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Syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER AND ADVICE verb groups in english and their vietnamese equivalents

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY
========**********========

NGUYỄN THỊ THU HƯƠNG

SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF
REQUEST ORDER AND ADVICE VERB GROUPS IN
ENGLISH AND THEIR VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(CÁC ĐẶC ĐIỂM VỀ CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA NHÓM
ĐỘNG TỪ REQUEST ORDER VÀ ADVICE TRONG TIẾNG ANH
VÀ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT)
M.A THESIS

Field: English Language
Code: 8220201

Hanoi, 2018


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING

HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY
========**********========

NGUYỄN THỊ THU HƯƠNG

SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF
REQUEST ORDER AND ADVICE VERB GROUPS IN
ENGLISH AND THEIR VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(CÁC ĐẶC ĐIỂM VỀ CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA NHÓM
ĐỘNG TỪ REQUEST ORDER VÀ ADVICE TRONG TIẾNG ANH
VÀ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT)
M.A THESIS

Field: English Language
Code: 8220201
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr Hoàng Tuyết Minh

Hanoi, 2018


STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report entitled
“The syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups
in English and their Vietnamese equivalents” submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Master in English Language. Except where the reference
is indicated, no other person‟s work has been used without due acknowledgement in the
text of the thesis.
Hanoi, 2018

Nguyen Thi Thu Huong

Approved by
SUPERVISOR

Assoc.Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh
Date:…………………


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
During the completion of this work, I have received a great contribution from my


teachers and my friends. They always encourage and support me and give their
comments to the perfection of my paper.
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank my supervisor Mrs. Hoang Tuyet Minh
who instructed me directly, shared experiences and removed difficulties which arose
during the process of writing my thesis.
Secondly, I sincerely thank all the lecturers of the Hanoi Open University,
especially the lecturers in Faculty of Post Graduate Studies who have been teaching and
conveying to me the enthusiastic guidance and valuable teaching and tremendous
assistance and skills in the learning process.
Thirdly, I also send my deep gratitude to my friends, colleagues and students at
Hai An high school in Hai Phong city who have assisted me in collecting data and
provided valuable resources to help me complete my thesis.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to my family members who
supported me and contributed to the completion of my study.


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
A

Adverbial

Adj

Adjective

Adj.P

Adjective Phrase

Adv

Adverb

C

Complement

NP

Noun Phrase

O

Object

Od

Indirect Object

Oi

Direct Object

O1

Object1

O2

Object2

Prep

Preposition

Sb

Somebody

Sth

Something

S

Subject

V

Verb

X

The speaker

Y

The addressee

Z

The object person


ABSTRACT
The study aims at clarifying the features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE
verb groups in English and making a comparison of this verb group with their
Vietnamese equivalents in terms of syntactic and semantic features to help the
Vietnamese learners of English to learn this verb group effectively. Within this study, the
author focuses on analyzing them(concerning syntactic and semantic features of these
verbs), and just brief the similarities and differences between them.
To serve the purpose of the study, some implications will be suggested to help
Vietnamese learners of English have a better understanding of REQUEST, ORDER and
ADVICE verb groups and then use them in daily communication effectively. This study
is designed and investigated the syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER
and ADVICE verb groups in English with reference to the Vietnamese equivalents, so
descriptive and contrastive method are chosen. This study analyzes and synthesizes to
some syntactic, semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in
English and their Vietnamese equivalents. The present study highlights the syntactic and
semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in Vietnamese and
English during their grammarians. Practically, the study helps teachers and students to
get some useful suggestions in teaching and learning this verb group because the
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups consist of many verbs and vocationally
make people confused when its syntactic and semantic features are under consideration.
Although the research can be useful in some ways as mentioned, there are still many
undiscovered sub-areas which provide a ground for further studies. This thesis has
focused only on studying the semantic and syntactic features of thinking verbs in English
and Vietnamese. Therefore, there are still some aspects related to this problem left for
further researches - “The syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and
ADVICE verb groups in English and their Vietnamese equivalents”.


TABLES OF CONTENTS

STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
ABSTRACT
TABLES OF CONTENTS

i
ii
iii
iv
v

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale
1.2. Aims of the study
1.3. Objectives of the study
1.4. Scope of thestudy
1.5. Significance of thestudy
1.6. Structure of thestudy
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Speech act verbs

1
1
2
2
2
2
2
4

2.1.1. Definition of speech act verbs

4

2.1.2. Syntactic features of speech act verbs

4

2.1.3. Semantic features of speech act verbs

5

2.2. An overview of sentence in English

7

2.2.1. Classification of sentences in terms of sentence elements

9

and verb complementation
2.2.2. Sentence elements
2.2.2.1. Syntactic features of sentence elements

9
10


2.2.2.2. Semantic features of sentence elements

10

2.3. Previous studies

12

2.5. Summary

14

Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY
3.1.Research questions
3.2. Research setting

16
16
17

3.3. Research approach

17

3.4. Data collection techniques

17

3.5. Data analysis techniques

17

3.6. Summary

17

Chapter 4: The syntactic and semantic

17

features of REQUEST, ORDER AND ADVICE verb
groups in English and their Vietnamese
equivalents

18
19

4.1. Syntactic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE
verb groups in English

19

4.1.1. In terms of their sentence patterns
4.1.1.1 SVO type

19

4.1.1.2 SVOO type

20

4.1.2. In terms of their sentence elements

21

4.2. Semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE

22

verb groups in English
25
4.2.1. ORDER verb in English
4.2.2 COMMAND verb in English
25
4.2.3. DEMAND verb in English
26
4.2.4. TELL verb in English
28


4.2.5. DIRECT verb in English

29

4.2.6. INSTRUCT verb in English

31

4.2.7. REQUIRE verb in English

32

4.2.8. ADVISE verb in English

33

4.2.9. COUNSEL verb in English

33

4.2.10. RECOMMEND verb in English

35

4.2.11. SUGGEST verb in English

36

4.2.12. PROPOSE verb in English

37

4.2.13. ADVOCATE verb in English

38

4.2.14. REQUEST verb in English

39

4.2.15. ASK verb in English

40

4.2.16. BESEECH verb in English

41

4.2.17. PLEAD verb in English

42

4.2.18. APPLY verb in English

43

4.3. REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English

44

and their Vietnamese equivalents

46

4.3.1. In terms of their syntactic features
4.3.1.1. In terms of their sentence patterns
4.3.1.2. In terms of their sentence elements
4.3.2. In terms of their semantic features
4.3.2.1. ORDERmeaning and their Vietnamese equivalents
4.3.2.2. TELLmeaning and their Vietnamese equivalents
4.3.2.3. DEMAND meaning and its Vietnamese equivalents

42
46
46
47
48
50

4.4. Some possible implications for teaching and learning
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English and

50

Vietnamese

51


4.5. Summary
Chapter 5: CONCLUSION
5.1. Recapitulation
5.2. Concluding remarks
5.3. Limitations and suggestions for further studies
5.3.1. Limitations
5.3.2. Suggestions for further studies

53
55
55
56
57
57

REFERENCES

57
58


Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale
In English, speech act verbs play an important role in the way we perceive the
world we live in - the world of human relationships and human interaction. And yet the
meaning of such verbs has never been systematically investigated.
There have been a lot of researchers conducting investigations into speech act
verbs in both English and Vietnamese.
For speech act verbs in English, Anna Wierzbicka (1987) studies about the
semantic features of English verb groups such as: REQUEST group, ORDER group,
ADVICE group,.etc.
About Vietnamese speech act verbs, Lê Biên with Từ loại tiếng Việt hiện đại and
Nguyễn Kim Thản with Động từ trong tiếng Việt, these two authors studied about the
classification of words in Vietnamese including REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb
groups in Vietnamese. The thesis of Nguyễn Thị Thái Hòa with Cấu trúc ngữ nghĩa của
động từ nói năng nhóm KHUYÊN, RA LỆNH, NHỜ developed and improved to the study
of semantic structures of Vietnamese speech act verbs. The author‟s aim is to create new
theorical bases and apply them in analyzing the verb groups scientifically.
All these studies above thoroughly describe about the semantic features of the
ORDER, ADVISE and REQUEST verb groups but they have not been exploited in terms
of their syntactic features yet. Moreover, the contrastive comparison between two
languges English and Vietnamese has not been implemented yet. In the process of
teaching English verbs in general, and teaching REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb
groups in particular, it is recognized that these verb groups make students confused much
especially their syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE
verb groups and their Vietnamese equivalents.
As a result, that is why the subject “The syntactic and semantic features of
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English and their Vietnamese
equivalents” is chosen to study. We hope to contribute a small part in studying and
teaching REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English. In this study,
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English is described in a variety of
contexts and situations. We hope that with the thesis, we can contribute a small part to
help students of English as well as Vietnamese people who learn English and who are
interested in speech act verbs.
1.2. Aims of the study


- To help Vietnamese learners have a better understanding of REQUEST, ORDER
and ADVICE verb groups in English and Vietnamese in terms of their syntactic and
semantic features effectively.
-

To use them correctly and appropriately in their spoken and written discourse.

1.3. Objectives of the study
To achieve the aims, some objectives can be put forward:
- Describing the syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE
verb groups in English.
- Pointing out the similarities and differences of REQUEST, ORDER and
ADVICE verb groups in English and their Vietnamese equivalents in terms of syntactic
and semantic features.
- Suggesting some possible implications for teaching and learning REQUEST, ORDER
and ADVICE verb groups in English and Vietnamese.
1.4. Scope of the study
In this study, the major point is to focus on REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE
verb groups in terms of the syntactic and semantic features in English. English is
considered as source language, meanwhile Vietnamese is target language. So, the
syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in
English are compared with their Vietnamese equivalents.
On this basis, some suggestions for Vietnamese learners of English are proposed
to make their learning REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups more effective.
Also, the study supplies the Vietnamese equivalents which hopefully help learners
overcome difficulties when speaking and using the words.
1.5. Significance of the study
Theoretically, the study will provide a comprehensive and overal knowledge about
the syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in
English. Moreover, the similarities and differences between this verb group in English
and in Vietnamese are very helpful in contrasting two languages.
Practically, the study will help teachers and students to be able to master some
suggestions and hints in teaching and learning this verb group effectively because
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups consists of many verbs and occationally
make people confused when its syntactic and semantic features are under consideration.
1.6. Structure of the study
This thesis consists of five main parts:
Chapter1, Introduction, gives the reasons why this topic: “The syntactic and
semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English and their
Vietnamese equivalents” has been chosen for the study as well as its aims and objectives,
scope, significance and organization of the study.


Chapter2, Literature Review, presents an overview of the previous studies related
to REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups both in English and Vietnamese and a
review of theoretical background that can be considered as a foundation for conducting
the whole study.
Chapter3, Methodology, describes the research-governing orientation and methods
applied for implementing this research.
Chapter 4, Findings and Discussion, gives a detail description and discussion on
the syntactic and semantic features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in
English in terms of their sentence patterns and sentence elements. Then the comparison
with their Vietnamese equivalents is also given in accordance with some possible
implications for teaching and learning English.
Chapter 5, Conclusion, summaries the whole content of the study, indicating the
limitation, thus giving some recommendations and suggestions for a further research.
References come at the end of the study.


Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
The following issues are to be dealt with in this chapter: An overview of
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English and Vietnamese; Theory of
speech act verbs; Classification of sentences and sentence elements. These theories are
the basis of the study in chapter IV.
2.1. Speech act verbs
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English belongs to speech act
verbs. So, in order to carry out studying about the syntactic and semantic features of
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English, it is really necessary that
speech act verbs are taken into consideration first.
2.1.1. Definition of speech act verbs
Wierzbicka (1987) states that verbs referring to speech constitute one of the most
important areas of the vocabulary of any language. This is particularly true, however, of
English, and of the other languages which function as vehicles of life in complex modern
societies. It is enough to open a daily newspaper to see to what extent „news‟ consists of
speech acts. Phrases such as “X accuses Y for stealing his book”, “X predicts…”, “X
blames Y…”, “X offers Y…”, “X threatens…”, “X vows…”, “X demands Y…” or “X
condemns Y…” seem more common than any other category of headlines. It would not be
an exaggeration to say that public life can be conceived as a gigantic network of speech
acts. History itself seems to consist largely in acts of speech.
But people‟s private lives, too, consist to a phenomenal extent of speech acts.
From morning to night, we ask, answer, quarrel, argue, promise, boast, scold, complain,
nag, praise, thank, confide, reproach, hint - and so on and so on. Moreover, from morning
to night, we seek to interpret what other people are saying, i.e. what kinds of speech acts
they are performing. Virtually every time someone opens his or her mouth in our
presence, we seek to categorize their utterance as this or that kind of speech act. Was this
a threat? Or just a warning? Was this a suggestion or rather a request? Was this a
criticism or just a casual remark? Was this a hint?
Speech act verbs, i.e. words such as suggest, request, criticize, hint, boast,
complain or accuse, are crucially important to the way we perceive the world we live in the world of human relationships human interaction. And yet the meaning of such verbs
has never been systematically investigated. For example, if foreigners or migrants
studying English wanted to find out the difference between suggest and demand, between
demand and request, between object and protest, or between question and interrogate,
they would not find it anywhere - despite the endless rows of books on English which fill
the shelves of libraries and bookshops. The difference between a thread and a warning
may be a matter of life or death: the difference between demand and suggest may be a


matter of bad relations or good relations with another person. And yet the differences in
meaning between threaten and warn, or between suggest and demand have never been
adequately described.
2.1.2. Syntactic features of speech act verbs
In the past, syntactic clues sometimes were utilized in lexicography as an aid to
establish polysemy. In theoretically oriented linguistic literature, too, the claim had often
been made that a difference in meaning (cf.Dixon, 1985). In the present work, however, a
stronger claim has been tried to explore that a syntactic similarity is likely to reflect a
similarity in meaning, so that shared syntactic patterns are likely to reflect shared
semantic components. To the extent to which this claim is validated, shared syntactic
properties can be seen as evidence for postulated semantic structures.
According to Wierzbicka (1987), syntactic clues have to be treated with care, and
the relevant syntactic categories must be established empirically, not determined a
priority. For example, if we ask about the semantic correlate of the pattern “X thanked Y
for helping him”, we will probably discover nothing of significance. Consider, for
example, the following group of verbs, which can all occur in that frame: ask, thank,
criticize, beg, reproach, praise. What could all these verbs have in common (that some
other verbs, unable to occur in this frame, would not have)? On closer inspection,
however, it emerges that two different syntactic patterns are in fact involved: (1)„X
criticized Y for being lazy‟ paraphrasable as „X sked Y to do all the homework‟ and (2) „
X asked Y for money‟ paraphrasable as „X asked Y for making money‟. The first of these
two patterns singles out verbs such as ask, beg and implore (X begged Y for money - X
begged Y to make money); the second, verbs such as reproach, reprimand, rebuke,
reprove, praise, criticize and thank (X reproached Y for money - X reproached Y for
making money). This time, significant semantic correlates do emerge:
1. I want you to do the test.
I know that you don‟t have to do it.
2. You have (has) done something bad/good.
The pattern „X asked Y for money‟ which is paraphrasable as „X asked Y to make
money‟ is particularly worth comparing with the closely related pattern „X asked to Y for
money‟, as in the sentences „X appealed to Y for money‟ and „X applied (to Y) for money‟.
This pattern, too, correlates with the components „I want you to make money‟ and „I
know that you don‟t have to do it‟. But the fact that the addressee phrase is treated as an
indirect object, rather than as a direct object, implies a more indirect approach to the
addressee. In the case of ask, beg and implore, one might say that the speaker is trying to
„twist the addressee‟s arm‟, to prevail upon the addressee to act. In the case of apply or
appeal, the addressee is not similarly confronted with a direct personal approach; and to
extent to which he is personally addressed he is expected to consider the matter rather


than to act immediately. The difference in question can be reflected in the following
semantic formula: „I say this because I want to cause you to do it‟ (ask, beg, implore) vs.
„I say this because I want to cause you to think about it (and do it)‟ (apply, appeal).
Generally speaking, if the addressee phrase is treated as a direct object, the
(implied) effect of the action on the addressee is always greater and more direct than in
the otherwise comparable cases when the addressee phrase is treated as an indirect object.
For example, of the two verbs suggest and advise, suggest is clearly more tentative; this
semantic difference is reflected in the syntactic one: „X suggested Y (that money)‟ vs. „X
advised Y (to make money)‟. But the differences in the syntactic treatment of the
addressee may also reflect differences in the agent‟s goal. For example, if a verb implies
that the agent wants to achieve a certain state of affairs and that the role of the addressee
is rather instrumental, then it is the desired state of affairs, rather than the addressee,
which is treated as a direct object. Hence, for example, the following contrasts:
He demanded the release of the prisoners.
*He asked the release of the prisoners.
He asked them to release the prisoners.
*He demanded them to release the prisoners.
(Wierzbicka, Anna,1987: 25)
With ask, the focus is (semantically) on the addressee, and so the addressee phrase is
treated (syntactically) as a direct object; with demand, the focus is (semantically) on a
certain state of affairs, and so it is this state of affairs, not the addressee phrase, which is
treated (syntactically) as a direct object.
Accordingly, the contrasts illustrated above point in exactly the same direction as the
following ones do:
They asked for the release of the prisoners.
*They asked the release of the prisoners.
They demanded the release of the prisoners.
*They demanded for the release of the prisoners.
(Wierzbicka, Anna,1987: 26)
Of course, if we want to investigate the validity of the correlations between syntactic and
semantic properties, we must also seek to validate semantic components independently
(not on the basis of syntactic clues). However, once the validity of such correlations
between syntax and meaning has been established, syntactic properties can be used as
invaluable clues to semantic structure. I am not suggesting that syntactic properties
should be treated as „proofs‟ for, or against, a given semantic analysis. I maintain, above
all, that syntactic properties possess an inestimable heuristic value. In combination with
other evidence, however, they can be used in the justification of semantic formulae.
2.1.3. Semantic features of speech act verbs


Semantics is a branch of linguistics, which deals with meaning or the content of
communication. According to Hurford and Heasley (1983:1), “semantics is the study of
meaning in language”. Language is a means of communication, and people use language
to communicate with others by making conversations, giving information, and other
things to make social relationship. Human beings have been given the capacity to talk, to
communicate with each other, to make meaningful utterances, so that they are understood
by other human beings. They communicate about the world in which they live, about
themselves, about their thought and feeling, about what has happened, about what might
happen or what they would like to happen, and a lot more.
Hurford and Heasley(1983:5) state that “the giving of information is itself an act
of courtesy, performed to strengthen social relationships”. This is also part of
communication. There are some linguists that try to define semantics. Morries as quoted
by Lyons (1977) at first defines semantics as the study of the relations of signs to the
objects to which the signs are applicable. And then he revises his definition, saying that,
semantics is that portion of semiotic which deals with the signification of sign in all
modes of signifying.
Semantics is usually connected with pragmatics Carnap (Lyons, 1977:116) says
that descriptive semantics (i.e. the investigation of the meaning of expressions in
“historically given natural language”), may be regarded as part of pragmatics. The reason
why descriptive semantics is part of pragmatics seem to have been that he believed that
difference in the use of particular expressions were not only inevitable in language behaviour, but must be taken account of in the description or context. Smith, as quoted by
Lyons (1977:116) states that “semantics studies how these signs are related to things.
And pragmatics studied how they are related to people”. According to Leech (1983:5)in
practice, the problem of distinguishing language and language use has centered on a
boundary dispute between semantics and pragmatics. Hurford and Heasley (1983:14)
further explain that the study of semantics is largely a matter of conceptually and
exploring the nature of meaning in a careful and thoughtful way, using a wide range of
examples, many of which we can draw from our knowledge.
But Jack Richards, John Platt, Heidi Weber (1987:172) state that “the study of
meaning is semantics. Semantics is usually concerned with the analysis of the meaning of
words, phrases, or sentences and sometimes with the meaning of utterances in discourse
or the meaning of a whole text.”
David Crystal (1992:347)defines that “semantics is the study of meaning in
language”. Structural semantics applied the principles of structural linguistics to the study
of meaning through the notion of semantic relations (also called sense relation), such as
synonymy and antonymy. In generative grammar, the semantic component is a major
area of the grammar‟s organization, assigning a semantic representation to sentences, and


analyzing lexical terms of semantic features. The theory of semantic fields views
vocabulary as organized into areas, within which words (lexical items) interrelate and
define each other.
R.M.W.Dixon (1991) defines that “a verb is the center of a clause”. A verb refer to some
activity and there must be a number of participants who have roles in that activity as:
Sinbad carried the old man; or it may refer to a state, and there must be a participant to
experience the state as: My leg aches.
A set of verbs is grouped together as one semantic type partly because they require
the same set of participant roles. All giving verbs require a Donor, a Gift and a Recipient,
as in:
John gave a bouquet to Mary, Jane lent the Saab to Bill.
Or: The women‟s Institutes supplied the soldiers with socks.
(R.M.W.Dixon,1991: 9)
All attention verbs take a Perceiver and an Impression (that which is seen or heard), as in:
I heard the crash, I witnessed the accident, I recognized the driver‟s face.
(R.M.W.Dixon,1991: 9)
Affect verbs are likely to involve an Agent, a Target, and something which is manipulated
by the Agent to come into contact with the target which I call manip. A manip can always
be stated, although it often does not have to be.
For examples:
John rubbed the glass (with a soft cloth).
Mary sliced the tomato (with her new knife).
Tom punched Bill (with his left fist).
(R.M.W.Dixon,1991: 9)
We are here working at the semantic level, and it should be stressed that each type
has a quite distinct set of roles. There is nothing in common
between Gift (that which is transferred from one owner to another) and Impression (an
object or activity that is seen or heard) or Perceiver (a person who receives visual or
auditory sense impressions) or Agent (a person who wields a Manip to come into contact
with a Target), and so on.
There are about thirty semantic types associated with the verb class. Some verbs,
such as those in the giving and affect types, have three semantic roles.
These semantic features of speech act verbs are the basis of analyzing the semantic
features of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English in chapter 4.
2.2. An overview of sentences in English
2.2.1. Classification of sentences in terms of sentence elements and verb
complementation


Sentence classification is carried out in order to get the foundation of studying the
sentence types in REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English and
Vietnamese in chapter 4. By eliminating optional adverbials from the clause structures,
we have seven clause types in the classification of the essential core of each clause
structure. Of the obligatory elements, the main verb is the one that wholly or largely
determines what form the rest of the structure will take. From the examples [1-7] the
following seven clause types emerge:
Table 2.1: Sentence patterns (Quirk, Randolph, 1985)
S(ubject)

V(erb)

Type

Someone

was laughing

SV
Type

My

enjoys

O(bject(s)) C(omplement) A(dverbial)
[1a]
parties

[2a]

mother

SVO
Type

became

SVC
Type

The
country
I

SVA
Type

Mary

gave

the visitor

[5a]

consider

A glass of
milk
these
rather

[6a]

must put

books
all the toys

have been

SVOO
Type

Most

SVOC people
Type
You

totally
independent

[3a]
in
garden

the [4a]

expensive
upstairs

[7a]

SVOA
Each clause type is associated with a set of verbs. The seven fall naturally into
three main types. There are:
1. A two-element pattern: SV
The sun is shining.
They are talking.

(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)

2. Three three-element patterns: SV + {O, C, A}
That lecture bored me. (SVO)
Your dinner seems ready (SVC)
My office is in the next building. (SVA)
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
3. Three four-element patterns: SVO + {O, C, A}
I must send my parents an anniversary card. (SVOO)
Most students have found her reasonably helpful. (SVOC)
You can put the dish on the table. (SVOA)


(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
This set of patterns is the most general classification that can be usefully applied
to the classification of sentence patterns of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb
groups in English.
2.2.2. Sentence elements
2.2.2.1. Syntactic features of sentence elements
Quirk, Randolph (1985) states that Subject is the most important element of the
clause elements other than the verb. It is the element that is most often present. It is also
the element for which we can find the greatest number of characteristic features. The
subject is normally a noun phrase or a nominal clause, a pronoun, That-clause, To
infinitive or V-ing. A subject is obligatory in finite clauses except in imperative clauses,
where it is normally absent but implied.
Verb is also taken an extremely important role in sentences. Cutting across above three
folds classification are three main verb classes:
Intransitive verbs (laugh in [1a]), are followed by no obligatory element, and occur in
type SV.
Transitive verbs (enjoy in [2a], give in [5a], consider in [6a], put in [7a]) are followed by
an object and occur in types SVO, SVOO, SVOC and SVOA respectively.
Copular verbs (become in [3a], be in [4a]) are followed by a subject complement or an
adverbial, and occur in types SVC and SVA.
In general sense, the term transitive is often applied to all verbs which require an
object, including those of clause types SVOO, SVOC, and SVOA. It is, however,
convenient to make a further classification of the verbs in these patterns:
Monotransitive verbs occurs in type SVO
Transitive verbs

Ditransitive verbs occur in type SVOO
Complex transitive verbs occur in types SVOC and
SVOA

Objects is an indispensable element in a sentence with a transitive verb.
In fact, there
are two types of object: direct object (Od) and indirect object (Oi). An object such as
parties in [2a] (My mother enjoys parties) clearly has a different role in the clause from
an object such as the visitor in [5a] (Mary gave the visitor a glass of milk), and this has
been traditionally recognized by applying the term direct object to the former, and
indirect object to the latter. We give priority here to the distributional fact that whenever
there are two objects (in type SVOO), the former is normally the indirect object, and the
latter is direct object. But although it is more central with regard to position, in other
respects the indirect object is more peripheral than the direct object: it is more likely to be


optional, and may generally be paraphrased by a prepositional phrase functioning as
adverbial.
Complements is used in sentence patterns SVC and SVOC. There are also two types of
complements: subject complement (Cs) and object complement (Co). We can distinguish
between the types of complement found in the SVC pattern; i.e.: totally independent in:
The country became totally independent.
[3a]
And the type of complement found in the SVOC pattern; i.e.: rather expensive in:
Most people consider these books rather expensive.
[6a]
The distinction is effectively made by noting that in [3a] the country is understood to
have become a totally independent country, while in [6a] the books are understood to be
considered rather expensive books. In other words, in SVC clauses the complement
applies some attribute or definition to the subject, whereas in SVOC clauses it applies an
attribute or definition to the object. This distinction is usually denoted by the terms
subject complement and object complement respectively. In these cases, the complement
is an adjective phrase, but elsewhere, where the complement is a noun phrase, the same
kind of distinction holds:
Type SVC: The country became a separate nation.
Type SVOC: Most people considered Picasso a genius.
In the SVC sentence, a separate nation is understood to be a definition of the subject, the
country, while in the SVOC sentence, a genius is understood to be a definition of the
object, Picasso.
Obligatory adverbial is an integral element in sentence patterns SVA and SVOA. The
adverbial is normally an adverb phrase, prepositional phrase, or adverbial clause. It may
also be a noun phrase.
Except for the obligatory adverbial in the SVA and SVOA types, adverbials are
optional: they may be added to or removed from the clause without affecting its
acceptability and without affecting the relations of structure and meaning in the rest of
the clause.
Obligatory adverbials are a subclass of predication adjuncts that belong to SVA and
SVOA types. In as much as they are obligatory, they are central elements of the clause,
part of the clause nucleus. They may be adverb phrases, prepositional phrases, or
adverbial clauses. Some obligatory adverb phrases and prepositional phrases may be
analyzed as complements belonging to the SVC and SVOC types.
Type SVA: I have been in the garden.
Type SVOA: You must put all the toys upstairs.
This close analysis is the background of analyzing the syntactic feature of sentence
elements of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English in chapter 4.
2.2.2.2. Semantic features of sentence elements


Quirk, Randolph (1985)shows that the most typical semantic role of a subject in a
clause that has a direct object is that of the agentive participant: that is, the animate being
instigating or causing the happening denoted by the verb:
Margaret is mowing the grass.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 741)
The subject sometimes has the role of external causer; that is it expresses the unwitting
(generally inanimate) cause of an event:
The electric shock killed him.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 743)
It may also have the role of instrument; that is, the entity (generally inanimate) which an
agent uses to perform an action or instigate a process:
A car knocked them down.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 743)
With intransitive verbs, the subject also frequently has the affected role elsewhere typical
of the direct object:
The pencil was lying on the table.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 743)
Besides, the subject may have a recipient role with verbs such as have, own, possess,
benefit (from); the role of positioner with intransitive stance verbs such as sit, stand, lie,
live, stay, remain, and with transitive verbs related to stance verbs such as carry, hold,
keep, wear; the locative, temporal and eventive role.
Direct object has several roles in sentences. The most typical role of the direct object is
that of the affected participant: a participant (animate or inanimate) which does not cause
the happening denoted by the verb, but is directly involved in some other way:
Many MPs criticized the Prime Minister.
James sold his digital watch yesterday.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 741)
The direct object may have a locative role with such verbs as walk, swim, pass, jump,
turn, leave, reach, surround, cross, climb.
Besides, the direct object has a resultant, cognate, and instrumental object.
Besides, the most typical role of the indirect object is that of the recipient participant: i.e.,
of the animate being that is passively implicated by the happening or state:
I‟ve found you a place.
We paid them the money.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 741)
It occasionally takes an affected role with a few of the verbs that combine with an
eventive object. The most common verb in the latter construction is give:
She gave me a push.


We gave the baby a bath.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 742)
Complement is also a very important element in sentences. The typical semantic role of a
subject complement and an object complement is that of attribute. We can distinguish
two subtypes of role for the attribute: identification and characterization. We can further
subdivide attributes into current or existing attributes (normally with verbs used stativity)
and resulting attributes, resulting from the event described by the verb (with verbs used
dynamically).
Branda became their accountant.
Dwight is an honest man.

(Identification)
(Characterization)

He is my brother.

(Current attribute)

The heat turned the milk sour.

(Resulting attribute)
(Quirk,Randolph,1985: 728)

2.3. Previous studies.
There have been a lot of researchers conducting investigations into speech act
verbs in both English and Vietnamese. For speech act verbs in English, Anna Wierzbicka
(1987) studies about the semantic features of English verb groups such as: the ORDER
group, ASK group, ADVISE group, TALK group.etc. This book has two purposes: one
purpose is practical: it is meant to be of service to the general public, both to native
speakers of English and to people learning or teaching English as a second language. The
other purpose is scholarly: it is meant to be a study of an important section of the English
vocabulary, a study of a kind which has never been undertaken before. The present
dictionary can be regarded as a justification of the semantic theory on which it is based.
This does not mean, however, that the practical lexicographic purpose is subordinated to
a theoretical linguistic goal. On the contrary, the semantic theory is viewed here as a
lexicographic enterprise, which will be also useful as a reference book. According to
Anna Wierzbicka (1987), REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups includes eight
English verbs: order, command, demand, tell, direct, instruct, require and prescribe.
These verbs are analysed thoroughly in terms of their meanings and using in daily life.
Given the necessary limitations of scope, the clues offered by the syntactic properties of
the individual verbs have not been exploited as fully and as systematically as it was
hoped.
Searle (1989) posits a set of adequacy criteria for any account of the meaning and
use of performative verbs, such as order.
Central among them are: (a) performative utterances are performances of the act
named by the performative verb; (b) performative utterances are self-verifying; (c)
performative utterances achieve (a) and (b) in virtue of their literal meaning. He then
argues that the fundamental problem with assertoric accounts of performatives is that


they fail (b), and hence (a), because being committed to having an intention does not
guarantee having that intention. Relying on a uniform meaning for verbs on their
reportative and performative uses, we propose an assertoric analysis of performative
utterances that does not require an actual intention for deriving (b), and hence can meet
(a) and (c).
Explicit performative utterances are those whose illocutionary force is made
explicit by the verbs appearing in them as:
I(hereby) order you to be there at five.
(is an order)
You are (hereby) ordered to report to jury duty. (is an order)
(Austin, 1962)
Three sentences above look and behave syntactically like declarative sentences in
every way. Hence there is no grammatical basis for the once popular claim that I
promise/ order spells out a „performative prefix‟ that is silent in all other declaratives.
This research is not dealed with the syntactic features and the study is only concerned
with the verb order.
On the other hand, English dictionaries are also the very good reference materials
during the study such as Oxford Advanced Learner‟s Dictionary, 2003; Oxford Advanced
encyclopedia, 2002; Sematic Dictionary, 1987; English-Vietnamese Dictionary, 2008.
These dictionaries analyze fully about the word classifications, structures, semantics and
give precise examples as well.
In Vietnamese, many authors have done long researches and given out worthy
collections such as Lê Biên (1998) with Từ loại tiếng Việt hiện đại and Nguyễn Kim
Thản (1999) with Động từ trong tiếng Việt, these two authors study about the
classification of modern Vietnamese words including REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE
verb groups in Vietnamese. This verb group is described in term of its structures and
semantics. Besides, Hồng Mây, Tạ Minh Ngọc, Ngọc Lương (2011) with Từ điển tiếng
Việt have given full description and examples about the verbs belonging to REQUEST,
ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in Vietnamese. Moreover, there are some more
authors‟ researches such as Đinh Thị Hà with Cấu trúc ngữ nghĩa của động từ nói năng
nhóm BÀN, TRANH LUẬN, CÃI (Master thesis, 1996) and Lê Thị Thu Hoa with Cấu trúc
ngữ nghĩa của động từ nói năng nhóm KHEN, TÂNG, CHÊ (Master thesis, 1996).
Although both of the studies focus on researching the different Vietnamese speech act
verbs, the authors see the same characteristics: The popularity of these verbs in daily life.
They give remarks: Almost the previous researches only pay attention to the
grammatical features of the speech act verbs, the semantic structures are not carefully
concerned with. So, these theses have the same purpose: studying the semantic structures
of the Vietnamese speech act verbs. Nguyễn Thị Thái Hòa‟s thesis with Cấu trúc ngữ
nghĩa của động từ nói năng nhóm KHUYÊN, RA LỆNH, NHỜ develops and improves to


the study of semantic structures of Vietnamese speech act verbs. The author‟s aim is to
create new theorical basis and apply them in analyzing the verb groups scientifically.
The author finds new trand of the tittle in order to improve the good points, as well as to
cut down the limitation of the prior thesis.
The researches above are the background that the theory part of the study will be carried
out.
2.4. Summary
In this chapter, an overview of REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in
English and Vietnamese are given to briefly review what has been found and discussed
the related studies by describing their approaches and key findings, but then identify
weaknesses in the approach and limitations in the findings. Finally the study discusses
what the next study will be done.
Moreover, the definition of speech act verbs, the syntactic and semantic features of
speech act verbs, sentence classification and sentence elements are analyzed thoroughly
in order to use for the background of analyzing the syntactic and semantic features of
REQUEST, ORDER and ADVICE verb groups in English.


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