A Comparative Study of the Figures of Speech between Top 50 English and Persian Pop Song Lyrics

Farshid Tayari Ashtiani, Ali Derakhshesh


This paper is a corpus-based comparative discourse analysis of top fifty pop English and Persian song lyrics in 2014 to investigate the production of four figures of speech including metaphor, simile, personification, and hyperbole. The English corpus was compiled from the End-Year 2014 Chart of Billboard and the Persian corpus was complied from the most downloaded songs and the results of an informal inquiry among the researchers’ friends and colleagues for the most favorite songs in 2014. Firstly, the four figures of speech were identified and counted in the English and Persian verses twice by the researchers who were Persian graduates of TEFL and a doctoral candidate of English Literature. Then, a joint session was held among them, and a consensus was reached on the discrepancies. Afterwards, the frequencies were submitted to chi-square analysis. The results revealed that there was a significant difference in the usage of figures of speech between the two languages. Persian song lyrics contained more figures of speech both overall and separately; although, there was not any significant difference in the frequency usage of simile and metaphor between the two languages, Persian lyricists used hyperbole and personification more frequently compared to English lyricists.

Keywords: song lyrics, figures of speech, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification

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