Functions of English Adjectives and Their Equivalents in Vietnamese Language Huynh The Phi Class 3A Department of English Ho Chi Minh City, University of Education Instructor: Bui Nguyen Khanh HO Chi Minh City, 19th June 2013 Abstract Every human knows at least one language, spoken or signed. Because of globalization, people’s needs to acquire a new language are increasing year by year. English is now one of the most popular in the world. It was used in business, education, history, daily commutations.
That is one of the reason why leaners choose English as a second language.
For most English learners, to acquire a new language, esides mastering 4 language skills, understanding grammar is very important. To help people who in need, I am an English teacher to be, will bring you an insight view of grammar, specifically, adjective. Adjective is the third of the eight parts of speech in English. How it is used? How is differed from Vietnamese? I hope that my research could answer these two questions and give you a deeper view to the adjective usage in English compared with Vietnamese.
An Overview of English Adjectives 1. What is an adjective in English?
According to Oxford Advanced Leaner Dictionary 8th, an adjective is “a word that escribes a person or thing, for example big, red and clever in a big house, red wine and a clever idea” (Albert, 2010) 2. Semantics function of English Adjectives a. Stative and dynamic adjectives Stative adjectives describe the stative characteristics of objects. Stative adjectives cannot be used in imperative constructions: Be tall/short/big.
[not appropriate] Dynamic adjectives, on the other hand, describe the dynamic properties of people of things. For examples: happy, careful, helpful, polite…
Dynamic adjectives have different usage from stative adjectives, such as Dynamic adjectives can go with rogress form of “be”, while stative adjective cannot: He is being helpful/polite/happy He is being handsome/short/lovely [not appropriate] Dynamic adjectives can be used in imperative constructions, while stative adjectives cannot, e. g. Be happy! Be careful! Be short! Be tall! [not appropriate Dynamic adjectives can be used in causative constructions and that is impossible for stative adjectives, e. g. I told her to be generous/polite/careful. I told her to be beautiful/tall/pretty. not appropriate] According to researchers, the majority of adjectives are stative. b. Gradable and non- radable adjectives: Gradable adjectives are adjectives like ‘cold’ ‘hot’ and frightened’. You can be very cold or a bit cold. Gradable adjectives show that something can have different degrees. (britishcouncil. org) There are two features to differentiate Gradable adjectives. A gradable adjective can be used with words like very, too and enough. For examples: Your teacup is too hot. Your teacup is very hot. I don’t have enough money for this car. Or it could be formed a comparative and superlative t as big, bigger, biggest, etc.
Non-gradable adjectives are adjectives like ‘married’ or Wooden’. You can’t be very married or a bit married. Non-gradable adjectives do not have different degrees. (britishcouncil. org). An adjective is non- gradable when we cannot modify it, it means that we cannot use it with very, too,… or e cannot make a comparative or superlative from it such as daily, dead, medical, unique, etc. Some other adjectives, such as perfect, excellent, extreme, married, dead, etc. are also non-gradable because their lexical meaning have already denoted a high or extreme degree. (elearning. cnu. edu. cn) 3. Syntactic functions of English adjectives: a. Attributive and Predicative: Depending on the positions and functions of them to a noun, adjectives could be classified into two types: attributive adjective and predicative adjective. The first type is attributive adjectives. This type appears before a noun as part of a noun phrase. It is placed between determiners or numbers (if there are any) and right before the noun, e. g. : A) She had a beautiful smile. B) He bought two brown bread rolls. (lingforum. com) The second one is predicative adjective.
It is used as a complement of the verb “be” and other link verbs such as become, feel or seem e. g. A) Her smile is beautiful B) She didn’t seem happy. (lingforum. com) Depending the information we want to emphasize that attributive and predicative adjectives are used appropriately. Attributive adjective is used to modify a noun which is the focus of the information in the statement. However, when the main focus of a statement is to give the information contained in an adjective, the adjective is hot water. (Attributive position). B) I put my hand in the bucket, the water was very hot. Predicative position) (lingforum. com) b. Adjectives as noun phrase heads There are two kinds of adjectives can function as nouns: Type 1: Adjectives referring to groups of people in a particular physical or social condition that they have in common. The form the + adjective used to infer groups of people , such as the blind, the dead, the deaf, … e. g. : The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. (1) This wing of the hospital is reserved for the critically ill. The British and the French do not always understand each other. (Examples from sites. google. om) In the example 1, it means that all rich people get richer and all poor people get poorer. The rich and the poor do not refer to Just one person or to a small group. They do not denote one person the rich man or the poor man. It often refer to a general word for human beings likes people. And, people is normally omitted and the use of the rich and the poor as heads of the noun phrases or without noun. According to researchers “These adjectives functioning as nouns always have generic reference, do not inflect for number or the -s genitive, and require a singular verb. ” (sites. google. om) Type 2: Adjectives representing or substituting nouns (i. e. as pronouns). The noun heads in such sentences are omitted. It could be easily recognized from context (usually in the receding clause); it can have specific or generic reference and be singular or plural e. g. : Do you prefer Irish coffee or Turkish (coffee)? We ordered mashed potatoes, but he served us boiled (potatoes). The red dress is prettier, but the green (dress) suits her better. (Examples from sites. google. com) c. Compound adjective: Compound adjective is a combination of two or more words and functions as an adjective.
Compound adjective could be a word or words with the insertion of This depends of the style of the language users: One word Words with “-” life + long = lifelong world + famous = world-famous ar + sick = carsick Four + year + old= four-year-old There are some ways to form a compound adjective: Structure Examples Noun + Adjective snow-white (tr??ng nhl_r tuy?©t), knee-deep ( s?¤u d?©n d?¤u g?¶i), pitch-dark (t?¶i den nhLr mVc), world-wide (kh??p th?© gidi), noteworthy (d?¤ng ch?? Y) Noun + Past participle handmade (l?¤m b??ng tay) ,moss-covered (b! ?©u ph??), lion-hearted (dung m?¤nh nhLr scr tdr), heartbroken (dau long), homegrown (nh?¤ tr?¶ng), heart-warming (vui v?©) Adverb + Adjective everlasting (vinh cdru), well-educated ( c?¶ gi?¤o duc t?¶t),ill-bred = ill-educated ( v?¶ gi?¤o vc), newly-lit = newly-born (mdi sinh) Adjective + Adjective . blue-black (xanh den), white-hot (cVc n?¶ng), red-hot (nong d??), dark-brown (n?¤u dam), worldly-wise (ttrng tr??i) Hyphenated adjectives (Tinh tlr k?©p b??ng d?¤u gech ngang) A four-year-old girl = The girl is four years old. A ten-store building = The building has ten stores.
Adjective + Noun Long-eared : c?¶ tai d?¤i, Blue-eyed : c?¶ m??t xanh Adverb / Adjective + V + ing Good-looking (d?© nhin), bad-looking (kh?¶ cot), nice-looking (Xinh x??n), ill-smelling (m??i kh?¶ ngdn), slow-moving (di chuy?©n chem) (From www. tienganh. com. vn) d. Adjective order: In English, people usually use more than one adjective before a noun ??” for example, “an old square wooden table” or “She’s a small thin Canadian lady. ” When more than one adjective present at the same time, there is a rule to put them in a correct order, depending on their types.
Look at the table to see basic types od adjectives the rule of orders for English adjectives: The basic types of adjectives Opinion An opinion adjective explains what you think about something (other people may not agree with you). For example: silly, beautiful, horrible, difficult Size A size adjective, of course, tells you how big or small something is. For example: large, tiny, enormous, little Age An age adjective tells you how young or old something or someone is. For example: ancient, new, young, old Shape A shape adjective describes the shape of something.
For example: square, round, flat, rectangular Color A color adjective, of course, describes the color of something. For example: blue, pink, reddish, grey Origin An origin adjective describes where something comes from. For example: French, lunar, American, eastern, Greek Material A material adjective describes what something is made from. For example: wooden, metal, cotton, paper Purpose nd with “-ing”. For example: sleeping (as in “sleeping bag”), roasting (as in “roasting tin”) Some examples of adjective order silly young English man huge round metal bowl small red sleeping bag (From web2. vcs. uvic. ca) 1. What is an adjective in Vietnamese? As in English, Vietnamese adjectives describes characteristics, the nature of things, activities, status. According Nguy?©n T?¤i can (NgCr ph?¤p Ti?©ng Vlet, 2001) adjectives are words expressing characteristics about quality, property, color, smell, taste and relationship between noun and pronoun. For examples: xinh, v?¤ng, thom, to, gi??i,.. . Semantics functions of Vietnamese’s adjectives: Stative and dynamic adjectives: In Vietnamese, there are also stative and dynamic adjectives.
The stative adjectives often describe stative qualities such as x?¤u, t?¶t, b?©n, dep, n?¶ng, xanh, d?¤i, h?¶ng The dynamic adjectives have tendency to show state such as bu?¶n, y?©u, met, vui, henh ph??c… 3. Syntactic functions of Vietnamese adjectives: a. Adjective-itself and adjective-not-itself: Categorizing adjectives in Vietnamese is different form some other language. There are usually some adjectives are played by other classes of words like nouns and erbs. For examples, “cu?©c s?¶ng n?¶ng th?¶n” in this phrase “n?¶ng th?¶n” could be seen as a noun or an adjective.
Or in the phrase “th?¤i d?© ph?¤n biet d?¶i x??”, “ph?¤n biet d?¶i xdr could be considered as a verb or an. According to L?© Dinh TLr, Vietnamese adjectives can be divided into two types: Adjective-itself (tinh tlr tg th?¤n) Adjective-itself describes characteristic, color, size, shape, sound, taste, degree, volume of a person or a thing. For examples: – Characteristics: t?¶t, x?¤u, sech, ban, d??ng, Sai, h?©n nh?¤t. – Color: xanh, d??, tim, v?¤ng, x?¤m, den, tr??ng, n?¤u. – Size: cao, th?¤p, ?©ng, hep, d?¤i, ng??n, to, nh??, b?©, kh6ng lb, ti hon, m??ng, d?¤y. Shape: vu?¶ng, tr?¶n, Cong, th??ng, quanh co. – Sound: On, On ?¤o, tr?¤m, b6ng, vang. -Tasting/smell: thom, th?¶i, h?¶i, cay, n?¶ng, ngqt, d??ng, Chua, tanh. Adjective-not-itself (tinh tlr kh?¶ng tg th?¤n) Adjective-not-itself are verbs and nouns used as an adjective. This type can be determined depending on the context. If these adjectives are separated from the context, they are not adjectives. According to L?© Dinh TLr, when using noun and verb as adjectives, the word would bring out a little different mean from its original, usually more general.
For example, “h?¤nh d?©ng ?¤n curdp” “h?¤nh Ong” means “an act, action” “?¤n curdp” means “to rob” The phrase refer to “an act” which is too bad, too serious that could be compared with “robbing”, not a real robbery. From Le Dinh Tu’s opinion, in Vietnamese, there two types of adjective-not-itself: * Adjective transformed from noun. For examples: c?¶ng nh?¤n (trong: v??i xanh c?¶ng nh?¤n); nh?¤ qu?© (trong: c?¤ch s?¶ng nh?¤ qu?©); cdra quy?©n (trong: th?¤i d?© cdra quy?©n); s??t d?¤ (trong: tr?¤i tim s??t d?¤); c?¶n d?¶ (trong: h?¤nh Ong c?¶n d?¶). * Adjective transformed from verb.
For examples: Chey l?¤ng (trong: h?¤i d?© Chey l?¤ng); d?? kich (trong: tranh d?? kich); ph??n d?¶i (trong: thur ph??n d?¶i); bu?¶ng th?? (trong: l?¶i s?¶ng bu?¶ng th??). b. Adjectives as noun phrase heads: In Vietnamese, adjective could be used as a noun: T?¤n t?¤t Ngurdi tan tat M?¤u d?? Gi?¤u Ngurdi gi?¤u From the examples, we can see that an Vietnamese adjective functions as a noun when it is combined with an appropriate determiner (ngurdi, m?¤u .. ). c. Compound adjective: According to L?© Dinh TLr, Vietnamese compound adjective could be established through these following ways: – Combine an adjective with an adjective.
For example: Xinh dep, cao ldn, to b?©o, d??ng cay, ngay th??ng, mau ch?¶ng, kh?¶n ngoan, ngu d?¤n. – Combine an adjective with a noun. For example: m?©o mieng, to gan, c(rng d?¤u, c(rng c6, ng??n ng?¤y, v?¤ng chanh – Combine an adjective with a verb. For example: kh?¶ hi?©u, d?© chlu, chem hi?©u, d?© cot, kh?¶ n?¶i. – Reduplicate the original adjective, maybe the whole adjective or Just part of it. For example: den, tr?¤ng tr??ng, do d??, v?¤ng v?¤ng, n?¤u n?¤u; sech s?©, may m??n, chem chep, nhanh nhen, d??t d??. d.
Adjective order: The position of adjective in Vietnamese is more flexible. We can change the position mong adjectives without changing the meaning of the phrase. For example: C?¤i b?¤n m?¤u den b??ng gd c?¤i b?¤n b??ng gd m?¤u den C?¤y thurdc d?¤i m?¤u tr??ng b??ng nh?¶m => cay thurdng b??ng nh?¶m d?¤i m?¤u den There is no fixed principle for the order of adjectives in Vietnamese A Contrastive Analysis between English and Vietnamese Adjectives 1 . In terms of semantics: From the overview, we can see it is not much different between adjectives in English and Vietnamese in terms of semantics.
They are all used to describe about quality, property, color, smell, taste and relationship between noun and pronoun. . In terms of syntactic: a. Attributive and predicative adjectives In general, both English adjectives and Vietnamese adjectives can function as attributive and predicative. For examples: “B??n Ch?? l?¤ sv k?©t hqp ho?¤n h??o hai m?¶n ?¤n durqc y?©u thich trong m??a he: th! t nurdng v?¤ salad (dura g?¶p, rau s?¶ng). Di?©u d?©c biet thu h??t thvc kh?¤ch kh?¶ng chi tlr nhCmg vi nurdng ch?? thom ltrng tr?©n b?©p than m?¤ c?¶n n??m d b?¤t m_rdc ch?¤m d?©m d?¤ Chua, cay, men, ngqt. (http://vnexpress. net/) In this example, “ho?¤n h??o” , “thom ltrng”, “d?¶m d?¤ chua cay, men, ngqt” function as a ttributive to the head noun “sv k?©t hqp”, “nhCmg vi nurdng ch??”, “b?¤t ncrdc ch?¤m” Another example: V! nh He Long l?¤ noi IY turdng d?© tho?¤t kh??i cu?©c s?¶ng ph?¶ th! t?¤p nap, chen ch??c d?©n ng?©p thd ngo?¤i kia. In this case, “IY turdng” is a predicative to subject Ninh He Long”. However, there are some differences. Attributive adjectives in English are put immediately before the noun and vice versa for the Vietnamese.
For examples: C?¶?¤y l?¤ m?©t ngurdi phu nCrxinh dep. She is a beautiful lady. My teacher has black curly hair Th?¤y t?¶i c?¶ m?¤i toc xo??n den In order words, when translating from English to Vietnamese, functions of adjectives Vietnamese A red hat M?¶t c?¤i non d?? A wonderful movie M?©t b?© phim tuyet vdi A romantic song M?©t b?¤i h?¤t l?¤ng men A very kind man M?©t ngurdi d?¤n Ong r?¤t tdr t?© b. Adjective as a noun phrase head Both English and Vietnamese adjectives can function as a noun phrase head but there are differences between them.
In English, for adjective to function as head of a noun phrase, it is usually combined with a determiner “the” (this is for the Type 1 only), as in Vietnamese, we can add an appropriate pre-modifier to the noun. Like all oun phrases, they can be subject, object, complement and complement of a preposition. For example: Those kinds of adjectives can denote plural and generic references, classes, categories or types of people. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer Ngurdi gi?¤u ng?¤y c?¤ng gi?¤u v?¤ ngurdi ngh?©o ng?¤y c?¤ng ngh?©o There’s a widening disparity between the young and the old.
C?¶ m?©t sv kh?¤c biet ldn giCra ngurdi gi?¤ v?¤ ngurdi tr?© ( “th?© he tr?©”) However, in English, these adjectives are restricted to denote plural and generic references, classes, categories or types of people. Therefore, the rich cannot denote one person. While, in Vietnamese, when expressing plural nouns, we must add the pre-modifier nhCmg nhCmg ngurdi gi?¤ the old nhCmg ngurdi gi?¤u the rich nhCmg ngurdi tan tat the disabled c. Compound adjectives Compound adjectives in English and Vietnamese are having nearly the same functions and forms.
Both are a combination of an adjective with another class of word (even an adjective). There is one little difference is that English compound adjectives sometimes have a “-” between words. d. Adjective order Adjectives always function as attributive in both English and Vietnamese as mentioned above. However, their positions in a sentence are different. There are usually series of adjectives presenting at the same time to modify a noun. In English, the order of these adjective must be regulated by a fixed rule. purpose While, the order of Vietnamese adjectives is more flexible.
In Vietnamese, adjective which appears near the head noun often plays the most important role. Look at these examples: A smart tall young Korean man M?©t anh ch?¤ng H?¤n qu?¶c tr?© cao to dep trai M?©t anh ch?¤ng tr?© H?¤n Qu?¶c dep trai cao to M?©t anh ch?¤ng dep trai H?¤n Qu?¶c tr?© cao to Implication For an English teacher, from the researcher, there are some aspect that could help in eaching English to Vietnamese student: Firstly, the order of adjectives In English and Vietnamese are different, therefore, students usually make mistake when translating the text.
For example: “M?©t c?¤i b?¤n d??t ti?©n” “A table expensive”. This is a common mistake among Vietnamese learners. Therefore, there must be more intention in this section. Secondly, there are many similarities between English adjectives and Vietnamese adjective, such as compound nouns, use age of adjective as a head of noun. Knowing this can facilitate the teaching process in the class. For example: eacher could give an equivalent word in Vietnamese compound to an English vocabulary while trying to explain the meaning of the word.
Thirdly, the use of adjective as a noun might be new to many learners. They might confuse why “red” could be a noun and an adjective but “rich” or “poor” cannot, unless they are preceded by a determiner “the”. Teacher should pay more attention to this usage of adjective. For an English learner, when using an adjective, the order is very important. Mistaking this in communicating could be and embarrassing moment, and, learners should never translate to English directly from their first language. References Adjectives (gradable / non-gradable)(n. d. ). Retrieved from http:// learnenglish. ritishcouncil. org/en/grammar-reference/ad]ectives-gradable-non- gradable Adjective Order (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://web2. uvcs. uvic. ca/elc/ studyzone/410/grammar/adJord. htm Adjectives as noun phrase heads (n. d. ). Retrieved from https://sites. google. com/site/agrammaroferrors/l-l-the-noun-phrase/ 1-5 Albert, H. (2010). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English Dictadv Series (8th ed. ). Oxford: Oxford University Press Attributive and predicative adjectives (2012). Retrieved from http:// www. ingforum. com/forum/viewtopic. php?
Retrieved from http://elearning. ccnu. edu. cn/ermsweb/libs/cwlib/%E8%AF%AD %E6%B3%95A/unit10/web/4. htm Compound adjectives (2009). Retrieved from http:// www. tienganh. com. vn/showthread. php? 26635-Compound-AdJectives L?©, T. (2011 , February). Tinh tlr ti?©ng Viet. Retrieved from http://ngnnghc. wordpress. com/tag/tinh-t Nguy?©n, C. (1999). Ngcr ph?¤p Ti?©ng Viet. H?¤ Net: NXB hoc Qu?¶c Gta. V??, N. (2013, June). B??n ch?? lot top 10 m?¶n ngon m??a h?© c??a CNN. Retrieved from http://vnexpress. net/gl/xa-hoi/du-lich/2013/06/bun-cha-lot-top-10-mon-ngon-mua-he- cua-cnn/