CONTRASTIVE STUDY ON ENGLISH VERB PHRASES IN COMPARISON WITH VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS

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CONTRASTIVE STUDY ON ENGLISH VERB PHRASES IN COMPARISON WITH VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTSAs far as we know, verb phrases have important role in linguistics. Verb phrases are important word groups carrying much semantic weight, but verb phrases in Vietnamese seems not similar. This research seeks to perform a contrastive analysis of the verb phrase in English and Vietnamese. It intends to compare and contrast verb phrases in both languages, and to attempt to establish the areas which might pose problems to learners of English as a foreign language with Vietnamese as a first language. The study aims at giving the theory of the of verb phrases, analyzing the verb phrase in English then comparing with Vietnamese equivalents in order to find out the similar and dissimilar characteristics of verb phrases in English and Vietnamese. Besides, the study suggests some possible solutions for teachers and learners when teaching and learning English verb phrases. The study uses the framework developed by Quirk, et al. (1985). To gain the above aims, some main methods as descriptive, contrastive, analytical and synthetic methods are used. The findings of the study are hoped to be able to help both Vietnamese teachers and learners seek the suitable ways to use English verb phrases accurately. A CONTRASTIVE STUDY ON ENGLISH VERB PHRASES IN COMPARISON WITH VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS (NGHIÊN CỨU ĐỐI CHIẾU CỤM ĐỘNG TỪ TRONG TIẾNG ANH TRONG SỰ SO SÁNH VỚI TIẾNG VIỆT) Introduction As far as we know, verb phrases have important role in linguistics Verb phrases are important word groups carrying much semantic weight, but verb phrases in Vietnamese seems not similar This research seeks to perform a contrastive analysis of the verb phrase in English and Vietnamese It intends to compare and contrast verb phrases in both languages, and to attempt to establish the areas which might pose problems to learners of English as a foreign language with Vietnamese as a first language The study aims at giving the theory of the of verb phrases, analyzing the verb phrase in English then comparing with Vietnamese equivalents in order to find out the similar and dissimilar characteristics of verb phrases in English and Vietnamese Besides, the study suggests some possible solutions for teachers and learners when teaching and learning English verb phrases The study uses the framework developed by Quirk, et al (1985) To gain the above aims, some main methods as descriptive, contrastive, analytical and synthetic methods are used The findings of the study are hoped to be able to help both Vietnamese teachers and learners seek the suitable ways to use English verb phrases accurately 1 Theoretical background 1.1 Overview of the contrastive analysis Contrastive analysis, a term coined by Lado (1957), seeks to establish the similarities and differences between languages with the assumption that the areas of similarities will be easier to study in a target language while differences will pose learning difficulties (Bouton, 1970; Gradman, 1971; James, 1976, 1980) Contrastive analysis (CA) is a method to distinguish between what are needed and not needed to learn by the target language (TL) learner by evaluating languages (M.Gass & Selinker, 2008) In addition, CA is a technique to identify whether two languages have something in common, which assess both similarities and differences in languages, conforming to the belief in language universals (Johnson, 1999) Both statements indicate that CA holds a principle which is important in order to identify what are required by the TL learner to learn in TL and what are not If there is no familiar characteristic in the languages, it indicates that the learner might have difficulty in learning the TL While much could be said about comparing languages, a more important aspect is about the influence from TL in first language (L1) “Contrastive analysis stresses the influence of the mother tongue in learning a second language in phonological, morphological, lexical and syntactic levels It holds that second language would be affected by first language” (Jie, 2008, p 36) 1.2 Definition of verb phrase There are many definitions of the verb phrases in every aspect Involving English grammar, there are a large number of scholars defining verb phrases based on its structure, components, rules or functions from different perspectives In functional grammar, Halliday looks Verbal group as the expansion of a verb, consists of a sequence of words of the primary class of verb A verbal group is typically a group with a verb as its Head That verb is likely to be modified either before the verb (pre-modification) with auxiliary verbs or after the verb (post- modification or qualification) or both Here are some examples:   He goes He should not have gone Verbal group serves different functions in the clause in term of experiential & logical structure From traditional perspective, phrases are functioned as elements of clause and Verb phrase operates as the verb element in a clause, the most central and indispensable part of the clause A verb phrase can be the predicate of a sentence or a clause In this case, there will usually be a helping verb in addition to the verb Here are some examples of a verb phrase:     My sister is doing her homework He might eat the cake John was walking to school today They played games yesterday A verb phrase can also be a phrase that functions as an adverb or adjective that has a verb and its complements, objects, or modifiers These following examples will explain for this:    Running on the staircase, the child fell to the ground To make a cake, you need eggs, flour and sugar I have saved enough to buy a house  She practices regular to become a famous dancer 1.2 The modification According to Quirk, et al (1985), modification can be restrictive or nonrestrictive The modification is restrictive when the reference of the head is a class which can be identified only through the modification that has been supplied The reference of a noun phrase may be viewed as unique or as a member of a class that has been independently identified Any modification given to such a head is additional information which is not essential for identification, it is called non-restrictive Example: Linda, who is standing up, is John’s girlfriend Who is standing up is non-restrictive because Linda’s identity is independent of whether or not she is standing up The value of the distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive modification has been pointed out that modification at its most restrictive tends to come after the head and tends to be given more prosodic emphasis than the head In contrast, non-restrictive tends to be unstressed in pre-head position while in post-head position; its parenthetic relation is endorsed by being given a separate tone unit 1.3 Parts of noun phrase 1.3.1 The premodification The premodification comprises all the items placed before the headnotably adjectives, nouns and determiners Example: Some expensive computers Some very expensive computers 1.3.2 The head The head is around which (for the most part) the other constituents cluster and which dictates concord with other parts of the sentence See the sentences: The slim girl near the sofa is my daughter But: The slim girls near the sofa are my daughters 1.3.3 The postmodification The postmodification consists of all the items placed after the headnotably prepositional phrase, non-finite clauses and relative clauses For example: The boy in the street (prepositional phrase) The boy walking in the street (non-finite clause) The boy who walked in the street (relative clause) 1.4 Premodification of noun phrase in English and Vietnamese Premodification of noun phrases in English and Vietnamese 2.1 Premodification in English Lexical and syntactic items of a wide range of complexity can precede a noun head to form a noun phrase The premodification can be formed by: 2.1.1 Predeterminers The predeterminers can occur before certain determiners include all, both, half, the multipliers as double, twice, three times…, the fractions such as one-third, one-fifth…, and such, what All, both, half can occur only before articles or demonstratives but when they are themselves quantifiers, they not occur with the following “quantitative” determiners as every, either, neither, some, any, no, and enough The multipliers occur with nouns denoting quantity See the following: double the amount three times the sum The fractions can be followed by determiners Unlike the multipliers, the fractions have the alternative of-construction, example: one-third of the time 2.1.2 Determiners The kind of reference a particular noun phrase has depends on its determinative element This function is realized by a set of closed-class items or determiners which occur before the noun or before its premodifiers Determiner production involves the selection of a set of grammatical features that jointly specify a determiner type, followed by the selection of a specific phonological form For example, the production of the determiner “a” (as in “a car”) requires the selection of the features indicating non-definite, singular and count noun Some of the features are context specific and others are specified lexically (mass or count, gender) These features jointly specify the type of determiner that will be selected for production Determiners consist of articles (a, an, the), possessive adjectives (my, our, your, his, her…), interrogative pronouns (who, whom, which, that…), demonstrative pronouns (this, that…) Determiners come first in noun phrases, before adjectives and noun modifiers 2.1.3 Postdeterminers Cardinal numerals tell how many of something there are such as one, two, three… “One” can co-occur only with singular count noun while all cardinal numerals co-occur with plural count nouns Ordinal numerals notify the position of something on a list All ordinals precede any cardinal numbers in the noun phrase For example: The first two students in the queue are Mrs Nhung’s daughters Quantifier is a type of determiner that expresses a relative or indefinite indication of quantity Quantifiers usually appear before nouns as in many people 2.1.4 Adjective Adjectives describe the qualities or features of a noun Such as: a big dog, a spotted dog… There are four criteria for adjectives First, they can freely occur in attributive function Second, , they can freely occur in predicative function Third, they can premodified by the intensifier very Last, they can take comparative and superlative forms 2.1.5 Participle There are two types of participles in English including present participles (known as -ing form) and past participles (known as -ed form) Example: A built supermarket A building supermarket 2.1.6 S-Genitive Let’s see the following phrase: The woman’s house This sentence can be interpreted as: The house of the woman In English, there is a genitive premodification with the deletion of the head especially when this denotes premises or establishment Go to the dentist’s This refers to the dentist’s professional establishment 2.1.7 Adverbial phrase Another minor type of premodification is the adverb phrase as in: John travels to many far-away places There is a merely of other premodifying phrases, some of which are common expressions 2.1.8 Multiple premodification With single head, there is more than one modification which may be related to adjective single head With multiple heads, there is one modification which applies to more than one head For example: The new hat The new dress  The new hat and dress With modified modifier, see the example: The small office furniture 2.2 Premodification in Vietnamese There are following types of premodification of noun phrases in Vietnamese: 2.2.1 The classifier “cái” It is used to express the individual and it is in the position of head one This classifier is often placed before words denoting things which belong to the same class It cannot be, in this case, replaced by any other word Examples: Head Head Một bàn Một bàn Cái bàn Cái dãy bàn The word “cái” can be replaced before head which denotes things only E.g: bàn, ghế, xe But the classifier can be replaced before any head For example: cậu học sinh này, ghế này, nhà này… When the word “cái” is used as premodification, it has some connection with the word order of the whole noun phrase Whenever the classifier “cái”is used as premodification, head must be added as in “cái cậu học sinh này” When the word “cái” is used as head 1, the classifier “cái” cannot be used as premodification 2.2.2 Quantity words Quantity word can be used as premodification of noun phrases Words denoting cardinal numbers such as, (one), hai (two), Words denoting indefinite numbers, for example: vài, mấy, dăm (some)… Words denoting distribution such as một, (each), (every)… Quantity words used as premodification can influence the order of the noun phrase They can be placed before classifier “cái” If there is no quantity word before it, the head will be interpreted as singular See the below examples: Cái tủ chén (This cupboard) Những tủ chén (These cupboards) When quantity words are used, classifier or words denoting units are also obligatory Thus, we cannot say: năm đường (five sugar) vài vịt (some ducks) tre (some bamboos) Quantity denoting totality can be use as premodification of noun phrase.For example: Tất thầy cô giáo (all teachers) 2.2.3 Fixed order words Classifier always stand after the quantity words Quantity words stand after words denoting totality Number Position Examples + + + Cả hai + + - Cả hai - + + + - + - - + + - - - + - - - - hai Cả Cả hai nhà nhà nhà nhà nhà nhà nhà nhà Note: 1-classifier 2-number/quantity 3-totality Contrast the premodification in English noun phrases with Vietnamese equivalents Although, English premodification is formed by many mentioned items, only some following typical items are discussed when comparing with Vietnamese equivalents 3.1 In terms of adjectives If noun phrase contains one adjective, there is parallelism between English and Vietnamese For example: A large house Một nhà rộng Nevertheless, they are mostly different when noun phrase contains more than one adjective With noun phrases holding more than one adjective, they have constant structure, but there are assorted orders in Vietnamese Therefore, the noun phrase “a slim beautiful girl” can be translated into Vietnamese by “một cô gái mảnh dẻ xinh đẹp” or “một cô gái xinh đẹp mảnh dẻ” In addition, adjectives are typically used as premodification in English, they are used as post-modification in Vietnamese A slim girl (1) Một cô gái mảnh dẻ (2) In example (1), “slim” is an adjective used as premodification The role of adjective differently changes into post-modification in Vietnamese, see (2) “Mảnh dẻ” stands after the head “cô gái” 3.2 In terms of quantity Number and quantity words are used as premodification in both English and Vietnamese The word order in the noun phrases in English is the same as order in Vietnamese See these examples: Năm quốc gia vs five countries Or: Three hundred students took part in the parade Ba trăm học sinh tham gia diễu hành However, “every” and “all” in English not co-occur In Vietnamese, “tất cả”, “mỗi một” are used together Tất người mặc đồng phục We cannot say: All every people also wear uniform In short, Vietnamese premodification is much more widely used than English ones It is much varied than English premodification in its meanings and its positions 3.3 In terms of genitives In English, genitives are typically used as premodification, but there is no site comparable to this in Vietnamese To express possession, the word “của” “of” is added See this noun phrase: “a girl’s dress” = “a dress of a girl” vs “váy cô gái” The head in English noun phrase is put at the end, but in Vietnamese, it is located at the beginning of the noun phrase See the underline words in the above example Besides, an outstanding characteristic of English genitive premodification is the deletion of the head especially when this indicates premises of establishment Look at this sentence: “He is going to the dentist’s” These cases not exist in Vietnamese To express this, the word “nơi”/“chỗ” is added Thus, the word “dentist’s” in the sentence is a premise that can be translated into Vietnamese as: “chỗ nha sỹ” 3.4 In terms of participles With noun phrases containing participles in English, they correspond to structure of post-modification in Vietnamese With present participles, the word “đang” - “ing” form is added between the head and the modification developing countries nước phát triển With past participles, there are two circumstances If modification involves only one word, one-to-one parallelism can be seen both in English and Vietnamese For example: a injured man vs người đàn ông bị thương The word “bị”- passive is used between the head and the modification In English such structures commonly appear in spoken as well as in written However, this word is more regularly used in the written than the spoken form in Vietnamese When noun phrases containing two words used as modification, the corresponding modification is sat behind the head of the noun phrase in Vietnamese, but the order is able to diverge Example: “a recently opened road” vs “một đường mở dạo gần ” or “ đường dạo gần mở” 3.5 In terms of nouns Structurally, modifier of English noun phrases is placed before the head whereas after the head in Vietnamese See these examples: Petrol tank vs thùng xăng The word “tank” is the head and petrol is called premodification placed in front of the head In Vietnamese, “thùng” is the head and “xăng” is the modifier put after the head Semantically, both English and Vietnamese modifiers are parallelism Therefore, it is not difficult for learners to learn the order 4 Errors made by English learners when using English noun phrases and premodification 4.1 Common errors made by learners when using English noun phrases and premodification The learners not understand English sentences containing noun phrases They even translate these sentences from English to Vietnamese inaccurately Many learners translate the sentence “một cô gái đẹp” into “a girl beautiful” The learners in Vietnam get trouble with a long sentence concluding all the parts of noun phrase Such as: “Hai xe màu đen bọn tớ đắt tiền.” Most of the learners translate this sentence into: Two cars black first of us are very expensive Or: Our two black cars first are very expensive Here is the correct sentence: “Our first two black cars are very expensive.” 4.2 Causes of committing errors when learners use English noun phrases and premodification Firstly, the learners use English vocabulary and grammar incorrectly Secondly, they not master or confuse the orders of words to form English noun phrases Thus, they have difficulties in using noun phrases as well as premodification Thirdly, because of the negative transfer of their mother tongue in the use of noun phrases, the learners translate English into Vietnamese word-by-word 4.3 Suggestions for teaching and learning English when using English noun phrases and premodification Firstly, the teacher gives learners the order of words formed noun phrases See the following table and examples: Article, Genitive … Adjective to cardinal Adjective to describe Quality/ color degree Adjective to nationality Other noun Main noun My three nice pink French cotton Dresses These two beautiful brown Egyptian straw houses After that, the noun phrases with premodification that consists of only one adjective should be taught first Next, teacher does the same with more than one adjective Lastly, a various types of exercises are suitably given to the levels of learners in order that they understand and practice progressively Conclusion After all, the objectives of the study have been achieved concluding analyzing the elements of premodification of noun phrases both in English and Vietnamese, finding out similarities and differences of premodification of English noun phrases in comparison with Vietnamese equivalents and giving some suggestions to English learners and teachers when learning and teaching modification as well as noun phrases In the graduation, the study briefly looked at the overview of premodification of English noun phrases from different grammatical approaches in the world and Vietnamese In addition, the typical elements of premodification of noun phrases were discussed and analyzed A numerous number of examples were given in order to support evidences for each point of view The research also made a comparison of English premodification of noun phrases with Vietnamese equivalents from their typical components such as adjectives, genitives, participles, nouns and quantity The findings not only enlighten a specific issue but also suggest the improvement in language learning and teaching Hopefully, the study can help both learners and teachers aware of premodification accurately, identify the similarities and differences between English and Vietnamese premodification of noun phrases, then overcome some commonly mistakes when learning and teaching English premodification of noun phrases ... English noun phrases in comparison with Vietnamese equivalents and giving some suggestions to English learners and teachers when learning and teaching modification as well as noun phrases In the graduation,... used in the written than the spoken form in Vietnamese When noun phrases containing two words used as modification, the corresponding modification is sat behind the head of the noun phrase in Vietnamese, ... 2-number/quantity 3-totality Contrast the premodification in English noun phrases with Vietnamese equivalents Although, English premodification is formed by many mentioned items, only some following typical items
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