English prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to vietnamese equivalents

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING HANOI OPEN UNVERSITY M.A THESIS ENGLISH PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE “IN”, “AT”, “ON” WITH REFERENCE TO VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS (GIỚI TỪ CHỈ NƠI CHỐN “IN”, “AT”, “ON” TRONG TIẾNG ANH TRONG SỰ LIÊN HỆ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG VỚI TIẾNG VIỆT) PHẠM THỊ HẰNG Hanoi, 2016 CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report entitled English prepositions of place “in”, “at”, “on” with reference to Vietnamese equivalents” submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master in English Language Except where the reference is indicated, no other person’s work has been used without due acknowledgement in the text of the thesis Hanoi, 2016 Pham Thi Hang Approved by SUPERVISOR Assoc Prof Dr Phan Van Que Date:…………………… i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This thesis could not have been completed without the help and support from a number of people First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Assoc Prof Dr Phan Van Que, who has patiently and constantly supported me through the stages of the study, and whose stimulating ideas, expertise, and suggestions have inspired me greatly through my growth as an academic researcher A special word of thanks goes to all of the lecturers of the Faculty of Postgraduate studies – Hanoi Open university, my classmates, my students at Sao Do university,and many others, without whose support and encouragement it would never have been possible for me to have this thesis accomplished Last but not least, I am greatly indebted to my family, my colleague for the sacrifice they have devoted to the fulfillment of this academic work ii ABSTRACT This thesis is intended to investigate the syntactic and semantic features of English prepositions of place in, at, on with reference to Vietnamese equivalents After analysis on these features, their comparison between English and Vietnamese are discussed to find out the similarities and differences From the result of this study, the implication in teaching and learning English is suggested The descriptive and comparative method was chosen to carry out this study Many examples are used in the study to illustrate and analyze the syntactic and semantic feature of these preposition, then making a comparison between two languages to find out equivalents The data are collect from books, dictionaries, internet, stories and novels Moreover, the survey was also carried out to find out the mistakes as well as the difficulties when mastering these prepositions of Vietnamese learners The results show that these prepositions in both languages have some similarities and differences in term syntactics and semantics However, the main difference is in term of semantics Many students have not distinguished the use of these prepositions yet They are not sure about the equivalents of these prepositions in Vietnamese Through the result of this study, the author hopes that it can help Vietnamese students learn English easier iii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS Prep Preposition N Noun EFL English as Foreign Language ESL English as Second Language iv LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES Table 2.1 Prepositions of place in English and Vietnamese 34 Table 4.1 The learners’ answer on task 53 Table 4.2 The learners’ answer on task 54 Table 4.3 The learners’ answer on task 54 v TABLE OF CONTENTS Certificate of originality i Acknowledgement ii Abstract iii List of abbreviations iv List of tables and figures v Table of content vi Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Rationale for the research 1.2 Aims of the research 1.3 Objectives of the research 1.4 Scope of the research 1.5 Significance of the research 1.6 Structural organization of the thesis Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Review of previous studies 2.1.1 Previous studies oversea 2.1.2 Previous studies in Vietnam 2.2 Review of theoretical background 2.2.1 Theoretical Framework 2.2.1.1 Syntax 2.2.1.2 Semantic 2.2.2 Theoretical background 11 2.2.2.1 English prepositions 11 2.2.2.1.1 Definition 11 2.2.2.1.2 Types of prepositions 13 2.2.2.1.3 Position of English prepositions in sentence 17 2.2.2.1.4 Syntactic features of English prepositions 18 vi 2.2.2.1.5 Semantic features of English prepositions 20 2.2.2.2 Vietnamese prepositions 25 2.2.2.2.1 Definition 25 2.2.2.2.2 Types of prepositions 26 2.2.2.2.3 Position of Vietnamese prepositions in Vietnamese 28 2.2.2.3 English and Vietnamese prepositions of place 29 2.2.2.3.1 English prepositions of place 29 2.2.2.3.2 Vietnamese prepositions of place 32 2.2.2.3.3 Contrast between English and Vietnamese prepositions of place 33 2.2.2.4 Summary 34 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 36 3.1 Research – governing orientations 36 3.1.1 Research questions 36 3.1.2 Research setting 36 3.1.3 Research approaches 37 3.1.4 Criteria for intended data collection and data analysis 38 3.2 Research method 38 3.2.1 Major methods and supporting methods 38 3.2.2 Data collection techniques 39 3.2.2.1 Selected materials 39 3.2.2.2 Survey questionnaire 39 3.2.3 Data analysis techniques 41 3.3 Summary 42 CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION 43 4.1 Syntactic features of prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ 43 4.2 Semantic features of prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ 43 4.2.1 Preposition “in” 44 vii 4.2.2 Preposition “at” 44 4.2.3 preposition “on” 46 4.3 English prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to Vietnamese equivalents 47 4.3.1 In terms of syntactic 47 4.3.2 In terms of semantic 48 4.3.2.1 Preposition “in” 48 4.3.2.2 Preposition “at’ 49 4.3.2.3 Preposition “on” 50 4.4 Implications for mastering prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ 52 4.5 Summary 55 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION 56 5.1 Recapitulation 56 5.2 Concluding remark 57 5.3 Limitation of the study 57 5.4 Suggestion for further research 58 REFFERENCES 59 APPENDIX 63 APPENDIX 66 viii CHAPTER INTRODUCTION 1.1 RATIONALE FOR THE RESEARCH In today’s global world, the importance of English can not be denied and ignored since English is the most common language spoken everywhere With the help of developing technology, English has been playing a major role in many sectors including medicine, engineering, especially education Particularly, as a developing country, Vietnams needs to make use of this world-wide spoken language to help country develop Awareness about those important roles of English, there are many policies to develop this language in Vietnam English has been the most update foreign language in comparison with other ones Everyone who wants to have a large stock of knowledge, gets opportunities with good jobs, has success in career needs to learn and master English Nowadays, English is one of the most three important subjects after mathematics and literature in most secondary schools in Vietnam Textbooks have been renovated; new methods have been applied in teaching English Since English is far different from Vietnamese, it is not easy for learners to master They sometimes find some difficulties in mastering all the aspects of English language because English grammar is different from Vietnamese structure There are many rules used to correlate or to combine parts of speech for making good sentences or phrases such as article, determiners, pronouns, prepositions, subjunctive, etc Prepositions are words used to connect nouns or noun structures to other structures in a sentence They have been called the biggest little word in English They exist in both English and Vietnamese However, Table 4.2: The learners’ answer on task Item No Correct Percentage Incorrect Percentage 11 35 31,8% 75 68,2% 12 95 86,4% 15 13,6% 13 50 45,5% 60 54,5% 14 45 40,9% 65 59,1% 15 65 59,1% 45 40,9% In this task, most students defined mistake correctly in each sentence However, many of them did not fix those mistakes correctly The reason is that students often translate directly the sentences into Vietnamese and chose prepositions which have the same meaning in Vietnamese Table 4.3: The learners’ answer on task Item No Correct Percentage Incorrect Percentage 16 95 86,4% 15 14,6% 17 90 81,8% 20 18,2% 18 80 72,7% 30 27,3% 19 89 80,9% 21 19,1% 20 98 89,1% 12 10,1% This task focuses on syntactic feature of prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’ ‘on’ In this task, many learners have correct answers This shows that most of them defined position of preposition in the sentence From the analysis above we can see that most learners defined the position of these prepositions in the sentence However, they have difficulties in term of semantics They confused when defining the meaning of these prepositions in Vietnamese To help learners overcome these difficulties the author gives some solutions: 54 Firstly, the most successful method of learning prepositions is the exposure to examples This is because these prepositions are difficult from any language to the target language Their usage also depends on the context So, teachers should give examples in both languages and explain the similarities and differences This helps learners understand clearly about the use of English prepositions and their equivalents in Vietnamese Secondly, in fact, many Vietnamese learners confuse when using between prepositions of place “in”, “at”, “on” This is a big obstacle for them to overcome if they unlikely to distinguish the use among these prepositions So, teachers should give different exercises about these prepositions in different situations Moreover, learners should be encouraged to use dictionaries whenever they are not sure which preposition is correct Thirdly, learners should be awared of how native speakers use these prepositions They should not translate directly prepositions in their language since prepositions can be used differently in different languages Teachers should provide their students with as many as communicative opportunities as possible Teachers can transform the class into a small society with different situations related to the use of these prepositions 4.5 Summary All the syntactic and semantic features of prepositions of place “in”, “at”, “on” as well as the equivalents of these prepositions in Vietnamese have been presented In addition, The actual difficulties met by the first – year students at Sao Do university have been shown and analyzed when completing a questionnaire through a grammar written test 55 In order to master these prepositions in particular, learners should understand the use of them and practice as much as possible with different situations It is hoped that all above – mentioned implications for mastering three prepositions of places “in”, “at”, “on” could be useful for Vietnamese learners of English in general and students at Sao Do university in particular 56 CHAPTER CONCLUSION In this chapter, the result of the study will be reviewed, then some conclusions from the detailed analysis of the previous chapters and some limitations and suggestions for further research will be given 5.1 Recapitulation In the study, the author gave information about prepositions in English and Vietnamese in general and English prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to Vietnamese equivalents in particular To achieve the objectives of the study, the author have presented theoretical background related to the topic as well as used the survey questionnaire to find out the difficulties when mastering these prepositions of Vietnamese learners The study presents the syntactic and semantic features of English prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to Vietnamese equivalents There are similarities and differences in using three prepositions between two languages Especially, in semantic term, there is a big difference between two languages In English, the use of these three prepositions is distinguished clearly and detailed They are distinguished according to dimension Preposition “at” presents dimension type Nouns after this preposition often express a point Preposition ‘on’ presents dimension type and Nouns after ‘on’ can express line and surface Examples And ‘in’ shows dimension types and Nouns after this preposition can express an area, volume However, prepositions of place in Vietnamese are not distinguished like in English Choosing a preposition in Vietnamese depends on position of speakers and listeners These cause difficulties for Vietnamese learners of English Moreover, the result of 57 survey shows that most students are not sure about the use of these English prepositions and their equivalents in Vietnamese They often translate directly into mother-tongue language and choose the English preposition which has the same meaning Example ‘on’ means ‘trên’, ‘in’ means ‘trong’, etc 5.2 Concluding remarks Theoretically, the study provided a comprehensive and useful knowledge about syntactic and semantic features of prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ in English Moreover, the similarities and differences between these prepositions in English and Vietnamese is very helpful in two languages Practically, the study gives teachers and learners some useful suggestions in teaching and learning these prepositions because there are some certain differences in the use of these prepositions in two languages, so many learners find it is very difficult to master them 5.3 Limitation of the study Although the thesis has offered the syntactic and semantic features of the English prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to the Vietnamese equivalents, it has some limitations Firstly, the thesis only focuses on three prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ There are also many prepositions of place that create difficulties for non-native speakers of English Secondly, the study has not analyzed from cultural and pragmatics perspectives In this study, English is considered as sources language and it has been presented relatively adequately but in terms of equivalents, 58 Vietnamese is considered as target language and it has not been completely studies yet Thirdly, the participants in my study were first – year students I have not been able to study difficulties when using these prepositions of people in different positions, ages, universities and so on Though great efforts have been made in this thesis to work out the best results, mistakes and limitations are un-avoidable Therefore, any comments for the author’s better work would be highly appreciated 5.4 Suggestions for further research The thesis has focused on the semantic and syntactic features of English preposition of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to Vietnamese equivalents Therefore, there will be some topics related to this problem left for further research: (i) The study of semantic features of English locative prepositions “on”, “over”, “above” with reference to Vietnamese equivalents (ii) Study English prepositions of place with reference to Vietnamese equivalents 59 REFERENCE In English Agoi, F (2003) Towards Effective Use of English A grammar of modern English Ibandan Joytal Printing press Celce – Murcia, M & Larsen – Freeman (1978) An English grammar for Teachers of English as a Second Language, Newbury House Chodorow, M et al (2007) Detection of Grammartical Errors Involving Prepositions Curme, George Oliver 1935 (1931) A Grammar of the English Language: In Three Volumes, Vol 2: Parts of Speech and accidence Vol 3: Syntax Boston, Mass.: D C Heath and Company Downing A; Locke, P (1992) A University Course in English Grammar Module 13 New York Prentice Hall International Raymond Murphy (2009) English grammar in use NXB: Văn hóa thơng tin Fillmore, C (1968) Toward a Modern Theory of Case In F Dineen Fisiak, J et al (1984) Contrastive Linguistics and the Language Teachers Pergamon Press Oxford Hayden, P & H (1996) Master American English Prentice – Hall Inc 10 Lawal, B G (2004) Jenuine Mistake by Users of English Ibandan, Domonion publishers (Nigeria) 60 11 Jesperseen, O (1933) Essential of English grammar Henry Hott and Company 12 Justice, Laura M and Helen K Ezell (2002) The syntax handbook: Everything you learned about syntax but forgot Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Thinking Publication 13 Leech, G,N (1981) Semantics Third Second edition Penguin, Harmonds worth, Middlessex 14 Lindstromberg, S (2010) English Prepositions Explained Amsterdam: John Bejamins Publishing Company 15 Liz & John Soars (2011) Tiếng Anh Giao Tiếp – Tập (New Headway – Elementary) NXB Đại học Quốc Gia Hà Nội 16 Liz & John Soars (2011) Tiếng Anh Giao Tiếp – Tập (New Headway – Intermediate) NXB Đại học Quốc Gia Hà Nội 17 Liz & John Soars (2011) Tiếng Anh Giao Tiếp – Tập (New Headway – Intermediate) NXB Đại học Quốc Gia Hà Nội 18 Lougheed, Lin (n.d) The Great Preposition Mystery Retrieved Sep.20, 2016 from http://www.scribd.com/doc/42499115/Lougheed 19 Palmer, F R (1981) Semantics Cambridge: Cambridge University Express 20 Prepositions: Locator in time and place (n.d).Retrieved Sep.20, 2016 from http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/prepositions.htm 21 Quirk and Greenbaum, S (1973) A university Grammar of English Presented by the Australian Government 61 22.Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, Svartvik, index by Crystal (1985), A Comprehensive Grammar Of The English Language London: Longman 23 Swan, Michael (1999), Practical English Usage, Oxford University press 24 Swan, Michael and Walter, Catherine (2003), The Good Grammar book, Oxford University press 25 Radden, Dirven (2007) Cognitive English Grammar John Benjamins Publishing Company 26 Schibsbye, Knud (1965) A Modern English Grammar with an Appendix on Semantically Related Prepositions London: Oxford University Press 27 Tran, M.T., Tran, T.C (2007) Chào bạn!: an introduction to Vietnamese The U.S.A: University Press of America 28 Wishon GorgeE, Burks JuliaM 1980 Let’s Write English, revised Edition New York, USA: American Book Company 29 Zelinsky-Wibbelt, Cornelia (1993) The Semantics of Prepositions: from mental processing to natural language processing Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter In Vietnamese 30 Diệp Quang Ban & Hoàng Văn Thung (1992), Ngữ pháp Tiếng Việt, Tập 1, NXB Giáo Dục 31 Đỗ Hữu Châu (1999) Từ Vựng Ngữ Nghĩa Tiếng Việt NXB Giáo Dục 62 32 Trần Ngọc Dung (2010) Cẩm nang ngữ pháp tiếng Việt Tủ sách tinh hoa Việt Nam 33 Đinh Văn Đức (2001) Ngữ Pháp Tiếng Việt – Từ Loại NXB Đại Học Quốc Gia Hà Nội 34 Trần Quang Hải (2010) Những khác biệt sử dụng giới từ định vị quan hệ không gian tiếng Anh tiếng Việt Retrieved Sep 18, 2016 from http://www.kh-sdh.udn.vn/zipfiles/so40quyen3/10tranquanghai.pdf 35 Trần Hữu Mạnh (2007), Ngôn ngữ học đối chiếu – Cú pháp Tiếng AnhTiếng Việt, NXB Đại học Quốc Gia Hà Nội 36 Nguyễn Kim Thản (1963) Nghiên cứu ngữ pháp tiếng Việt NXB KHXH Hà Nội 37 Bùi Đức Tịnh (1952) Văn Phạm Việt Nam NXB Nguyễn văn Tươi: Sài Gòn Dictionaries Hornby A (1995) Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Oxford: Oxford University Press Lê Khả Kế (1997) EnglishVietnamese Dictionary NXB Khoa Học Xã Hội – Hà Nội 63 APPENDIX Dear participants, This is survey to check your proficiency of prepositions of place in, at, on in term of syntax and semantics Please complete the following tasks in accordance with each instruction The result will be used for this study only and it is very useful to find out a good solution for mastering English in our University Thank you for your cooperation! WRITTEN GRAMMAR TEST (Time allocated: 50 minutes) I Fill in the blank with a preposition of place in, at or on We live………… the second floor I live………………12 Nguyen Trai Street Let’s take the bus…………….An Ninh Street There were no clouds…………… sky There will be many new people…………… the party There are a lot of activities…………….Time Square He was sitting…………….the top of the stairs There was an interesting program……………the radio yesterday Where is he? He is………… prison 10 Time Square is…………… New York II All these sentences have a mistake Underline and correct them 11 Look at those people swimming at the river 64 12 The leaves in that tree are beautiful 13 He spent most of the day sitting in the window and looking outside 14 Last year we had wonderful skiing holiday at the mountain 15 There’s something wrong with the car We’d better stop on the next garage III Put the words in the correct order to form a complete sentence 16 some/ trees/ park/ there/ beautiful/ are/ in/ the _ 17 headquarters/ company/ the/ of/ the/Milan/ in _ 18 newspaper/ the/ page/ you’ll/ the/ find/ results/ on/ the/ back/ sport/ on _ 19 hanging/ kitchen/ the/ picture/ like/ that/ wall/ the/ I/ on/ in _ 20 crossroads/ morning/ there/ accident/ this/ an/ was/ at _ IV Translate the sentences below into Vietnamese 21 Tom is waiting for you at the bus stop _ 22 There are many birds in the sky _ 23 This news was written in the newspaper yesterday _ 24 Here’s a shopping list Don’t buy anything that’s not on the list _ 25 You are standing on my foot _ 26 His family lives at 45 Nguyen Trai Street _ 65 27 He was swimming in the swimming pool at this time yesterday _ 28 This scene was filmed in the water _ 29 His girlfriend lived in Da Lat _ 30 Your book is on the floor _ 31 That restaurant is on the To Lich river _ 32 He sat on the ground _ 33 There is someone at the door Shall I go and see who it is _ 34 Turn left at the traffic lights _ 35 I’ll meet you in the hotel lobby _ 66 APPENDIX Answer key to written grammar test I Fill in the blank with a preposition of place in, at or on on at on in at at at on in 10 in II All these sentences have a mistake Underline and correct them 11 …in the river 12 …on that tree 13 …at the window 14 …in the mountain 15 …at the next III Put the words in the correct order to form a complete sentence 16 There are some beautiful trees in the park 17 The headquarters of the company are in Milan 18 You’ll find the sports results on the back page of the newspaper 19 I like that picture hanging on the wall in the kitchen 20 There was an accident at the crossroads this morning IV Translate the sentences below into Vietnamese 67 21 Tom đợi bạn bến xe buýt 22 Có nhiều chim trời 23 Tin đăng báo hôm qua 24 Đây danh sách mua sắm Đừng mua thứ khơng có tên danh 25 Bạn đứng chân tơi 26 Gia đình anh sống số 45 Nguyễn Trãi 27 Giờ hôm qua anh hồ 28 Cảnh quay nước 29 Bạn gái anh sống Đà Lat 30 Quyển sách bạn sàn 31 Nhà hàng nằm bên sơng Lịch 32 Anh ngồi đất 33 Có ngồi cửa Tơi xem nhe! 34 Rẽ trái cột đèn giao thông 35 Tôi gặp anh tiền sảnh khách sạn 68 ... easier to learn them 1.2 Aims of the research The aim of this research is investigating into English preposition of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to Vietnamese equivalents in term of syntactic... related to the investigation of syntactic and semantic features of English prepositions of place ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’ with reference to Vietnamese equivalents Chapter – Methodology refers to the researching... prepositions of place 29 2.2.2.3.1 English prepositions of place 29 2.2.2.3.2 Vietnamese prepositions of place 32 2.2.2.3.3 Contrast between English and Vietnamese prepositions of place 33 2.2.2.4
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