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PART A. INTRODUCTIONI. RATIONALE:In the light of Communicative Language Teaching, language is taught for butcommunication. In other words, to teach language is to provide learners with communicativecompetence, by which Richards et al. (1992:65) means “the ability not only to applygrammatically correct sentences but also know when and where to use the sentences and towhom”. Sharing the same point of view, Saville-Troike (1982) believes that linguisticknowledge, interactional skills, and cultural knowledge are all essential components ofcommunication that must ultimately be accounted for in order to communicate appropriately.However, the teaching and learning of English in Vietnam are more or less under theinfluence of the traditional ways of teaching and learning language, which mainly focused onthe development of linguistic competence – lexis, grammatical rules, vocabulary, andpronunciation. Meanwhile, little attention has been paid to oral skills and even less to culturalaspects. This leads to a fact that Vietnamese learners of English, though they have fairly goodknowledge of linguistic competence, usually find themselves unable to communicate in anatural way or face up with communication breakdown in the target language, especially withnative speakers of English. Moreover, it is the lack of the target language culture and culturaldifferences that lead Vietnamese learners of English experience culture shock in every aspectof cross-cultural communication. Therefore, learners must have mutual understandings andawareness of cultural differences to be successful cross-cultural communicators. Of the universal human speech acts, criticism is a subtle one, a high face-threateningact in communication, especially in intercultural communication. In addition, criticisms aresocially complex even for for native speakers. Furthermore, many studies regarding the speechact of criticizing have been carried out in different languages and in interlanguage of Englishlearners of different language backgrounds such as House and Kasper (1981), Tracy, VanDusen, and Robison (1987), Tracy and Eisenberg (1990), Wajnryb (1993, 1995) and Toplak1and Katz (2000) and others, but not in Vietnamese. The problems posed for Vietnameselearners of English concerning criticism have not yet been adequately investigated. Therefore,a study on the similarities and differences in giving criticism in English and Vietnamesecultures through verbal cues is believed to be of great importance and significance. Thefindings from the research would partly help teachers and learners of English, especiallyVietnamese learners of English, avoid miscommunication, hence cultural shock andcommunication breakdown. II. AIMS OF THE STUDY: The research is intended to thoroughly contrast verbal criticism in English andVietnamese from cultural perspective, thus partly helping to increase the awareness of thesimilarities and differences between English and Vietnamese cultures in giving criticisms. Toachieve this overall purpose, the study aims at:• Describing and classifying the criticizing strategies in English and Vietnamese.• Comparing and contrasting different strategies employed by Vietnamese andEnglish people when they give criticism in their own language and culture.• Studying how culture exerts its influence on English and Vietnamese in givingcriticism.III. SCOPE OF THE STUDY:For the limited time and scope, paralinguistic (speech, tone, and pitch) andextralinguistic (facial expression, eye contact, postures, orientation, proximity, movement,clothing artifacts etc.) factors, important though they obviously are and the author is wellaware of, play a vital part of effective interpersonal communication in accompanying andamending the spoken word(s), the study is only confined to the verbal aspect of the speech actof giving criticism.2Secondly, to raise learner’s awareness of the wide application of criticizing strategies,the data used for illustration and exemplification are taken mainly from short stories andnovels in English and Vietnamese. The collection of the data in this ways brings us someconvenience for the contrastive study: it yields a wide range of strategies, used by people fromdifferent cultures in different situations, which a questionnaire or an interview, highly or tosome extent controlled, would not have offered.Finally, by English, the author means the English language as a mother tongue; nodistinction will be made between American English, British English, Australian English andso on. IV. METHODOLOGY:Since the main purpose of the study is to compare and contrast verbal expressions ingiving criticism in English and Vietnamese, the result of which will be exploited for languagelearning and teaching; therefore, describing, comparing and contrastive analysis prove to bethe best candidates of all. Thus, the thesis will be oriented in the following steps:- identify strategies of criticism in both English and Vietnamese stories in the sourceof books.- classify them into sub-strategies.- describe them in each language to find out the typical features of each sub-strategies. - analyse, compare, and contrast criticizing strategies based on the cultural featuresin two languages to point out the basic similarities and differences in this aspect. - reach the comments and conclusions on the subject under research.- make some necessary pedagogical suggestions. In order to facilitate the process of doing the comparison and best exploit ourknowledge of English language, most the the description in this work is based towards Englishand Engilsh is considered as the basic language and Vietnamese as the comparative language.Source of samples of data: The corpus with 1,100 examples will be collected from3selected English, American, Newzealand and Australian short stories and novels and fromVietnamese short stories in early years of 19th century and modern ones before and after 1945.The information about the source of the data is given in parentheses.V. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY:This study certainly has some limitations.The research cannot include the paralinguistic and non-linguistic aspects due to thelimit of time, which will certainly limit the authenticity of the data and then the pragmaticeffect of the expected results. Secondly, the data in this study are taken from a number of shortstories and novels in English and Vietnamese, thus this reveals the disadvantage of missingsuprasegmental features such as stress and intonation. In addition, this research is carried outby a non-native speaker of English, so there must be a lack of native linguistic sensitivity inanalyzing. In view of these limitations, the research can only be regarded as a preliminary studyand any conclusions are tentative. VI. RESEARCH DESIGN:As for the design of the study, it is composed of three main parts: Part A - Introduction - introduces the rationale, scope, aims and methodology of the study aswell as the way to collect the data.Part B - Development - consists of three chapters. They are:- Chapter I encompasses the relationship between language and culture, the notionsof speech acts, theories of politeness, as well as the aspects of C.A. in culture,which are relevant to the purpose of the study.- Chapter II investigates the similarities and differences in the criticism strategies inEnglish and Vietnamese. In this chapter, what is meant by criticizing in this study4is taken into account. Then the criticism strategies as well as the criticism modifiersin the two languages will be described, compared, and contrasted. - Chapter III deals with, on the basis of the previous chapter, the implications to theteaching of the criticism strategies in English to the Vietnamese learners of Englishfrom a socio-cultural perspective.Part C – Conclusion – draws conclusions of the study and proposes some suggestions forfurther research.5PART B. DEVELOPMENTCHAPTER I. THEORETICAL BACKGROUNDThis chapter reviews the theories and literature relevant to the topic under investigationin the present study. The first two sections mention to contrastive analysis (I.1) and therelationship of language and culture (I.2). The final two sections offer two linguistic notions:speech acts (I.3) and politeness (I.4). I.1. CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS (C.A.) Contrastive Analysis dates back to the 1950s when it was first developed and practicedas an application of structural linguistics to language teaching. As regards its definition James,C. (1980: 3) declares:“Contrastive Analysis is a linguistic enterprise aimed at producing inverted (i.e. contrastive, not comparative) two-valued typologies (a C.A. is always concerned with a pair of languages), and founded on the assumption that languages can be compared.”(Carl Jame, 1980: 3)James also claims that there are three branches of two-valued (two languages areinvolved) interlingual linguistics: translation theory – which is concerned with the process oftext conversion; error analysis; and contrastive analysis – these last two having as the object ofenquiry the means whereby a monolingual learns to be bilingual. Among these branches oflinguistics, C.A seems to be the most effective way in comparing between the first languageand the second language as well as a pairs of languages foreign language learners are learning.Hence, in the preface of his book Contrastive Analysis, Carl James (1980) states,“In the heyday of structural linguistics and the pattern practice language teaching methodology which derived insights and justification from such an approach to 6linguistic description, nothing seemed of greater potential value to language teachers and learners than a comparative and contrastive description of the learner’s mother tongue and the target language.” (In the Introduction of Contrastive Analysis by Carl James, 1980) Contrastive analysis is defined, according to James (1980), as a form of interlanguagestudy and a central concern of applied linguistics. As a matter of fact, C.A. has had much tooffer not only to practical language teaching, but also to translation theory, the description ofparticular languages, language typology and the study of language universals. In relation tobilingualism, C.A. is concerned with how a monolingual becomes bilingual; in other words, itis concerned with the effects exerted by the first language (L1) on the foreign language beinglearnt (L2). Thus, C.A has been a preferable method used by Vietnamese linguists in recentyears as it enables them to contrast Vietnamese with other languages not only of the sametypologies, but also of different ones. It also helps bring out many interesting differences andsimilarities between languages, which make a great contribution to lightening the languageteaching and learning burden. It has been suggested that there are two kinds of C.A.: theoretical and applied ones.According to Fisiak et al (cited by James, C., 1980:142), theoretical C.As. “do not investigatehow a given category present in language A is presented in language B. Instead they look forthe realization of a universal category X in both A and B.” Meanwhile, applied C.As. are“preoccupied with the problem of how a universal category X, realized in language A as Y, isrendered in language B.” That means applied C.As are unindirectional whereas theoreticalC.As. are static, because they do not need to reflect any directionality of learning, which isillustrated in the following diagram: X X A B A(Y) B(?)Theoretical C.As Applied C.AsFigure 1. Theoretical C.As and Applied C.As7As James (1980: 142-143) states, applied C.As. are interpretations of theoretical C.As.rather than independent executions, since an applied C.A. executed independently is liable tolose its objectivity; that is, its predictions will tend to be based on teachers’ experience oflearners’ difficulties rather than derived from linguistic analysis. Mentioning to learning theory, particularly the theory of “transfer”- a term used bypsychologists in their account of the way in which present learning is affected by pastlearning, Lado (1957: 2) states,“ individuals tend to transfer the forms and meanings and the distribution of forms and meanings of their native language and culture to the foreign language and culture– both productively when attempting to speak the language and to act in the culture, and receptively when attempting to grasp and to understand the language and culture as practiced by natives.”In fact, there are two types of transfer, namely “positive transfer” (or “facilitation”)and “negative transfer” (or “interference”), which may occur during the process of learninglanguage by learners who have already attained considerable degrees of competence in theirfirst language: - “Positive transfer” (or “facilitation”): the transfer makes learning easier and may occur when both the first language and second language have similar features.- “Negative transfer” (or “interference”): the constraint of L1 or the borrowing of a first language pattern or rule leads to an error or appropriate form in the foreign language.Therefore, to gain the effective teaching and learning of the L2, it is necessary forteachers to recognize the potential transfer problem areas and integrate strategies that wouldhelp the learner to overcome difficulties and to avoid errors attributed to these transferproblem areas. Considering that learning difficulty and differences between L1 and L2 are directly andproportionally related, Lado, R. (1957: 1-2) suggests, “the student who comes in contact with8a foreign language will find some features of it quite easy and others extremely difficult.Those elements that are similar to his native language will be simple for him and thoseelements that are different will be difficult.” However, Whitman and Jackson (cited by James, C., 1980: 188) argues that “relativesimilarity, rather than difference, is directly related to levels of difficulty.” What is more, Lee(cited by James, C., 1980) concludes that “different” or “exotic” languages may not bedifficult to learn, for L1 and L2 are so far apart that there is a very little or no L1 interference.Supporting that point of view, Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis claimed that the principalbarrier to second language acquisition is the interference of the first language systems with thesecond language system and that a scientific, structural analysis of the two languages inquestion will yield a taxonomy of linguistic contrasts between them which in turn wouldenable linguists to predict the difficulties a learner would encounter. Apart from that, human learning theories highlighted interfering elements of learning,concluding that where no interference could be predicted, no difficulty would be experiencedsince one could transfer positively all other items in a language. Lado, R. (1957: vii) in thepreface to his book “Linguistics Across Culture”, says: “The Plan of the book rests on theassumption that we can predict and describe the patterns that will cause difficulties inlearning, and those that will not cause difficulty by comparing systematically the languageand the culture to be learned with the native language and culture of the students.” Then inChapter One of the book, he continues: “ in the comparison between native and foreignlanguages lies in the key to ease or difficulty in foreign language learning.”Hence, it is widely agreed that comparison of cultures is considered as an integral partof contrastive linguistics and of the language learning and teaching. As Lado (1957, cited in Valdes, 1986) notes, when comparing two cultures we must bevery careful in the generalisations we make and be prepared to revise or change thesegeneralisations as our understanding of another culture develops. However, generalisations areflexible and change over time with our experiences (Clarke and Clarke 1990, 34). Therefore,we should ignore other aspects of culture such as gender, class, or ethnicity, and Kramsch(1993, 49) urges to consider this range of diversity within culture when teaching cultures.9However, our view of culture has broadened to include a more interpretive approach towardsculture (Kramsch 1993, 24). Instead of just being concerned with the facts of one culture theemphasis has moved towards interpreting culture based on cross-cultural understanding,involving comparisons and contrasts with a learners' native culture and the culture of thelanguage they are studying (see Valdes 1986). Dunnet et. al. suggest six aspects of culture thatlearners and teachers should be familiar with: (1) Languages cannot be translated word-for-word … (2) The tone of a speaker's voice (theintonation pattern) carries meaning… (3) Each language-culture employs gestures and bodymovements which convey meaning… (4)…languages use different grammatical elements fordescribing all parts of the physical world. (5) All cultures have taboo topics… (6) In personalrelationships, the terms for addressing people vary considerably among languages. (1986, 148-149)Therefore, teachers and learners should be aware of these features and be prepared toanalyse both their own culture and the target culture according to such criteria.I.2. LANGUAGE AND CULTUREI.2.1. The relationship of language and culture:Language, according to “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary” (1992: 506), isdefined as “systems of sounds, words, patterns, etc. used by humans to communicate thoughtsand feeling”. Crystal (1992: 212) also shares this definition of language when the researcherconsiders language as “the systematic, conventional use of sounds, signs, or written symbols ina human society for communication and self-expression”. Thus, language is one of the highestand the most amazing product of human being that helps distinguish them from other creaturesand that serves the main purpose of communication.Language, according to Kramsch (1998:3), is “the principle means whereby weconduct our social lives”. That means language is considered as the medium through which aculture is reflected. That point of view is also shared by Saville-Troike (1982; 35), which says,“there is a correlation between the norm and content of a language and the beliefs, values and10[...]... /thật/ quả là … + cái thứ /cái người /cái thằng/cái đồ/ cái loại/cái kiểu … + negative-evaluative adjective (15a) Mày đúng là thằng đàn ông kỳ cục [40; 50] (You are such a weird man.) 34 (15b) Anh rõ thật là người từ trên trời rơi xuống ấy Có mỗi cái số xe mà cũng không nhớ nổi [84; 29] (You are such a fool, man! You can’t even remember your own license plate.) (15c) Con nhỏ Sương này quả là người... (21a)Thật xấu hổ khi tao có đứa bạn như mày Đã hèn hạ lại còn đáng thương [38; 137] (It’s a pity of me to have a friend like you You are such a pitiful and despicable guy) (21b) Lũ trẻ ranh ấy đã ngu dốt lại còn bất lịch sự nữa chứ [76; 28] (Those little devils are discourteous and ignorant.) 13/ Mới nứt mắt/ tí tuổi… đã + phrase with negative meaning (22a) Mới nứt mắt ra mà đã bày đặt nói dối, lừa gạt... (Although he is still very young, he imitates to be a playboy.) 14/ Tưởng + person criticized + positive evaluative adjective + ai dè/ hóa ra…+ phrase with negative meaning (23a) Tưởng anh can tràng dũng cảm lắm ai dè anh cũng thuộc loại nhát như thỏ đế [40; 40] (I thought you are a brave man, but you are so chickened.) (23b) Tưởng Nguyên phong trần lắm hóa ra cũng mít ướt như mình ấy chứ [111; 28]... [48; 33] (You are so selfish.) (10b) Hắn bẩn tính lắm [40; 26] (He plays dirty tricks on me.) 2/ action criticized + là + negative-evaluative adjective + (modal words) (11a) Cười to như thế là bất lịch sự đấy [46; 28] (It’s impolite when you laugh so loud) (11b) Làm thằng đàn ông cứ thấy gái là nghệt mặt ra dở ẹt! [40; 73] (He looks like an idiot in front of girls.) (11c) Mày yêu hắn là dở hơi lắm [86;... signify the status of the speaker in regards to the person they are speaking to This helps to form the personalism in Vietnamese culture value This is also in agreement with 14 Phan Ngoc (cited by Nguyễn Văn Độ, 2004:146), who says, “Western culture value is individualism, whereas Vietnamese culture value the personalism.” Furthermore, a Vietnamese proverb says, “While drinking water, we must be grateful... (18a) Thời nào lại có cái loại chồng suốt ngày chỉ rượu với tổ tôm thế này [47; 28] (How on earth having a husband like you, who is only drinking and gambling all day long.) (18b) Thời đại nào có cái ngữ anh em như chúng mày, mới giàu mà đã lên mặt dạy đời rồi [42; 28] (How on earth having people like you, who are looking at others as you’re Rockefellers’?) 10/ action criticized + thế mà không biết xấu... traditional religions forming the Tam Giáo (“triple religion”) Buddhism, introduced in Vietnam in the 2 nd century, is considered as the official ideology The ideological influence of Buddhism remained very strong in social and cultural life Confucianism, originated from China and propagated to Vietnam in the early Chinese domination period, is a moral doctrine advising people that they have a part of responsibility... in contact with each other by writing and telephoning, by visiting occasionally, and sometimes by holding big family reunions Since they see less of each other, their concern for each other is not so strong It is the fact that although family loyalty is still important, and many people feel they have a duty to care for members of their family when they need it, it is not the part of British culture . culture value. This is also in agreement with14Phan Ngoc (cited by Nguyễn Văn Độ, 2004:146), who says, “Western culture value isindividualism, whereas. the official ideology. Theideological influence of Buddhism remained very strong in social and cultural life.Confucianism, originated from China and propagated
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