Hafez was bold enough to repeat the meaning (not the words) in the lines of
his sonnets. His use of synonymous words and phrases is evidence of this fact.
Hafez is unique in paying attention to and employing the subtle differences
between words which have similar meanings. He not only pays attention to
the synonymous words but also takes account of the opposite meanings of
such keywords as synonym; he substitutes apparently synonymous words and
uses each word in the appropriate context of words and phrases in the lines
composed. He does not use the similar concepts in the form of a stretch of
words coming in a sequence. Instead, he substitutes the second word in a
separate sentence with the first word. This is his unique way of creating new
meanings. The arrangement of synonymous words, attending to the subtle
differences between words and their use in appropriate contexts have given
Hafez a special ability to create new meanings. This technique has also led to
new paradoxes and sweet scoffing. By so doing, he ascends to the figurative
meaning of the language. This happens in 5% of Hafez’ lines seeking new
structures and meanings.
Keywords: Synonym; Substitution; Meaning-creation; Sonnet; Haez.
20 Persian Language and Literature, Vol. 71, Issue 238, Fall & Winter 2018- 2019
In total, in the lyrics of Hafez, that is 4193 verses, around 214 verses
with synonyms words or phrases have been used. This number
constitutes about 5% of his verses. Hafez has considered ways to create
synonymous concepts; for example, he makes sentences, phrases, or
synonymic combinations. Hafez knows that each word has different
semantic components. Since no two terms are, in all their meanings,
mutually conflicting or synonymous, placing synonymous or opposing
components creates conflict or synonymy between the words. By
contrasting synonymous or opposite components, it creates a conflict or
synonymy among words. Hafez has a particular technique in the use of
synonymous vocabulary. He does not bring the synonymous words
together, but he replaces one word with another one in two independent
sentences. This makes it possible, in addition, to repeat part of the
meaning of a synonym, and the second term also maintains its semantic
independence. This leads to the repetition of a part of the meaning of
the first word, and the second term also maintains its semantic
autonomy. It also shows other dimensions of the meaning of the word.
This increases the meaning of the verse. This method gives power to
Hafiz to create new and multi-lateral meanings. In addition, he also
recognizes the integrity of a word with semantic and grammatical
capabilities. In addition, Hafez is familiar with methods for creating a
semantic relationship among the words. Hafez, through his close look,
sees the hidden virtual relationships among vocabularies, and by
substituting these words, he brings them together in that part of meaning
and relationship. Another point is Hafez's attention to meaning
difference in vocabularies in different contexts. This awareness gave
him the power to even identify conflicting vocabulary (water and fire)
in allusion phrases (water of wreckage and fire of the tavern).
Sometimes Hafez, in order to create a synonymy between concepts,
uses the semantic components of a term in a descriptive phrase or
sentence, and he replaces that descriptive phrase or sentence with that
term. Of course, these descriptive phrases do not always refer to the true
meaning of the word. Sometimes these descriptive phrases signify the
allusive meaning of the word. This method is equivalent to descriptive
semantics which linguists interpret as semantic descriptive or analytic.
The last point is that Hafez, for the sole purpose of interpreting the
Substituting Synonymous Vocabulary in Hafez's Sonnets 21
vocabulary, does not use synonymous concepts; but, using the
synonymous concepts substitution method, he uses the word and
meaning to serve rhetorical performances in his verses. We refer to a
number of artistic functions of this method:
1. Creating paradox and wonder in the meaning of the verse.
2. In synonymizing vocabulary, he considers the different
semantic functions of words. And by replacing the vocabulary,
in addition to the common meaning, he also uses different
meanings. This adds up to the scope of the meaning of verse
3. Sometimes he substitute two-dimensional vocabulary and in
addition to syntax, also creates ambiguity. In Hafez's verses,
about 28 percent of synonyms are also ambiguous.
4. The vocabulary also replaces each other with different semantic
5. Sometimes, he replaces descriptive combinations and phrases
with vocabulary and phrases for synonyms.
6. Hafez, in addition to creating synonyms, also considers the
phonetic proportions, and the increase of verse music; hence, in
the choice of vocabulary, he attends to verbal proportions with
7. The most important point to be considered is proportions. This
means that Hafez has a comprehensive understanding of words;
and knows semantic functions of the word and knows minor
differences in synonyms; he knows what a low or high meaning
a word has or for which context it is more suitable.
The abundance of synonymous meanings in Hafez's sonnets
The number of lines