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a study on grammatical features of indirect speech in enghlish with reference to their vietnamese equivalents

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY
=============

M.A. THESIS

A STUDY ON GRAMMATICAL FEATURES OF INDIRECT
SPEECH IN ENGHLISH WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
( NGHIÊN CỨU ĐẶC ĐIỂM NGỮ PHÁP CỦA CÂU GIÁN TIẾP
TRONG TIẾNG ANH VỚI NHỮNG TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG
VIỆT)

NGUYỄN THANH HUỆ

Hanoi, 2016


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY
=============


M.A. THESIS

A STUDY ON GRAMMATICAL FEATURES OF INDIRECT
SPEECH IN ENGHLISH WITH REFERENCES TO THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
( NGHIÊN CỨU ĐẶC ĐIỂM NGỮ PHÁP CỦA CÂU GIÁN TIẾP
TRONG TIẾNG ANH VỚI NHỮNG TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG
VIỆT)

NGUYỄN THANH HUỆ

Field

: English Language

Code

: 60220201

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoàng Tuyết Minh

Hanoi, 2016


CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project
report entitled: “GRAMMATICAL FEATURES OF INDIRECT
SPEECH

IN

ENGHLISH

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

Nguyen Thanh Hue

Approved by
SUPERVISOR

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh
Date:……………………

1


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 sincere gratitude to
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh, my supervisor, 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 my friends 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 friends for
the sacrifice they have devoted to the fulfillment of this academic work.

2


ABSTRACT
Indirect speech or reported speech is a big area in the English
language, it has become the subject of linguistic studies only recently, it
arouses a growing interest in numerous linguists and it is defined in various
ways. However, Vietnamese students meet difficulties when encountering
English indirect speech. Therefore, this paper aims at investigating the
grammatical features of indirect speech in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents. It is conducted with the hope of finding out the
equivalents of indirect speech containing methods of the study, objectives of
the study, the results of the study and implications for learning English as a
foreign language in Vietnam. Data used for analysis in this study were
mainly collected from scholar articles and language specified books. Data
analysis is based on descriptive, qualitative and contrastive methods.

3


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
RV:

Reporting Verb

IS:

Indirect speech

Etc:

Et cetera

E.g.:

Exempli gratia (for example)

4


LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Table 4.1: The similarities of indirect speech in terms of function ............. 45
Table 4.2: The similarities of basic reporting verbs of indirect speech. ...... 45
Table 4.3: The similarities of more reporting verbs that are used in indirect
speech. ....................................................................................................... 46
Table 4.4: The similarities in changing pronouns of indirect speech. ......... 47
Table 4.5: The similarities in changing adverbs of time of indirect speech. 48
Table 4.6: The differences of indirect speech between English and Vietnamese
in the use of tense. ....................................................................................... 49
Table 4.7 : The differences of indirect speech between English and Vietnamese
in using word-orders. ................................................................................... 50

5


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY ........................................................... 1
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ......................................................................... 2
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................ 3
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ...................................................................... 4
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES ............................................................ 5
Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................... 8
1.1. Rationale ........................................................................................... 8
1.2. Aims of the research .......................................................................... 9
1.3. Objectives of the research .................................................................. 9
1.4. Scope of the research ......................................................................... 9
1.5. Methods of the study ....................................................................... 10
1.6. Design of the research ..................................................................... 10
Chapter 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ..................................................... 11
2.1. History of the study ......................................................................... 11
2.2. Overview of indirect speech ............................................................ 12
2.2.1. Definitions of indirect speech .................................................... 12
2.2.2. Classifications of indirect speech in English .............................. 13
2.2.2.1. Reporting statements................................................................. 13
2.2.2.2. Reporting questions ................................................................ 14
2.2.2.3. Requests/ Commands ............................................................. 15
2.2.2.4. Reporting suggestions............................................................. 15
2.2.2.5. Reporting intentions and hopes ............................................... 15
2.2.2.6. Reporting uncertain things ...................................................... 16
2.2.3. Other features of indirect speech in English............................... 16
2.2.3.1 Reporting verbs in indirect speech ........................................... 16
2.2.3.2. Changes in indirect speech in English..................................... 17
2.2.3.3. Tense forms of the verbs......................................................... 17
2.2.3.4. Other time references.............................................................. 17
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2.2.3.5. Personal pronouns .................................................................. 18
2.2.3.6. Liking phrases ........................................................................ 19
2.2.3.7. Modal verbs............................................................................ 19
2.3. Summary ......................................................................................... 20
Chapter 3. METHODOLOGYq m ........................................................ 20
3.1. Research orientations ....................................................................... 21
3.1.1. Research questions .................................................................... 21
3.1.2. Research approaches .................................................................. 21
3.1.3. Criteria for intended data collection and data analysis ............... 22
3.2. Research methods ............................................................................ 22
3.2.1. Data collection techniques ......................................................... 22
3.2.2. Data analysis techniques ............................................................ 23
Chapter 4. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ........................................... 24
4.1. Grammatical features of indirect speech in English ......................... 24
4.1.1 Classifications of indirect speech in English ............................... 25
4.1.2. Other features of indirect speech in English............................... 35
4.1.3. Semantic features of indirect speech in English ........................ 40
4.2. Comparison indirect speech in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents. ......................................................................... 44
4.2.1. In terms of grammatical features ............................................... 45
4.3. Implications in learning English ...................................................... 53
4.4. Summary ......................................................................................... 58
Chapter 5. CONCLUSION ..................................................................... 59
5.1. Recapitulation .................................................................................. 59
5.2. Concluding remarks ......................................................................... 59
5.3. Limitation of the study..................................................................... 59
5.4. Suggestions for the further study ..................................................... 60
REFERENCES ........................................................................................ 61

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Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale
There are a lot of linguists over the world who researched on indirect
speech in the English language and they have their own ideas and definitions
about them.
According to LG. Alexander (1988), he mainly studies on grammatical
features of indirect speech. The indirect speech comes with variety of
interesting aspects including classifications and other features. Randolph
Quirk (1985) stated that there are several modes in which other people’s
language may be reported, the most explicit modes are introduced by a
reporting clause referring to the speaker and the act of communication in
speech or writing (she said, she wrote), and perhaps also to the person or
persons spoken to (she told us..), to the manner of speaking ( she said
hesitantly) or to the circumstances of speech act ( she replied, she
explained)…Collins Cobuild (1973) shows that there are many different
ways of reporting what people say or think. In grammatical features, he
analyzes mainly a number of verbs that are used for speaking as well as in
writing.
On the other hands, in Vietnamese, Nguyen Thien Giap (2000) points
indirect speech is to retell something, it can be in positive or negative form
but in any circumstances, it always presents the form of a simple sentence
which has only a single independent clause.
In the process of learning English, learners face a lot of difficulties in
distinguishing the classifications and other features of IS in English such as;
tense changes, changes of personal pronouns, adverbials of time and place, etc...
Additionally, making comparison grammatical of indirect speech in English
with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents appears to be one of the most
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challenging criteria. In order to help the Vietnamese learners clearly
understand, this study is carried on in depth to make a contribution in
knowledge of indirect speech.
Using indirect speech in writing as well as in speaking correctly, “A
study on grammatical of indirect speech in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents” is chosen as the topic of the research paper.
1.2. Aims of the research
This study is a detailed research on grammatical of indirect speech in
the English language with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents to help
Vietnamese learners in the process of learning English effectively.
1.3. Objectives of the research
The aim of the research of indirect speech is to indicate grammatical of
indirect speech in English with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents as
well as making a comparison of using indirect speech in English and giving
implications for learning indirect speech in English.
1.4. Scope of the research
In learning languages, using indirect speech is regarded as one of the
most complicated problems, so indirect speech in each language has its own
features. Without ambition to cover it in all languages due to the limitation
of time, knowledge and experience, the frame work of the study focuses
only on grammatical of indirect speech in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents.
Some errors in changing direct speech into indirect speech which
Vietnamese learners make and suggestions experienced during study the
researcher’s study process.

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1.5. Methods of the study
The main methods of this thesis are description, comparison and
contrastive analysis. English are considered as the basic language of the
study and Vietnamese is the language to be compared.
1.6. Design of the research
The study consists of five chapters:
Chapter 1, Introductions, presents the thesis including rational, aims,
objectives, the scope, and the structure of the thesis.
Chapter 2, Literature Review, overviews the previous studies and
theoretical background.
Chapter 3, Methodology, describes the research plans including
research orientations and research methods.
Chapter 4, Findings and Discussion, focuses on the grammatical of
indirect speech in English and their Vietnamese equivalents then points out
the similarities and differences between English and Vietnamese of indirect
speech in terms of grammatical features and some implications for learning
English.
Chapter 5, Conclusion, summaries the major findings, limitations of
the study, suggestions for further studies and references come at the end of
the study.

10


Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. History of the study
Indirect speech has drawn attention of a number of scholars in the
world as well as in Vietnam.
Randolph Quirk (1985) states that indirect speech conveys in the word
s of subsequent reporter what has been said or written by the original
speaker or writer. According to Thomson (1985, p269), direct speech is to
repeat the original speaker’s exact words. His definition is nearly the same
with the website http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/reportedspeech.htm
Moreover, a number of ways are defined about indirect speech by the
website

http://www.grammaring.com/the-difference-between-direct-and-

indirect-speech. Indirect speech (also called reported speech), on the other
hand, is when we give the same meaning of what someone says without
repeating the exact words... LG. Alexander (1988) defines indirect speech or
(reported speech) as when people are telling someone what another person
says or said. He mentions indirect speech is used to tell someone what
another person says or said without quotation marks, the commonest
reporting verbs in indirect speech are say, tell, ask... And other verbs can be
followed by that, if, whether. A number of those do not strictly report speech
(actual spoken word).
Collins Cobuild (1973) shows the importance of grammatical and of
indirect speech in English, there are many ways of reporting what someone
has said and consists of two clauses, he mentioned how to use reporting
verbs correctly of indirect speech including basic reporting, verbs of
thinking and knowing, learning of learning and perceiving…etc…
In Vietnamese, Nguyen Thien Giap (2000), presents indirect speech in
Vietnamese is to retell something, it can be positive or negative form but in
11


any circumstances. It always presents the form of a simple sentence which
has only a single independent clause. According to Crystal (1992) points out
language comparison is of great interest in a theoretical as well as an applied
perspective. It reveals what is general and what is language specific and is
therefore important both for the understanding of language in general and
for the study of the individual languages compared, he also describes the
similarities and differences in indirect speech between English and
Vietnamese at such levels as grammatical features.
However, there has not seen so far a study on indirect speech in
English and Vietnamese. Therefore, it is necessary to do a research on this
matter to hit the target.
2.2. Overview of indirect speech
2.2.1. Definitions of indirect speech
Grammar in general, in direct speech in specific, is believed to be a
key and essential area of the development in a native language and in a
second of foreign language as well.
According to (Thomson 1985, p269) ‘In direct speech we repeat the
original speaker’s exact words. “He said I have lost my umbrella”. This
definition is nearly the same with (L.G. Alexander 1988, p286) ‘We use
indirect speech sometimes called ‘reported speech’) when we are telling
someone what another person says or said.’ “The boss said that he could see
you then”.
A number of ways are defined about indirect speech by (Thomson
1985, p.269) ‘In indirect speech we give the exact meaning of a remark or a
speech, without necessarily using the speaker’s exact word.
In English and Vietnamese languages, indirect speech are own clauses,
phrases and sentences that used daily in communication in speech as well as
in writing.

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As far as terminology is concerned, there is unfortunately no consensus
in the literature on the general terms employed for the various manifestation
of the phenomenon of speech-within-speech. In particular, there are
differences in the way the terms indirect and reported speech are used and
there appears to be no well-established term for what is variously called, for
example, free indirect speech/style/discourse, quasi-direct/free semi-direct
discourse and so on. Since the main interest of this research is not
terminological, the use of the term ‘reported speech’ has the advantage of
providing an omnibus for what the majority of linguists (and non-linguists)
intuitively think of as one unitary phenomenon.
According to Randolph Quirk (1985) states that indirect speech conveys
in the word s of subsequent reporter what has been said or written by the
original speaker or writer. Besides, there are some ways to use indirect speech
and the changes in many features in indirect speech.
According to Collins Cobuild (1973), there are many ways of reporting
what someone has said and consists of two clauses.
This study will focus on indirect speech including grammatical
features.
2.2.2. Classifications of indirect speech in English
LG. Alexander (1988), Randolph (1985), and Collins Cobuild (1973),
have the same way to divide indirect speech in English into three basic kinds.
They are reporting statements, reporting questions and requests/commands.
Meanwhile, Collins Cobuild (1973) gives more types of indirect speech
including reporting suggestions, reporting intentions, and reporting uncertain
things...etc...He also supports more information in using reporting verbs of
indirect speech.
2.2.2.1. Reporting statements
Typically, indirect speech is used to report statements, and takes the forms
of a nominal that-clause.
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The teacher said that phrasal verbs are very important.
[http://esl.about.com/od/grammarintermediate/a/reported_speech.htm]
What neighbors said was that as a teenager he had earned his pocket
money by delivering newspapers.
(Quirk 1985, p1025)
2.2.2.2. Reporting questions
Reporting questions are sometimes called reported questions or
indirect questions. There are two main types of questions. Therefore,
reported structures for questions are two main types.
Firstly, Yes/No questions are questions with or consist of a reporting clause
and a reported clause introduced by if or whether. If is more common
than whether. The reported clause is in statement form (subject + verb), not
question form:
She asked him if his parents spoke French.
A policeman asked me whether he could be of help.
(C. Cobuild, 1973)
Secondly, Wh-questions are questions when we reporting a “Wh”- question
we use a “wh” – word at the beginning of the reported clause.
→ She asked me where I came from.
→ I was wondering why don’t take the train; it'll be quicker
→ He wanted to know what I thought of it.
→ She asked me when she must be/ had to be there.
(www.perfect-english-grammar.com/reported-speech.html)
Here is the list of some verbs which can be used before clauses
beginning with “wh” – words: Decide, discover, discuss, explain, forget,

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guess, imagine, know, learn, realize, remember, reveal, say, see, suggest,
teach, tell, think, understand, wonder, ask, etc.
I wondered what had happened.
(C. Cobuild, 1973)
2.2.2.3. Requests/ Commands
If someone orders, requests or advises someone else to do something,
this can be reported by using a “to” infinitive clause. Indirect commands,
requests, advice are usually expressed by a verb of command / request /
advice + object + infinitive (= the object + infinitive construction).
He told me/him/her/us/them/the children to go away.
(Thomson 1985, p280)
In case of negative commands, requests etc., they are often reported by not +
infinitive.
The man with the gun said to us, “Don't move!” → The man with the
gun warned us not to move.
(www.hulya.cankaya.edu.tr/ingilizece4.htm)

2.2.2.4. Reporting suggestions
When someone makes a suggestion about what someone else (not their
hearer) should do, we report it by using a that-clause:
He proposes that the Government should hold an inquiry.
Travel agents advise that people should change their money before
the travel.
(C. Cobuild, 1973)
2.2.2.5. Reporting intentions and hopes
When we are reporting an action that the speaker (the subject of the
reporting verb) intends to perform, we can report it in two ways. We can

15


either report it simply as an action, using a to-infinitive clause, or we can
report it as a statement or fact, using a that-clause:
I promised to come back.
She promised that she would not leave hospital until she was better.
(C. Cobuild, 1973)
2.2.2.6. Reporting uncertain things
When we are reporting an action that someone is wondering about
doing themselves, we can use a to-infinitive beginning with whether:
I’ve been wondering whether to retire.
He didn’t know whether to feel glad or sorry at his dismissal.
Here is a list of verbs that can be used with to-infinitive clauses of this kind:
Choose, debate, decide, know, wonder are used for reporting uncertaining
things
2.2.3. Other features of indirect speech in English
2.2.3.1 Reporting verbs in indirect speech
According to Collins Cobuild (19730), Basic reporting verbs are say, ask
and tell. Reporting verbs is to show the purpose of speaking or to show the
manner of speaking. Furthermore, reporting verbs indicate the way that
something is said and describes the way in which something is said
He answered that the price would be three pounds.
He never told me, sir, Watson complained.
(C. Cobuil 1973, 7.7)
I’ve got the key!’ he announced triumphantly.
His secretary explained patiently that this was the only time he could
spare.
There are many kinds of reporting verbs except for basic RV such as,
verbs of thinking and knowing, verbs of learning and perceiving.
I had always believed that one day I would see him again
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I have since learned that the writer of the letter is now dead. Then she
saw that he was sleeping.
(C. Cobuild, 1973)
2.2.3.2. Changes in indirect speech in English
Randolph Quirk (1985), LG. Alexander (1988) and Collins Cobuild
(1973) shows the similarities of changes in indirect speech such as tense
forms of the verb, other time references, place references, personal
pronouns, liking phrases and modal verb, they are described as follows:
2.2.3.3. Tense forms of the verbs
Tense changes often occur in indirect speech because there is an
interval between the original spoken words and the time when they are
reported, but these changes are not always obligatory. It is the changing
viewpoint of the reporting speaker or writer that decides the choice of
appropriate forms, not complicated rules. The notes that follow are not
“rules” but are based on observation of what often in practice.
Direct speech

Indirect speech

Simple present

Simple past

Present continuous

Past continuous

Present perfect continuous

Past perfect

Simple past

Past perfect

Future

Conditional

Future continuous

Conditional continuous

Conditional

Conditional
(Thomson 1985, p270)

2.2.3.4. Other time references
Direct speech

Indirect speech

17


Now

→ then / immediately

Today

→ that day

Tonight

→ that night

Yesterday

→ the day before / the previous day

Last night

→ the night before

The day before yesterday / two days → two day before / earlier
go
Tomorrow

→ the next / the following

The day after tomorrow

→ in two day’s time

Next week / year

→ the following week / year

Last week / year

→ the following week / year

A year etc. ago

→ a year before / the previous year
(Alexander 1988, p291)

2.2.3.5. Personal pronouns
Pronouns and possessive adjectives usually change from first or second to
third person except when the speaker is reporting his own words.
“I had studied French for four years at school‟
I said. → I said that I had studied French for four years at school.
(Quirk 1985, p1027)
Direct

→ Indirect speech

I

→ He/ She

Me

→ Him/her

My

→ His/her

Mine

→ His/hers

We

→ They

Us

→ Them

Our

→ Their
18


Ours

→ Theirs

You

→ He/She/They

You

→ Him/her/them
(Alexander 1988, p290)

Some typical pronoun changes are:
I

he/she

me/you

him/her

my

his/her

We

They

us

them

our

their

Mine

his/hers

ours

theirs

myself

himself/herself

2.2.3.6. Liking phrases
Indirect speech rarely occur in sets of unrelated sentences but is found
in continuous paragraphs of reported language, for example: she went on to
say, he continued, he added that, and by varying the reporting verbs: he
observed, noted, remarked,…
2.2.3.7. Modal verbs
Modal verb in original

Modal verb in report

Could, would, should, might, ought → Could, would, should, might,
to, used to.
ought to, used to.
Will, can, may

→ Would, could, might
Will, can, may (existing or future
situations and present tense verb in
reporting clause)
Will or would, can or could, may or
might (existing or future situations
and past tense verb in reporting
clause)

Shall


19

Would,

should

(offers,


suggestions, etc.)
Must (= necessary)
conclude) Mustn’t

Must

(= → Must or had to → Had to →
Mustn’t
(Hewings 2002, p98)

2.3. Summary
Indirect speech plays a crucial part in English grammar; it helps
learners understand clearly in distinguishing the structures and other features
of indirect speech to practice well in speaking as well as in writing.
In following sections, some analytical frameworks accounting for the
factors that affect the indirect speech in both of grammatical and semantic
features in English will be discussed.

Chapter 3
20


METHODOLOGY
3.1. Research orientations
3.1.1. Research questions
As stated, the paper is designed in an attempt to describe and compare
grammatical features of indirect speech in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents by answering the following questions and give some
implications for learning English so; this study has three questions need to be
discussed.
• What are grammatical features of indirect speech in English?
• What are the similarities and differences between English and Vietnamese
indirect speeches in terms of grammatical features?
• What are the implications of indirect speech for learning English?
3.1.2. Research approaches
The research approaches for the study will be conducted by collecting
and classifying data, the research approaches help the study process simply
and find the result easily and correctly. In this method, grammatical features
of indirect speech are collected in both language English and Vietnamese,
then only statistics on the number of indirect speech in each language.
Determining the frequency of occurrence of each specific grammatical
features of two languages.
Analyzing data is to arrange, classify grammatical features of indirect
speech.
Descriptive is an important method used in this thesis. It helps to show
aspects and characteristics of indirect speech in using grammatical features
in two languages, English and Vietnamese.
Comparative and contrastive are these methods that are used to find out the
similarities and differences between English and Vietnamese in indirect speech.

21


Putting forward some implications of indirect speech for learning
English.
3.1.3. Criteria for intended data collection and data analysis
The data used in the study is collected from English books and
information on internet searching.
After reading the materials collected, the study focuses on indirect
speech including grammatical features in two languages. All of indirect
speeches are selected from English books of both languages English and
Vietnamese, so they are reliable for research results.
3.2. Research methods
The major methods to be employed in the study are descriptive,
contrastive methods to describe, analyze and find out the relationship
between grammatical features of English and Vietnamese of indirect speech.
Moreover, in this study, English is considered as the major source language
and Vietnamese as the target one. The research process can be divided into
four stages.
Supporting methods: Some techniques such as quantitative and
qualitative are used as data collection and data analysis.
3.2.1. Data collection techniques
The data collection is the most important step in any research. This
procedure consists of two main stages.
Firstly, a large number of indirect speeches in grammatical features
from English and Vietnamese languages were collected in order to make the
corpus of this thesis.
Secondly, statistics on the number of indirect speech including
grammatical features in each language. Classifying indirect speech into
various types and then determining the frequency of occurrences of each
specific indirect speech in both languages.

22


3.2.2. Data analysis techniques
In this study, we choose the most interesting and noticeable features
which can clearly illustrate features of indirect speech in English and
Vietnamese was chosen to carry out this study.
After collecting indirect speech in grammatical features in both
languages from English and Vietnamese language specified books as well as
articles. These data are then categorized into aspects and characteristics of
grammatical features. The study is conducted based on the qualitative and
quantitative approach to find down the similarities and differences between
English and Vietnamese languages; followed by some implications for
teaching English.

23


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