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VIETNAM ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SIENCES

GRADUATE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
----------------------

TRAN THI HAI BINH

CONSTRASTIVE ANALYSIS ON VOCABULARY UNITS IN
THE FIELD OF ‘EYE’ IN VIETNAMESE AND ENGLISH

Major:
Code:

Contrastive analysis

9.22.20.24

SUMMARY OF DOCTORAL THESIS ON LINGUISTICS

HÀ NỘI - 2019



Completed at:
VIETNAM ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
GRADUATE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Văn Khang
Reviewer 1: Prof. Dr. Do Viet Hung

Reviewer 2: Prof. Dr. Lam Quang Dong

Reviewer 3: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Hung Tien

The Thesis was protected at Academy-level Council at Graduate
Academy of Social Sciences, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, No
477 Nguyen Trai st., Thanh Xuan, Hanoi.
At …..

The thesis is available at:
- Vietnam National Library
- Library of Graduate Academy of Social and Sciences


1
PREAMBLE
1. Reason to choose the topic
Semantic fields are not new in the theory of linguistics. The issues of the
semantic field have been studied for a long time and are traditional. The
study of semantic fields in the direction of contrastive analysis helps to
detect similar and different characteristics, especially differences; then
point out the characteristics in national thinking and culture. However,
there have been no in-depth contrastive studies on the group of words
indicating human visual organs in Vietnamese and English. Therefore, we
have studied units in the „eye‟ field to figure out the characteristics in
thinking and culture of Vietnamese and English people, as well as to
explore the development of new meanings and their participation in phrases,
idioms basing on the people‟s ideological thinking when studying this
lexical group.
2. Research purposes and missions
2.1. Research purposes
The thesis research, survey units in „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and
English: figure out semantic characteristics of groups of lexical units


indicating the visual organ and its parts, activities of the visual organ and
characteristics of the visual organs; unravel the semantic development and
the possibilities these groups of lexical units are combined with others
according to the ideological thinking of each people.
2.2. Research missions
The tasks of the research are: an overview of the research situation,
building a theoretical basis, establishing a set of lexical units of „eye‟ field
in Vietnamese and English, indicating similarities and differences
between the two languages, surveying semantic characteristics, studying
the possibilities for these units to participate in idioms as a constituent
element of phrases; identifying similarities and differences between the
two languages.
3. Research subjects, scope and resources
3.1. Research subject
The subject of the study is the units of „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and
English, semantic structure of these units in Vietnamese, the method of
semantic change, field transfer; detecting typical features of this lexical
group, and at the same time studying these units in phrases and idioms.
On the basis of the results obtained in the Vietnamese language, a
contrastive analysis with the English word group is carried out.
3.2. Research scope


2
The research scope is the lexical units of „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and
English. Because the number of words in the „eye‟ field is quite big, we
would like to focus on studying 24 Vietnamese lexical units, from which
to compare - compare to the corresponding units in the in English.
3.3. Research resources
The source of the thesis is a group of lexical units in „eye‟ field, they
are classified and studied basing mainly on Vietnamese dictionaries,
English dictionaries, Vietnamese – English dictionaries, English Vietnamese dictionaries, Vietnamese and English idioms dictionaries by
reputable publishers.
4. Research methodology
The thesis has used some main methods and tactics such as method of
semantic element analysis, description method, contrastive method,
statistical tactics.
5. The new of the research
The thesis is a systematic contrastive research on lexical units of „eye‟
field in English and Vietnamese, including nouns, verbs and adjectives,
pointing out the similarities and differences in structure characteristics
and method of semantic change, studying semantics of this lexical group
Vietnamese and English idioms to figure out the similarities and
differences in thinking and culture of the two peoples.
6. Scientific significance of the thesis
6.1. Theoretical significance
The thesis has researched in detail and systematically the „eye‟ field in
Vietnamese by the methods of linguistics and linguistic - cultural studies.
The results of the thesis partly contribute to the theory of semantics and
the relationship between language and culture, creating theoretical as well
as practical basis for the studies in semantic field in general and
Vietnamese semantic field in particular in comparison with English.
6.2. Practical significance
The results of the thesis will help to study and teach „eye‟ field
vocabulary in Vietnamese and English more effectively, and can also be
used as a document to support dictionary compilation.
7. Thesis structure
Beside Introduction, Conclusion, References, Appendix, the thesis is
structured into 3 chapters: Chapter 1. Literature review and theoretical
basis, Chapter 2. Contrastive analysis on semantic characteristic of the
units in „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and English, Chapter 3. Contrastive
analysis on units in „eye‟ field participating in Vietnamese and English
idioms.


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Chapter 1
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETIAL BASIS
1.1. Literature review
1.1.1. Research on semantic field and ‘eye’ field
Semantic field has been studied in the world for long, applying the
theory of semantic field indicating animals. A. Lehrer and L.P. Battan
(1945) studied the semantic field of animals and the common
metaphorical semantic change basing on American Heritage Dictionary
and Oxford English Dictionary. With the purpose of studying synonym
pairs and in syntax relation, Li-li Chang, Keh-jiann Chen, Chu-Ren
Huang (1999) studied the semantic field of popular emotional verbs in
Chinese. In the direction of applying semantic field in reality, Chunming
Gao and Bin Xu (2013) focused on phrases, synonyms and antonyms,
thereby proposing a method of teaching this group of words in English.
Brother. Similar research approach has been applied by Ali N. H.
Mansouri (1985), Guo Changhong (2010) and many other researchers.
Comparing the vocabulary of two or more languages has led to both
theoretical and practical results. Ali Mansouri (2007) solved the problem
of translation by filling in gaps in semantic field of two languages: Arabic
and English. Mary K. Bolin (2015) carried out the contrastive analysis on
semantic field of grace in English, German, Hebrew, Greek and Latin
with sources from bibles. Asifa Majid (2009) gave scientific evidences
relating to two fields: the cognitive field and the body field to
demonstrate the similarities and differences of languages.
Beside semantic classes of lexical units in dictionaries, Sherali
Shokirov (2017) was also interested in structure function of words related
to the word „eye‟ in English and Uzbek. Jansson Kajsa (2017) uses 2
dictionaries: Oxford Thesaurus (1991) and Nordstedts Svenska
Synonymordbok (2009) to implement contrastive analysis on semantic
field of LOVE and ÄLSKA.
In addition to the above studies, there have been many other sttudies on
semantic field like the ones conducted by Ricardo Mairal Usón (1990), Zhou
and Weijie (2001), Clark E. V. (1972), ...
1.1.2. Research situation in Vietnam on semantic field and ‘eye’ field
With different research methods, many semantic studies are conducted
in Vietnam, contributing to theory and practice of linguistics and sematic
field. In the study on the field of animal names in Vietnamese and
Russian, Nguyen Thuy Khanh (1996) discovered the characteristics of
Vietnamese and Russian animal names and identifies the symbolic


4
meaning in animal names in contrastive analysis on idioms. With the
same method, Cao Thi Thu (1996) conducted studies on field of plant
names and field of animal names. On the basis of functional linguistics,
Hoang Thi Hoa (2007) studied the perceptive verbs in English and
Vietnamese. Do Minh Hung (2009) implemented a study on verbs
indicating eyes‟ activities in English and Vietnamese with dictionary
materials: Vietnamese Dictionary and Oxford Advanced Learner's
Dictionary, with the purpose of supporting English teaching to
Vietnamese people. Applying the same method - seme analysis, Tran Thi
Huong (2009) researched a group of words indicating human visual
activities in Vietnamese and French focusing on 12 lexical units denoting
visual activity and derivatives. Studying the „eye‟ semantic field in Kieu
story, Tran Thi Huong (2011) has divided the field into 3 smaller fields .
Many contrastive studies on semantic field of Vietnamese and other have
been conducted by reseachers such as: Lai Thi Phuong Thao (2016), Le
Thi Le Thanh (2001), Nguyen Thi Bao (2003), Nguyen Minh (2006), ...
The study of the semantic field is about the field lexical units, the
method of studying the semantic field depends on the purpose of each
study. Semantic fields are often divided into sub-fields for detailed study.
The sources for semantic field research are also diverse, most of the
studies have used materials from dictionaries and literary works.
Contrastive analysis on semantic fields is quite popular all over the world
as well as in Vietnam, helps clarify differences and similarities of the
lexical units in the field of different languages, also contritube to the
solution to semantic problems.
1.2. Theoretical basis
1.2.1. Some common theoretical issues about semantic field
Semantic – Lexical field
The word "Field" was first used by G. Ispen in the phrase "semantic
filed" (bedeutungsfeld). “Semantic field” is like a mosaic with stones
placed next to each other, words are placed next to the others, each word
has a different shape, but has matching borders, all creating a completion
in a high order. J.Trier (1931) with his concept semantics has "raised
semantics to a new level" with the term "language field". Unlike J. Trier,
W. Porzig (1934) discovered an intimate semantic relationship between
parts of speech, suggesting the use of a syntagmatic relationship to
identify lexical fields. Inheriting Trier's conception of school, L.
Weisgerber (1950) argued that language affects members of the linguistic
community by means of fields; the feature of the word exists only in field,
and proposed 3-dimensional field, radiating in many different directions


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and due to the difference in the semantic system of different peoples, the
constituent fields are not the same. F. Saussure's ideology (1973)
decisively promoted the formation of the theory of fields with the notion
that the value of each linguistic element was determined in relation to the
remained ones.
In Vietnam, Do Huu Chau (1998) proposed the definition of a
vocabulary field as a set of lexical units based on a certain semantic
identity, each word is in contrast to the rest in a lexical system and is only
valid when placed in relation to other words in the system. Nguyen Thien
Giap (2001) considered that field means a collection of lexical units
having interrelated meaning, these lexical units can be either a word or an
idiomatic unit. Citing Trier's point of view, he points out the mutual
relationship of meaning in the lexical field definition, in the system, all
receiving meaning only through the whole. Sharing the same opinion with
Nguyen Thien Giap, Do Viet Hung (2011) and Nguyen Tat Thang (2008)
have proposed criteria to group words into different fields with central
and peripheral words. Vu Duc Nghieu and Nguyen Van Hiep (2009) have
defined semantic fields as sub-systems, lexical organizations, in which
words are systematically related.
The common view of the researchers is: a set of words that are related
to each other in terms of meaning, forming a semantic sub-system called
"lexical field", "semantic field" or "semantic-lexical field".
The concept of semantic relations in the semantic field
Based on the types of semantic relationships in the semantic field,
linguists classify semantic fields into different categories, a field often
refers to two main relationships: linear relation and association relation .
According to F. de Saussure (1973), the association is broader than linear
(syntagmatic) relation. L. Wesigerber (1950) and J. Trier (1931) had a
conception of a field in vertical relation: direct field. Another trend with
W. Porzig (1934) as a representative suggested the concept of linear fields
based on horizontal relations and distinguished central fields and semantic
change fields. Basing on the achievements in semantic field in the world,
Do Huu Chau (1981) divided the field of semantics into 3 categories:
non-linear field, linear / combined field and interlinear / general field. He
proposed using the highly generalized noun as the root to put the
dennotation meaning of a word into an appropriate field. For example, the
word eye may have the there may be denotation fields: parts of the eye,
characteristics of the eye (physical features, visual abilities), eye
sensations, eye diseases/problems, etc. A large denotation and
connotation field can be divided into small fields.


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Meaning of words
According to Do Huu Chau (1981), the meaning of a word is a
collection of certain components including: denotation meaning,
connotation meaning, attitude meaning and grammatical meaning; There
is also general meaning. In the field of semantic research, the
identification of connotation and denotation is important because
connotation meaning is a reflection of things, phenomena in reality in
language, and the connotation meaning, through concepts, relates to
objects and phenomena outside language, via denotation to relate to
reality. The study of semantic (semantics) needs a comprehensive view:
studying both linguistic and verbal units, the semantic relation of words to
perception, present, internal structure, system and combined with the
meanings of other words (Hoang Phe, 2008). A word has many meanings
and each meaning is made up of smaller elements called seme. Each seme
can be broken down into smaller semes and can continue until the basic
semantic element. According to Nguyen Thien Giap (2014), the
definitions of the words in dictionaries are explained in detailed
description so they are often used as the basis for analyzing the semantic
elements.
Semantic change
Researchers have mentioned a mumber of sematic change devices, often
focusing on: specialization, generalization, metonymy and metaphor.
Among these methods metonymy and metaphor are more popular,
especially metaphor - considered the sweet fruit of creative imagination.
The semantic change of words is often governed by the laws of
perception. Therefore, the meanings changed are typically national.
Polysemy
Polysemy, also known as multi-meaning phenomenon, is a universal
phenomenon, originating from the needs of human communication and
expressing economical law of language, expressed in terms of
vocabulary: The same phonetic form can express many different contents
(Nguyen Thien Giap, 2014). The denotation meanings are usually
developed on the basis of one or several semes in the connotation
structure which is taken as the center of denotation group.
Sematic change
A lexical unit can have many meanings, so it can also belong to many
semantic fields. This is related to a common phenomenon – the shift of
semantic field (phenomenon of field change). Semantic change of a word
is the basis of field change which increases imaginative effect of words.


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1.2.2. Contrastive linguistics and language contrast
Contrastive linguistics is a field in Comparative Linguistics and is
growing due to the need to overcome errors in foreign language learning.
The contrast of languages helps to see the limits of human language.
Linguistic contrasts as well as other comparisons, are always
implemented on a defined basis, comparative objects often belong to the
same category. A general contrastive process is based on common
principles, including: Step 1: Describe the language that is relevant to the
purpose of comparison, Step 2: Identify the factors that can be compared,
Step 3: Perform a collation, find out the similarities and differences of the
elements in the languages compared.
1.3. Vision and ‘eye’ field
1.3.1. Thị giác
Vision is visual perception, and is a process of receiving and processing
information from the environment through light. This process is carried
out by complex visual parts, in which the eyes, also known as the visual
organ, are the main part.
1.3.2. ‘Eye’ field
With the method of determining the semantic field proposed by
researchers such as Khanegrefs (1980) and Do Huu Chau (1981), the eye
noun can be used as the basis to determine the „eye‟ field because eyes
are the main organ representing vision. The „eye‟ field is a system of
words with denotation meanings related to distinguishing light, colors and
shapes; in other words, words with denotation meanings related to the
eyes.
1.3.3. Units in ‘eye’ field
The „eye‟ field may be defined by the following groups of words: the
words indicating the visual organs and parts of the visual organs (eyes,
eyebrows, eyelashes, eyelids, etc. - mắt, lông mày, lông mi, mí,…), the
words indicating eye activities (look, watch, see, ... nhìn, trông, ngó, …),
words describing eyes (shape, color, visual capacity, …), words referring
to senses of eyes (dazzling, light-headed, flowered, stinking, ...), words
relating to eye problems (blindness, nearsightedness, farsightedness, etc.)
1.3.4. Comparing lexical units in ‘eye’ field
The contrast of „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and English is performed as
the steps described in the previous section. First of all, words are
categorized into semantic fields or sub-fields. The researcher then
commented on: the list of lexical units, the semantic structure of each
field unit, the frequency of the units in a given document (for example,


8
Story of Kieu) or in idioms, rhetorical value of the unit. Based on the
comparison results, conclusions about the differences and similarities
between Vietnamese and English are drawn, from which the linguistic
and cultural characteristics are pointed out.
1.4. Sub-conclusion
The experience of previous studies, the orientation, approach and purpose
of the research become clearer. The theoretical basis has provided more indepth understanding of semantic fields, concepts of semantic fields and
contrastive linguistics. In this study, we think that the components of the
semantics field (also called lexical field, semantic - lexical field) are words
that are homogeneous in terms of semantics. Contrastive analysis on „eye‟
field in Vietnamese and English is to compare the meaning of the units in
the traditional category to find similar and different characteristics in the
semantic field of the two languages, then to find the typical characteristics
in Vietnamese and English culture.
Chapter 2
CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS ON LEXICO-SEMATIC CHARACTERISTICS OF
WORDS IN ‘EYE’ UNIT IN VIETNAMESE AND ENGLISH

2.1. Research limit
To identify lexical units in „eye‟ field for the research, two dictionaries
have been used: Hoang Phe's Vietnamese Dictionary (2018) and Oxford
Advanced Learner's Dictionary with Vietnamese Translation - 8th
Edition) (2015). Besides, Vietnamese – English dictionary by Linguistic
Institution (2018) as well as many other dictionaries have been as
reference. The nouns indicating the eyes and parts of the eyes, the verbs
describing the activities of the eyes and the adjectives describing the eyes
in the two dictionaries are listed along with explanations of related
meanings to the „eye‟ field.
The statistical results are as follows: noun indicating eyes and parts of
the eyes: Vietnamese: 32 words, English: 24 words; verbs indicating
visual activity: Vietnamese: 43 words, English: 62 words, adjectives
describing eye characteristics: Vietnamese: 70 words, English: 51 words.
2.2. Lexical contrastive analysis on words belong to ‘eye’ field in
Vietnamese and English
2.2.1. Words indicating eyes and eye parts
The number of Vietnamese words (32 words) is higher than that of
English (24 words), some words refer to parts of the vision that appear in
the Vietnamese dictionary but not in the English dictionary and vice
versa: màng, ve, tròng - cannot find corresponding words in English; rim


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(of sb’s eyes) (the edge (of sb‟s eyes)) cannot find the corresponding word
in Vietnamese.
Among the 32 nouns indicating the visual organ and the visual
department in Vietnamese, there are 22 compound words and 10 single
words, all compound words are major words, the number of compound
words and applications in English is 7 and 17. Vietnamese tend to take
built-in word units to form visual and visual nouns. The greater number of
single words in English indicates the tendency to create new word units
for parts of the visual organ.
The number of words indicating one part of the visual organ is
different in Vietnamese and English: in Vietnamese, there are 2 parts of
visual organ with 3 indicating words (lông mày/mày/chân mày, lông
mi/mi/lông nheo), 7 parts with 2 indicating words (cầu mắt/nhãn cầu, con
ngươi/đồng tử, giác mạc/màng kính, lòng đen/tròng đen, lòng trắng/tròng
trắng, màng lưới/võng mạc, mắt/thu ba), 8 parts with 1 word (điểm mù,
hốc, quầng, thủy tinh thể, ve, chắp, khóe, tròng, màng). In English, there
are 4 parts of visual organ with 2 indicating words (eyebrow/brow,
eyelid/lid, eyelash/lash, bags/shadow), 20 parts with 1 one indicating
words (eyeball, pupil, blind spot, socket, cornea, iris, white, chalazion,
choroid, eye, retina, scela, lens, rim, shiner, socket). In the „eye‟ field,
Vietnamese vocabulary is more diverse than that of English, which has
been shown in the bigger number of visual parts having more than one
word indicating it in Vietnamese.
The case of omitted words appears in both languages: lông mày, lông
mi can be mày, mi; eyebrow, eyelash, and eyelid - brow, lash and lid.
2.2.2. Words indicating eye movements
The number of Vietnamese words (43 words) is lower than English
words (62 words). The equivalent words for some verbs could not be
found in both Vietnamese and English: no Vietnamese verbs found
matching meaning with linger words in Vietnamese dictionary, no
English verbs in dictionary not found equivalent for 18 Vietnamese verbs
referring to eye movements. 18 only for the corresponding visual
activities about 12 verbs in Vietnamese. However, there are 12 verbs
indicating eye movements in English equivalent to the verb nhìn in
combination with some dependent words.
The number of single words is higher than other types of words in
both the Vietnamese and English verbs indicating eye activities.
2.2.3. Words describing eyes
The number of Vietnamese words (70 words) is higher than English
words (51 words). Adjectives referring to eyes have been divided into 4


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groups: words that describe the color characteristics, words that describe
characteristics related to vision, words describing eye shape and size,
words describing characteristics related to the state of the visual organs.
Among 70 Vietnamese adjectives, there are 33 adjectives that the
corresponding words in English could not be found in dictionary, of
which: the group of words describing the characteristics related to the
state / emotion has the greatest number: 21 words; then the word group
describes eye color: 7 words; the word group for characteristics of shape
and size: 4 words; the one related to eye problems: 01 word. The number
of English adjectives describing eyes without the corresponding words in
Vietnamese dictionary is 5 words: beady, grey, lazy, sapphire, snow-blind
and puffy; in which 3 words belong to the group describing the eye state,
2 words describing eye color, 1 word describing the eye state.
In Vietnamese, the number of compound adjectives describing eyes is
equal to the number of single –word ones (27 words), the number of
repeated –word adjectives is 16. The number of single - word adjectives
in English is much greater than compound words (single – word
adjectives: 40, compound adjectives: 11).
Comment:
In terms of parts of speech, Vietnamese and English have a big
number of adjectives and verbs in eye field, which proves the importance
of eye activities and characteristics for Vietnamese and British people.
Vietnamese adjectives describing eye characteristics have a higher
number than Vietnamese verbs describing eye activities, but it is opposite
in English in which the number of eye filed verbs is bigger than that of
the adjectives. The difference in the number of words indicates that
Vietnamese people are interested in eye state, and the British are
interested in eye movements in communication. For example, 5 degrees
of the eye color: red are relevant to 5 people‟s different states and
expressions in Vietnamese (hoe - red, or a little bit yellowish, đỏ hoe - red
but bright, đỏ kè - red and dark, đỏ nọc/đỏ đọc – red, causing an
unpleasant sensation, with a blood-tinged appearance, looks frightening,
bloodshot - dark red and opaque, causing disliked feeling). English has
only 2 levels of red color for the eyes: red (đỏ) and blood-shot (đỏ ngầu).
The Vietnamese verb nhìn has 14 equivalent English words (behold, look,
cast, bore, gawk, gawp, stare, devour, ogle, drop, glower, peek, penetrate,
leer) expressing different emotions or attitudes: nhìn = behold/look/cast,
nhìn chòng chọc = bore/gawk/gawp/stare, nhìn hau háu = devour/ogle,
The total number of word units in „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and English
is not much different: Vietnamese: 145 words, English: 137 words. The


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proportion of single-word words and compound ones eye field in
Vietnamese is 68 - 54, English is 117 - 19. In both languages, the number
of the single -word is higher than the compound, but in English, the single
word account for a much bigger number. This proves that Vietnamese has
the tendency of using existing lexical units to create new words referring
to concepts and phenomena relating to eyes, this is different in English.
2.3. Semantic contrastive analysis on units in ‘eye’ field in
Vietnamese and English
2.3.1. Semantic contrastive analysis on units indicating eyes and parts
of eyes in Vietnamese and English
We have carried the analysis on 03 Vietnamese nouns: mắt, mày, mi
with the equivalent in English: eye, eyebrow, eyelid, and eyelash.
Basing on explanation and seme analysis, it has been discovered that
the seme of the words eye, eyelid, eyelash, and eyebrow all include the
seme referring to the location and number of these parts. The word eye
has the location seme: in the face and either of, eyelid with the seme
above or below and either of, eyelash with on the edge of eyelids and one
of, eyebrow with above the eye and the line of hair. Meanwhile, in the
explanation of the Vietnamese words referring to the same eye parts, the
words: mắt, mi there is no seme of location and quantity. It can be said
that the British are more interested in location and quantity than
Vietnamese people when explaining the words indicating eyes and its
parts.
It can be seen from the analysis on the derivative meaning of the
words describing the eyes and parts of eyes that, the mắt / eye has the
biggest number of derivative meanings in both languages. This proves the
importance of eyes in the culture of the two peoples. Considering the
semantic change, Vietnamese and English have the same meaning. The
metaphorical method creates 07 derivative meanings of the word mắt, 08
derivative meanings of the word eye, of which 06 are similar derivatives
in two languages: vision, judging by appearance, observation and
judgment way, the eye-shaped protrusive object and the eye-shaped
object. Mắt has a metaphorical meaning: Electronic devices have the
shape of an eye and can recognize signals, eyes has a derivative meaning
that Vietnamese does not have, that is: the position under the eye. The
metaphorical method creates two derivative meanings of the word mắt in
combination tai mắt (the person who listens, observes then reports to
someone and the person who will become important in the future), but
does not create any derivative meanings for the word eye. Words that
describe the parts of the eye almost have no derivative meanings in either


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language. Only one word has a metaphorical meaning: mettle (man) in
mày râu and 01 metaphor: the face of the person in mày mặt.
2.3.2. Semantic contrastive analysis on lexical units referring to eye
activities in Vietnamese and English
Within the limit of the study, 9 verbs have been investigated,
including: mở (mắt), nhắm, nháy, nhìn, xem, liếc, ngó, dòm, khóc with
the equivalents in English as: open (eye), close (eyes), wink, watch/see,
glance, look, peep, cry. Xem has 2 equivalent words in English: watch
and see. The verb ngó has the same meaning as nhìn so the equivalent is
look.
The verbs only referring to eyes are all single-word words in both
Vietnamese and English. Among 9 Vietnamese verbs in the study, only
mở can be used flexibly with nouns other than the eyes. Among the 10
corresponding verbs in English, there are 2 verbs that can be combined
flexibly with nouns from other field rather than „eye‟ field: open and
close.
In terms of semantic change, all words describing the operation of the
eyes and parts of the eyes in Vietnamese and English have derivative
meanings. The special thing is that there are 06 pairs of Vietnamese and
English words with the same derivative meanings:
- Mở mắt/Open eyes: 01 same derivative meaning: recognize something
that you have never known before.
- Nhắm (Nhắm mắt)/Close eyes: 01 same derivative meaning: pretend
not to know some truth
- Nháy (Nháy mắt)/Wink: 03 same derivative meanings: signal by
winking, flash
- Nhìn/Ngó/Look: 04 same derivative meanings: investigate, pay
attention to, the face of a building
- Xem/Watch, see: 02 same derivative meaning: rate something or
somebody basing on observation, consider as
- Liếc/Glance: 01 same derivative meaning: read quickly to get the
main idea
The equivalent derivative meanings of the two languages show the
similarities in the thinking of the two peoples towards the verbs of „eye‟
field. Among the same derivative meanings of word pairs, there is always
meaning belonging to „cognitive‟ field: relating to the subject‟s viewpoint,
perception and feeling in communication. In addition to the above
meanings, the studied verbs have metaphors in other meanings in


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cognitive fields, obviously the metonymy creates more meanings than the
metaphor for the studied verbs.
The total number of derivative meanings of verbs in „eye‟ field in
Vietnamese is bigger than English (Vietnamese: 35, English: 19). Among
the researched verbs, nhắm/mở mắt are two of the three words with
biggest number of derivative meanings in Vietnamese, but the
corresponding English words close / open eyes have only one derivative
meaning. In addition to relate to consciousness, the words nhắm/mở mắt
are associated with the beginning and the end of life, creating new
meanings, while the phrase open / close eyes refers to consciousness only.
2.3.3. Semantic contrastive analysis on lexical units indicating
characteristics of eyes in Vietnamese and English
Within the limit of the study, 12 Vietnamese words describing
characteristics of eyes are examined as in the Table 2.1 below.
Table 2. 1. Words describing characteristics of eyes in Vietnamese and English
No
Vietnamese
English
Adjectives describe the shape and size of eyes
1
Híp
Closed nearly completely
2
Lồi
Bulging
3
Ti hí
Narrow
4
Xếch
Slanting
Adjectives describe the colors of eyes
5
Đen
Dark
6
Nâu
Brown
7
Xanh
Green/blue
8
Trắng dã
(White)
9
Đỏ
Red/Bloodshot
Adjectives describe state of eyes
10
Chột
One-eyed
11

Blind
12
Sáng
Clear

The English equivalent of word híp cannot be found in the dictionary,
to describe the eyes with this characteristic, the British uses the
expression like close nearly completely. In 12 Vietnamese words, there
are 5 words uniquely describing eyes: híp, ti hí, trắng dã, chột, mù - 03
single – word words (híp, chột, mù), one multi-word word (trắng dã) and
01 alterative word (ti hí); among 11 equivalent English words there are
only two words uniquely describing eyes: one-eyed and blind – 01 singleword word (blind) and 01 multi-word word (one-eyed).
Most adjectives describing shape and size, the color of eyes express
some emotion or feeling in both languages. When describing the eyes,
đen/dark, nâu/brown, xanh/green are often positive; đỏ/red, ti hí/narrow,


14
xếch/slanting are often negative. The eyes with color đen láy/huyền are
usually used in poems and songs; mắt xanh/xanh mắt – love or fear; mắt
đỏ ngầu/đỏ mắt – scaring /waiting, trắng dã –frightening. Similarly,
bulging eyes express surprise, narrow eyes – doubt or watching. Among
the words describing eye color, dark, brown, green are usually used to
describe beautiful eyes, red eyes are usually related to fear. The word
pairs with the same derivative meaning is: mù/blind with the meaning:
loss of ability to identify a certain aspect, unobservable, unclear
perception / loss of insight
The number of derivative meanings generated from the group of words
studied in Vietnamese (11 meanings) is less than that of English (17
meanings). In which the number of meanings generated mainly from the
metonymy (Vietnamese: 9, English: 10).
2.4. Sub conclusion
Comparing the number of words, word structure, number of words
equivalent and non-equivalent in meaning between two languages has
provided a comprehensive view of the similarities and differences in
vocabulary of two languages. In „eye‟ field, the number of adjectives in
Vietnamese is higher than the verbs, and the number of verbs in English
is higher than the adjectives - this shows the different interest between
Vietnamese and English in eyes. Differences in the structure of
Vietnamese and English words are reflected in the number of single-word
words, multi-word words, and alliterative words in „eye‟ fields in
Vietnamese and English. This difference is clearly reflected in the
relatively large number of multi-word units in Vietnamese and of single –
word words in English. The visual activity group has the most derivative
meanings in both languages, etc. A common point about the semantics of
the units in „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and English is that there are always
derivative meanings in the cognitive and communication field.
Chapter 3
CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS ON LEXICAL UNITS OF ‘EYE’ FIELD
PARTICIPATING IN VIETNAMSES AND ENGLISH IDIOMS

3.1. Research limit
3.1.1. Some notions of idioms
The notion of idioms in Vietnamese
Vietnamese researchers have given different definitions of idioms but
idioms are all defined as fixed expressions and complete in meaning and
have symbolic value in meaning. To distinguish idioms from other fixed
phrases, Do Huu Chau (1998) introduced the definition of idioms via the
characteristic of being idiomatic of fixed phrases. Contrastive analysis on


15
fixed expressions in general and idioms in particular and the central
component of the equivalent free phrases will reveal the complexity and
sophistication of fixed expressions, clarifying the characteristics of fixed
expressions, including: figurative mean, ethnicity, symbolism and
specificity and emotion expression. According to Nguyen Thien Giap
(2010), idioms are fixed phrases that are both complete and meaningful,
in addition to intellectual content, idioms also have the nuance of "certain
rating, emotion‟. The reflection extent of the idioms depends on the
circumstances and perspectives of each ethnic group due to idioms
formed by the need to express appreciation and expressiveness.
Vietnamese idioms mainly describe the phenomena in human life:
lifestyle, personality, virtue, etc. In addition, other definitions of idioms
are also put forward by researchers, such as the one by Hoàng Phê (2018),
by Nguyễn Như Ý (1998), by Hồ Lê (1976) …
The notion of idioms in English
Oxford Advanced Learner‟s Dictionary (2014), the Cambridge
Dictionary defines idioms as a phrase used together with meaning which
cannot be guessed basing on the meaning of the individual word in the
phrase. English researchers have also given similar definitions, such as
the ones by R. LC Mitchell (2016), F. O'Dell and M. McCarthy (2017), ...
Understanding the meaning of idioms is important because idioms are
often used in communication and the media, and because idioms represent
the specific rules and concepts of a society. J. Seidl and W. McMordie
(2017) argue that idioms with ambiguous rules and meanings are quite
common in English. Because there is almost no association between the
meanings of each component word, the meanings of these idioms are hard
to guess. Stuart Redman (2011) provides a definition of idioms along with
the independent relationship of idiom meaning with constituent words.
According to J. Seidl and W. McMordie, idiomatic components are
usually immutable, except for idioms with some variants. Gibbs (1993)
points out that language in idioms is very complex and each idiom needs
its own analysis of syntax, semantics, pragmatics and conceptual
properties.
The notion of idioms for the study


16
Based on the opinions of linguists on the idiom identification factors,
we have established the "idiom" limit for the research. Idioms are fixed
and idiomatic phrases. The fixedness of idioms is expressed in
morphology and structure, the characteristic of being idiomatic is
expressed in meaning (meaning of idioms is not a simple addition of
meaning of constituent components).
3.1.2. The limit of research source and implementation
Source:
Dictionaries: English – English – Vietnamese idioms by Lương Quỳnh
Mai (chief editor), Vietnamese Idioms by Nguyễn Như Ý (chief editor);
Vietnamese Idioms and Proverbs by Nguyễn Lân; Vietnamese Idioms
Explanation by Institution of Linguistics, Oxford Dictionary of English
Idioms by A.P. Cowie, R. Mackin and I. R. Caig; English Idioms by
J.Seidl and W. McMordie.
Implementation
Step 1: Collect idioms containing words from „eye‟ field in the source
Step 2: Classify idioms by: Idioms containing the same words in „eye‟
field
Classify idioms by: Idioms describing human appearance, idioms
describing the mood - emotions, idioms expressing intellect - perception,
idioms describing personality, idioms describing behavior and idioms that
describe other specific situations.
Step 3: Make a table of statistics, compare to find similarities and
differences.
3.2. Contrastive analysis on lexical units in ‘eye’ field in Vietnamese
and English idioms
3.2.1. The general number of idioms and occurrence of ‘eye’ field
words in Vietnamese and English idioms
Based on the above sources, 137 Vietnamese idioms and 134 English
idioms that contain units of „eye‟ field are listed. The number of idioms in
the two languages is almost equivalent.
The occurrence frequency of the word mắt in idioms is the highest
with 101 times, followed by (lông) mày (27 times), khóc (14 times), nhắm
(8 times), nhìn/ngó (8 times), mù (8 times), sáng (4 times) , xem and liếc
appear 3 times, dòm, trắng dã, (mắt) đỏ with 2 times, mở (mắt) – nháy – ti
hí – (măt) xanh with 1 time. The units that do not appear in idioms are mi,
híp, lồi, xếch, (mắt) đen, (mắt) nâu, chột, lác. The word eye has the
highest occurrence frequency in idioms with 77 times, followed by
watch/see (10/18 times), look (12 times), blind (10 times), wink and cry (5
times), close eyes (4 times), open eyes and read (3 times), eyebrow/brow


17
and glance (2 times), eyelid, eyelash, peep, green/blue (eyes),
read/bloodshot (eyes) with 1 times. The units do not appear in idioms are
bulging, narrow, slanting, dark (eyes), brown (eyes), white (eyes), oneeyed, squinty and clear (eyes).
3.2.2. The number of idioms are categorized by words of ‘eye’ field in
Vietnamese and English
From the collected idioms, we classified idioms basing on words in the
„eye‟ field, the frequency of these idioms was counted.
The number of idioms listed according to units in „eye‟ field is almost
not equivalent to occurrence frequency of the units in idioms, the
difference is revealed clearly in the Vietnamese units with high frequency
of occurrence. The word mắt appears in 87 idioms with the frequency of
101 times, (lông) mày in 24 idioms (27 times of occurrence), khóc in 12
idioms (14 times of occurrence), mù in 5 idioms (8 times of occurrence),
nhìn/ngó in 4 idioms (8 times of occurrence), liếc in 2 idioms (3 times). In
English, the number of idioms listed by „eye‟ field lexical units almost
corresponds to the occurrence frequency of the units in idioms, except for
the two cases: eye(s) in 75 idioms with 76 times of occurrence, wink in 4
idioms with 5 times of occurrence.
3.2.3. Comment
The words mắt/eyes are most commonly used in Vietnamese and
English idioms, with the corresponding number and frequency of
occurrences 101/73.72% and 77/57.46%. It is proven that mắt/eyes play
an important role in the two people‟s communication. It seems that mắt is
more important for Vietnamese people as mắt is used with higher
frequency than eyes used in English. (lông) mày (eyebrows) has lots of
meanings for the Vietnamese when the word appears in various idioms,
while eyebrows appears in only 01 idiom.
The total times of occurrences of Vietnamese words related to visual
activity (41 times) are less than that of English (63 times). The word khóc
(18%) is the most expressive and used with the highest frequency
compared with other verbs related to eye activities, while cry has a very
frequency (3.7%). Idioms containing khóc usually describe different level
of sadness and pain, such as: khóc đứng khóc ngồi, khóc như mưa, khóc
như cha chết, khóc như ri, khóc hết nước mắt; however, there are only
two idioms with the word cry expressing pain/sadness: cry one’eyes out
and cry someone’s heart out. In Vietnamese villages, the connection with
the family, clan, and residential community plays a very important role;
interpersonal support and sharing become cultural characteristics. In
contrast, Western culture emphasizes the power of individuality,


18
autonomy and independence. “Vietnamese people are always very
collective, attached to the collective, mingle with the common interests of
the collective, this is different from the West where people have been
practicing individual awareness since as a child ...” (Tran Ngoc Them,
1996). Perhaps that is why Vietnamese people have more idioms
describing the suffering via the act of crying than the British. The word
nhắm appears with almost twice the frequency of close (eyes) in idioms.
The British use watch/see, look with a relatively high frequency in idioms
(30%), the Vietnamese equivalent xem, nhìn/ngó have a low frequency
(8.3%).
Among the words describing eye colors, đỏ/red, xanh/green all have
metaphor and are in both Vietnamese and English idioms though the
occurrence frequency is low (đỏ/red: 2/1 time(s), xanh/green: 1/1 time).
The words đen/dark, nâu/brown do not appear in idioms in both
languages. The difference is in the color trắng/white, there is one
Vietnamese idiom with trắng (mắt trắng môi thâm) but no English idioms
have the word white.
Words that describe the eye's ability are rarely used in both
Vietnamese and English idioms. The words: xếch, lồi, híp, chột – do not
appear in Vietnamese idioms; sáng, ti hí appear once. The English words
that do not appear in idioms are slanting, narrow, one-eyed, clear,
bulging. The word mù/blind is used with more frequency than any other
word of its kind in the idiom. British people use bind more than twice as
much as Vietnamese people use blind in idioms.
In terms of the number of idioms classified by words in „eye‟ field, the
similarities and differences between the occurrence frequency of the
lexical units and the number of idioms containing that unit. As mắt/eyes
has a high frequency in idioms in both languages, the number of idioms
with the word mắt/eyes is much bigger than of the other idioms which
contain other units. The same thing happens with other units and idioms
that contain them. The occurrences of a „eye‟ field unit in English is
almost equivalent to the number of idioms containing it, but the number
of idioms that contain the units in Vietnamese is much lower than the
occurrences of the units. The difference shows that idioms there are many
repeated elements in Vietnamese, and this phenomenon is rare in English,
among 134 idioms, only 02 idioms with repetition of words from „eye‟
field.
3.3. Contrastive analysis on expression scope of idioms containing
lexical units in ‘eye’ field


19
3.3.1. Scope
After classify the idioms that contain Vietnamese lexical units of „eye‟
field by expression scope, we get the following numerical results: Scope
of appearance: 21 idioms, Scope of mood - emotion: 48 idioms, Scope of
intellectual - perception: 10 idioms, Scope of personality: 12 idioms.
Scope of behavior: 19 idioms, Other scopes: 21 idioms.
The numbers of idioms describing appearance and mood - emotions are
much bigger than others, so we focus on studying idioms in two scopes.
3.3.2. Contrastive analysis on idioms with lexical units of ‘eye’ field
expressing the scope of human appearance
Scope of human appearance in Vietnamese idioms
The number of idioms that contain lexical units of „eye‟ field within
the scope of human appearance in Vietnamese is 22 (06 idioms with
positive expression, 02 idioms with neutral idioms, 14 idioms with
negative expression). Among the 25 Vietnamese units studied in „eye‟
field, only 8 units appear in idioms describing appearance: 2 nouns, 4
adjectives and 2 verbs with a total number of occurrences of 32. Although
the number of nouns elements is small, their occurrence frequency in
idioms is quite high. The elements mắt and mày has the occurrences of 17
and 8 in the appearance idioms (accounting 53.1% and 25% the
occurrence of „eye‟ field units in appearance idioms). The other elements
trắng (dã), (mắt) đỏ, mù, ti hí, xem, ngó appear only once.
Contrastive analysis on appurtenance idioms in Vietnamese and English
The number of English idioms describing people‟s appearance and
containing an „eye‟ field lexical unit is 02, and both are negative idioms.
Comment
There is a big difference between the number of idioms that contain
„eye‟ field units describing people‟s appearance in Vietnamese and
English, the number of elements in „eye‟ field appearing in the idioms in
Vietnamese are also bigger than that in English. The Vietnamese „eye‟
field elements in the idioms describing the appearance in Vietnamese are
mắt, mày, trắng, đỏ, xem, ngó, ti hí, mù (8 elements), in English are: eyes
(1 element). From the above differences, it can be seen that the
connection between „eye‟ field units and human appearance expressed
through idioms in Vietnamese is more diverse than in English.
The word mắt has the highest frequency in Vietnamese idioms, the
word eye is present in both English idioms. The relationship between the
eyes and the appearance of people in idioms is similar in Vietnamese and
English. Although there are differences in eye-contact standards in
different cultures (regarding situations, timing, views, etc.), eye contact


20
always helps understand others better and communicate more effectively,
mắt / eye are the visual organ, and also means judging by appearance to
make assessment. Therefore, the word mắt / eye has much higher
occurrence frequency compared to other words in the field in appearance.
Idioms. In 14 negative idioms, 12 idioms has the word mắt. Both the
English appearance idioms have eye and are negative. The idioms that
describe negative appearance almost all have metaphorical meanings:
express one‟s personality, behavior. This has clarified the concept “đôi
mắt là cửa sổ tâm hồn/ The eyes are windows to the soul” of two peoples.
The two idioms that contain „eye‟ field vocabulary describing the
appearance in English have equivalent Vietnamese idioms: Have eyes like
a hawk = Mắt diều hâu and an eye candy = Xem tướng ngó rạng anh hào,
suy ra nét ở khác nào tiểu nhân. Thus the association thinking of
Vietnamese and British people is similar in that it connects the eyes with
the shape, personality, manners of a person.
3.3.3. Contrastive analysis on idioms with ‘eye’ field units expressing
mood – emotion
Mood-emotion in Vietnamese idioms
According to statistics, there are 46 idioms within the range of human
expression in Vietnamese (03 idioms with positive expressions, 02 neutral
idioms and 41 negative idioms). There are 5 vocabulary units in the visual
field that appear in these idioms, including: mắt, mày, khóc, (mắt) đỏ,
(mắt) xanh. The occurrence frequency of the words mắt, mày and khóc is
the highest with the occurrences of 26, 12 and 8 in the total 55 times. As
in the appearance idioms, (lông) mày has the 2nd highest occurrence of
frequency in mood – emotion idioms. Khóc is the only verb which
appears in this kind of idioms, but it has a high occurrence frequency with
12 times. Color adjectives describing eyes đỏ and xanh appears only once.
The negative mood – emotion idioms with „eye‟ field units express the
mood of anger, suffering, depression, shame, fear, anticipation, regret,
discomfort.
Mood-emotion in English idioms
We have found 17 idioms expressing mood, emotion containing „eye‟
field lexical units in English (02 positive idioms, 03 neutral idioms and 12
negative idioms). There are 9 „eye‟ field lexical units that appear in
idioms describing mood and emotions, including 6 verbs (look, cry, close
eyes, glance, watch, see), 2 nouns (eye, eyebrow), 1 adjective (green).
Eyes appear more frequently than other elements (8/19 times); look, cry
and eyebrow (brow) appear twice and the remaining words appear only
once in idioms indicating mood, emotions in English. Most of the idioms


21
that describe mood and emotions are negative. These idioms are divided
into different groups in accordance with negative moods as: anger,
suffering, depression, shame, jealousy, anxiety and discomfort.
Comment
The number of idioms that contain units of „eye‟ field expressing
mood and emotion in Vietnamese is bigger than that in English.
Vietnamese people‟s association between the „eye‟ field units and
emotions - moods is more diverse than the British‟s. The number of
idioms expressing negative moods and emotions in both languages is
greater than that of positive and neutral idioms. It seems that negative
emotions can hardly be expressed directly, so idioms are created, through
metaphorical form of words, to help easily express a variety of negative
emotions and moods with different levels in the two languages.
The number of verbs in English idioms is higher than Vietnamese,
which means that verbs in „eye‟ field in English have more association
value when expressing moods and emotions. Nouns and adjectives
belonging to the Vietnamese „eye‟ field have more association value with
more frequency in idioms. Facial expressions: eyebrows and eyes are
more noticeable by Vietnamese people.
Idioms that contain words from „eye‟ field and describe moods and
emotions in Vietnamese are more diverse than in English, this is reflected
in the number of idioms in each category: positive, neutral, negative.
Considering the scope of idioms describing negative moods, Vietnamese
idioms describe 08 mood types, English idioms describe only 07 types of
mood. In addition to expressing the same 6 moods and emotions (anger,
suffering, shame, depression, anxiety, and discomfort), the idioms
containing „eye‟ units in Vietnamese expressed expectant and regretful
mood, and English idioms express jealousy. The similarity in thinking of
two peoples in the association of „eye‟ field lexical units and emotional is
that there are idioms expressing the same moods: anger, suffering,
depression, shame and discomfort – and the mood of suffering has the
biggest number of idioms.
As the number of Vietnamese lexical units in „eye‟ field in this kind of
idioms is smaller than that of English, but the number of the Vietnamese
idioms is higher and these idioms indicate more moods than that of
English idioms, the „eye‟ field units in Vietnamese have more symbols
than in English. Idioms describing mood-emotion in Vietnamese and
English some similar symbolic image (though very little) and most are
different. The idioms showing surprise are: không tin vào mắt and not
believe one’s eyes. Referring to the same color, xanh in “sợ xanh mắt”


22
indicates great fear, and in “a green-eyed monster” green indicates
jealousy. The word đỏ refers to anticipation in mong đỏ con mắt, but red
represents anger in see red. The words cry and khóc are used in many
expressions to describe suffering, along with various levels of heartbreak.
Having the inner same feeling of suffering that cannot be exposed to the
outside, Vietnamese people seem to care more about how people around
react rather than emotions as in the idioms: khóc hổ ngươi, cười ra nước
mắt (suffer but have to hide the feeling because it is a shame to cry); the
British have the idiom close your eyes and think of England (close eyes to
endure and endure by thinking about the good).
3.4. Sub conclusion
The research results show that the occurrences and occurrence
frequencies of idioms with „eye‟ field units in Vietnamese and English
represent some cultural characteristics of the two peoples. In both
communities, eyes plays an equally important role, so the numbers of
idioms that contain „eye‟ field unit in two languages are approximately
equal. The difference in the number of occurrences and frequency of the
units in idioms expresses specific concerns of each people about the
linguistic unit, and about objective reality in general. The frequency of
occurrence of the units and the number of idioms containing these unit
expresses the characteristic component structure of idioms containing the
„eye‟ field unit in Vietnamese and English. The unique of Vietnamese
idioms is that many of them contain repeated „eye‟ field lexical units. The
cultural and ethnic characteristics of the Vietnamese and the British are
also expressed through the expressive scope of idioms containing the
lexical units in „eye‟ field. The scope describing the appearance and the
mood-emotion are the two domains with the highest number of idioms
containing „eye‟ field units.
CONCLUSION
On the basis of literature review on the contrastive studies in „eye‟ field,
along with the theoretical basis including the content of semantic field,
contrastive language and „eye‟ field, the study has compared the lexical
units of „eye‟ field in Vietnamese and English in traditional direction to
discover the similar and different characteristics in vocabulary and
semantics in two languages, comparing words in „eye‟ field participating
in idioms to clarify cultural characteristics of the two peoples.
1. Using statistics from two prestigious dictionaries, the comparison of
the number of words, word structure, numbers of corresponding and noncorrespondent words in meaning between the two languages has provided
a comprehensive view of similarities and differences in vocabulary of two


23
languages. The interest of Vietnamese and English people is different
when the number of verbs is higher than that of the adjectives in English
and the number of adjectives is higher than that of the verbs in
Vietnamese. The differences in the structure of words in „eye‟ field in
particular and vocabulary in general of the two languages are reflected in
the bigger number of compound words in Vietnamese and the bigger
number of single words in English. Some words refer to some categories
of „eye‟ field in Vietnamese do not have corresponding word in English
and vice versa, there are words each of which indicates a category of eyes
in Vietnamese but is equivalent to more than one word in English and
vice versa. These differences represent difference in the two peoples‟ way
to divide objective realities.
2. The „eye‟ field is subdivided into 5 sub-fields in the study: (1)
indicating eyes and the parts of eyes (2) indicating activities by eyes, (3)
indicating eye shape and size, (4) indicating eye color, (5) eye states.
3. The meanings of words in each sub-field are separated into semes, on
the basis of linguistic theory and cultural studies, the methods and
mechanism of semantic change determined. From this result, the semes,
the derivative of the lexical units in Vietnamese and English are
compared. The results have revealed the similarities and differences in the
semantic structure and the flow of semantics change of lexical units I two
languages. In both languages, words referring to eye activities have the
biggest number of derivative meanings. The words referring to eyes and
parts of eyes, especially the words referring to eye characteristics have
smaller number of derivative meaning. The similarity in the method of
semantic change of lexical units in „eye‟ field of the two languages is that
metaphoric method is applied more than the metonymy, creating more
metaphors for the lexical units; and with these metaphorical meanings,
most of the units tend to change the field: from „eye‟ field to the cognitive
field. Differences in semantic structure and the direction of semantic
change in English and Vietnamese in the research are also detailed to help
identify cultural and national characteristics.
4. The results of the contrastive analysis on 137 Vietnamese idioms and
134 English idioms containing units of „eye‟ field have strengthened
cultural and national characteristics through idioms. Through the
occurrence frequency of „eye‟ field units in Vietnamese and English, the
meanings of the idioms, the expression ranges of idioms, the meanings of
component lexical units in the idioms are determined. Eyes are the organ
that expresses emotions and is associated with the association of thoughts
so mắt / eye (s) appears with the highest frequency among „eye‟ field


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