Tải bản đầy đủ

A study on linguistic and cultural features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in english with reference to their vietnamese equivalents

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A. THESIS
A STUDY ON LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL FEATURES
OF WORDS AND PHRASES DENOTING CUISINE IN
ENGLISH WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR VIETNAMESE
EQUIVALENTS
(NGHIÊN CỨU CÁC ĐẶC ĐIỂM NGÔN NGỮ VÀ VĂN HOÁ CỦA
NHỮNG TỪ VÀ CỤM TỪ BIỂU ĐẠT ẨM THỰC TRONG TIẾNG
ANH VÀ NHỮNG TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT)

NGUYỄN THỊ THU

Hanoi, 2016
1


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY


M.A. THESIS

A STUDY ON LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL FEATURES
OF WORDS AND PHRASES DENOTING CUISINE IN
ENGLISH WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR VIETNAMESE
EQUIVALENTS
( NGHIÊN CỨU CÁC ĐẶC ĐIỂM NGÔN NGỮ VÀ VĂN HOÁ CỦA
CÁC TỪ VÀ CỤM TỪ BIỂU ĐẠT ẨM THỰC TRONG TIẾNG ANH
VÀ NHỮNG TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT)

NGUYỄN THỊ THU

Field

: English Language

Code

: 60220201

Supervisor

: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoàng Tuyết Minh

Hanoi, 2016
2


CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY

I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report
entitled “A study on linguistic and cultural features of expressions denoting
cuisine in English 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 Thi Thu


Approved by SUPERVISOR
(Signature and full name)

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoàng Tuyết Minh
Date:……………………

i


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This thesis could not have been completed without the help and
support from a number of people.
First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoàng Tuyết 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 all my teachers at Hanoi Open
university, Postgraduate Department for their usefule lectures, 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.

ii


ABSTRACT

Cuisine is considered an interesting field from linguistic and cultural
perspective.It is one of issues that have never been studied exhaustively.
Being interested in cuisine, the thesis has been chosen: “A study on
linguistic and cultural features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in
English with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents”. Typical meals
have been studied as the subject of the thesis because meals are very
important and popular to everybody in English and Vietnamese. To carry on
this thesis, the author has studied on linguistic and cultural features of
words and phrases denoting cuisine in English, then refer to their
Vietnamese equivalents. The thesis is based on the data from the Internet,
some websites, some famous restaurants and hotels to analysize.The
qualitative and quanltitative approaches are employed to describe and
compare the data. To achieve the objectives of the study. The author has
carried on three main points: linguistic and cultural features of words and
phrases denoting cuisine in English, the similarities and differences in the
linguistic and cultural features between English and Vietnamese cuisine and
implications for teaching and learning English and Vietnamese cuisine.
This thesis helps teachers and learners know more some linguistic and
cultural features of English and Vietnamese words and phrases denoting
cuisine. Next, it can learn about word structures, types of words, word
classes and their functions. Besides, it can broaden the knowledge about
semantic features from cultural features through cuisine denoting animals
such as all the body of animals, the parts of animal (include both internal
and external organs of animals), cuisine denotes animals combine with
spices and cooking methods and cuisine denotes plants such as cuisine
denotes plants combine with spices and cooking methods, cuisine denoting
animals or plants combine with cooking methods and animals or plants,
iii


cuisine denoting areas, cuisine denoting names of man, cuisine denoting
combines with colour, cuisine denoting combines with flavour, and cuisine
denoting combines with quality.Moreover, they also broaden knowledge
about cultural features in English as well as in Vietnamese. From that, it
helps learners use them properly in spoken and written so as not to cause
“culture shocks” in daily communication.

iv


LIST OF TABLES

Table 4.1. Syntactic features of words and phrases denoting
cuisine in English

4

Tabble 4.2. Semantic features of words and phrases denoting
cuisine in English

9

Table 4.3. Syntactic features of words and phrases denoting
cuisine in English with references to their Vietnamese equivalents

7

Table 4.4a. Semantic features of words and phrases denoting
cuisine in English

3

Table 4.4b. Semantic features of words and phrases denoting
cuisine in Vietnamese

4

1


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY ........................................................ i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................... ii
Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................... 5
1.1. Rationale .......................................................................................... 5
1.2. Aims of the study ............................................................................. 6
1.3. Objectives of the study .................................................................... 6
1.4. Scope of the study ............................................................................ 6
1.5. Significance of the study ................................................................. 7
1.6. Structural design of the study......................................................... 7
Chapter 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ....................................................... 9
2.1. Previous studies ............................................................................... 9
2.2. Theoretical background ................................................................ 10
2.2.1. Linguistic features ................................................................... 10
2.2.1.1.Syntactic features ............................................................... 10
2.2.1.2. Semantics .......................................................................... 14
2.2.2. Language and culture ............................................................. 16
2.2.2.1 Definition of language and culture ..................................... 16
2.2.2.2. The relationship between language and culture................. 17
2.2.3. Characteristics of English and Vietnamese cultures.............. 19
2.2.4. Overview of cuisine ................................................................. 21
2.2.4.1. English cuisine .................................................................. 22
2.2.4.2.Vietnamese cuisine ............................................................. 23
2.2.5. Typical cultural features of cuisine ......................................... 24
2.2.5.1. Culture on eating habits of English ................................... 24
2.2.5.2. Culture on eating habits of Vietnamese ............................. 25
2.2.5.3. Meals in English and Vietnamese ...................................... 26
2.3. Summary ....................................................................................... 28
2


Chapter 3. METHODOLOGY................................................................ 29
3.1. Study-governing orientations ....................................................... 29
3.2. Research questions ........................................................................ 29
3.3. Methods of the study ..................................................................... 29
3.4. Data collection ............................................................................... 30
3.5. Data analysis.................................................................................. 32
3.6. Summary ....................................................................................... 33
Chapter 4. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION .......................................... 34
4.1. Linguistic features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in
English .................................................................................................. 34
4.1.1. Syntactic features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in
English .............................................................................................. 34
4.1.1.1.Meals .................................................................................. 35
4.1.1.2.Drinks................................................................................. 37
4.1.2. Semantic features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in
English .............................................................................................. 39
4.2. Cultural features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in English ....... 41
4.2.1. Meals ....................................................................................... 41
4.2.2. Drinks ...................................................................................... 44
4.3. A comparison between the linguistic and cultural features of
words and phrases denoting cuisine in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents. ....................................................................... 47
4.3.1. In terms of linguistic features ................................................. 47
4.3.2. In terms of cultural features.................................................... 56
4.4. Implications for teaching and learning words and phrases
denoting cuisine in English and Vietnamese....................................... 62
4.5. Summary ....................................................................................... 63
Chapter 5. CONCLSUSION .................................................................. 64
5.1. Recapitulation ............................................................................... 64
3


5.2. Implications ................................................................................... 66
5.3. The limitations of the study .......................................................... 67
5.4. The suggestions for further study ................................................ 67
REFERENCES ........................................................................................ 69
APPENDIX ................................................................................................ I

4


Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale
Theoretically, since human’s society developed, there has been a
trend of integration between people and nations. People living together in
the world need to help each other to gain economic development, political
stabilization and equality. That, the need of understanding between people
and nations has increased.
As we know, there are many countries in the world. Each has own its
language and culture. Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote, “culture,
then, is the great guide of human life”, it is true that knowing the culture of
a country is, in effect, a guide to understanding the soul of that country and
its people. Culture refers to many factors such as art, music, food, literature,
etc. In English and Vietnamese, researchers have also paid a lot of attention
to cuisine. There have been many authors carrying out studies on cuisine
such as Spencer, Colin (2003). British foo: An Extraordinary Thousand
Years of Hisotory. Columbia University Press; Broomfield, Andrea (2007).
“ Food and cooking in Victorian England: a history”; Taste Vietnam, 200912-29; How to cook Vietnamese cuisine, 2010; AsianInfo: Article on
Vietnamese food; “ Vietnamese Ingredients” WokMe. 2011. Retrieved 2
December 2011; Annie Corapi (2011). “The 10 healthiest ethnic cuisines.
CNN Health. Retrieved 3 December 2011; etc. However, both English and
Vietnamese have not had a study on features of words and phrases denoting
cuisines from language and culture.
This study is interested in English language and culture in common,
English cuisine in particularly. Hence, this study would like to show the
understanding about English cuisine. Specially, this thesis will compare and
contrast it with Vietnamese cuisine to show the similarities and differences
between cuisines of two countries.
5


This study will help people who are interested in English language
and culture, will have more knowledge about linguistic and cultural features
of it with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents.
Practically, firstly, the differences in many aspects of the languages
and cultures cause various problems when both in English and Vietnamese.
Secondly, cuisine is a large field; therefore, teaching and learning has many
difficulties. Thus, a good understanding of cuisine is the key for learners to
know more about the target language as well as its culture and to avoid
culture shocks in communication.
For the above reasons, the study will be chosen with the tittle “A
study on linguistic and cultural features of words and phrases denoting
cuisine in English with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents”.
1.2. Aims of the study
This study is aimed at studying linguistic and cultural features of
words and phrases denoting cuisine in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents to help the process of teaching – learning English
effectively.
1.3. Objectives of the study
This study has three main objectives as follows:
- Identifying linguistic and cultural features of words and phrases
denoting cuisine in English.
- Finding out the similarities and differences in terms of linguistic
and cultural features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in English with
reference to their Vietnamese equivalents.
- Supplying some suggested implications for teaching and learning
words and phrases denoting cuisine.
1.4. Scope of the study
In the frame work of the study, the thesis only focuses on words and
phrases denoting cuisine in typical meals in English (England of Great
6


Britain) with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents( the North of
Vietnam), namely, linguistic features of words and phrases denoting cuisine
in English are semantic and syntactic features, cultural features of cuisine in
English are main meals and drinks.487 dishes and drinks are found in
English cuisine and 506 ones are collected in Vietnamese cuisine from
books of English and Vietnamese, menus from restaurants and hotels and
books of

English and Vietnamese, the Internet and analysed their

similarities and differences.
1.5. Significance of the study
Theoretically, the research provides words and phrases denoting
cuisine in typical meals and drinks in English with reference to their
Vietnamese equivalents. This helps Vietnamese learners understand more in
terms of linguistic and cultural features in both two countries.
Practically, the research supplies Vietnamese learners some syntactic,
semantic and cultural features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in
English with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents and daily meals and
drinks in two countries. This broadens more the knowledge about linguistic
and cultural features of words and phrases denoting English and Vietnamese
cuisine to learners.
1.6. Structural design of the study
The study is divided into five chapters:
Chapter one is the introduction, which presents the reason why the
topic is chosen, the aims, the objectives, the scope, the significance and the
structural design of the study are given.
Chapter two is the literature review, consisting of two parts: Previous
studies and theoretical background. This is also devoted to the presentation
of major linguistic and cultural features, the definitions about language and
culture, relationships of language, characteristics of English and Vietnamese

7


cultures, overview of cuisine, English and Vietnamese cuisine and typical
cultural features of cuisine.
Chapter 3 is the methodology, which presents study-governing orientations,
research questions, methods of the study, data collection, data analysis.
Chapter 4 is the findings and discussion, presenting linguistic features
of words and phrases denoting cuisine in English, cultural features of words
and phrases denoting cuisine in English, a comparison between the
linguistic and cultural features of words and phrases denoting cuisine in
English with reference to their Vientnamese equivalents and implications
for teaching and learning words and phrases denoting cuisine.
Chapter 5 is the conclusion of the study, which consists of
recapitulation, implications, the limitations of the study and the suggestions
for further study.
References come at the end of the study.

8


Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Previous studies
In English, there have been many books about cuisine such as
Spencer, Colin (2003). British food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of
History. Columbia University Press. his author studied mainly about history
of British food; “Cooking by country: England”, cecipes.us.co.uk, Feb
2005”. Recipes.us.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-03; Broomfield, Andrea
(2007). “ Food and cooking in Victorian England: a history”. These studies
talked about the ways to cook generally dishes and drinks. Beside, the
studies such as “ Robin Cook’s chicken tikka masala speech”. London: The
Guardian, 2002-02-25.Retrieved 2001-04-19; BBC E-Cyclopedia (20 April
2001). “Chicken tikka masala: Spice and easy does it”. bb.co.uk. Retrieved
28 September 2007; “Turkey Club UK”. Turkeyclub.org.uk. Retrieved
2010-06-03. These studies are specific dishes about chicken, turkey, etc.
In Vietnamese, Vietnamese researchers have also paid a lot of attention to
cuisine. There have been many authors carrying out studies on cuisine namely Taste
Vietnam, 2009-12-29; How to cook Vietnamese cuisine, 2010; How to cook
Vietnamese cuisine, 2004, NXB; AsianInfo: Article on Vietnamese food; "Vietnamese
Ingredients". WokMe. 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011.; Annie Corapi (2011). "The
10 healthiest ethnic cuisines". CNN Health. Retrieved 3 December 2011.; "Typical
Vietnamese Foods". ActiveTravelVietnam.com. Retrieved 3 December 2011; "The
Food of Vietnam – Vietnamese Food". GuideVietnam.com. Retrieved 3
December 2011;

"VIETNAMESE

FOOD". Vietnam

Travel.

Retrieved 3

December 2011; "Yin – Yang in Vietnamese culinary art". Viet Nam mon pays
natal. Retrieved 3 December 2011; Hanoi Food Guide - The City Lane; Andrea
Nguyen (13 March 2011). "Heaven in a Bowl: The Original Pho". Retrieved 28
December 2011; Huu Ngoc – Lady Borton. (2010): Hanoian Food. Hanoi
Publishing house; Nguyen Vu Hanh Dung and Phan Dieu Linh. The researches
9


above only studied about taste, the ways to cook dishes and drinks, general food
and ingredients, the healthiest ethnic cuisines, culinary art, Hanoian Food, etc.
All researches are only general about food or cuisine, or they talk
about specific dishes and cooking methods. Nevertheless, up to now there
have not been any studies on linguistic and cultural features of words and
phrases denoting cuisine in English with reference to their Vietnamese
equivalents. Therefore, it is necessary to do a research on this topic.
2.2. Theoretical background
2.2.1. Linguistic features
2.2.1.1.Syntactic features
The thesis is dealt with syntactic category, characteristics of words
and phrases, classes of words, classes of morphemes, types of words, and
overview of phrase structures.
According to Wikipedia, in linguistics, syntax is the set of rules,
principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given
language, specifically word order.The term syntax is also used to refer to the
study of such principles and processes.The goal of many syntacticians is to
discover the syntactic rules common to all languages.
In mathematics, syntax refers to the rules governing the behavior of
mathematical systems, such as formal languages used in logic.
In term of syntactic category, according to Wikipedia, a syntactic
category is a type of syntactic unit that theories of syntax assume. Word
classes, largely corresponding to traditional parts of speech (e.g. noun, verb,
preposition, etc.), are syntactic categories. In phrase structure grammars,
the phrasal categories (e.g. noun phrase, verb phrase, prepositional phrase,
etc.) are also syntactic categories. Dependency grammars; however, do not
acknowledge phrasal categories (at least not in the traditional sense).
Word classes considered as syntactic categories may be called lexical
categories, as distinct from phrasal categories. The terminology here is by
10


no means consistent, however. Many grammars also draw a distinction
between lexical categories (which tend to consist of content words, or
phrases headed by them) and functional categories (which tend to consist
of function words or abstract functional elements, or phrases headed by
them). The term lexical category therefore has two distinct meanings.
Moreover, syntactic categories should not be confused with grammatical
categories (also known as grammatical features), which are properties such
as tense, gender, etc.
In terms of characteristics of words and phrases, in English – Vietnamese
Dictionary in 2009: Word is a sound or combination of sounds that
expressed a meaning and froms and independent unit of the grammar or
vocabulary of a language.
In term of classes of words, a word may consist of a single morpheme
(for example: oh!, rock, red, quick, run, expect), several (rocks, redness,
quickly, running, unexpected), whereas a morpheme may not be able to
stand on its own as a word (in the words jusst mentioned, these are –s, ness, -ly, un, -ed). And complex word will typically include a root and one
or more affixes ( rock-s, red-ness, quick-ly, run-ning, un-expect-ed), or more
than one root in a compound (black-board, rat-race). Words can be put
together to build larger elements of language, such as phrases (a red rock),
clauses (I threw a rock), and sentences ( he threw one too but he missed).
According to Angela Downing and Philip Lock in English Grammar
(2, p.13), and Victoria Flomklin, Robert Rodman, Peter Collins and David
Blair in An Introduction to Language (17, p.176), words are classified
grammatically according to the traditional terminology, which includes
noun, verb, adjecitve, preposition, pronoun, article, and conjunction.
According to Victoria Fromklin, Robert Rodman, Peter Collins and
David Blair in An introduction to Language (17, p.121), in English, nouns,
verbs, adjecitves, and adverbs make up the largest part of the vocabulary.
11


All these kinds of words are made up morphemes.
In term of classes of morphemes, morpheme is an abstract category
which has either a lexical or a grammatical meaning. Example of the word
effects, effects can be considered as formed from the lexical morpheme.
(effects) – the (plural) morpheme. These abstract categories are relished by
morphs such as effect and –s or /ifekt/ and /s/, the actual segments of written
and spoken language, respectively.
In term of types of words, structurally words are classified into
simple, complex and compound words. According to Assoc.Prof. Dr. Tran
Huu Manh (2008),
Simple words: A simple word is the basic word form with nothing
added to it. A word such as activ , chicken, beef, sandwich, egg has a
meaning of its own and has not been altered in any way.
Complex words: It is divided into two kinds namely, a complex word
is defined as a base word combined with a derivational element - derived
word, such as an affix or a suffix”. For example,lemon - lemonade, national
- international, etc. and compound word, a compound word is a
combination of two simple words. Differing from the complex word, the
compound word does not acquire its definition from the addition of affixes.
In the case of compound words, the union of the two simple words bring out
an altogether different meaning than the words do in their original form. An
example of compound words are: for examples, apple juice, oatcake, etc.
In term of phrases, in English – English-Vietnamese Dictionary
(2009): Phrase is a group of words without a verb, especially on that forms
part of a sentence or a group of words forming a short expression. But in
reality, this definition is not enough. This study will research on phrases
with verbal phrase.
In everyday speech, a phrase may refer to any group of words. In
linguistics, a phrase is a group of words which form a constituent and so
12


function as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. A phrase is lower on the
grammatical hierarchy than a clause,
In term of overview of phrase structures
Noun phrases, Sidney Greenbaum defines the noun phrase as a phrase “
has as its head a noun, a pronoun, a nominal adjective or numeral”. (36, p.208).
Examples, a wonderful spinach cheese, a citizen of her own class,etc.
Verb phrases, “a verb phrase has as its head a main (or lexical) verb.
The main verb may be preceded by up to four auxilaries (or auxilary verb)”
(36, p.246). Examples, was sank, has been sunk, etc.
Adjective phrase, “the adjective phrase has as its head an adjective,
which may be preceded by premodifiers, and followed by postmodifier”.
For examples, fond of steak, very happy, etc.
Premodifiers are chiefly adverbs. The premodifier is also an
intensifiers are typically adverbs, prepositional phrases, clauses.
Adverb phrases, “the adverb phrase has as its adverb, wich may be by
premodifiers and (less commonly) followed by postmodifier.” (36, p.295),
for example, much more easily than I could count.
Prepositional phrases consists of a preposition and the complement of
the preposition. The preposition may be premodified by an intensifying
adverb. The prepositional complement is chiefly a noun phrase, an –ing
participle clause or wh-clause. For instance, that Peter with the red hair, a
good trip that I once had, etc.
To sum up, this part is presented about syntactic features of English,
including syntactic category, characteristics of words and phrases, namely,
classes of words, classes of morphemes, types of words, overview of phrase
structures such as noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective phrases, adverb
phrases, prepositional phrases,

13


2.2.1.2. Semantics
The study of the linguistics meaning or morphemes, words, phrases
and sentences is called semantics. Semantics is concerned with aspects of
meaning in language. Work in semantic deal with the description of word
and sentence meaning. There are certain kinds of meaning or certain aspects
of meaning in linguistics (Lyons, 1981:139).
Geoffrey Leech (1974:9) explains that semantics as the study of
meaning is central to the study of communication and as communication
becomes more and more pressing.
Katz (1972:1) also states that semantics is the study of linguistic
meaning. It is concerned with what sentence and other linguistics object
express, not with the arrangement with their syntactic parts or with their
pronunciation.
Semantics is the recent addition to the English language. Semantics is
the philosophical and scientific study of meaning. The word semantics is
derived from the Greek verb ―semaino (to signify or to mean). Semantics
is part of the larger study of signs, semiotics. It is the part that deals with
words as signs (symbols) and language as a system of signs (words as
symbols). (Hipkiss, 1995:IX).
Semantics has been variously described as the science of sign, of
symbolic behavior or of communication-system. It focuses on the scope of
the term "communication". There are certain concepts relevant to the
investigation of all 7 communication-systems, human and non-human,
natural and artificial. A signal is transmitted from a sender to a receiver (a
group a receivers) along a channel of communication. The signal will havea
particular form and will convey a particular meaning (or message). The
connection between the form of the signal and its meaning is established by
what (in a rather general sense of the term) is commonly referred to
semiotics as the code: the message is coded by the sender and decided by
14


the receiver. Semantics is one of branches of linguistics studying about the
meaning, and it is considered as a major branch of linguistics devoted to the
study of meaning in language (Crystal, 1991: 310). From this definition,we
have to know what is meant by meaning. For thousand years, philosophers
have been considering the meaning of meaning, speakers of a language can
understand what is said to them and can produce strings of words that are
meaningful to other speakers (Fromkin, 1983: 151).
Leech (1977: IX) states that semantics (as the study of meaning) is
central to the study of communication; and as communication becomes
more and more a crucial factor in social organization, the need to understand
it becomes more and more pressing. Semantics is not only the center of
communication study but also the center of the study of the human mindthought processes, cognition, conceptualization. All these are intricately
bound up with the way in which we classify and covey our experience of the
world through language.
Lyons (1971:400)states,“Semantics may be defined, initially and
provisionally, as the study of meaning”.
Akmajian (1979:228) says, “Semantics is generally considered to be
the study of meaning (and related notions) in language, semantics is
generally considered to be the study of reference (and related notions) in
languages”.
Hornby (1974: 789) defines, “Semantics is branch of linguistics
concerned with studying the meaning of words and sentences”.
Katz (1972:1) defines, “Semantics is the study of linguistic meaning.
It is concerned with what sentences and other linguistic objects express, not
with the arrangement of their syntactic parts or with their pronunciation”. It
means that generally the basic principle of semantics is about the meaning.
All these definitions given above are different in some respect but
principally semantics is a division of linguistics dealing with meaning of
15


words, it is a study concerned with meaning of linguistics string. It means
that the study must be focused on what sentences or other linguistic objects
express not to arrangement of their syntactic part of their grammatical form.
To understand about semantics, the thesis is combined with some
following cultural features.
2.2.2. Language and culture
2.2.2.1 Definition of language and culture
Language is a factor that distinguishes man from other animals. For
existence, human being must work hard to produce goods, food, clothes,
machines and other materials…. Through out the duration of working,
people need to exchange goods, the experience of producing and also
information of all fields of the life. That’s why language appeared.
Language is a means of communication and it is the best way for human to
express their thoughts and feelings. To have a better understanding of
language, let’s study the definition of language stated in the Oxford
Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (1995): Language is a system of sounds,
words, patterns, etc…used by humans, nations, or group of people to
communicate thoughts and feeling manner of expressing ideas”.
According to Hudson, R.A., : “A language is a particular kind of
system for encoding and decoding information. In its most common use, the
term refers to so-called “natural languages” – the forms of communication
considered peculiar to humankind. In cognitive science the term is also
sometimes extended to refer to the human cognitive facility of creating and
using language. Essential to both meanings is the systematic creation and
usage of systems of symbols – each symbol referring to linguistic concepts
with semantic or logical or otherwise expressive meanings.”
From these definitions the thesis can see how important the language
is in the process of communication. In this study, language is the means of
expressing thoughts and feelings. Culture can be seen as all human
16


activities. Some people look at culture as the collective programme of the
mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from
another. Someone concluded that “there is not one aspect of human life that
is not touched and altered by culture”. In many ways it is correct: culture is
everything. Because culture is so broad in its scope, many definitions have
been suggested. The thesis examines some of these definitions so that
people might understand them better.
Anthropologists Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1952) reviewed some five
hundred definitions, phrasings and concepts and proposed the following
definition: “Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for
behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive
achievements of human groups….the essential core of culture consists of
traditional ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may,
on the other hand, be considered as products of action, and the other as
conditionaling elements of further action.”
Another definition by Byram ( 1998) runs as follows “A society’s
culture consists of whatever it is one has to know or believe in order to
operate in a manner acceptable to it’s members. Culture is not a natural
phenomenon; it does not consist of things, people’s behaviour or emotions.
It is rather an organization of these things. It is the form of things that
people have in mind, their models of perceiveing, relating and otherwise
interpreting them”.
These definitions are broad enough to include most of the major
territory of culture. However, for the goals of this study,“Culture is the
people’s ways of thinking, behaving, talking, valuing things and working”.
2.2.2.2. The relationship between language and culture
Language and culture are said to be interwoven. Language is a part of
culture and culture is a part of language. It is difficult to separate one from
the other. If it were desirable to separate the two, the significance of either
17


language or culture would be lost. That’s why two individuals taking part in
the communication must have a shared knowledge of both culture and
language. Misunderstanding may occur if we violate a grammatical rule of
language. But it is more serious if we violate a social usage.
It is apparent that language is a means to describe culture it belongs to
and parallelly, culture’s development enriches language. For example,
before the bicycle was introduced to Vietnam, there was no word to express
it. But when the Vietnamese got acquainted with it, they borrowed the word
bicycle and either borrowed or invented words to describe the bicycle parts.
Therefore, the vocabulary of language was enriched along parallel line with
the development of culture.
Language usages follow culturally determined patterns. The patterns
not only influence the order in which people use words to form phrases,
they also influence thinking patterns. The use of language to describe time,
for instance, differs from culture to culture. Western societies perceive time
as something that can be kept, saved, lost or waste. Therefore, time system
is exactly divided and being on time is extremely important. In the
Vietnamese language, the time system is more complicated and the verb
system is such that only context can indicate time. This different perception
directly affects the translation from Vietnamese language into Western
languages and vice versa.
The thesis can be seen that language is distinctly a form of human
cultural behaviour. Language helps learners understand not only one another
but culture as well. If one uses a language well, one must know the culture
that uses the language. This is because the ability to react with speakers of
another language depends not only on language skills but also on
comprehension of cultural habits. For example, in Vietnamese culture, it is
considered polite behaviour to ask someone at first meeting about his or her

18


age and marital status. But this way of talking is not acceptable in other
culture like English, Australian and American culture.
In learning language, we can see that language is a key element of
any culture. Language is a part of social life. As a result, every expression
such as greeting, addressing…are affected by culture. This aspect should be
paid attention to when we study cuisine, Byram ( 1998) said that: “It is
really assumed that exposure language will lead to some kinds of cultural
learning. Thus as learners learn language they learn about culture and as
they learn to use a new language they learn to communicate with other
individuals from a new culture”
That also means that cultural difference leads to the differences in the
way and the perception of communication which is the expression of
language. For example, in the Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai languages, the
greeting “where are you going?” is appropriate instead of “Hello” “Good
day”. However, it may be inappropriate in other cultures like Western
culture; it may be regarded as a curious question. So, if Vietnamese people
think in Vietnamese way and express themselves in their own cultural way
while communicating with native speakers of Western cultures they may
annoy them. Therefore, it is obvious that if we do not pay attention to
linguistic and cultural differences while studying about cuisine, the
inevitable result of the study is something of misunderstanding.
2.2.3. Characteristics of English and Vietnamese cultures
Language cannot exist without culture as its component. According
to Tran Ngoc Them “Văn hóa bao gồm tất cả những gì làm cho dân tộc
này khác với dân tộc khác” (Culture includes all things which make this
nation different from other nations). In fact, Vietnamese and English
people have different cultural tradition, cultural backgrounds, customs,
religious belief and different geographical environment. Therefore, the

19


Tài liệu bạn tìm kiếm đã sẵn sàng tải về

Tải bản đầy đủ ngay

×
x