Flames, Flowers and Butterflies: Interpreting Literary Language


Pardis Minuchehr


April 6, 2024


Modern Persian is filled with figurative phrases, inspired by over a thousand years of Persian literary tradition. Persians frequently use metaphors and similes, and apply the poetic language in their everyday communication, in both spoken and written forms. It is almost impossible to teach the Persian language without mentioning frequently used poetics of the Persian language. Many of the commonly used figurative expressions not only have linguistic significance but inform us of an entire value system, which is of vital importance to know for the Persian language learner. This presentation will examine some of the classroom strategies for interpreting and teaching metaphoric language. In other words, how can we teach our students to develop linguistic competence through the interpretation of literary devices?


Pardis Minuchehr holds a PhD from Columbia University in Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies. She is currently a visiting scholar at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has taught Persian language, literature, and film courses at various institutions in the United States, including the University of Pennsylvania (2003-2011). George Washington University (2011-2017), and the University of Virginia (2018-2021). She has also taught abroad at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and as a Fulbright Scholar at the Free University of Berlin. Her research and publications focus on issues related to the development of Persian language teaching, the Iranian diaspora from the early twentieth century to the present, gender justice, postmodernism, world literature, decolonization, and trauma during the Second World War. She has also curated the virtual Pendar film festival (2021), whose primary focus is on women and the environment in Iran. She is also currently producing movies on environmental issues and race. She is a former president of AATP (2009-2014), and the program director of Persian Startalk programs for pedagogical teacher training and materials development.