Volume 13, Issue 1 (2022)                   LRR 2022, 13(1): 233-259 | Back to browse issues page

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motagizadeh I, Hajikhani A, modiri S. Differences between the Style of the Nahj al-Balagha's Letters in terms of “Vocabulary Richness” and “Literary style” (Letters 23, 30 and 73 as case study). LRR 2022; 13 (1) :233-259
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-51352-en.html
1- Professor, Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran , motaghizadeh@modares.ac.ir
2- Associate Professor, Department of Quraan and Hadith Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
3- MA, Arabic Language and Literature, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (2171 Views)
 Authors usually choose the most appropriate style to influence the reader's mind. Style plays an important role in conveying content because people's desire to read a story depends largely on its writing style. Style is the mirror of the author and therefore, its change indicates the effect of external and internal factors on the style’s owner. Stylistics is the knowledge that describes the  characteristics of a text and then the relation beween these features and the text, and one of its branches is Statistical Stylistics. This approach takes into account the quantity of lexical phenomena in the text and based on the results of this survey, rules. In other words, it uses quantity to achieve quality. This article deals with statistical stylistics in the Nahj al-Balagha's letters. Letters 23, 30 and 73 were selected as samples and their style differences were extracted using two statistical theories, Busemann’s equation and Johnson’s theory, using the descriptive-analytical and statistical method. The result of applying these two theories to the selected samples is that according to Busemann's equation, style  of the letter30 is more literary than the other two letters, and style of letter 23 and 73 are almost similar. Also, according to Johnson's theory, the vocabulary richness in the letter 73 is more than the other letters, and letters 23 and 30 have approximately the same vocabulary richness. The results indicate the obvious effect of social conditions on how words are chosen by Imam Ali (PUH).

1. Introduction
The author's style and how he chooses the words plays the most essential role in the correct transmission of meanings to the readers. Accurate identification and analysis of each person's style will help to understand his/her content. One of the newest branches of rhetoric that deals with this issue is statistical stylistics.
Statistical stylistics uses quantity to achieve quality and with the help of it, we will be able to recognize the characteristics of texts and compare them from different aspects. In this field, there are different theories; Including: Johnson’s theory, Youl’s theory, Busemann’s equation, entropy, NLP, etc. So far, a complete and one hundred percent accurate way to identify an author's style has not been introduced, and all that has been done is an effort to improve the method of identifying and distinguishing authors' style.
This research is an attempt to identify Imam Ali’s style, using existing theories, which have not yet become science. In order to achieve this goal, we have used two theories to examine two factors of the theorists' desired factors and achieve more accurate results; So we chose Johnson's theory and Busemann’s equation.
One of the conditions for the application of these two theories is the equality of the number of words in the selected texts and also their similarity in some fields (Maslouh, 1993, pp. 89 and 105); Therefore, in this study, from among 19 general categories of letters (Dashti, 2016, p. 357), we selected the "ethical category" and selected three letters 23, 30 and 73, with 84, 88 and 82 words, as samples. Therefore, they do not differ much in terms of subject and  the number of words.

2. Literature Review
Statistical stylistics is based on achieving the stylistic features of  a literary work using quantity and numerical values, and to achieve this goal, it counts the lexical elements of the literary work or the length of words and sentences, Or focuses on the relationship between adjectives, nouns, and verbs (Blith, 1989, p. 37). The use of statistical methods in style analysis has proven to be a reliable method (Biber, 1995). In this research, the output of these methods is used as quantity to achieve quality.

3. Methodoloy
  •   Busemann’s equation
Busemann counts the number of verbs and adjectives and then divides them. The result of this division is used as a criterion for measuring the literary nature of the text; Thus, the higher this ratio in a text, the closer its style to the literary style, and the less, the closer its style to the scientific style (Maslouh, 1992, pp. 73-74). This equation is as follows (the same, p. 77):

In this study, we counted the number of verbs and adjectives in each letter and, after calculating the ratio, drew graphs related to it.
  •   Johnson’s Theory
In Johnson's method, non-repetitive words are called “types” and the total number of words is called “Tokens”. Therefore, the diversity ratio is called “Type Token Ratio” (TTR) (Maslouh, 1993, p. 91). In this study, we selected the first 80 words from each letter as a sample and divided them into 4 groups (20 words). Then for each example, drew a table and removed the repetitive words.
After obtaining the output of both theories, we discuss the cause of their differences and the effect of social conditions on this difference.

4. Conclusion
This research led to the following results:
  •   According to Busemann's theory, the highest (VAR) relates to the letter 30 and the lowest to the letter 23; Therefore, the style of  letter 30 is more literary than the other two letters, and the style of letters 23 and 73 is similar, but the style of all three letters is literary.
  •   According to Johnson's theory, in the letter 23  has used the most repetitive words and in the letter 73 has used the least repetitive words; Therefore, the highest vocabulary richness is related to the letter 73 and the lowest is related to the letter 23.
  •   Differences in the type of verbs used in letters indicate the effect of circumstances on how words are chosen. For example when Imam (PUH) intends to change the behavior of the reader, he has used maximum number of verbs, which indicates the overcoming of emotions.
  •   Imam (PUH) is tired of correspondence with Muawiyah in letter 73 and avoids repeated conversations. Therefore, this letter has the highest vocabulary richness, but in letter 23, Imam (PUH) intended to clarify his will for the public, so he used more repetitive words to understand the subject well; Therefore, the vocabulary richness of this letter has decreased. On the other hand, the reader of  letter 30, unlike the letter 23, is a special person; Therefore, its style is more serious and has more vocabulary richness.
  Since all three letters were written during the caliphate of Imam (PUH), the general conditions for all three letters were the same and slight difference in the results indicates relative stability in the style of letters.
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Linguistics
Published: 2022/03/21

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