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A study on the syntactic and semantic features of the english verbs “look”, “see”, “watch” with reference to their vietnamese equivalents

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNVERSITY

M.A. THESIS

A STUDY ON THE SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC
FEATURES OF THE ENGLISH VERBS “LOOK”, “SEE”,
“WATCH” WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR VIETNAMESE
EQUIVALENTS
(NGHIÊN CỨU ĐẶC ĐIỂM CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA
CÁC ĐỘNG TỪ “LOOK”, “SEE”, “WATCH” TRONG TIẾNG
ANH VÀ SỰ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TIẾNG VIỆT )

ĐỖ THỊ TOAN

Hanoi, 2016


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNVERSITY


---

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M.A. THESIS

A STUDY ON THE SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC
FEATURES OF THE ENGLISH VERBS “LOOK”, “SEE”,
“WATCH” WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR VIETNAMESE
EQUIVALENTS
(NGHIÊN CỨU ĐẶC ĐIỂM CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA
CÁC ĐỘNG TỪ “LOOK”, “SEE”, “WATCH” TRONG TIẾNG
ANH VÀ SỰ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TIẾNG VIỆT )

ĐỖ THỊ TOAN
Field: English Language
Code: 60220201
Supervisor: Dang Ngoc Huong, Ph.D

Hanoi, 2016


CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project
report entitled “A study on the syntactic and semantic features of the English
verbs “look”, “see”, “watch” with reference to their 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

Do Thi Toan

Approved by
SUPERVISOR
(Signature and full name)

Dang Ngoc Huong, Ph.D
Date:10/12/2016


i


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This thesis could not have been completed without the help and support
from a number of people. First of all, I’d like to express my sincere
appreciation to my supervisor Dr. Dang Ngoc Huong , who has patiently
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 many other lecturers, 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 lover for the
sacrifice they have devoted to the fulfillment of this academic work.

ii


ABSTRACT
Among the most popular English words being used currently worldwide,
the verbs look, see, watch have been , without a doubt , given great attention
by linguists so far. Therefore, an initial investigation into syntactic and
semantic features of the English verbs look, see, watch with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents would provide valuable experience to further studies
of linguistics in general and teaching them for students at Nguyen Du
secondary school in particular.

Numerous examples have been analyzed

cautiously by applying qualitative approach and some other ones so as to
achieve the set objectives.

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
E.g.

For example

i.e.

That is

S

Subject

O

Object

V

Verb

A

Adverbial

C

Complement

N

Noun

NP

Noun phrase

Prep.

Preposition

p.

Page

=

Equal to / the same as

sb

somebody

sth

something

EFL

English as a foreign language

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY ................................................................... i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................................................................ ii
ABSTRACT....................................................................................................... iii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS............................................................................ iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS.................................................................................... v
Chapter1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................. 1
1.1.Rationale for the research ........................................................................ 1
1.2.Aims of the research ................................................................................ 2
1.3.Objectives of the research ........................................................................ 2
1.4. Scope of the research .............................................................................. 2
1.5. Significance of the research .................................................................... 3
1.6.Structural organization of the thesis ........................................................ 5
Chapter 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................. 6
2.1.Review of previous studies ...................................................................... 6
2.2.Review of theoretical background ........................................................... 8
2.2.1. Theoretical framework ......................................................................... 8
2.2.1.1. Theory of syntax ............................................................................... 8
2.2.1.2. Theory of semantics .......................................................................... 8
2.2.2. Theoretical Background ..................................................................... 10
2.2.2.1.Definition of a verb .......................................................................... 10
2.2.2.2.Collocation ..................................................................................... .11
2.2.2.3.Synonyms ......................................................................................... 13
2.2.2.4. Definition of perception verbs ....................................................... 13
2.2.2.5. Syntactic features of perception verbs in English ......................... 13
2.2.2.6. Semantic features of perception verbs in English ........................ 14
2.3.Summary ................................................................................................ 15
Chapter 3. METHODOLOGY.......................................................................... 16
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3.1.Research-governing orientations ........................................................... 16
3.1.1.Research questions .............................................................................. 16
3.1.2. Research setting ................................................................................. 16
3.1.3.Research approach .............................................................................. 17
3.1.4.Principles for intended data collection and data analysis ................... 17
3.2.Research methods. ................................................................................. 18
3.2.1. Major methods vs. supporting methods ............................................. 18
3.2.2.Data Collection techniques ................................................................. 19
3.3.Summary ................................................................................................ 19
Chapter 4.FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ..................................................... 20
4.1.Syntactic and semantic features of the English verbs Look, See, Watch.... 20
4.1.1.Syntactic features of the English verbs Look, See, Watch ................. 20
4.1.1.1.Syntactic features of the verb “look” ........................................... 20
4.1.2. Semantic features of English verbs look, see, watch ........................ 28
4.1.2.1. Semantic features of the verb “look” ............................................. 28
4.1.2.2. Semantic features of the verb “see” ............................................... 29
4.1.2.3. Semantic features of the verb “watch” .......................................... 32
4.2.The English verbs look , see and watch and their Vietnamese
equivalents ................................................................................................... 33
4.2.1.Semantic differences among see, look (at), watch ............................. 33
4.2.2.The differences between see, look, and watch in English and
Vietnamese ................................................................................................... 35
4.3. Some possible implications for teaching and learning the English verbs
look, see, watch. ........................................................................................... 37
4.3.1.Some possible implications for learning the English verbs look, see,
watch. ........................................................................................................... 38
4.3.2.Some possible implications for teaching the English verbs look, see,
watch. ........................................................................................................... 44
4.4.Summary ................................................................................................ 45
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Chapter 5. CONCLUSION ............................................................................... 46
5.1.Recapitulation ........................................................................................ 46
5.2.Concluding marks .................................................................................. 46
5.3.Limitations of the current study ............................................................. 47
5.4.Suggestions for further studies .............................................................. 47
REFERENCES ................................................................................................. 48
APPENDICES .................................................................................................. 51
APPENDIX 1 .................................................................................................... 51
APPENDIX 1 .................................................................................................... 52
APPENDIX 2 .................................................................................................... 53
APPENDIX 3 .................................................................................................... 56
APPENDIX 4 .................................................................................................... 60

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Chapter1
INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale for the research
Vocabulary in general plays an important role in any language as we
cannot communicate without words. British linguist Wilkins (1972:111) once
stated “without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed”. There is a common
assumption that the more words a learner knows, the larger the learner’s
vocabulary knowledge is. However, words are not used alone and separately
but go with each other and depend on each other. Words are combined into
phrases. There are free phrases and fixed phrases. The latter often confuse
learners because there are not any fixed rules for all the combinations. Englishas-a-second-language learners often have difficulties treating fixed phrases in
their learning process. That is why many learners cannot communicate fluently
although they know a lot of words. Therefore, the possible combinations of
words or collocations have to be taken into consideration.
Among verbs of English, we find that the verbs look, see, watch are
quite frequently used. These verbs can occur in different syntactic patterns
that reflect various meanings in real-life communication. They can occur in the
same syntactic patterns, but may have different meanings depending on the
situation in which they are used.
As a teacher of English at Nguyen Du secondary school, I found that my
learners have faced many problems when they use this group of verbs. They
often feel confused to choose the right verb and make errors in using them.
Therefore, I have carried out a study to find out how to use these verbs
accurately and correctly from the analysis of their syntactic and semantic
features with reference to their equivalents in Vietnamese.
That is why the subject : “A study on the syntactic and semantic
features of the English verbs “look”, “see”, “watch” with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents” is chosen to study for the thesis. We hope to
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contribute a small part in studying and teaching these verbs in English. In this
study, The English verbs look, see, watch are described and analyzed in a
variety of contexts and situations. Hence, We do hope that the thesis will be a
useful reference, to the extent possible, for teaching and learning English and
Vietnamese as foreign languages.
1.2. Aims of the research
This research is conducted to achieve the targets of finding out syntactic
and

semantic

features

of

English verbs:

look, see, watch with

reference to the Vietnamese equivalents as well as suggesting some possible
implications for teaching them to students at Nguyen Du secondary school
who study English as a foreign language.
1.3.Objectives of the research
To achieve the above-mentioned aims, the following objectives can be put
forward:
+ To point out the syntactic and semantic features of look, see and watch.
+ To identify the Vietnamese equivalents of these English verbs where
appropriate.
+ To suggest some possible implications of teaching and learning English
verbs look, see, watch.
1.4. Scope of the research
*Academic scope
The study focuses on studying the syntactic and semantic features of
English verbs look, see, watch and their equivalents in Vietnamese so as to
make crucial contributions to the field of linguistics and improve the efficiency
of teaching English verbs for students in Nguyen Du secondary school. The
findings hopefully would bring out various suggestions for teachers and
researchers to conduct further studies related to English collocations with the
verbs look, see, watch as well as advance teaching effectiveness of
collocations. Due to the limited time as well as the scope of the study, the
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author focuses on the syntactic and semantic features of the English verbs
look, see, watch with their Vietnamese equivalents only. That means phrasal
verbs and idioms of these English verbs are excluded in the study. Such
approach definitely helps students efficiently expand their lexical items as
students are exposed to a new look at how words are frequently used in reality,
not purely words’ definition without notes for practical ways of using them. It
is better if English collocations with more verbs are analyzed and totalized,
contributing considerably to English learning and teaching in Vietnam.
*Social scope
The applications of this work will, hopefully, contribute greatly to find
out appropriate methods to teaching English verbs in Vietnam and make
changes how Vietnamese learners of English not only in their study at school
as a compulsory subject but also in their daily use of English as a foreign
language. As mentioned previously, regarding English lexical terms, students
often learn English words’ definitions separately with their actual uses. In fact,
teachers and students often make their own examples without collecting and
analyzing examples of collocations indicating how native speakers combine
some words with each other while others are not used frequently. They also
have difficulty in using the words in the conversation, in contexts…Therefore,
this study suggests them the definitions of the verbs, different types of parts of
speech and discover the rules to make use of them. The effects will be vital to
students and should be encouraged to be applied at school as well as for selflearners of English.
1.5. Significance of the research
Theoretical significance:
It is true that lexical aspect has been given little attention so far and
teachers instead only pay attention to grammar or other aspects. Thus, students
are often not provided with full understandings towards English collocations of
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some certain words and only learn their definitions. A frequent difficulty is
that students might find some common expressions complicated because they
have no idea while a combination of the word with another one is not
approved. In order to overcome such a trouble, the research is carried out in
order to offer needed knowledge as to syntactic and semantic features of the
English verbs look, see, watch. By providing an innovative approach to
learning English lexical terms, the author expects to change how students learn
English words as well as how teachers change their traditional methods of
teaching vocabulary. If words are separated from their specific contexts and
are exposed to students only through their meanings in dictionaries, it is not
easy for these 2nd language users to obtain the real meanings of the words in
different cases.
This study also contributes to verifying significance related to semantic
theory in componential analysis by working on a certain synonymic group of
verbs. It proves that lexical semantics is an important area in linguistics. Verbs,
as the core of lexicon, provide the key to exploring the interaction between
syntax and semantics as well as understand the nature of lexicon.
Practical significance:
The author hopes that this study ‘s findings and conclusion would
make great contributions to raise the importance of studying English verbs
look, see, watch with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents. First of all,
when students study about collocations, they might learn them by heart easily,
however, the main problem will lie in applications of these words in
appropriate contexts. Therefore, learning about the syntactic and semantic
features of these verbs is the beginning of the whole process. The main step is
to understand comprehensively how they are applied in diverse situations and
students can only do this by analyzing examples made by native speakers, not
their own. This research offers them a method to do this. Secondly, regarding
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translation, students will have problems with understand the meanings if they
learn the words’ definitions separately with its locations and meanings. This
study’s implications are to deal with these issues in hope that will help students
overcome their troubles. Findings of this study will provide information that
can help learners and translators gain an insight into how the speech act verbs
with

look, see and watch can be employed in discourse in English by

Vietnamese learners and translators.
1.6.Structural organization of the thesis
This thesis is organized into five chapters.
Chapter 1 – Introduction – gives a brief overview of the research with
the rationale for choosing the topic of the research, aims, objectives, scope,
significance of the thesis and structural organization of the thesis.
Chapter 2 – Literature review – presents the previous studies relating
to the research area and theoretical background employed for conducting the
thesis.
Chapter 3 – Methodology – describes in detail all research-governing
orientations and research methods.
Chapter 4 - Findings and Discussion: shows the findings which
address the research questions through the data gathered and analyzed. This
section also discusses the results obtained in relation to the research questions
and some previous studies. The research implications for teaching and learning
English as a foreign language can be found as the last part of this chapter.
Chapter 5 – Conclusion – makes a brief summary of the whole thesis,
points out some limitations and give recommendation as well as suggestions
for a further study. References come at the end of the study.

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Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical background as
well as relevant knowledge and summaries of previous research’s findings and
conclusion associated with the theme of the research. In other words, the
review is to explain several related terms and definitions as to semantics,
syntax, collocation, lexical unit and approach, verb and structures with the
verbs: look, see, watch. These later would further highlight the features
conducted of the study as well as suggest an array of possible implications for
teaching the English verbs look, see, watch in general and teaching them to
Vietnamese students at Nguyen Du secondary school in particular.
2.1. Review of previous studies
There have been a lot of dictionaries such as: Từ điển Anh-Anh-Việt”
(2008); Từ điển Việt- Anh” (2000); published by Publishing House of Cultural
and Informatics, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2003); Dictionary of
Contemporary English (2003) in which mentioned about verbs: look, see,
watch;R.J Rees (1973: p.1-2): studied the broad sense and narrow sense of
these verbs. In Vietnam, the linguist Nguyen Hoa has made contributions to
the study of discourse analysis in An Introduction to Semantic Analysis, Hanoi
National University publication and Professor Tran Huu Manh (2008)
analyzed

the fundamentals of English traditional syntax, Hanoi National

University publication.
Some studies of Vietnamese researchers that the author has found so
far tend to make comparisons between ways of using some popular structures
with the verbs they chose. They also listed grammatical structures and
provided a wide range of examples and Vietnamese translated versions in
order to help other linguists to obtain the examples’ meanings more broadly.
Thanks to this, when these authors presented their conclusion, their findings
can be viewed on a more comprehensive scale.
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First of all, in terms of collocations, Lan (2010) investigated deeply
into the lexical verb DO as she still saw greater opportunities to open more
pages about the analyses of collocations despite various studies came
previously.
Lan pointed out how Vietnamese learners of English and examiners
paid their attention to the differences between syntactic and grammatical errors
while acquiring English collocations, figuring out they almost consider these
notions one type of error.
Secondly, while uncovering the dissimilarities between the usages of
four verbs Say, Tell, Speak and Talk, the researcher Yen (2010) based herself
on the componential analysis, pointing out clearly the senses which contributed
to the governance of these verbs in the related contexts. In order to help other
researchers reach a profound understanding of her conclusions, the author
examined cautiously and presented the Vietnamese translational equivalents
for each quotation used. Regarding componential analysis, the author
described this method’s function as breaking down into pieces their meanings
of terms and then making several comparisons between the semantic
components so as to discriminate the above-mentioned meanings.
In terms of the proper methods used to carry out associated studies,
three authors of the study Automatic Classification of English Verbs Using
Rich Syntactic Features (2008) proved the informative characteristic of
syntactic features in verb classification. The study used both qualitative and
quantitative methods with the purpose of obtaining speech and data analyses to
draw conclusion with regards to the instructive significance of syntactic
features in automatic verb classification. What’s more, while classifying 13
semantic syntactic subsets of English verb types, White (2002) figured out the
ways children who are hard for heading or deaf define vocabulary and
semantic syntactic features of verbs in their process of learning English.

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Up to now, there has been some researches about English verbs look,
see ,watch … However, there has been no research about “English verbs look,
see, watch and their equivalents in Vietnamese”. Thus, “A study on the
syntactic and semantic features of the English verbs “look”, “see”, “watch”
with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents” is chosen my topic.
2.2. Review of theoretical background
2.2.1. Theoretical framework
2.2.1.1. Theory of syntax
In the past, syntactic clues have sometimes been utilized in
lexicography as an aid to establishing polysemy. In the theoretically oriented
linguistic literature, too, the claim had often been made that a difference in
meaning (Diixon, 1985). In the present work, however, a stronger claim has
been tried to explore: that a syntactic similarity is likely to reflect a similarity
in meaning, so that shared syntactic patterns are likely to reflect shared
semantic components. To the extent to which this claim is validated, shared
syntactic properties can be seen as evidence for postulated semantic structure.
Regarding how syntax is defined, it is clear that syntax is the study of
structure of language. In other words, its main targets are said to be the set of
rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given
language. For this reason, the goal of many syntacticians is to discover the
syntactic rules common to all languages. They are to dictate how words from
different parts of speech are put together to convey a complete thought.
It is also said that Syntax is a form of grammar and it is concerned
primarily with word order in a sentence and with the agreement of words when
they are used simultaneously. It is also true that every language has developed
a specific mechanism that is similar to syntax to make a boundless number of
sentences. This is a common feature that can be witnessed in all languages.
2.2.1.2. Theory of semantics
Semantics is a branch of linguistics, which deals with meaning or the
content of communication. According to Hurford and Heasley (1983:1),
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semantics is the study of meaning in language. Language is a means of
communication, and people use language to communicate with others by
making conversations, giving information, and other things to make social
relationship. Human beings have been given the capacity to talk, to
communicate with each other, to make meaningful utterances, so that’s they
are understood by other human beings. They communicate about the world in
which they live, about themselves, about their thought and feeling, about what
has happened, about what might happen or what they would like to happen,
and a lot more.
There are some linguists that tried to define semantics. Morries as
quoted by Lyons (1977) at first defines semantics as the study of the relations
of signs to the objects to which the signs are applicable. And then he revised
his definition, saying that, semantics is that portion of semiotic which deals
with the signification of sign in all modes of signifying. But Jack Richards,
John Platt, Heidi Weber (1987:1972) state that’s :the study of meaning is
semantics. Semantics is usually concerned with the analysis of the meaning of
words, phrases, or sentences and sometimes with the meaning of utterances in
discourse or the meaning of a whole text.”
David Crystal (1992:1347) defines that semantics is the study of
meaning in language. Structural semantics applied the principles of structural
linguistics to the study of meaning through the notion of semantic relations
(also called sense relation), such as synonym and antonym. In generative
grammar, the semantic component is a major area of the grammar’s
organization, assigning a semantic representation to sentences, and analyzing
lexical terms of semantic features. The theory of semantic fields views
vocabulary as organized into areas, within which words (lexical items)
interrelate and define each other.
It is widely known that language is obviously used to express
meanings that can be understood among speakers. However, meanings exist in
humans’ minds and what people express is, therefore, already in their minds
through spoken and written forms of languages. Consequently, there should be
9


a sub-field studies how speakers convey meaningful messages or receive and
understand these meanings. The sub-field is Semantics which is the study of
meanings in language. In other words, linguists are to find an answer for the
question of how language is organized to be meaningful. Since humans cannot
see meanings, it is the most abstract level of linguistic analysis.
Additionally, there is one idea that can be regarded as the most
important subject in contemporary semantics, pointing out that meaningful
units could combine with each other systematically to form larger meaningful
units and that understanding sentences is an appropriate method to work out
these combinations. Researchers, therefore, are to look for general rules to
indicate the relationships between forms or arrangements of words in sentences
and meaning. It is not an easy job as these relationships are often very
complex.
2.2.2. Theoretical Background
2.2.2.1.Definition of a verb
As has already been mentioned, verbs are very important constituents
of sentences. Because of the complexity of the verbal characteristics and also
because of the existence of an extensive number of publications dealing with
their characteristics in great depth, this part of the thesis does not, by any
means, intend to give a comprehensive description of verbal characteristics and
behavior of verbs.
The opening short definition of a verb from Longman English
Grammar states that “a verb is a word (run) or a phrase (run out of) which
expresses the existence of a state (love), seem) or the doing of an action (take,
play) (Alexander 1998, 159). A very general division of verbs is provided by
Quirk et al. (1985), who divide verbs as a class of words into three principal
categories. They classify them according to their function within the verb
phrase and label them full or lexical verbs such as leave, primary verbs
consisting of be, have and do, and modal auxiliary verbs such as will, might,
10


etc. Primary and modal auxiliary verbs form closed classes (it is not possible to
easily add new words in such groups) whereas the class full verbs is an open
class. Full verbs function in sentences as main verbs, and the primary verbs
can act either as main verbs or as auxiliary verbs.
2.2.2.2.Collocation
First of all, regarding the definition of Collocation, it is a group of
words which are often combined together to set phrases, verb patterns and
idioms. It is said that strong rain or big rain is obviously grammatically correct,
however, English native speakers definitely prefers heavy rain. As a result,
other phrases related to rain in such cases might be found unnatural.
There are even more cases when it comes to other couples of verbs that
are often mistaken by foreign learners of English. Farrokh (2012) mentioned
some interesting questions as to collocations, for example, why people say by
train or by car, but on foot? His research is to raise the awareness of students
and teachers about the importance of learning collocation in ESL/EFL classes,
therefore, he used various examples that can be found in English textbooks and
are considered familiar to normal learners of English. One of his conclusion is
that to require the meaning of a word, English users not only need to know its
dictionary definition but also the types of words which it is often combined
with. Thus, learning collocations requires years of proficient use of the
language.
However, defining collocation has been always a difficult task to solve.
Researchers have their own ways of recognizing collocation based on
where and how they look at it. Generally, it can be said that most of them seem
to strongly agree to the sense of co-occurrence of words in which each
individual unit will contribute to the overall semantic meaning of the
combination.
To begin with, Halliday and Hasan (1976) defined collocations as
words which are used in lexical cohesion of texts and contained a cohesive
11


force upon pairs of words such as boy and girl. Later, collocation was
identified by Palmer(1981) as a succession of two or more words in which they
must be considered as an integral whole. The linguist said that piecing words
together should not be a proper method as each component part had its
individual meaning that should not be taken slightly. Another case is that of
Beson et al (1986) who divided collocation into two categories namely lexical
collocation and grammatical collocation. While the former consists of nouns,
adjectives, verbs and adverbs the later consists of a dominant word, which is
the same as a verb, a noun, or an adjective as a whole, and a preposition or
grammatical structure. After that, Kuo (2009) later suggested 7 types of
collocations based on the theory of Beson et al.
Last but not least, idioms somehow share a number of similarities with
collocations and free compounds in their order of words and it is also true that
idioms have their specific meanings, both literal and figurative ones. First of
all, Farrokh (2012) defined idioms as relatively frozen expressions whose
meanings do not reflect the meanings of their component parts, using to kill
two birds with one stone to prove his statement. More specifically speaking,
unlike collocations and free compounds, the meaning of a normal idiom cannot
be guessed by combining the meanings of each element. Secondly, idioms can
appear as words, combinations of words, phrases, or even entire clauses and
sentences. As a result, translating idioms from a language to another one is
always the hardest job since much of their meanings will not be obtained
clearly and precisely if they are perceived literally or separately. Thirdly, in
terms of characteristics of collocation, there are two main features that should
be taken into consideration cautiously.
These sections below present each characteristic clearly. The first
feature is arbitrary. Regarding how collocations are formed, most foreign
learners of English often raise a question as to why there are some words are
selected to form a meaning and form.
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2.2.2.3.Synonyms
Since there are four lexical items which are studied in the present paper,
it is important to see in what relations they are to each other. The term
‘synonymy’ should be defined in this connection. It is clear that a definition of
synonyms simply as words having the same or closely related meanings is too
vague. Crystal (2003:450) specifies the definition in the following way.
2.2.2.4. Definition of perception verbs
In English grammar, a verb of perception is a verb (such as see, watch,
look, hear, listen, feel, and taste) that conveys the experience of one of the
physical senses. Also called perception verb or perceptual verb.
The verb of perception from a subclass of the verbs of sensory
cognition (henceforth: SVC) that include verbs referring to the five senses
employed in the process of human sensory cognition (i.e. sight, hearing, smell,
touch and taste). That subclass consists of the following lexical items: see,
watch, look, hear, smell, feel, and taste). In Kopytko (1986 a) I referred to the
discussed subclass of VSC as resultative SVC. The reason for that was my
attempt to account for the difference in meaning between the sentences.
2.2.2.5. Syntactic features of perception verbs in English
Syntax is the study of how combine to the form sentences and the rules
which govern the formation of sentences. However, syntactic structure is
understood as the arrangement of words and morphemes into large units
(phases, clauses, and sentences)
Every verb, in its capacity as the core of a clause, is defined
semantically in terms of the semantic roles of the participants in the state or
event codes by the clause. Within the clause, these participants occupy the
grammatical roles of, most commonly, subject, direct object, indirect object,
adverb or predicate. These grammatical roles are marked in English by a
combination of morphology and word order. But they also have other, more
subtle, grammatical-behavioral properties, such as various constraints on their
distribution in grammatical environment.
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According to the grammatical classification of verbs, verbs fall into
three broad subclasses-those that require only one role (intransitive verbs),
those which require two roles (copular) and those require two or more roles
(transitive verbs). There is a considerable difference between intransitive
subjects and transitive subject.
It is clear that verbs are one of the most central syntactic category in
language. They have deep relations with the other categories: nouns because
they select arguments which are often nominal or adverbs because adverbs
modify verbs, prepositions, which, in turn assign thematic roles to NPs Verbs
associated with adverbs permit the computation of aspect.
These syntactic features of perception verbs are the basis of analyzing
the syntactic features of the English verbs: see, look, watch in English and
Vietnamese in chapter 4.
2.2.2.6. Semantic features of perception verbs in English
According to R.M.W.Dixon (1991), he defined “a verb is the center of
a clause”. A verb refers to some activity and there must be a number of
participants who have roles in that activity as :Sinbad carried the old man; or it
may refer to a state, and there must be a participant to experience the state as:
My legs aches.
Perception verbs are subcategorized into three classes: the “agentive
LISTEN-class” (as in I listened to the tenor), the “experiencer HEAR-class”
(as in I heard him struggle), and the “percept SOUND-class” (as in The high C
sounded flat). In addition to a description of perception verbs, other areas in
lexical semantics such as argument linking, polysemy, and evidentiality are
also of interest to him since those areas raise semantic issues associated with
perception verbs.
These semantics features of

perception verbs are the basis of

analyzing the semantic features of the English verbs: see, look, watch in
English and Vietnamese in chapter 4.
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2.3.Summary
In this chapter, an overview of perception verbs in English is given to
briefly review what has been found and discuss related studies by describing
their methods and key findings, and then identify theoretical background of
syntactic and semantic features of sentence elements.
Moreover, the definition of verb, the definition of perception verbs, the
syntactic and semantic features of perception verbs, are analyzed thoroughly in
order to use as the background of analyzing the syntactic and semantic features
of the verbs look, see, watch in English. Finally, These features will be
discussed in greater detail in the next chapters.

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Chapter 3
METHODOLOGY
This chapter presents the research questions and method of the study to
tackle the proposed issues. In other words, the section provides a description of
the subjects of the study and the procedure to carry out the research with
details of the action plan.
3.1. Research-governing orientations
3.1.1. Research questions
In this study, the author is going to investigate the semantic and
syntactic features of the English verbs look, see, watch as well as their
equivalents in Vietnamese by reading through a great number of sources such
as books, dictionaries… While analyzing the entire terms, conclusion will be
pointed towards what these above-mentioned features are and what
pedagogical applications should be suggested. Such knowledge has to base on
the ways grammarians and linguists of each time study the verbs look, see,
watch particularly and it is what the study aims at in the first place.
In order to gain the aims of the study, the thesis is expected to find out
the answers for the following questions:
1. What are the syntactic and semantic features of the English verbs
look, see, watch in English?
2. What are the Vietnamese equivalents of these English verbs look,
see and watch?
3. What are the possible implications of teaching and learning English
verbs look, see, watch for Vietnamese learners of English?
3.1.2. Research setting
The research is conducted with references from diverse reliable
sources such as dictionaries, encyclopedia, reference books at library and on
some websites in which the English verbs look, see, watch

and their

Vietnamese equivalents are used. Through years teaching English grammar
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