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HO CHI MINH CITY UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE NOUN PHRASES

Instructor: Mr. Bùi Nguyên Khánh Student: Chu Văn Bình Class 4B-08 Contrastive Analysis 2011 HCMC, Dec. 31th 2011

That is pre-modification and postmodification. they can be illustrated by the table in the part Structure. The head. The other two parts are optionally occurring. Structure: A noun phrase usually consists of three elements: the head. It also gives some implications in teaching English basing on the those differences. they can work out some solutions for problems. the head. The central part of the noun phrase. In the book “Analyzing English” Howard shows that “ the noun phrase in English is composed potentially three parts. which is obligatory and the most important part of a noun phrase. 2000. p. My paper is a review a differences between English and Vietnamese noun phrases. some solutions for problems will also be raised. 12) PREMODIFICATION (optional) e. Noun phrase in English Definition :A noun phrase is briefly defined as “a group of words with a noun or pronoun as the main part” and these phrases may “consist of one word” (Nguyen.54).g: That old CAR In the drive HEAD (Obligatory) POSTMODIFICATION (Optional) . 53). My paper will include a description of English and Vietnamese noun phrases and then it shows some differences in noun phrases between the two languages. Nguyen stated “the Head is a noun” (p. the pre-modification and the post-modification. Meanwhile Howard added the head can be a noun or a pronoun (p. is obligatory: it is the minimal requirement for the occurrence of a noun phrase.Abstract A contrastive analysis between two language is very useful to help teachers to avoid students making mistakes in learning English. its purpose is to help teachers of English to recognize some errors that students can make in learning and from that. At the same time.

age (old). demonstratives(‘this’. For example: the sixth man. . he gave an example of the order of the adjectives in a noun phrase: epithet (charming). * Howard described the order of adjectives which come after numerals/ quantifiers as following: opinion – size. ‘the’).shape-age-colour. that is more than one numeral/ quantifier may occur in a noun phrase (p. he gave a very clear description about pre-modification (p. And if we want to combine article or demonstrative identifier with possessive. Eg. ‘your’. 5.modification) Pre-modification (or pre-modifiers) is the one what precedes the head. He point out that “The class of Identifiers includes articles ( ‘a’. He gave a favorite sequence of numeral/ quantifier: ordinal numeralè indefinite quantifier. which are called pre-determiner ( all. size (small). In Howard’s book. Eg both/ all the old men. 3. 8. 13). 4. The pen of mine. So we can not say: this my pen. He discussed the specific order of the word class and sub-classes as identifier – numeral/quantifier – adjective – noun modifier. substance (oaken).13). one-third). color (brown).(Pre-modification) (Head) ( post. etc)” and these identifiers always come before any numerals or indefinite quantifiers that may be present.origin-material-purpose . 7. 2. then we use an “of –phrase” with the possessive pronoun must be used. shape (round). He also makes it clear that only one identifier may occur in any noun phrase. * Howard gave a notice about numeral/ quantifier. ‘that’) and possessive (‘my’. both. origin (French). half. 6. eg: the first few days ordinal numeral è cardinal: eg: the second five days indefinite quantifierè cardinal numeral: eg several hundred people * he mentioned small group of words that come before the identifier in a noun phrase. ‘his’.

Indefinite pro: eg someone in someone called. Possessive pronoun : eg mine in mine are green. Pronouns usually occurs without any kind of modification.……or Pronouns. but by phrases or clauses.present participle (writing). He mentioned the case of noun modifiers which come between adjective and the head noun and noun phrase in the genitive case. Pre-modification is virtually impossible for pronouns. For example: the bicycle’s low saddle. Howard said that Heads can be common nouns as car in that old car in the drive. eg he who hesitates (p. saddle (head noun) Head: the head noun is the central element and core component of a noun phrase. Demonstrative pronoun : eg this in this beats everything *Howard made a note about the case when pronouns functions as a head of a noun phrase.modification in a noun phrase is most commonly filled not by specific word classes or subclasses. Proper nouns such as John.. though post-modification may occasionally be found. Pronouns as heads can be: o o o o Personal pronoun :eg she in she is there.…………. this can be analyzed as: the bicycle’s ( noun phrase genitive).12). low (adjective). that is to say a noun phrase which is often used to indicate possession. Jenifer. Kinds of phrasal/ clausal post-modification are illustrated in the following diagram: . it is obligatory to a English noun phrase. Post-modifier: Howard gave a remark to post-modification as follow: the post.

He said that than. than . it’s a movie to see (inf clause) (cli) the man talking to the teacher the text chosen by the teacher phrase) Adjective phrase something new someone brave Preposition phrases Adverb phrase · the man with long hair the bus behind (cling) (past participle Howard gave a different kind of relative clause which involving comparison. In the example: she buys more clothes in a month than I buy in a year.clause is a relative clause.relative clauses adjective or adverbs postmodifiers non-finite clauses prepositional phrases The examples of each one are given in the following table: Post-modifiers Relative clauses Non-finite clauses examples the house where I live.

Past participle. eg: The car (head.is a relative pronoun. it is not “someone who is knowing the circumstances” but “ someone who knows the circumstances” · Howard gave a difference between Infinite clause and Present participle clause. 2001). subject). & Pham. in the example someone knowing the circumstances. In the example: the most expressive clothes that she can afford . Noun phrase in Vietnamese A Vietnamese noun phrase is defined as “a free combination of a noun nucleus and one or more than one subordinate elements” which can be front elements (that stand before the nucleus noun) and end elements (that stand after the nucleus noun) (Doan.coming down the road. but in infinite clause the implied subject is not always the head of the noun phrase. In Present participle clause. it always relates to an active. For example: Front elements Ba Những nucleus Con mèo Quyển sách End elements này Màu đen ấy . each type will be illustrated with examples in the following table: Infinite clause Present participle clause Past participle · The man to answer this question The car coming down the road The woman expected to arrive at any moment Howard made a note that a present participle clause is not always relatable to a progressive form. The man to answer this question can be understood by that someone should ask the man about this question. Nguyen. relative clause is introduced by that · Howard mentioned three kinds of non-finite clause. Past participle the implied subject is the head of the noun phrase. though. The similar case is for superlative comparison.

79) gave a chart about the order of the elements in a noun phrase: Tất cả -3 Những -2 Cái -1 Con mèo 0 Đen 1 ấy 2 The nucleus: in his book Diep Quang Ban said that the nucleus may be a noun or a combination of two components which is called “ngữ danh từ”. They are listed in the table below: (name of each one is given in Vietnamese terms) Sub-nouns examples . Both of the components is got together to indicate a specific object. we have 10 sub-nouns which can act as a nucleus. See examples in the following table: examples Classifier + noun Classifier + verb Classifier + adjective Con mèo Cuộc họp. or adjective. niềm vui Vẻ đẹp Besides these “ngữ danh tư”. 79) gave a general remark about the front and end elements of a Vietnamese noun phrase. That is :the front elements is the words of quantity of the nucleus and the end elements is words of quality of the nucleus The structure: Diep Quang Ban (2008.Một Con người Đặc biệt In his book. the first component is called “Danh từ chỉ loại” (a classifier). the second component can be a noun. a verb. Diep Quang Ban (2008.

They are called “ vị trí từ chỉ xuất” (post-1). trạng thái Danh từ chỉ màu sắc. 45) mention 3 positions which are in fixed order and can’t be interchangeable. “vị trí của từ chỉ tổng lượng”( post – 3) Post-3 (từ chỉ tổng lượng) Post-2 lượng) tất cả Những Cái Con mèo (từ chỉ số Post-1 (từ chỉ xuất) The nucleus Position 1(từ chỉ xuất): the most common word for “ từ chỉ xuất” is “cái”. mùi vi. “vị trí của từ chỉ số lượng” (post-2). âm thanh Danh từ chỉ người Danh từ trừu tượng Hai cái này Hai bọn kia Hai mẫu này Hai tỉnh nọ Hai chỗ ấy Hai thế kỉ này Hai lần về phép Hai màu ấy Hai trò này Hai khả năng này The front element: In his book. Diep Quang Ban (p. sự nghiệp Danh từ chỉ không gian Danh từ chỉ đơn vị thời gian Danh từ chỉ lần tồn tại của hoạt động. Here are some examples Cái cây tre này cái anh này cái xã ấy cái ngày ấy .Danh từ chỉ loại Danh từ tập thể Danh từ đơn vị đại lượng Danh từ đơn vị hành chính.

adjectives. ba 2.... The word “mấy” Position 3: those are the words indicating the meaning “total number” such as : tất cả.. tất cả. Numeral attributes (quán từ): những. Distribution words (từ hàm ý phân phối): mỗi từng.Position 2 (từ chỉ số lượng): “ từ chỉ số lượng” can be classified into the following kinds: 1.. verbs.. cardinal numeral.. Example: tất cả mọi việc The end element: Diep Quang Ban divided the end element into two positions: the position of descriptive words ( Vietnamese term: thực từ) and the position of demonstrative pronouns such as : này. kia. nouns of time: Position 1 examples . các... Diep Quang Ban called the position of descriptive words position-1... pronouns. tất thảy. He illustrated the two positions in the following table: . hết thảy. nọ. ấy (vietnamese term: từ chỉ định). Estimate quantifier: 3. hai.. một 5. The nucleus Con mèo Position-1 Đen Position 2 ấy Position-1: position of descriptive words In term of word class: this position can be taken over by nouns. Cardinal numeral: một. the position of ‘ từ chỉ định” position-2. mọi 4.

ấy. nọ ấy . Hàng mà chúng tôi sản xuất. đấy. For example : đơn tình nguyện. cho. để. bằng. These are some of them: của. kia. a S-V phrase (cụm từ chủ-vị): a principal – accessory phrase: gian hàng đồ chơi trẻ em a coordinated phrase: nhà sách bên trái và bên phải a S-V phrase: nhà sách tôi mua In terms of way of linking: Direct way: some words in position 1 can link to the nucleus in a direct way (without a connector). do.nouns Verbs Cardinal numeral Pronouns Nouns of time Hương hoa nhài Giấy vẽ Phòng mười bốn Máy (của) chúng tôi Chuyến trước In term of structure: position 1 can be taken over by a principal – accessory phrase (cụm từ chính phụ). lệnh sản xuất Indirect way: some connectors is used. ở Eg. chuyện mà tôi nói với anh Position 2: demonstrative pronouns such as “này. đó Differences between English and vietnamese noun phrase . đó Some of demonstrative pronouns are :này. a coordinated phrase (cụm từ đảng lập).

We can not say “ m ột mới sách” In English.modification in English noun phrases may include words of quality. demonstratives must appear in the end element. Pre-modification is virtually impossible for pronouns. In order to translate this Vietnamese phrase into English. “ this “ ngữ danh từ” may include a classifier noun + a noun. the pre. but that is ungrammatical in Vietnamese. Pronouns usually occurs without any kind of modification. A beautiful book. a verb. A noun in singular form must go with a determiner. eg : cuốn sách này . For example: the phrase “ một cuốn sách của tôi”is grammatically correct but we cannot say “ a my book” in English. a adjective. So we can use a pre-modification (mấy) + a pronoun in vietnamese ( anh) Only one identifier may occur in English but that is not the same in Vietnamese. we can infer a other difference. demonstratives occur before the head noun . So that would be ungrammatical when saying “ I will make table”. but in Vietnamese the nucleus may be a noun or a phrase called “ngữ danh tư”. . or a adjective The front elements in Vietnamese noun phrases indicate quantity . however. eg this book . But in Vietnamese we can say “ tôi sẽ làm cái bàn” In English. That is we can put an adjective phrase before the head noun in English. So we can work out a formation for a Vietnamese noun phrase as following: A Vietnamese noun phrase == a classifier + a noun. But we can say “mấy anh cố làm cho xong nha” in vietnamese. after the nucleus . a verb. when pronouns functions as a head of a noun phrase. the end elements do with the quality. we must say “ a book of mine” In English. That is distinctive in vietnamese when comparing with English. however. As the difference illustrated here. the head in a noun phrase must be a noun or a pronoun. Eg.In English there must be the occurrence of a noun and its determiners.

We say “ the second person” in english but “ người thứ hai” in vietnamese . Students may wrongly translate some cases.Vietnamese possessives always begin with the word “c ủa”. But English possessives precede the head nouns. Teachers should ask students to pay attention to these negative transfers so that they can avoid making mistakes . Or “ một cuốn sách của tôi” is translated into “ a my book’. while it should be “ all of you must come back soon”. The position of Ordinal numbers in noun phrases also differs between English and Vietnamese. ordinal numbers. Students may forget determiners when translating Vietnamese phrases into English. . “ tôi s ẽ mua cuốn sách” would be translated into “I will buy book” without a determiner. This results in some funny translation that students make. possessives. and occur after the head noun. Involving in the pronouns in English noun phrases which is occur without any pre-modification. students may confuse when they translate an English phrase into Vietnamese because of the differences in order of words. Teaching implication From what I have mentioned. Eg his book In English. Eg: cuốn sách của tôi. Eg. demonstratives. Eg. A solution for this may be a suggestion from teachers of a special way to remember. the Noun modifier is an end element. Or an learner of Vietnamese would translate “ i will buy a cat” into “ tôi sẽ mua một mèo” without a classifier noun :“ con”. Students may confuse because the differences in order of adjectives. a noun modifier can come before the head noun. Students may have troubles in putting adjectives in a correct order before a head noun. Vietnamese ways of this phrase is “ sách thiếu nhi”. The children books. For example: “một cái bàn mới” may be translated into ‘ a table new”. noun modifiers. I suggest some mistakes that students and translators may have. For example : “tất cả các anh phải về sớm” may be translated into “ all you must come back soon” . I want to give some suggestion for translators and teachers of English when they teach their students grammatical points involving noun phrases. However.

A careful study is very useful. That is not only for implication in teaching but also in translation.shape-agecolour-origin.size.purpose .teachers can give a word which has letters are the first letters of sequence of adjectives. There may be other studies in this field Such as “ study of errors in translation English into Vietnamese and solutions”. but it can not be a thoughtful and informative enough writing about noun phrases. For example: OPSACOMP will successively represent the following sequence of adjectives: opinion. Or wider contrastive analysis in verb and adjective phrase. .material. This paper has mentioned some of many interesting things between the two language. Conclusion Noun phrases in English and Vietnamese have some interesting thought-provoking differences that are really necessary to recognize.

(2008). Giáo trình ngữ pháp Tiếng Việt. n. Howard. cấu tạo từ. : Education Press. p. . Analyzing English. Tập 2: Phần từ loại. Jackson. n.d.p.Reference Diep.n. cụm từ. Quang Ban.: Pergamon Institute of English.