power; the second, decreases the traditional influence of the clergymen and the third, cuts the imperialist colonialists’ claws” (Abrahamian, 2011, p.57).

But, the issue that was neglected by the then real enlightened minds was the nature of politics. Its nature is entirely false and deceptive; it is a nature that can help an anti-constitutionalism look like a constitutionalist and foster materialist clergymen and have nationalist traitor. Such metrics are either played as toys by the children or used as weapons by the falsifiers for removing the oppositions. It is here that the song of quail is formed:

  1. “It is bad … bad bad … the route of every messenger and message and news is closed”

  2. “Not only the wind and feather but the plume of the vision is also tied”

  3. “The cage is narrow and the door is shut”

  4. “O’ dear quail, you are right, you sang well, what a nice song!”

  5. “I will let this bitter song of yours fly …”

  6. “It is bad … Bad Bad … Both smile and oath were false”

  7. “Every vow and smile is false”

“And, even the euphonious song of the mate thirsty for bond …” (Akhavan Thaleth, 2004, p.17)

The root of all these pessimism in such a person as Akhavan who does not even allow his hopeful voice to speak should be sought in the disasters with which the then true enlightened minds were inflicted. It is enough to investigate the democratic or constitutionalism roots to find out interesting results:

Schumpeter (1976) stated: “democracy cannot offer anything more than the possibility of replacing a certain leader or political faction with another leader and political faction. Democracy is the governance of the politicians not the governance of the people. Politicians are the dealers of votes the same way that the brokers deal shares in the stock market” (cited in Giddens, 2012, p.347).

Dialectic Rationale

What does dialectic mean? Or, what is known by the author as dialectic?

In fact, the perfect definition of dialectic is beyond the present study’s scope. However, we were compelled to investigate the part that was related to the present study’s subject. Apparently, this rationale speaks of a dispute that is always accompanied by quarrels and questioning and answering. But, what are the things this dispute quarrels about?

In Hegel’s mind, dialectic is the trend of thoughts through thesis (status) and antithesis (opposite status) and synthesis (combined status). It can be explained in this way that thesis is a requirement and antithesis is a denial or deprivation thereof and synthesis is the denial of what has been denied that includes the preservation of the correct results stemming from the opposition of the two prior introductions. Hegel’s dialectic is laid on the foundation of the confrontation between two paradoxical matters (with their opposition being gradually decreased)

” (Najafi, cited in Sartre, 2010, p.294).

The dialectic movement of thought became the essential component of Marxists without Marx having pointed thereto and, of course, dialectic materialism attitudes sprouted from the heart of this type but they were essentially rejected hence they were not discussed herein.

The human plans have two sides: the success side and the failure side … the fellows of practice see the success side and the poet sees the failure side

” (Sartre, 2010, p.73).

This dialectic logic that leads to synthesis in the song of quail demonstrates a state of the poet’s sadness and sorrow for the humanity’s failure (and not just the failure of the party of the people’s masses). This subject is a vivid manifestation in many of the works by Akhavan during those years and the song of quail had its own share thereof. In the song of quail, he sought humiliating the corporeal behaviors and the values of the society that have lost their value. As a vivid presentation of the Greeks’ myth of Sisyphus, “Inscription” is expressive of this same situation.

The song of quail is actually the human manifestation of Akhavan Thaleth. Upon finding the sweetness of the days of his marriage to his cousin (Iran Akhavan Thaleth) coincided with the bitter moments of the coup on the 19th of August, 1953, Akhavan found the best way for expressing the social and internal duality in dialectic rationale. He began this poem with a hateful and fierce sense: “It is bad … bad bad”.

The thesis of the song of quail begins with a question asked by Akhavan from the hope-givers:

After this protest, it takes a little time that a sound (neither near nor far) is heard from the hope in an accent signifying its nullity and it becomes an antithesis for “it is bad … bad bad”:

  1. “O’ dear quail, you sing well!”

  2. “I will let this clean song of yours fly in this sad inhabited ruin land”

  3. “Like the smell of your burnt wings

“If you came to terms with your own self; be ready in a cozy den” (Akhavan, 2005, p.151)

It is clearly untold that Akhavan is so tired that he cannot be returned to the path. The song of quail is a full-length scheme of the whereabouts of the then time at which Akhavan is 28 years old. All the efforts made by this sound to bring him back seem to be in vain:

  1. “O’ dear quail, you were right; you sang well; what a nice song!”

  2. “I will let this bitter song of yours fly …” (Ibid)

It is even clear in the image that the tired Akhavan does not allow the hopeful Akhavan and he stops his own words in the following way:

  1. “It is bad … bad bad … the smile and the oath were both lies”

  2. “False is every vow and every smile”

  3. “And, even the euphonious song of the mate thirsty for bond …” (Ibid)

From this point on, the engagement somehow peaks. In fact, the above poem marked the apex of this thesis and antithesis. That mourning sound speaks hopefully once again; it seems as if the antithesis has become tired and it does not like or cannot justify and the thesis has also become tired of mourning and shouting and they both gradual reach a temporary tranquility. It seems as if Akhavan gradually comes to terms with his own self and his own world (in this poem) and soothes and calms down himself by the means of the song of quail (Hariri, 2007, p.110).

Lingual Structuralism in the Song of Quail

Indicators of Verbal Action and the Role of the Six Lingual Functions

In structuralism, the smallest lingual unit is believed to have a role or function. In fact, the function is considered as the factor distinguishing the words and creating meaning. Before entering the discussion on Roman Jakobson’s theory, the intention of the two words` function and form is precisely clarified so that such lingual secrets could be unraveled. To do so, the example by Saussure is brought to the attention:

To clearly understand it in the realm of literature, assume that the word “Sad” (equivalent in English to crow or raven) is sealed to the extent that the letter “d” is placed in a distance from the letter “r” in writing; then, when the letter “r” is seen, the word appears in a different form serving a different function, i.e. “Sar” (equivalent in English to crew) which is a part of the body. Now, if the form is left unchanged and only the function (matter) is differentiated, the recognition would become harder (but possible). This state is known in literature as total paranomasia or simply “pun” such as in “wind of nothingness” in Mowlana’s Naynameh (with two functions of wind of nothingness and wind of destruction). But, the issue is not solely pertinent to total pun because the function of the word does not change rather some factors outside the text change the function of the word (to wit its meaning). It was pointed out in the sociopolitical investigation of the song of quail that the term hope features a factional signification; now, the same issue was also proposed in linguistics that the term “hope” is only similar in its shape to its lexicographical form but it aims at another subject in its essence or matter and plays a different role. Now, if the first paragraph of the poem “song of quail” is read again, something else might be perceived:

“It is bad … bad bad … what a hope? … What a faith?” (Akhavan Thaleth, 2005, p.151)

Jakobson’s theory aims at this point that the message cannot alone transfer all the semantic load from the addresser (sender) to the addressee (receiver) and other elements like contact (communication path), common code and context are needed in order to be able to do so; these six elements altogether create meaning and transfer a sense in interaction with (or in presence or absence of) one another.

Lingual Functions from the Perspective of Roman Jakobson

Jakobson investigated this issue in details on page

121 of his linguistics and poetics. The following (Table 1) has provided a summary thereof:

Table 1 Jakobson investigated this issue in details 

The question here is that does every utterance (sentence) serve only one single lingual function? The answer is negative. The utterances sometimes shoulder different functions. For example, in the poem “song of quail”, the utterance “O’ dear quail, you sing well!”, it can have both the sympathizing and encouraging functions. This difference is in the existence or nonexistence of the addressee (listener).

In more simple terms, if an individual tells oneself when alone that “Wow!”, it has an affective function; but, if this word is expressed in the presence of a listener, it serves a sympathizing function since the message aims at the contact between two individuals. So, two things seem necessary in supplementing this table:

  1. - The dominant element specifies the function which is termed as the outstanding role. In more simple terms, the first and the closest perception that strikes the mind can be called the dominant element or the outstanding function. This same style has been implemented in the table below.

  2. - The following table has been arranged with the existence of the addressee. As for such dominant elements, an example is presented from the song of quail so as to illuminate the intention:

  3. “Not only the wing and feather but also the plume of vision is tied”

  4. “The cage is narrow and the door is shut” (Akhavan, 2005, p.152)

In the first place, the thing that obsesses the mind is the protest, the affective and the sympathizing dimensions of which, are prominent from the perspective of the writer and the addressee, respectively, whereas, based on the previous table, this utterance serves a referring role and features a declarative dimension, the falseness or trueness of which, can be investigated. But, it is too simplistic if it is considered as playing a referring role because the dominant element (from the perspective of the speaker) is the affective function. So, keeping this explanation in mind, the referring function plays a less accentuated role in a poem so the referring role (that is more applied by the journalists than by the poets) has been neglected herein (Figure 1).

However, the issue becomes related to the role of vowels in the words as far as Maurice Grammont’s theory is concerned and this issue has been investigated on its right place (Table 2).

Table 2 Investigating the Lingual Functions in the song of quail 

Figure 1 Investingating the percentages of the lingual functions ferquencies in the sog of quail 

Several points have to be made here:

The metalingual function is a thorough discussion that has been dealt with later; the poetical role of song of quail embraces all these functions.

The set of the paragraphs that are apparently separate but falling in the same group in semantic regards have been assumed to be of a single type in the investigation of the above table (such as enjambment the in classical poems).

The result obtained from the above table is reflective of the domination of the affective elements in the song of quail. As it was mentioned before, the poet was in a quarrel with his own self (poetical dialectic) but, in the course of this quarrel, he did not neglect the poem’s encouraging role that stemmed from Akhavan’s Ferdowsi-like dispositions (the illuminating poetical disposition) and he offerred poetical solutions (poetical synthesis) for overcoming this ideological duality. The notable point is that the dominant element is the introversion and affective element in the majority of the poems by Akhavan and even in most of the works written in this period (and afterwards) with its social result being indicative of the hopelessness governing the enlightened minds and, particularly, the authors’ peripheral settings.

Signs in the Song of a Quail

“Who is the person capable of distinguishing the green color of the apple from the sour freshness thereof?” (Sartre, 2010, p.51)

Language is a network of signs. Every signifier has been associated with a signified in our minds. Saussure called this mental association “sign” (cited in Caller, 2012, p.105). But, before entering the important and very complicated topic of signs, several concepts have to be investigated in this regard.

Convention and Creation of Meaning

Then it comes to structuralism; a system (network) of signs is immediately imagined that altogether produces meaning. However, two words seem to be ambiguous in this definition: 1) network and 2) meaning production.

Network is the environment, the elements of which, are interconnected based on certain conventions. Assume that stadium, football yard, spectators, players, referees and the relations governing them have not been defined (do not have meaning or are not existent) in a football match. Then, if a player repeatedly kicks the ball into the framework (goal), he will be considered as a person who has not only scored no goal but also as a psychotic that has to be cured. Now, assume that the football match has a meaning but a spectator does not know these conventions. The spectator sees all the movements and actions on the field the way they occur and cannot arrange these phenomena at one another’s side and perceive and give a meaning to the reason for the behaviors and actions of the game’s elements. Let us get back to the definition. Language is a network of signs. So, every artwork (contemporary or classic) includes conventions that produce meaning in conjunction with one another but how?

“Rule is the factor giving rise to meanings” (Caller, 2010, p.117).

How can a rule (such as the relations governing a football match) produce meaning? The very important issue pointed out by Jonathan Caller is the investigation of the rules and behaviors and their roles in the creation of meaning; the example presented by Kurosh Safavi in this regard expresses everything: “based on a rule of our cultural system, every person who has married puts on a ring on the second finger of the left hand so that it can be clear that s/he has married. This is not a rule because the jewelry shopkeeper does not ask for the marriage deed for selling the ring … the issue is that it is possible for the behavior to distance away from a rule and this same blank space may produce numerous meanings. Now, the following imaginations (meanings) are formed if a person is observed with no ring on finger: 1) the ring has become tight; 2) he has not married; 3) he does not like his wife; 4) he has lost his ring; 5) he has sold his ring for financial needs and so forth (see also, Ibid, p.378).

In the poem “the song of quail”, rules can be placed in three sets:

  1. - Ethical rules such as goodness, badness, lie, oath, bond, hope, faith, truthfulness and so on

  2. - Behavioral rules like flying, singing, burnt wings, sitting at a corner, being alone, departure from the dears, shedding tears, grieving, being a servant of time, singing together, drinking and so forth

  3. - Sensory rules like bitterness, thirstiness, feeling love, being in hardship and failure and so on

It is evident that many of these intellectual, behavioral and ethical forms are shared by the human beings in such a way that issues like badness, lie, singing, shedding tears and failure would be understandable for many of the human beings if the poem is translated. But, the main point here is that the rules have special meanings in every land and there are few rules with the identical definitions all around the world; such as thirst or sadness. In most of the countries, the sensory rules are identical but the ethical and behavioral rules are different. This issue can be found out from the method in which they treat the rules and axioms. For instance, despite being understood identically, lying instigates different reactions. Lying is a denounced axiom in the whole world but telling a lie may cost a person his or her job in a country and it may cause the cutting of a body organ in another country and it may yet be commonly exercised but verbally denounced in another country.

The point that has to be made here is the difference between the convention and rule. A rule might be accepted by some and rejected by others but convention is set based on two person’s agreement. In arranging the present study, the author ignored the difference between rule and convention. So, rules show the relationship between the components and, in an artwork, these relationships are the results of the techniques that are applied sometimes consciously and more unconsciously and beyond the speakers’ intention. Here, the discussion came to a statement by Kant: “art and literature have non-conceptual natures and the complexity of an artwork cannot be reduced to logical predicates. In other words, it is not possible to overlook the form of beauty. In formalists’ ideas, one should be seeking for the discovery of the techniques in lieu of searching for the concept of the artwork. This is the very purport of a saying by Victor Shklovsky, another great formalist theoretician, that “art is exactly a technique” (Ahmadpour, 2010, pp.306-307).

Many individuals mistakenly consider formalism as a school that does not give managing any value! Anyway, the fact that rules produce meanings cannot be denied and the thing called implication and interpretation is formed in these rules.

The result of investigating the rules applied in the song of quail is that the sensory rules dominate the overall work. In fact, Akhavan completely astutely (or completely unconsciously) realized (or finds) the behavioral and ethical rules as being defeated against the sensory rules. As an example, in regard of the ethical-behavioral rule of bond and pact, he rejected both in a completely intellectual manner and composed: “both smile and vow were false …” and he did not offer any reason and logics (in a way specific to poetry; this will be dealt with in the forthcoming parts) except “it is bad … bad bad …”. Since such sign-bearing networks cause the creation of various interpretations and result in the production of an open-ended text, one can rule that Akhavan is a symbolist poet:

  1. Symbol: icon, index and symbol

If you want to show shouting in a painting tableau, you will surely resort incumbently to the signs for showing the presence and making the observers perceive the shout due to the inaccessibility of sound. Even if your painting tableau can produce sound, the sound that is broadcasted as a shout from that painting tableau would be a figure of the shout. In fact, it is associated in your mind with the shout.

So, signs attach the language’s unreal world to the world’s real language:

“The symbolic language, the realm of which incorporates the literary works, is structurally a multilayer language with its codes having been constructed like those of any other speech” (Barthes, 2011, p.63).

However, Saussure divided these signs into three sets: 1) icon; 2) index and 3) symbol (cited in Caller, 2010, p.36).

  1. - Icon: It is a real sign of the real world. For example, a tree is drawn on a painting tableau and it is associated with a real tree. Such signs depict a completely normal world.

  2. - Index: This type of sign needs to be interpreted. As an example, you see smoke and figure out the existence of fire. This index (guide) has things to do with the real but absent world and occasionally challenges the mind.

  3. - Symbol: It is also known as code and it is one of the most widely applied signs. Symbolism is the product of the authors’ large deal of attention to this lingual possibility. As the present study’s author thought, the reason for the vast use and application of symbols by many of the writers can be summarized in several factors:

  1. 1) Escaping the censorship pressures and bypassing it

  2. 2) Creation of a meaning beyond reality and granting a new meaning to the subject of symbol

  3. 3) Acceptance without philosophization; i.e. rendering the acceptance of the discussion subject easier

  4. 4) Creation of a multilayer text and the resultant text’s multiple interpretations

Each of the above reasons can be a headline of a school of thought. So, such a vast and powerful sign cannot be considered devoid of any importance. The thing that was called mimesis by the antecedents is somehow (and, of course, not exactly) the same symbolic language. They believed that “the poetry’s identity-constructing element is mimesis … the majority of the philosophers realized one of the two primary reasons of the poetry creation as the pleasure latent in the poetical mimesis” (Zarghani, 2013, p.60) with this pleasure being nothing other than joy of acceptance without philosophization which is an old dispute between the poets and the philosophers with the latter knowing the former and their works as being useless due to their describing of mimesis as an imitation of the imitated world. An example of this issue also exists in the song of quail: the symbol used by Akhavan in a bird called quail, the alive hunting of which, was previously told; since this subject also exists in the nature, the poet used it to construct an image to explain his contemporary conditions (without any philosophization for finding a logical relationship between image and concept; this logic is called poetical rationale). Akhavan’s poetical philosophy was formed as stated in the following words: since quail has no way to escape the conspiracy of its hunt, the poet thinks of such a lack of option as a reason for shedding tears and residing in seclusion; such a type of philosophization does not satisfy the logicians and those who hope in the reformation of the conditions at all. This is possibly why Akhavan is wanted to be and called the poet of failure. Anyhow, the logicians know poets as defeated and failed human beings and poets realize the philosophers as the existence compass’s focal point that turn around and wander about incessantly.

The symbols of the song of quail can be divided into two sets:

  1. 1) Conventional symbols

  2. 2) Personal symbols (see also Ahmadpour, 2010, p.55)

The conventional symbols are sometimes envisioned as the very dead metaphors and occasionally as the icons. In fact, the thing that matters in symbols is the creation of novel and personal symbols. And, of course, the success of the personal symbols lies in their correct selection hence they have to be seminally in compliance with the intellectual culture of a region and, secondly, the understanding of their forms should not wear out the mind.

Akhavan’s song of quail symbolized the human beings who do not want to believe in a sound other than the voice of their beloved and it is this same pure wish that becomes a trap for their entanglement and restraint. The selection of such an image for expressing the individual and social conditions has been so right and pertinent (from the perspective of poetical philosophy) that it became a component of the Persian language’s symbols and a sort of semantic widening was somehow formed.

“It is bad … bad bad” is an index signifying a value of “song of quail” that, apart from the language indexing, has a concept latent therein. The index reaches its peak when use is made of a coordinator and catalyst for rendering easier the acceptance of these words (acceptance without philosophization):

  1. “It is bad … bad bad … false was both the smile and the oath”

  2. “False is every vow and every smile”

  3. “And, even the euphonious song of the mate thirsty for bond …” (Akhavan Thaleth, 2005, p.152)

But, the sign used in the end of the work demands a state in the understanding of which the audience should not be inflicted with another challenge or entanglement or engage in another interpretation. The best choice is the creation of an icon for understanding the state:

  1. “How nice is sitting alone and shedding tears softly”

  2. “Drinking a beaker-away from the dears-every night, in the corner of a bedchamber” (Ibid, p.153)

An icon like sitting alone and secluding and shedding tears is understandable without any interpretation for all of the human beings worldwide but the dear is a symbol and code that can have a special meaning in every era and in every place.

However, in between, the dead metaphors have also been applied under the title of conventional symbols; for instance, “the cage is tight and the door is shut” which is perfectly a sign of a dead metaphor. But, there is only one reason why a prestigious poet like Akhavan commits such a suicide forthrightly: prevention of various perceptions or, in more simple language, making it more understandable for every one (without tiring the mind).

Investigating the Role of Sounds in Message Induction

The theory of inducer’s coordination (hormonie suggestive) was first founded by the French theorist, Maurice Grammont. Such coordination is of the phonological type that, aside from the word’s meaning, shoulders the burden of inducing the senses and moods of that word. In our rhetorical techniques, the phonological coordination more features a tint and odor of phonotactics and phonemes’ repetition with the latter being divided into two kinds of natural and musical (see also Vahidian, Kamiyar, 2012a, p.17).

Such a coordination brings about softness and delicacy, stress and emphasis and unity in plurality and so forth. However, the inducer’s coordination speaks of another world. It is not even related to Rene Volk’s theory of melody and song (orchestration). “Since the symbolists’ era on, … many poets realized sounds as inductors inducing shape and volume, color and odor and motion” (Ghavimi, 2005, p.9).

Let us make a deal; from now on, the inducer’s coordination is called a sensological technique or array that can induce the readers with certain senses.

Investigation of Maurice Grammont’s Theory

This theory is based on two important subjects: 1) repetition and 2) the sound’s name (Onomatopoeia in English and Onomatopee in French).

Repetition seems a little different from our rhetorical techniques; but, they are the same in their essential nature in such a way that two words should not have an identical meaning in the science of pun, meaning that the two words should be repetition of one another in form (shape) but act differently in meaning (function). For example, the Persian word “Bār” has several meanings like fruit, times, permission and so forth with these meanings being temporally different. In fact, the investigation of such a technique as pun is the investigation of the words in time (called diachronique in French) whereas the simultaneity of the words (equivalent in French to synchronique) is intended in Maurice Grammont’s idea of repetition (of course, not exclusively).

It is clearly untold that the beauty of pun is increasingly higher than the repetition and adding to the frequency of the consonants’ use. But, our experts of rhetorical speech realized “it is bad … bad bad …” as just repetition and they even called it onomatopoeia with a degree of clear-sightedness while a vast part of its beauty lies in the coordination of the sounds’ induction (sensology) with the explanation being that the thing proposed by our experts of rhetorical speech is also true but not exclusive.

In Maurice Grammont’s theory, repetition is not a new thing for us unless it is granted phonological coordination. He only spoke of repetition whereas our experts of rhetorical speech have defined various types for repetition such as the lexical displacement that brought about order in the following two verses in the readers’ minds; the beauty comes about where music goes on but the words stop advancing and are disorganized only in their order. In such cases, emphasis can be realized as a factor giving rise to understanding:

  1. “… False was both smile and oath”

  2. “False is every oath and every smile” (Akhavan Thaleth, 2005, p.152)

  3. And. Of course, there is a differential pun between “every” and “both” as well as a redundant pun in “softly” in the following verse: “… shedding tears, softly” (Ibid, 153).

However, Grammont’s theory took another color because it entered onomatopoeia, the discussion about which, cannot be valuable because it is the formation of a word in the language by the sound of a thing in nature. It is valuable for inducing the senses and emotions within a form which has been called inducer’s coordination by Maurice Grammont.

“Human mind is constantly engaged in comparison and association; it categorizes and organizes thoughts and arranges the completely subjective concepts in a set or group based on the effects and impressions we are provided by our senses of hearing, vision, taste, smell and touch. The result of this issue is that the most abstract or the most virtual thoughts are continuously interlaced with the images of colors, odors or senses like dryness, hardness, softness and so forth” (cited in Ghavimi, 2005, p.12).

In a nutshell, Grammont’s main point was that not all the repetitions are inductive and that the vowels can be essentially inductive when connected to one of our senses. As an example, consider the phrase “inferring of the form”. The classical technicians might possibly know all its beauty as being in the regular repetition of the letter “f” while a part of this combination’s beauty is in the resonance of the consonant “f” and another part is in the resonant vowels:

“It means that a sound arrangement like ‘ ’ is produced if the vowels are pulled out from inside the consonants.

And, this order of expression reminds of the method of learning these vowels during the childhood. In fact, our ears are familiar with the sounds of these three vowels. Now, if these two words are displaced and read with the same order of vowels mentioned above, will it be still creating the same fluid melody and coordination? Even if your tastes of aesthetics say that it is still resonant and beautiful, the sensory differences of the two forms’ initiation cannot be still ignored. It means that the sense created by the sound / æ / in the beginning of the first combination differs the sense created by the sound /ɔ/ in the second combination. The first one stems from a tiring and dull space and the second originates from an imaginary and meandering setting. It can be seen here that this topic is even related to the volume of words and combinations.

Saussure has determined the degree of clarity and openness for the vowels. It has been summarized in the following (Table 3) (see also Ghavimi, 2005, p.37).

Table 3 Saussure has determined the degree of clarity and openness 

In author’s mind, vowels are notes of language that grant resonance and quality to the speech. In fact, music has seven notes plus another one that is called silent note and Persian Language has six notes plus the accent note. Please pay attention to this definition: “in diatonic scale (the steps the distances of the degrees or notes before and after them is unequal), every note is called a degree and every degree has a duty and role as well as a name in a given step” (Mansouri, 2005, p.122). As it was observed, the role of note in music is very close to the definition presented on the role of the vowels.

These vowels (notes) express the states in words. In Maurice Grammont’s idea, words have colors, odors and senses; additionally, words have states and volumes, as well. Here, only the states are investigated and the rest are left to a further more detailed study in another time:

“Sounds are applied in various situations such as anger, wonder, hatred, humiliation, insult, mockery and objection and others of the like” (Vahidian Kamiyar, 2012b, p.24).

And, these sounds are repeatedly used in our daily lives. As a specimen, when we find out that we cannot fulfill a wish for getting something done, we sigh from the bottom of our heart or the very short vowel / æ / that is associated in the mind with a state of anger along with hatred. Now, let us get back to the first line in the song of quail: “it is bad … bad bad”.

A continuous line of the short vowel /æ/ is heard therein. This is called inducer’s coordination, the beauty of which, is mistakenly realized as lying only in the repetition of the consonant /b/ or /d/ while it is a sort of phonotactics and does not induce anything.

Wonder is another state that is always expressed by the means of the short vowel /e/. Of course, it needs to be more discussed. Your aesthetical sense may tell you that this is not so because the morpheme “Wow” (Bæh/ in Persian); is used for expressing a state of satisfaction and happiness. The answer is that the vowels’ ability of expressing the states in their most frequent known modes is intended and, on the other hand, these vowels are inductive when they are aligned with the text’s apparent meaning, otherwise they cannot induce anything in any form other than this and they may even bar the perception of the meaning. In fact, the vowels’ states shoulder the responsibility of intensifying the induced senses. As a specimen, the morpheme “wow” that expresses a state of pleasantness has also been used as a means for expressing humiliation, i.e. someone may ironically say “wow”. This morpheme’s ability of introducing a sarcasm (i.e. change from a state of pleasantness to a state of irony) is due to the vowel /æ/ with its dominant state being indicative of the failure in accomplishing a goal and wastage of one’s wishes and dreams and it bars understanding within the body of “Wow” and sets the ground for a change of state.

It means that the vowels are responsible for intensifying a concept or preventing the intensification of another concept; due to the same reason “the route is closed to any messenger and message and news” (Ræhe Hær Peyk wæ Payqām wæ Khæbær Bæsteh æst); (Akhavan Thaleth, 2005, p.152).

There are six /æ/ vowels seen that indicate hatred and anger for inability to accomplish one’s goals and, on the other hand, there are also seen three /e/ and two /ɔ/ vowels that respectively express amazement and uncertainty so the dominant state in this line is the very sense of anger and hatred:

  1. “Not only wing and feather, but also the plume of vision are tied”

  2. “The Cage is tight and the door is shut” (Ibid)

Again, a continuous line of anger and hatred is observed. But, since the vowel /e/ has been used with a higher frequency, the statements gain an amazing aspect:

“And, even the euphonious song of the mate thirsty for bond …” in which the sense of amazement can be vividly perceived; it is a sort of amazement created along with the message narrating the falseness of this pleasant song. The interesting point is that the frequency of /e/ in this verse is higher than all the other verses in the song of quail. You may say that the vowel /e/ has been used to show humiliation (when it is uttered in the form of a lengthened syllable). The answer is that such a mockery possesses an accent of wonder; in fact, the dominant element is again a state of amazement and the accent is not completely changed.

The long vowel /ā/ expresses a state of a person who finds out that his dreams are far away and cannot be fetched and such an interjection as /āh/ is used in daily conversation for expressing such a failure. On the other hand, the vowel /ā/ expresses a sound made when one is falling down if it is articulated in a continuous voice.

Now, listen to the high frequency of /ā/ in the following verse:

  1. “I will let this sad song of yours fly”

  2. “Along with the song of the doves of my sigh”

  3. “To the city of songs” (Ibid)

Eleven /ā/ vowels have been used in these verses expressing a state in which the poet is either roaring or grieving for the loss of his ungetat table wishes (Figure 2). Now, the vowels of the poem “song of quail” are pulled out of the body of consonants and presented in the following (Table 4) and diagram as the result of this analysis:

Table 4 Phonological investigation of the poem “song of quail” 

Figure 2 Phonological investigation of the poem "song of quail" 

Three points should be made about the above table and diagram:

  1. 1) Vowels have been considered the same way they are read. For example, in “every oath and every smile” (hær Sɔgænd ɔ (and) hær læbkhænd’, the conjunctive “and” is heard with /ɔ/ sound because it is articulated so in reading (in musical terms, vowels are notes that should be heard).

  2. 2) These vowels are inductive when they are aligned with the apparent meaning otherwise they become a barrier to the understanding of the form.

Surely, the poet has not been attending to such a coordination when writing the poem. In fact, he has put his honest emotions into the poetry and this is enough for the needed words to fall in the axis of collocation and substitution; but, the critic should not analyze unconsciously like the poem’s composer. As it is understood from Table (5-4-b), the frequencies of the vowels /æ/ and /ā/ are largely different from those of the other vowels in the song of quail. The result obtained from the above analysis was that the poet expressed a state of anger and hatred caused by frustration and the inability of making his wishes came true and this was the very meaning perceived from the apparent concepts in the text. So, the concept has undergone intensification of accent by the means of the inductive vowels and, according to Table (5-4-a), this set of vowels (/æ/ and /ā/) express long and roaring sounds.


Song of quail is a full-scale mirror of factional literature depicting the dominant sociopolitical culture of the then time.

The lingual indicators of the song of quail have been used as tools, based on the performed investigations, for Akhavan Thaleth’s expressing of his factional concerns as well as his own internal engagements that have somehow resulted in a lingual dialectic. Such a duality and dubiousness can be vividly seen in his personal life during 1950s and 1960s.

The lingual functions of the song of quail are amongst the other studied indices. In the course of explorations, it was found out that their affective function has been put to service more than the other roles which was reflective of the poet’s internal engagement and duality with his poetical message being more than anything else aimed at the speaker himself. Of course, the frequency of the encouraging role is considerable. If the addressee was eliminated from the verbal actions posited by Jakobson (in such a way that Akhavan can be seen alone with himself), all of the functions existent in the song of quail (except in three verses) would be affective that is a seal of confirmation on the persistence of Akhavan’s works in a setting wherein the romantic and affective feelings are still robust, persistent and more influential than the other lingual functions.

The other point is the high frequency of the lingual archaism (lingual archetypes) and the use of obsolete and revitalized words; such a type of utterance foregrounding has always been the easiest pattern for creating poems though hindering the understanding of the meaning.

One of the other foregrounding patterns of language is the melody of words and phonological coordination, the distinct manifestation of which, can be seen in the song of quail, dogs and wolves, winter, paper flower and many of the other works by Akhavan. In fact, correct application of the poetical metre can be realized as the most important feature of Akhavan Thaleth in such a way that it resulted in the identification of Nimaian poetry.

The most important issue of the present research was the coordination of the vowels with the external and general purport of the poetry. The high frequency of the vowels /æ/ and /ā/ induced a sense of hopelessness along with far and ungetattable wishes and their coordination with the words’ apparent meaning was a solid proof for the high fascination of such prominent works as the song of quail in Persian literature.

The further investigation of this issue might be a turning point for laying the foundation of a knowledge called sensology (intonation). The author never believed in the effectiveness of the vowels in the meaning without the text’s apparent meaning being taken into account; however, the goal was showcasing the effect of vowels on the intensification of the apparent meaning and/or neutralization thereof. Thus, the present study was not an end to this path rather it was a primitive version for an important subject that is effective in the aesthetics of the words and creation of an internal melody in them; it is by the practical use of such an instrument that the states, colors and volumes of the words and discourses can be comprehended; in the end, it has to be stated that the song of quail is full of beliefs of the incredible things; full of songs that were once scales and meters of falling in love and a trap to fall in today:

“How nice is sitting alone and shedding tears softly”

“Drinking a beaker-away from the dears-every night, in the corner of a bedchamber”


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Recibido: 08 de Febrero de 2020; Aprobado: 28 de Marzo de 2020

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