A contrastive analysis of negative questions in english and vietnamese

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HAI PHONG PRIVATE UNIVERSITY FOREIGN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT -------------oOo------------ GRADUATION PAPER A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF NEGATIVE QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE By: Pham Thu Ha Class: NA 1201 Supervisor: Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thu Hai Phong – December 2012 BỘ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC DÂN LẬP HẢI PHÒNG NHIỆM VỤ TỐT NGHIỆP Sinh viên: ……………………………………Mã số: ……………………….. Lớp: …………………………………………Ngành: ………………………. Tên đề tài: ………………………………………………………………….... ………………………………………………………………………………... NHIỆM VỤ ĐỀ TÀI 1. Nội dung và các yêu cầu cần giải quyết trong nhiệm vụ đề tài tốt nghiệp (Về lý luận, thực tiễn, các số liệu cần tính toán và bản vẽ) 2. Các số liệu cần thiết để thiết kế tính toán 3. Địa điểm thực tập: CÁN BỘ HƯỚNG DẪN ĐỀ TÀI TỐT NGHIỆP Người hướng dẫn thứ nhất: Họ và tên: Học hàm, học vị: Cơ quan công tác: Nội dung hướng dẫn: Người hướng dẫn thứ hai: Họ và tên: Học hàm, học vị: Cơ quan công tác: Nội dung hướng dẫn: Đề tài tốt nghiệp được giao ngày……tháng ….. năm 2012 Yêu cầu phải hoàn thành trước ngày……tháng …..năm 2012 Đã nhận nhiệm vụ Đ.T.T.N Đã giao nhiệm vụ: Đ.T.T.N Cán bộ hướng dẫn: Đ.T.T.N Sinh viên Hải Phòng, ngày……tháng…...năm 2012 HIỆU TRƯỞNG GS.TS.NGƯT. Trần Hữu Nghị PHẦN NHẬN XÉT TÓM TẮT CỦA CÁN BỘ HƯỚNG DẪN 1. Tình thần thái độ của sinh viên trong quá trình làm đề tài tốt nghiệp: 2. Đánh giá chất lượng Đ.T.T.N (So với nội dung yêu cầu đã đề ta trong nhiệm vụ Đ.T.T.N trên các mặt lý luận, thực tiễn, tính toán giá trị sử dụng, chất lượng các bản vẽ) 3. Cho điểm của cán bộ hướng dẫn: (Điểm chi bằng số và chữ) Hải Phòng, ngày …..tháng…..năm 2012 Cán bộ hướng dẫn chính (Họ tên và chữ kí) NHẬN XÉT ĐÁNH GIÁ CỦA CÁN BỘ CHẤM PHẢN BIỆN ĐỀ TÀI TỐT NGHIỆP 1. Đánh giá chất lượng đề tài tốt nghiệp về các mặt thu thập và phân tích số liệu ban đầu, cơ sở lý luận chọn phương án tối ưu, cách tính toán chất lượng thuyết minh và bản vẽ, giá trị lý luận và thực tiễn đề tài. ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………… 2. Cho điểm của cán bộ phản biện (Điểm ghi bằng số và chữ) Ngày ……tháng…..năm 2012 Người chấm phản biện ACKNOWLEDGEMENT In the process of completing this Graduation Paper, I have received a great deal of help, guidance and encouragement from my teachers and friends. First of all, I would like to express my great gratitude to my supervisor, Ms.Nguyen Thi Phuong Thu, M.A for helping me through this challenging process. I would also like to express my special thanks to other teachers of Foreign Language Department for their supportive lectures during four years that have provided me with good foundation to do effectively my Graduation Paper. Last but not least, I would like to thanks my family, my friends for their serious encouragement and inspiration me to complete this paper. Hai Phong, December 2012 Student Phạm Thu Hà Abbreviations and Symbols 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. E.g. = Example (1980:439) = (year : page) Etc = et cet era V = verb S = subject TABLE OF CONTENTS PART I: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 1 1. Rationale .............................................................................................. 1 2. Aims of the study ................................................................................ 2 3. Scope of the study ............................................................................... 2 4. Methods of the study ........................................................................... 3 5. Design of the study .............................................................................. 3 PART II: DEVELOPMENT .......................................................................... 4 CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND ........................................ 4 1. Negation in English and Vietnamese in brief. .................................... 4 1.1. Definition of negation. ..................................................................... 4 1.2. Scope of negation............................................................................. 4 1.3. Focus of negation ............................................................................. 5 The relationship between scope and focus of negation ..................... 7 2. Negative questions in English ............................................................. 7 2.1 What is a negative question? ............................................................ 7 2.2 The semantic and pragmatic approaches to English negative questions ................................................................................................. 8 CHAPTER 2: A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE NEGATIVE QUESTIONS ............................................... 11 1. Negative forms and non-assertive forms in English ......................... 11 1.1. Negative Forms .............................................................................. 11 1.2. Non – assertive forms .................................................................... 12 2. Negative orientation .......................................................................... 13 3. English negative questions ................................................................ 14 3.1. Negative Yes/No questions............................................................ 14 3.2. Negative Tag- questions ................................................................ 15 3.3. Negative Wh- questions ................................................................. 16 3.4. Negative alternative questions ....................................................... 16 4. A contrastive analysis of negative questions in English and their Vietnamese equivalents. ........................................................................... 17 4.1. Structures of negative question ...................................................... 18 4.1.1 Negative structures in Yes/No questions ................................. 18 4.1.2 Negative structures in Tag- questions ...................................... 22 4.1.3 Negative structures in Wh- questions ...................................... 24 4.1.4 Negative structures in alternative questions ............................. 26 4.2. Subclause ....................................................................................... 28 4.2.1 Use of “not” in English negative questions and in Vietnamese equivalents ......................................................................................... 28 5. Summary............................................................................................ 31 CHAPTER 3: COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY HAIPHONG PRIVATE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN USING ENGLISH NEGATIVE QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS ...................................... 32 1. Some common mistakes .................................................................... 32 2. Some suggestions to correct the mistakes ......................................... 33 PART 3: CONCLUSION ............................................................................. 36 1. Summary of the study........................................................................ 36 2. Suggestions for further studies and final comment ........................... 37 References ...................................................................................................... 38 Books: .......................................................................................................... 38 Websites: ...................................................................................................... 38 APPENDIX .................................................................................................... 40 PART I: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale Learning a foreign language is of great significance today. It is the bridge connecting countries in many fields. The mastery of a foreign language enables us to communicate with people from other countries, achieve mutual understandings, and further our trade contacts, economic co- operations, and cultural and academic exchanges with other countries. I am interested in learning English so much. English, as mentioned over and over again, is an international language. In Viet Nam, English, now, is a compulsory subject for pupils in most primary and secondary schools. It is also an important subject for students at all universities. Particularly, English is one of the essential requirements for those who want to find a good job. However, in order to master a language, we have to pay attention not only to grammar, structure, vocabulary, and pronunciation but also the culture of the language. In communicative process in English as well as in other languages, questions play an important role. We are not able to keep communication going on well without asking questions. We ask question in order to exchange information, ideas, feeling and knowledge. On the other hand, we sometimes ask questions not for the above purposes but for confirmation, refusal irony or reply avoidance. It is undeniable that questions can not be missed in communication. There are a lot of types of question in English but in this paper I would like to devote all my interest into English negative questions and their Vietnamese equivalents. The purpose is to get more understanding of this type of questions to use them flexibly. The contrastive analysis of English and Vietnamese negative questions also reveals the similarities and differences between the two languages. From my experience and knowledge, 1 I will go deep into this matter with a hope to assist people who are interested in the subject matter. 2. Aims of the study I have been learning English for a long time; however, I sometimes make mistakes in using and translating English negative questions into Vietnamese and vice versa. Many students also make these mistakes. For these reasons; my study deals with “Negative question in English and Vietnamese – a contrastive analysis”. In details, my Graduation Paper aims at: a. Examining how the structures of English and Vietnamese negative questions are built and used in details. b. Making a comparison between English negative questions and their Vietnamese equivalents. c. Exposing some common mistakes made by Vietnamese students and presenting some suggested solutions. d. Heightening learner‟s awareness in learning English and Vietnamese negative questions. 3. Scope of the study The study “Negative questions in English and Vietnamese - a contrastive analysis” focuses on negative questions in English and Vietnamese equivalents within the frame of structures and using negative words. Four types of questions will be discussed: Yes-No questions, Tag questions, Whquestions and Alternative questions. However, due to the limited time and knowledge, only negative questions that use the negator “not” will be discussed in details, the others will be suggested for further study. The study also finds out the common mistakes made by students at HPU and some suggestions to correct these mistakes. 2 4. Methods of the study The study is conducted by carefully collecting materials from various sources to have full – blown information of English and Vietnamese negative questions. Moreover, I have consulted with my supervisor, and obtained suggestions, instructions and encouragement from my teachers. The contrastive analysis is made intra- and interlingually: English negative questions with Vietnamese counterparts. The contrastive analysis involves two stages: the description of the structures and the use of negative words in both languages. 5. Design of the study My graduation paper is divided into three parts, in which the second, naturally, is the most important part. a. Part 1 is the INTRODUCTION in which the rationale, aims of the study, scope of the study, methods of the study, design of the study are presented. b. Part 2 contains three chapters: Chapter 1 provides readers with some theoretical background on negation, negative questions in English and Vietnamese in brief. Chapter 2 is also the main part of the study, which provides the contrastive analysis of English and Vietnamese negative questions. Chapter 3 is the common mistakes made by students in using English negative questions and suggested solutions. c. Part 3 is the Conclusion of the study. It also gives out implication for learning Negative questions in English and some suggestions for further studies. 3 PART II: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 1. Negation in English and Vietnamese in brief. 1.1. Definition of negation. According to the Vietnamese Dictionary, published in 1998 by the Centre of Dictionary, “Negation is the act of rejecting the existence, the necessity of something, is the opposition of affirmation”. In the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, published in 1994, negation is “the act of stating that something does not exist or is untrue”. The study is mainly based on English Grammar book “A University Grammar of English” (R, Quirk.1973). As for him, the negation of a simple sentence is accomplished by inserting not, n’t between the operator and the predication. Although the definition of negation varies from scholar to scholar, from dictionary to dictionary, we can draw some main points as follows: “Negation is a part of man‟s cognition activity and communication process. It is also a basic category of thinking, of formal logic. It is the opposition of the affirmative category”. According to Le Quang Thiem, a Vietnamese linguist, “negative sentence is used to describe the absence of an object, an event or a phenomena” while in many grammar books; we can see that a negative sentence is used to claim that something is not true or incorrect. 1.2. Scope of negation The term “scope of negation” is introduced to refer to the stretch of language over which the negative has its effect. The relation between negative words and non-assertive words that they govern will happen in scope of negation (that is part of language that the negative meaning operates through). The scope of negation formally extends from the negative words to the end of the clause or to the beginning of a final adjunct. The subject and any adjuncts 4 occur before a final predication often lies outside it. Thus, the operator can be within or outside the scope. Below are some examples to illustrate: E.g. I absolutely did not agree with you. (1) Versus I did not absolutely agree with you. (2) In (1), the scope of negation stretches from “not” to “you”, subject (I), adjunct (absolutely), operator (did) are excluded, the predication takes full negative effect (1) = It is absolute that I did not agree with you or = that I did not agree with you is absolute Sentence (2) I did not absolutely agree with you, subject (I) and operator (did) are put outside while adjunct is inside, negative meaning extends from negative word to the end of the clause. 1.3. Focus of negation We need to identify not only the scope, but also the focus of negation. Focus of negation gives a stress on particular part of a negative clause; this not only indicates the contrast of meaning implicit in the negative but also implies the rest of the clause in the positive. The focus of negation is to place effect on single word, which belongs to either open-class item in clause. Grammarians divided focus of negation in English into two types: End-focus Quirk defines that end focus is the chief prominence on the last- open items (verbs, adjectives, nouns, adverbs) and proper noun. The end focus is used to withdraw the hearer‟s attention to the information that speaker wants to convey; when a negative clause has end-focus, only last item is negated, the rest is positive. E.g.: They haven‟t been to Vietnam ≈ (They have gone to somewhere, but not to Vietnam) 5 Contrastive-focus Contrastive focus may be placed at earlier points and falls on any of the non-final elements of the clause or final item which belongs to closed-system items (prepositions, pronouns, etc...). Using contrastive focus, only one item is negated and the rest of clause is understood in positive sense. E.g.: Peter did not send a postcard to Mary on Christmas. ≈ (Someone sent a postcard to Mary on Christmas, not Peter). Peter did not send a postcard to Mary on Christmas. ≈ (Peter sent something to Mary on Christmas, not postcard). The contrastive focus points out which element is negated in a clause to contrast it with something or somebody already mentioned. Contrastive focus falls on the final item, but not end-focus. E.g.: She is not waiting for me ≈ (She is waiting for someone, not me). His father was not out ≈ (He was in). Operator also gets a contrastive focus which places contrastive emphasis on tense. E.g.: She didn‟t study English two years ago (Now, she is learning English). Operator is used in elliptical replies to concentrate attention on new information by avoiding repetition of the given information. E.g.: Have you phoned your parents? No, I haven‟t. ≈ (I haven‟t phoned my parents). Did you go out last night? No, I didn‟t. ≈ (I didn‟t go out last night). The participation of end focus and a contrastive focus makes the focus of negation not as ambiguous as the scope of negations they also have a certain contribution to finding appropriate account for ambiguity in the scope of negation. 6 The relationship between scope and focus of negation The scope and focus are interrelated in such as a way that the scope must include the focus. In an independent clause, the scope of negation covers all the negative effect the extent of the scope is identified by the position of the focus. 2. Negative questions in English 2.1 What is a negative question? “Negative questions are interrogative sentences with the presence of negative marker. They ordinarily do not accomplish questioning in the sense of information seeking”. e.g. Doesn‟t she understand? Why don‟t you listen to me? “Negative questions are generally used in different situations to express an opinion (seeking agreement) or to confirm information (checking information). To express an opinion in a more polite way, people change them into negative questions. They want the listeners to agree with their opinion”. e.g. Isn‟t it cold today? (I think it‟s cold today. How about you?) Doesn‟t she dance well? (In my opinion, she is a good dancer. What do you think?) “Negative questions can also be used to ask for confirmation of something you believe to be true or of a negative belief”. e.g. Can‟t you come to my party tomorrow? (I am surprised that you cannot come to my party tomorrow. Is it right?) 7 2.2 The semantic and pragmatic approaches to English negative questions Ladd (1981) presents a first look at the semantics and pragmatics of negative questions. The first is a systematic ambiguity in negative questions, such as: E.g.1: Isn‟t there a vegetarian restaurant around here? E.g.2: Didn‟t he even vote for Reagan? The ambiguity in these is remarkably hard to keep hold of, and the following elaboration may be helpful. E.g.3: (Situation: Kathleen and Jeff have just come from Chicago on the Greyhouse bus to visit Bob in Ithaca) Bob: You guys must be starving. You want to get something to eat? Kathleen: Yeah, isn’t there a vegetarian restaurant around hereMoosewood or something like that Bob: Gee, you’ve heard of Moosewood all the way out in Chicago, huh? Ok, let’s go there. Kathleen uses the negative question “Isn‟t there a vegetarian restaurant around here?” to ask for confirmation of something she believes to be true. Compare this to the following case: E.g.4: (Situation: Bob is visiting Kathleen and Jeff in Chicago while attending a meeting) Bob: I’d like to take you guys out to dinner while I’m here, we’d have time to go somewhere around here before the evening session tonight, don’t you think? Kathleen: I guess, but there’s not really any place to go in Hyde Park. Bob: Oh, really, isn’t there a vegetarian restaurant around here? Kathleen: No, about all we can get is hamburgers and souvlaki. Bob uses the negative question here for a very different reason: he had previously assumed the truth of the proposition there is a vegetarian restaurant around here, but has now inferred from what Kathleen says that 8 this proposition is actually false, and is using the negative question to check this new inference. The ambiguity in (E.g.2) is between „left-wing‟ and „right-wing‟ readings as seen in (E.g.5) and (E.g.6). E.g.5: (Situation: A and B are former left-wing activists discussing the recent activities of a colleague.) A: Did you hear John’s decided to go to business school? B: Yeah, I can’t believe how much he’s changed these days; didn’t he even vote for Reagan? A: That’s what somebody told me. E.g.6: (Situation: A and B are staunch Republicans) A: What’s Dick been up to these days, I haven’t seen him at the Club for ages. B: Haven’t you heard? He says he’s disillusioned with two-party politics, he’s joined Common Cause, gave a lot of money to the Citizens’ Party… A: Didn’t he even vote for Reagan? B: Not as far as I know. The situation in (E.g.5) is like that in (E.g.3), the negative question is being used to confirm something the speaker believes to be true, namely that John voted for Reagan. In (E.g.6), on the other hand, as in (E.g.4), the negative question is used to check on a new unexpected inference, namely that Dick didn‟t vote for Reagan. At the first glance it might appear that the different implicatures and appropriateness conditions seen in (E.g.3) and (E.g.6) are purely pragmatic, and that apparent ambiguity results from different pragmatic inferences drawn by the hearer on the basis of knowledge about the speaker‟s politics, eating habits, etc. 9 3. Summary Chapter one provides definitions of negation in English and Vietnamese in brief, scope of negation, focus of negation, negative questions in English in details and the semantic and pragmatic approaches to English negative question. The focus of negation in English is divided into two types: end focus and contrastive – focus. The next chapter is a contrastive analysis of the English and Vietnamese negative questions. 10
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