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The syntactic and sematic features of english expressions containing the verb “take” and “bring” and their vietnamese equivalents

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING

HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A. THESIS

THE SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES
OF ENGLISH EXPRESSIONS CONTAINING THE
VERB “TAKE” AND “BRING” AND THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(NHỮNG ĐẶC ĐIỂM CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA CÁC DIỄN
ĐẠT TIẾNG ANH CÓ CHỨA ĐỘNG TỪ ‘TAKE’ VÀ ‘BRING’
TRONG SỰ LIÊN HỆ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG VỚI TIẾNG VIỆT)

LE THI SOAN DUONG
Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Hanoi, 2018
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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A. THESIS

THE SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES
OF ENGLISH EXPRESSION CONTAINING THE
VERB “TAKE” AND “BRING” AND THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(NHỮNG ĐẶC ĐIỂM CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA CỤM
THÀNH NGỮ TIẾNG ANH CÓ CHỨA ĐỘNG TỪ ‘TAKE’ VÀ
‘BRING’ TRONG SỰ LIÊN HỆ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG VỚI TIẾNG VIỆT)

LE THI SOAN DUONG
Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Supervisor: Dr.Pham Thi Tuyet Huong

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Hanoi, 2018

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CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report
entitled Syntactic and semantic features of English expressions containing the verbs
“Take” and “Bring” and 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, 2018


Le Thi Soan Duong

Approved by
SUPERVISOR

Dr. Pham Thi Tuyet Huong
Date: …./04/2018

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
For the completion of this work, I have been fortunate to receive invaluable
contributions from many people. I would like to express my deeply thanks to my
supervisor, Dr. Pham Thi Tuyet Huong, who step by step guides me during my
writing thesis. Without her assistance, excellent suggestions and detailed critical
comments, the work could not have been completed. I own her a debt of gratitude
that cannot be measured.
In addition, I am greatly indebted to all my lecturers at the Faculty of Graduate
Studies at Hanoi Open University for their useful lectures, supports, encouragement
and for inspiring me the love for English foreign language teaching and doing
scientific research.
Besides, the study could not have been prepared without the support and
provision of useful materials from all my colleagues and friends. Therefore, their
kindness will never be forgotten.
I would also give my deepest gratitude to my family for their constant support
and encouragement during the time I was attending the course and while the work
was in progress.
Finally, although great efforts have been made to complete the thesis I am
aware that this study is far from perfect. Hence, constructive comments are welcome
for more perfection of the thesis.

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ABSTRACT
The title of my thesis is Syntactic and semantic features of English expressions
containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents. The
purpose of my study is to describe the syntactic and semantic features of English
expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring”, show some similarities and
differences between English expressions containing the verb “Take” and “Bring” and
their Vietnamese equivalents in terms of syntactic and semantic features, and propose
the implications for teaching and learning these English expressions at high school.
To carry out this research, I use descriptive, analytical and contrastive
methods. The author combines descriptive research method and comparative analysis
method, in which survey questionnaires, the comparative method, the statistic method
and the analytical method are included. Being the result of survey, the author has
pointed out the similarities and differences of English expressions containing the
verbs “Take” and “Bring”. Hopefully, the finding of this study can, to some extent,
be suggested as a referential material for Vietnamese students and teachers in
studying and teaching expressions.

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Adv
N.

Adverb
Noun

O.
D.O
I.O

Object
Direct object
Indirect object

NP
PP

Noun Phrase
Preposition

Smb
Sth

Somebody
Something

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LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES

Table 1. A summary of the Sematic Features of expressions containing the verb
“Take” ......................................................................................................................... 29
Table 2. A summary of the Sematic Features of expressions containing the verb
“Bring” ........................................................................................................................ 34
Table 3: Percentages of functions of English expressions containing “Take” and
“Bring” and Vietnamese expressions containing “Mang đi” and “Mang đến” .......... 36
Figure 1: The necessity of learning English expressions containing the verbs “Take”
and “Bring” and English expressions .......................................................................... 41
Figure 2: Students’ difficulties when learning English expressions containing the
verbs “Take” and “Bring” and English expressions ................................................... 42

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY ............................................................................ v
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ......................................................................................... vi
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................ vii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .................................................................................... viii
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES ............................................................................ ix
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................. 1
1.1. Rationale ............................................................................................................. 1
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study ........................................................................ 2
1.3. Research questions .............................................................................................. 2
1.4. Methods of the study .......................................................................................... 3
1.5. Scope of the study ............................................................................................... 3
1.6. Significance of the study .................................................................................... 4
1.7. Design of the study ............................................................................................. 5
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ....................................................................... 6
2.1. Review of Previous Studies ................................................................................ 6
2.2. Review of Theoretical Background .................................................................... 6
2.2.1. Theoretical Framework ................................................................................ 7
2.2.1.1. Syntax ................................................................................................. 7
2.2.1.2. Semantics .......................................................................................... 11
2.2.2. Theoretical Background ............................................................................. 12
2.2.2.1. Concepts of expression ..................................................................... 12
2.2.2.2. Concepts of set expressions .............................................................. 12
2.2.2.3 Types of set expressions .................................................................... 13
2.2.3. The verbs “take” and “bring” in English .................................................... 16
2.2.4. The verbs “Take” and “Bring” in Vietnamese ........................................... 17
2.3. Summary ........................................................................................................... 18
Chapter 3: THE SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF ENGLISH
EXPRESSIONS CONTAINING THE VERBS “TAKE” AND “BRING” AND
THEIR VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS .............................................................. 19
3.1 Syntactic features of english expressions containing the verbs “take” and “bring” . 19


3.1.1 Syntactic Features of English expressions containing the verbs “Take” .... 19
3.1.2. Syntactic Features of English expressions containing the verb “Bring”.... 22
3.2. Semantics features of expressions containing the verb “Take” and “Bring” ... 24
3.2.1. Semantic features of expressions containing the verb “Take” ................... 24
3.2.2. Semantic features of expressions containing the verb “Bring” .................. 31
3.3 Similarities and differences between english expressions containing the verbs
“take” and “bring” and their vietnamese equivalents .............................................. 35
3.3.1. In terms of syntactic features of English expressions containing the verbs
“Take” and “Bring” .............................................................................................. 35
3.3.1.1 Similarities ......................................................................................... 35
3.3.1.2 Differences......................................................................................... 36
3.3.2. In terms of semantic features of English expressions containing the verbs
“Take” and “Bring” .............................................................................................. 37
3.3.2.1 Similarities ......................................................................................... 37
3.3.1.2 Differences......................................................................................... 37
3.4. Summary ........................................................................................................... 38
CHAPTER IV: SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR TEACHING ENGLISH
EXPRESSIONS CONTAINING THE VERBS “TAKE” AND “BRING" AND
ENGLISH EXPRESSIONS FOR THE FRESHMAN IN UNIVERSITY OF
FIRE FIGHTING AND PREVENTION ................................................................ 39
4.1. Survey questionnaires ....................................................................................... 39
4.1.1. Subjects ...................................................................................................... 39
4.1.2. Questionnaires ............................................................................................ 39
4.1.3. Procedure .................................................................................................... 40
4.2. Difficulties of the freshmen in University of Fire Fighting and Prevention in
learning English expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and English
expressions. .............................................................................................................. 41
4.3. Suggestions for teaching and learning English expressions of education ........ 42
4.3.1. Suggestions for learning English expressions of education ....................... 42
4.3.2. Suggestions for teaching English expressions of education ...................... 43
4.4. Summary of the chapter .................................................................................... 45
CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION ................................................................................ 47


5.1 Recapitulation .................................................................................................... 47
5.2 Concluding remarks ........................................................................................... 47
5.3. Limitation of the study...................................................................................... 47
5.4. Suggestions for further studies ......................................................................... 48
REFERENCES .......................................................................................................... 49
APPENDICES ........................................................................................................... 51


Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale
There are thousands of languages amended and used in the world, each of
them has differences and uniqueness; among which English can be seen as one of
the international languages to serve people’s daily-life communication. In fact,
English has been recommended to be a compulsory subject in training curriculum of
every school and university in Vietnam.
Plenty of Vietnamese children may get accustomed to spoken English as
soon as they begin learning how to read and write in their mother tongue. This
means that people have recognized the importance and necessity of English as well
as the advantages that English may bring about. However, learning English is
always a big challenge for Vietnamese native-speaker learners. One of the
challenging things of acquiring English is expressions, which seem to be too hard
for them to master, hence inevitable errors in using expressions in communication:
both spoken and written English.
Expressions are considered interesting and popular phenomena of almost all
languages. They show the way people perceive and react to the world they inhabit.
Being able to master expression is almost essential if we want our English to sound
more native-like and less awkward. Mastering those expressions will also help
better understand native English speakers.
The verbs “Take” and “Bring” have some basic meanings. However, they
have a wide range of meanings. They can combine with other word-classes to form
lexico-grammatical structures where by various manifestation of meaning could be
expressed. With such a complexity of meaning conveyed, and flexibility in
combination with other units to shape different meanings, there is no doubt that the
verbs “Take” and “Bring” can cause confusion among language users in
understanding their various implicated meanings, and at the same time creating
problems in using them properly in various contexts.
Being aware of the importance of expressions in daily interaction as well as
in learning language, many researchers have made efforts to study issues and
aspects in this field. Many researchers have concentrated on analyzing semantic and
cultural features, as well as psychological factors of expressions. Nevertheless, a
study on English expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” has not been
dealt with so far. In Vietnam, research of these expressions is still untouched

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especially the syntactic and semantic features of expressions containing the verbs
“Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents. What is more, there are
many problems which need being examined when one attempts to show the
meaning conveys as well as the linguistic functions of expressions containing these
verbs.
For the above reasons, I decided to choose the thesis entitled “The syntactic
and semantic features of English expressions containing the verbs “Take” and
“Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents.”
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study
1.2.1. Aims
This research is conducted to achieve the targets of finding out syntactic and
semantic features of English expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring”
and their Vietnamese equivalents. Here, the syntactic and semantic manifestations
of these verbs are taken into account. The study hopes to contribute to enhanced
English language learning in general and to better English communicative
competence by Vietnamese learners of English in particular.
1.2.2. Objectives
To achieve the above-mentioned aims, the following objectives can be
put forward:
(i) Pointing out syntactic features of English expressions containing the
verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents.
(ii) Figuring out semantic features of English expressions containing the
verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents.
(iii) Suggesting possible implications for teaching English expressions
containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring”.
1.3. Research questions
To achieve the above-mentioned aims, the following objectives can be
put forward:
1. What are the syntactic and semantic features of English expressions
containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents?
2. What are similarities and differences between English expressions
containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents?

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3. What are difficulties students often encounter when learning expressions
containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and possible solutions in teaching and
learning English expression containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring”?
1.4. Methods of the study
In order to deal with the subject effectively, a flexible combination of
methods is employed. First, the descriptive method is utilized to give a deep and
detailed description of English expression containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring”
and their Vietnamese equivalents. Then examples for illustrating the description
will be taken from the grammar and reference books written by contemporary
influential linguists in English as well as from translated publications available in
Vietnam.
Survey questionnaire in form of a written test is used as one of data
collection methods to evaluate participants’ ability in understanding English
expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” in terms of syntactic and
semantic features. Then, the statistic method is applied to present quantitative
descriptions in a manageable form to simplify large amounts of data in a sensible
way.
In addition, comparison method is used to analyze English expressions
containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents, hence
pointing out the distinctive features of English expression containing the verbs
“Take” and “Bring” which cause difficulties for Vietnamese learners and suggesting
some implications for teaching these verbs to learners.
1.5. Scope of the study
There are many different types of expressions in English, but here are the
main ones: Expressions (or idiomatic expressions), Slang, Phrasal Verbs, Proverbs,
Clichés and Jargons. Set expression includes fixed phrases, sentences, proverbs and
expressions which contain the verbs “Take” and “Bring” in both languages: English
and Vietnamese. But in this study, we focus on the set expressions that contain
phrasal verbs.
Academic Scope
The study focuses on studying syntactic and semantic features of English
expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese
equivalents. The result of the study will give crucial contributions to the field of
linguistics and improve the efficiency of teaching English expressions containing

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the verbs “Take” and “Bring” for non-English majored students at the University of
Fire Fighting and Prevention. The findings hopefully would bring out various
suggestions for teachers and researchers to conduct further studies related to English
expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” themselves and those of other
verbs as well as advance teaching effectiveness of expressions. 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’ definitions without notes for practical ways of using them. It is better if
English expressions are analyzed and totalized, contributing considerably to English
learning and teaching in Vietnam.
1.6. Significance of the study
(i) 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 expressions of 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 English expressions with the verbs “Take” and
“Bring”. 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.
(ii) Practical Significance
The author hopes that this study’s findings and conclusions would bring
great contributions to raise the importance of studying English expressions with the
verbs “Take” and “Bring” with reference to the Vietnamese equivalents. First of all,
when students study about expressions, they might learn them by heart easily,
however, the main problem will lie in applications of these expressions in
appropriate contexts. Therefore, learning about expressions is the beginning of the
whole process. The main step is to understand comprehensively how they are

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applied in diverse situations and students can only do this by analyzing examples
made by natives speakers, not their own. This research offers them a method to do
this. Secondly, regarding translation, students will have problems with understand
the meanings if they learn the words’ definitions separately with its expressions and
meanings. This study’s implications are to deal with these issues in hope that will
help students overcome their troubles.
1.7. Design of the study
The study consists of the 5 following parts:
Chapter I – Introduction: gives a brief overview of the research with the
rationale for choosing the topic of the research, aims, objectives, scope of the
research, and the structural organization of the thesis.
Chapter II – Literature Review: reviews the previous studies related to the
research topic, a variety of pragmatic concepts most relevant to the research topic
such as expression, phrasal verb, etc and the framework, base on which the research
is conducted.
Chapter III – Syntactic and semantic features of English expressions
containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” and their Vietnamese equivalents, shows
what have been found and how they are analyzed. The features are accompanied by
statistical results and the analysis of the data shown in the tables. The most
importance in this chapter is the discussion of the data collection and analysis.
Chapter IV – Some suggestions for teaching English expressions containing
the verbs “Take” and “Bring" and English expressions for the freshman in University
of Fire Fighting and Prevention.
Chapter V – Conclusion, provides a summary of the development of the
study, a brief re-statement of the findings. Also, the recapitulation, concluding
remarks, the limitations of the study and suggestions for further studies are cited
here.

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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 investigation. In other words, the review is to
explain several related terms and definitions as to semantics, syntax, semantics,
collocation, verb and structures with the verbs “Take” and “Bring". These later
would further highlight the features conducted of the study as well as suggest an
array of possible implications for teaching English expressions with the verbs
“Take” and “Bring” in general and teaching them to Vietnamese students at the
University of Fire Fighting and Prevention in particular.
2.1. Review of Previous Studies
Up to now, there have been a number of studies on different kinds of English
and Vietnamese expressions, verbs and related subjects. The descriptions and
analyses are based on the starting point from Chomsky. The other descriptions of
syntactic and semantic views are through different ages in the history of linguistics
as Bullokar in “Brief Grammar for English” (1785).The description makes further
progress to the view of Fowler in “English Grammar” (1857), then Sweet in “New
English Grammar” (1891).
Palmer (1990) said that expressions are the consequences of words whose
meaning cannot be predicted from the meaning of the words themselves.
Semantically, expressions are single units, but they are not single grammatical
features and the problem of expressions involves the much wider issue of word
formation, by which what would appear to be new and more complex lexemes can
be formed from single ones.
Fellbaum (349) mentioned the traditional definition of expressions as “a
class of multi-word units, which pose a challenge to our understanding of grammar
and lexis that has not yet been fully met”. Besides, he made the conception of
expressions in his book more clearly by distinguishing idioms from collocations and
“dead” metaphor.
Expressions have also been the subject of study, essay and research by many
other linguists: Flavel (1994), Collins (1957), etc. The interest in expressions cast
back a perception of the universality of prefabricated- memorized combination in
spoken and in written language. Since 1990s, expressions have been studied in
relation with their syntactic, semantic and pragmatic functions. Linguists have

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begun to concentrate on the difficulty of understanding expressions in general in
terms of meanings of their components.
In Vietnamese, expressions have been recognized, collected and explained
systematically. A lot of works have been done to make collections of Vietnamese
expressions in comparison with those in other languages such as English, French,
Russian, etc…It should be noticed about the works of Đỗ Hữu Châu (1981), who
wrote “Từ vựng - Ngữ nghĩa Tiếng Việt” In this book, the author analyzed
Vietnamese expressions and showed their semantic and syntactic features. Nguyễn
Lân collected a number of Vietnamese expressions in “ Từ điển thành ngữ, tục ngữ
Việt Nam” (2005). Nguyễn Nhã Bản was best known with “Đặc trưng cấu trúc ngữ
nghĩa của thành ngữ, tục ngữ trong ca dao” (2005).
Besides, there have been some other papers which dealt with expressions
related to animals, human body parts, numbers, spatial verbs, color, etc… These
were done by Nguyễn Thị Hiệp (2001), Võ Thanh Quyên (2006).
Recently, there have been some research papers that have close relationship
with the thesis such as: “A study of English set expressions containing numbers
and the Vietnamese equivalents” by Nguyễn Thị Phương, Hanoi Open University
(2015); “A study on idomatic expressions denoting 'happiness' in English and their
Vietnamese equivalents” by Nguyễn Minh Phương, Hanoi Open University
(2015), etc.
However, the investigation into English expressions containing the verbs
“Take” and “Bring” has not been carried out yet. Therefore, through the reading of
those works in English and Vietnamese, I would like to make a systematic
description and analysis of English expressions containing the verbs “Take” and
“Bring” in terms of syntactic and semantic features. A system of information about
English expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” together with my
realization and analyses is just a small part in this field of linguistics. Moreover, a
study on English expressions containing the verbs “Take” and “Bring” is still a
deserted field that needs to be exploited to keep up with and fulfill the demands in
teaching expressions for EFL students in Vietnam.
2.2. Review of Theoretical Background
2.2.1. Theoretical Framework
2.2.1.1. Syntax

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The word syntax comes from Ancient Greek word. In linguistics, syntax is a
collection of rules, standards as well as methods which regulate the structure of
sentences in a certain language, specifically order of words (Oxford University
Press, 2014).
The word of syntax had been written long before modern grammar official
fixed and appeared. In old times, syntax concept was ruled by a structure name by
grammaire générale which was discovered by Antoine Arnauld in “Grammaire
Générale” in 1660. This framework states that human brain thinking processes will
reflect straightly into language. As a result “there is a single, most natural way to
express a thought” (Antoine, 1660). That framework lasts until the 19th century
which been replaced by the development of linguistics and by the argument of
progressive linguists. They recognize that it is not true about the state “there is a
single, most natural way to express a thought” because of the impact of internal and
external environment on human thinking. And so the logic base for studying
language’s structure had been denied (Bickerton, 1992).
It only became clear when linguists discovered and adapt modern theories of
syntax in the late 20th century. The famous work “generative grammar” of professor
Noam Chomsky is considered as the most popular framework to study and analyze
about syntax with the main hypothesis that “language is a configuration of the
human mind” and “syntax is based upon the component structure of sentences”,
following the concept that syntax features certainly focus on the arrangement of a
sentence more than its communication purposes (Chomsky, 2002).
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 linguists 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 bring a boundless number of sentences. This
is a common feature that can be witnessed in all languages.
A. Verbs

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First of all, it is without a doubt that verb is the most vital part of a sentence
in English since without this type of word no complete sentences will be made.
Secondly, verb is a part of speech that in syntax conveys the meanings of an action,
an occurrence, or a state of being and there are various kinds of verbs. Last but not
least, a verb has to agree with sentence components such as subject or object,
gender or number. Therefore, verbs must have tenses, but it is too far upon the scale
of this section. Regarding types of verbs, there are four different types in total:
Copular verbs
Auxiliary verbs
Modal verbs
Main Verbs
English Copular Verb is the first type of verb in English which is the one that
links the subject with its subject complement. The most common copular verbs in
English are be, become or feel. For example:
She is kind.
I feel better.
English Auxiliary Verb is the second type of verb in English that adds more
information related to semantics or syntax about the main verb in the verb phrase.
The three most common auxiliary verbs in English are namely be, do and have. For
example:
Do you eat dog meat?
English Modal Verb is the third type of verb in the English language that
expresses modality and often occupies only the initial position in a verb phrase.
Some common modal verbs are can, may or must. For example:
You must wear a helmet.
English Main Verb is the fourth type to mention in this part. Main verbs are
dynamic or stative verbs that function as the head of the verb phrase. All other verbs
that are not auxiliary or modal verbs are main verbs in English. For example:
He broke my arm.
I killed the man yesterday.
In summary, there are four types of verbs as listed in the table below:

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Types
Copular Verb

Modal Verb

Auxiliary Verb

Main Verb

B. Phrasal Verbs
A phrasal verb is a type of verb in English that operates more like a phrase
than a word. The expression phrasal verb refers, in English Grammar, to a
combination of a verb and a prepositional or adverbial particle, in which the
combination often takes on a meaning which is apparently not the simple sum of its
parts, for example turn up means ‘appear’.
Longman Dictionary of phrasal verbs defines phrasal verb as “idiomatic
combination of a verb and adverb, or a verb and preposition (or verb with both
adverb and preposition)”. A grammarian such as Eduard, Vlad (1998) [Eduard,
V(1998).English Group Grammar. Constanta: Tipografia : 93] describes phrasal
verb as “combination of a lexical verb and adverbial particle”. Verbs as ‘give up’,
‘fall out’ and ‘take in’ are considered by him to be multi-words verbs that are
equivalent to one lexical item. Heaton considers that “phrasal verbs are compound
verbs that results from combining a verb with an adverb or a preposition, the
resulting compound verb being idiomatic”
Tom McArthur in the Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992)
notes that these verbs are also referred to by many other names such verb phrase,
discontinuous verbs, compound verb, verb-adverb combination, and verb-particle
construction. Crystal in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English language
calls this linguistic phenomenon a “ Multi –word verb” that is the best described as
a lexeme, a unit of meaning that may be greater than a single word.
A phrasal verb is defined by Broukal and Woods as “the combination of a
verb plus an adverb particle and sometimes the particle may be followed by a
preposition”. They go on to say that “most of the particles look like prepositions but
act as adverbs, and usually change the meaning of the verb they are connected”. The
same definition is given by Kollin M. (1982), Easy Grammar Plus. Wanda Phillips,
when she states that “Phrasal verbs are common structures in English. They consist
of a verb combined with a preposition like word, known as particle”. She goes on to

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say that “phrasal verbs include both two-and three-word strings”. Examples of such
phrasal verbs are ‘give up’, ‘look after’, ‘hand in’ which include two strings while
‘put up with’, ‘give in to’ and ‘put up for’ include three strings.
Phrasal verbs are considered by Graver as “semi-compounds” whereas
Palmer [Palmer, F. R.(1998). The English Verb. London, New York: Longman:
180] regards them as “single units in the grammar”. He gives reasons for naming
them like that by saying that “there are several collocation restrictions. We can give
up but not give down. We can look after someone but not look before him”. He adds
that phrasal verbs are “obviously semantic units” because ‘give in’ equals ‘yield’,
‘look after’ may be replaced by the literary ‘tend’, ‘put up’ has the meaning of
‘invent’, and ‘put up with’ means ‘tolerate’. What has been stated by Palmer
concerning the treatment of phrasal verbs as single units is quite true and has a solid
basis simply because we have to place certain prepositions or adverbs after certain
verbs in order to convey meanings or concepts. All these definitions lead to
another aspect proposed for discussion, which is the classification of phrasal verbs
in English language In addition to this, it is necessary to distinguish between phrasal
and prepositional verbs.
2.2.1.2. Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning in language. It primarily focus on the
correlation between the symbolic constituent of a sentence such as words and
phrases and what they demonstrate for, their references. First discovered by French
linguist Michel Breal, the word semantics relates series of awareness from normal
using to higher application. In simple meaning it describes a range of understanding
which could carry out the word choice. According to Breal (1890), the difference
between semantics and syntax is syntax is just a formal arrangement of constituents
of a language without their own meanings, while semantics requires the critical
meaning for every use of words.
There are many theories of semantics which have been studied and analyzed
for centuries and they could be generally classified into three basic concepts:
Model theoretic semantics: Discovered by Richard Montague in the late
1960s, this formal theory of ordinary language semantics is about how and in which
expressions reflect their relational meaning among themselves. And more
amazingly, the truth values of a sentence and its reasonable denotations to other
sentence are analyzed to a model (Montague, 1960).

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Truth conditional semantics: First mentioned by the linguist Donald
Davidson in 1973, the theory tries to find the language connection with the reality
which differenates it from model theoretic semantics. Its result shows that every
component of a sentence must rely and reflect the truth conditions of itself in order
to carry out the true meaning of the combination. There is a simple example for this
theory: “Winter is cold” is true only when winter is cold, if two conditions of the
meaning “winter” and “cold” are not logical with each other then the semantics
could not be performed.
Lexical semantics: is the theory of context. It states that the meaning of a
word is totally revealed by its situation. Each component of the sentence must
collaborate with others in terms of meanings which could depend on their own level
and form in order to carry out the meaning of the sentence. As a result, it would be
easier for the speakers to convenient deliver their thoughts depending on the current
context (Levin, 1991).
2.2.2. Theoretical Background
2.2.2.1. Concepts of expression
According to Cambridge Dictionary, expression is a word or phrase,
especially an idiomatic one, used to convey an idea.
For example: He uses a lot of unusual expressions.
"A can of worms" is an expression that means "a difficult situation".
2.2.2.2. Concepts of set expressions
As many languages English and Vietnamese, set expressions are own phrases
and sentences that used daily in communication, in speech as well as in writing. Set
expressions require fixed phrases, sentences, expressions and proverbs.
According to Nguyen Hoa (2001), Set expressions are word-groups
consisting of two or more words whose combinations are integrated as a specialized
meaning of the whole such as to see the red light, to give one a big hand etc.
Set expressions have been sometimes called word equivalents, and they have
been postulated that the vocabulary of a language consists of words and words
equivalents (word group), similar to word in so far as they are not created in speech
but introduced into the act of communication ready-made. If substitution is only
pronominal, or restricted to few synonyms for one of the only, or impossible, i.e if
the elements of the phrase are always the same and bring a fixed context for each
other, the word-group is a set expression.

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In this study, set expressions include expressions, proverbs and phrasal
verbs, but mostly is phrasal verbs.
2.2.2.3 Types of set expressions
A. Expressions
According to Fellbaum (349) expressions are a class of multi-word units,
which pose a challenge to our understanding of grammar and lexis that has not yet
been fully met”.
The following are some definitions of expressions that are given in
dictionaries, and they are understood and defined by linguists.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (533) gives the following
definition: idiom is a “peculiarity of phraseology approved by usage though having
meaning not deducible from those of the separate words.”
A more detailed description is given in Webster’s New World Dictionary
(670): idiom is “a phrase, construction, or expression that is recognized as a unit in
the usage of a given language and either differs from the usual syntactic patterns or
has a meaning that differs from the literal meaning of its parts taken together”.
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (163) relates to an
idiom as an expression the meaning of which “cannot be deduced by examining the
meanings of the constituent lexemes“, the expression being both grammatically and
lexically fixed.
Cambridge International Dictionary of Expressions (vii) suggests that one of
the problems with expressions is that it is often impossible to guess the meaning of
an idiom from the words that it contains, emphasizing the fact that expressions often
have a stronger meaning than non-idiomatic phrases.
Dictionaries provide rather general and brief descriptions of expressions.
Linguistic works, on the other hand, which specialize in this particular field of
expressions, take into consideration various aspects of expressions and thus can
appear to be more descriptive. A set expression is a group of two or more words that
means something other than the literal meanings of its individual words.
Expressions are colloquialisms or expressions that people say.
For example: ‘raining cats and dogs” – this idiom means that it’s raining
heavily

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