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Syntactic and semantic features of the take motion verbs group in english with reference to vietnamese equivalents

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

NGUYỄN THỊ LAN HƯƠNG
SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF THE TAKE
MOTION VERBS GROUP IN ENGLISH WITH REFERENCE TO
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA NHÓM ĐỘNG TỪ CHUYỂN ĐỘNG TAKE
TRONG TIẾNG ANH VÀ NHỮNG 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 LAN HƯƠNG

SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF THE TAKE
MOTION VERBS GROUP IN ENGLISH WITH REFERENCE TO
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA NHÓM ĐỘNG TỪ CHUYỂN ĐỘNG TAKE
TRONG TIẾNG ANH VÀ NHỮNG TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT)

M.A THESIS
Field: English Language
Code: 8220201
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. HOANG TUYET MINH

Hanoi, 2018


STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report entitled
“Syntactic and semantic features of TAKE motion verbs with reference to 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 Lan Huong

Approved by

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


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all those who provided me
with the possibility to complete the current paper.
First and foremost, I would like to say a big thank you to my supervisor, Assoc.
Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh, whose step- by- step instructions, insightful comments,
enormous and continuous encouragement helped me a lot throughout the whole
process of carrying out this investigation. I am really more thankful than I can express.
Furthermore, I am also greatly indebted to all the lecturers in Faculty of Post


Graduate, Hanoi Open University for their enthusiasm, expertise and support. I would
like to say a special word of thanks to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Văn Đạo, the Head of
the Department of Post –Graduate Studies, My sinsere thanks go to Ms Lê Phương
Thảo and the whole staff of the department of Post Graduate Studies of Ha Noi Open
University for their help, encouragement, assistant and valuable advice.
I highly appreciate the helpful advice, assistance and participation from my
colleagues, friends and students at Ky Son high school. My work could not be in good
progress without them.
A final word of gratitude is to my family, without whose support and
encouragement, this paper would not have been completed.
However,

the

study

still

recommendations would be welcomed.

has

limitations,

so

all

suggestions

and


ABSTRACT

This study comparatively analyses the syntactic and semantic features of three
TAKE motion verbs: take, bring and fetch in English and their Vietnamese equivalents.
The paper uses both qualitative and quantitative methods as the main ones.
Furthermore, a descriptive method is also used to clarify the features of these three
verbs in terms of syntax and semantics. Also, a comparative method is used to establish
the similarities and differences between three English TAKE motion verbs and their
Vietnamese equivalents. The findings show that these three verbs in English occur in
only 4 out of 7 sentence patterns including SVO, SVOO, SVOC and SVOA
syntactically. While Object is an obligatory element, others are considered optional .
Semantically, these three verbs can possess more than one semantic role. As motion
verbs, moving role is always required with these verbs whereas Giving role and Locus
role are optional and sometimes omissible . These verbs in English are similar to and
also different from their Vietnamese equivalents regarding syntactic and semantic
features. Finally, this study gives some practical implications to help Vietnamese
teachers to teach these TAKE motion verbs effectively.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Certificate of originality.................................................................................................... i
Acknowledgements........................................................................................................... ii
Abstract............................................................................................................................. ii
List of abbreviations.......................................................................................................... iv
List of tables and figures...................................................................................................

v

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION..........................................................................................

1

1.1.

Rationale............................................................................................................. 1

1.2.
1.3.

Aims and objectives of the study........................................................................ 2
Research questions............................................................................................. 2

1.4.
Methods of the study..........................................................................................
1.5.
Scope of the study..............................................................................................
1.6.
Significance of the study....................................................................................
1.7.
Design of the study.............................................................................................
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW................................................................................

3
3
4
4
6

2.1.
2.2.
2.2.1.
2.2.2.

Previous studies.............
An overview of syntax and semantics............................................................
Syntax.......................................................................................
Semantics...........................................................................................................

6
8
8
9

2.3.

An overview of English verbs...........................................................

10

2.3.1. Definitions of English verbs....................................................................
2.3.2. Classifications of English verbs.......................................................................
2.3.2.1. In terms of sentence patterns..........................................................................
2.3.2.2. In terms of sentence elements.........................................................................
2.4.
An overview of motion verbs in English and Vietnamese.......................
2.4.1. Motion verbs in English....................................................................................

10
11
12
14
16
16

2.4.1.1. Definitions of motion verbs............................................................................... 16
2.4.1.2. Classifications of motion verbs in
17
English...............................................................................................................


2.4.1.3. Syntactic features of motion verbs in English..............................................
2.4.1.4. Semantic features of motion verbs in English.............................................

19
20

2.4.2. Motion verbs in Vietnamese...........................................................................

23

2.5.
Summary........................................................................................................... 26
Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY.......................................................................................... 27
3.1.
Setting of the study........................................................................................... 27
3.2.
3.3.

Research approach.............................................................................................. 27
Research questions............................................................................................. 28

3.4.
3.5.

Research methods............................................................................................... 28
Data collection and data analysis....................................................................... 29

3.6.
Summary............................................................................................................
CHAPTER 4: SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF TAKE MOTION
VERBS WITH REFERENCE TO VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS............................
4.1.
Syntactic and semantic features of TAKE motion verbs group in English........
4.1.1. Syntactic features of the TAKE verbs group in English....................................
4.1.1.1. In terms of their sentence patterns......................................................................
4.1.1.2. In terms of their elements...................................................................................

29
30
30
30
30
36

4.1.2. Semantic features of the TAKE motion verbs- group 1..................................... 40
4.2.

Comparison between the TAKE motion verbs- group 1 and their
Vietnamese equivalents................................................................................

45

4.2.1. In terms of syntactic features..............................................................................
4.2.1.1. In terms of sentence patterns..............................................................................
4.2.1.2. In terms of sentence elements.............................................................................
4.2.2. In terms of semantic features..............................................................................
4.3.
Some possible implications for teaching TAKE motion verbs group in

45
45
48
51

English................................................................................................................
4.4.
Summary.............................................................................................................
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION..........................................................................................
5.1.
Recapitulation.....................................................................................................
5.2.
Concluding remarks...........................................................................................
5.3.
Recommendations for Further Study.................................................................

56
58
60
60
60
62


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS

A

Adverbial

C

Complement

Co

Object complement

Cs

Subject complement

NP

Noun phrase

O

Object

Od

Direct object

Oi

Indirect object

S

Subject

V

Verb


LIST OF TABLES
Table 2.1

Verb classes in terms of sentence patterns

12

Table 2.2

Motion verbs in Vietnamese

23

Table 4.1

TAKE motion verbs group and their sentence patterns

35

Table 4.2

The summary of sentence patterns

48

Table 4.3

The combination of mang and other directional semiverbs

52


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1.

Rationale
There are thousands of languages amended and used in the world, each of them

has differences and uniqueness; among which English can be seen as one of the
international languages to serve people‟s daily-life communication. English is
considered as one of the most popular language for everyone all over the world. In fact,
English has been recommended to be a compulsory subject in training curriculum of
every school and university in Vietnam.
Plenty of Vietnamese children may get accustomed to spoken English as soon as
they begin learning how to read and write in their mother tongue. This mean that
people have reconignized the importance and necessity of English as well as the
advantages that English may bring about. However, learning English is always a big
challenge for Vietnamese native speaker learners. There are many problems in learning
English as listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, lexicology, etc. Grammar
plays a very important role in English, it is not easy for English learners to study.
Theoretically, verbs are very important constituents of every sentence. Particularly, the
main features of verbs or motion verbs in English are dealt with in every general
grammar book such as: Quirk, et al (1985), Biber et al (2000) or Huddleston et al
(1985). There exist a large number of publications dealing solely with verbs, their
characteristics and their semantic behavior (for example: Palmer, F.R (1985), Sinclair,
J.ed (1998) or Levin, B (1993). It is also possible to find many publications dealing
with specific types of verbs, for example publications specialized in modal verbs,
particle verbs, phrasal verbs or motion verbs: Kudrnacova, N (2008), Tenny, C. (1995)
and also publications dealing only with certain characteristics of the verbs such as
aspect: Comrie (2006).
In Vietnamese, the main features of verbs or motion verbs are dealt with in every
general grammar book such as Nguyễn Lai (1976) and Nguyễn Lai (1984) . It is also
possible to find many publications dealing with specific motion verbs. And Nguyễn
Kim Thản (1984), which studied about Vietnamese Grammar.

1


As has already been said above, this construction can be labeled as understudied.
Therefore, the study will be to shed more light on syntactic and semantic features of
some English motion verbs in comparison with the Vietnamese equivalents. Therefore,
the thesis entitled The syntactic and semantic features of take motion verbs group in
English comparison with the Vietnamese equivalents was chosen.

1.2 Aims and objectives of the study
This study is aimed at helping the teachers and learners of English master
English TAKE motion verbs group effectively.
In order to achieve the aims, the objectives of the study can be put forward as follows:
(i) To identify syntactic and semantic features of take motion verbs group in English
and Vietnamese.
(ii) To find out similarities and differences between English take motion verbs group
and their Vietnamese equivalents in terms of syntactic and semantic features.
(iii) To give some implications for teaching the take motion verbs group in English.

1.3 Research questions
To achieve the above-mentioned aims, the following objectives can be put forward:
1. What are the syntactic and semantic features of the take motion verbs group
in English and their Vietnamese equivalents?
2. What are the similarities and differences between English take motion verbs group
and their Vietnamese equivalents?
3. What are the implications for teaching and learning English take motion verbs
group?

1.4. Methods of the study
In order to deal with the subject effectively, a flexible combination of methods
is employed.
First, the descriptive method is used to describe the syntactic and semantic
features of motion verbs take, bring and fetch in English and Vietnamese.
Second, a comparative method is used to find out the similarities and differences
between motion verbs take, bring and fetch in English with reference to the
Vietnamese equivalents.

2


1.5.

Scope of the study

In English, there are seven subtypes of Motion verbs: 1. the RUN subtype, 2. the
ARRIVE subtype, 3. the TAKE subtype, 4. the FOLLOW subtype, 5. the CARRY
subtype, 6. the THROW subtype, 7. the DROP subtype. (R.M.W. Dixon, 1991), but
within the framework of this study, the writer only focuses on group 3 including take,
bring and fetch in terms of their syntactic and semantic features. In this study, English
is considered as the source language, and Vietnamese is the target language. So in this
study, syntactic and semantics features of take motion verbs group in English are
analyzed and put in comparison with their Vietnamese equivalents.
In addition, the data sources for analysis are taken from 2 dictionaries including Oxford
dictionary by Jonathan Crowther (1985) and Cambridge dictionary by Walter E.
(2005), 1 grammar book “Advanced grammar in use” by Hewings M. (2015) . Also,
some examples are cited from 2 books by such grammarians as R.M.W. Dixon ( 1971)
and Quirk R. (1985). The Vietnamese equivalents of these three verbs are taken from
short stories and novels by Nam Cao (1941) and some articles retried from the Internet.
In total, there are 50 examples are taken out in order to investigate the syntactic and
semantic features of the take motion verbs group and find out the similarities and
differences between them.
1.6. Significance of the study
Theoretically, this study seeks to contribute to the theoretical basis of the
characteristics of the syntax and semantics of the motion verbs in general and verb take
motion verbs group in particular and the similarities and differences with their
Vietnamese equivalents.
Practically, the study is expected to be used as a good reference for learning and
researching language. The result of the study through analysis and comparison between
two languages may be of great benefits for teachers and learners of English, as well as
helpful in using the language effectively in life. Suggestions for teaching and learning
from this group are given. Besides that, this research is conducted with the hope that in
the foreseeable future, teachers of English will get to know more about take motion
verbs group and realize the importance of them in teaching take motion verbs group so
that they can adapt it to their own teaching conditions.

3


1.7. Structure of the study
To gain the above goals, the thesis is divided into five chapters as follows :
Chapter 1, Introduction, gives a brief overview of the research with the rationale for
choosing the topic of the research, the aims and objectives, scope of the research,
research questions and organization of the study.
Chapter 2, Literature Review, briefly reviews previous research works related to the
topic and presents the theoretical background of the study.
Chapter 3, Methodology, points out the research orientations, describes the methods
and materials used in doing the research including data collection and analyzing
techniques.
Chapter 4, Syntactic and semantic features of TAKE motion verbs group, points out
syntactic and semantic features of English take motion verbs group and comparison
between syntactic and semantic features of English motion verbs group and the
Vietnamese equivalents is made. Implications for teaching English motion verbs are
given.
Chapter 5, Conclusion, summarizes the results of the study. This part also provides
some implications for teaching and learning English motion verbs group and some
suggestions for further research.
Appendix and references come at the end of the study.

4


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical background as well as
relevant knowledge and summaries of previous researches‟ findings and conclusion
associated with the theme of the investigation. In other words, the review is to explain
several related terms and definitions of syntax, semantics, an overview of the
MOTION verbs group in English and Vietnamese; definitions and classifications of
motion verbs in terms of syntactic and semantic features. These theories are the basis
of the study in chapter 4.

2.1. Previous studies
Verbs are very important constituents of every sentence. Particularly, the main
features of verbs or motion verbs are dealt with in every general grammar book such as
Quirk, et al (1988), Bibber et al (2000) or Huddleston et al (2006). There exist a large
number of publications dealing solely with verbs, their characteristics and their
semantic behavior such as Palmer, F.R. (1985); Sinclair, J. ed or Levin B. (1987). It
is also possible to find many publications dealing with specific types of verbs, for
example publications specialized in modal verbs, particle verbs, phrasal verbs or
motion verbs including Kudrnacova (2008), Tenny ( 1995) and also publications
dealing only with certain characteristics of the verbs such as aspect such as Comrie
(2006) .
There have been a lot of researchers conducting investigations into speech act
verbs in both English and Vietnamese. For speech act verbs in English, R.M.W.Dixon
(1991) studies about the semantic and syntactic features of English verb groups such as
the MOTION group, AFFECT group, GIVING group, THINKING group,
CORFOREAL 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

5


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.
In Vietnamese, many authors did long researches and gave out worthy
collections such as Nguyen Lai (1976) and Nguyen Lai (1996). Although both of the
studies focused on researching the different Vietnamese Motion verbs, the authors saw
the same characteristics: The popularity of these verbs in daily life. They gave remarks:
Almost the previous researches only paid attention to the grammatical features of the
speech act verbs, the semantic structures were not carefully concerned with. So, these
studies have the same purpose, that is studying the semantic structures of the
Vietnamese motion verbs.
Moreover, Nguyễn Lai (1984) is the basis of this thesis in the comparison
between the MOTION verb group in English and Vietnamese. In this thesis, the author
developed and improved to the study of semantic structures of Vietnamese motion
verbs. The author‟s aim is to create new theoretical basis and apply them in analyzing
the verb groups scientifically. The author found new trend of the tittle in order to
improve the good points, as well as to cut down the limitation of the prior thesis.
Recently, there have been some research papers that have close relationship
with the thesis such as: “Syntactic and semantic features of English expressions
containing the verbs take and bring and their Vietnamese equivalents”, by Le Thi Soan
Duong (2016), “Collocations of the English verb take and their Vietnamese
equivalents”, etc… However, the investigation into take motion verbs group
containing the verbs take, bring and fetch haven‟t been carried out. Therefore, through
the reading of those works in English and Vietnamese, the writer would like to make a
syntactic and semantic description and analysis of this verbs group in English and their
Vietnamese equivalents.

2.2.

An overview of syntax and semantics

2.2.1. Syntax
Syntax is defined as a set of rules in language. It indicates how words from
different parts of speech put together with their aim of conveying a complete thought.
According to R.M.W. Dixon (1991), syntax deals with the way in which words are

6


combined together Syntax is considered to be theory of the structure of sentence in a
language. Verbs are different gramatical properties from language to language but
there is always a major class verb, which includes word referring to motion, rest,
notice, giving, speaking and linking.
According to Bloomfield (1993), “we could not understand the form of a
language if we merely reduced all the complex forms to their ultimate constituents”.
He pointed that in order to account for the meaning of a sentence, it is necessary to
regconize how individual constiuents such words and morpheres constitue more
complex forms.
Linda Thomas (1993) states that language is by nature extremely complex and
describing a language, any language is not an easy task. Syntax seeks to describe the
way words fit together form sentence or utterances.
According to R.M.W. Dixon (1991), syntactic clues have to be treated with care
and the relevant syntactic categories must be established empirically, not determined a
priori. For example, if we ask about the semantic correlate of the pattern “X Ved Y for
Z”, we will probably discover nothing of significance.
In the past, syntactic clues have sometimes been utilized in lexicography as an
aid to establishing polysemy. In theoretically oriented linguistic literature, too the claim
had often been made that a difference in meaning (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.
Every language has a limited number of syntactic relations. Subject and object
are probably universal of syntactic relations, which apply to every language. However,
just as the criteria for the major words class noun and verb differ from language to
language, so do the ways in which syntactic relations are marked.
2.2.2. Semantics
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 communications, and people use
language to communicate with others by making conversations, giving information,

7


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 tried to define semantics. Morries was
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 revised 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 - behavior, 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),

8


such as synonymy and antonym. 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.
The concepts of syntax and semantics are basic of the study to study syntactic
and semantic features of the take motion verbs in English.

2.3.

An overview of English verbs

2.3.1. Definitions of English verbs
As has already been mentioned, verbs are very important constituents of
sentences. Because of the complexity of the verbal characteristics and also because of
the complexity of the verbal characteristics and also because of the existence of an
extensive number of publications dealing with their characteristics in great depth, this
part of the thesis does not, by any means, intend to give a comprehensive description of
verbal characteristics and behavior of verbs.
The opening short definition of a verb from Longman English Grammar states
that: “a verb is a word run or a phrase run out of which expresses the existence of a
state love, seem or the doing of an action take, play ( Alexander 1988).
2.3.2. Classifications of English verbs
A very general division of verbs is provided by Quirk et al. (1985), who divide
verbs as a class of words into three principal categories. They classify them according
to their function within the verb phrase and label them full or lexical verbs such as
leave, primary verbs consisting of be, have and do and modal auxiliary verbs such as
will, might, ect. Primary and modal auxiliary verbs form closed classes (it is not
possible to easily add new words in such groups) whereas the class of full verbs is an
open class. Full verbs function in sentences as main verbs, and the primary verbs can
act either as main verbs or as auxiliary verbs.
When describing verbs in more detail, many publications use the term „verb
phrase‟ for them. A verb phrase might be simple such as She lives opposite me
(R.M.W. Dixon, 1971) or complex, consisting of two or more words such as I can’t
swim (R.M.W. Dixon, 1971). English verb phrases give information of different kinds.
Verb phrases indicate: tense, which gives information about time such as I speak (

9


present tense ) versus I spoke ( past tense); aspect, which gives information about the
speaker‟s perspective on time such as I spoke ( simple aspect) versus I was speaking (
progressive aspect ); voice, whether active such as She destroyed it or passive such as
It was destroyed, which gives information about agents and recipients of verb
processes ( Carter and McCarthy. 2006).
Due to extensiveness of verb as a class of words, it is possible to divide them into
many various categories depending on the features of verb phrases which are being
examined. When the feature of (in) definitiveness is taken into consideration, verb
phrases can be divided into definite (tensed) and infinite (non-tensed) verb; when the
main focus is on the inflection of verb, we distinguish verb regular and irregular. The
verb may also be divided into active or stative verb, or, as Lakoff (cited in Frawley,
1992) calls them non-stative and stative. Kudrnacova (2005) mentions also a division
of verbs from the lexical aspect into four groups: States such as knowing the answer,
Activities such as running, accomplishment such as running a mile and achievements
such as reaching the border. Many more other classifications are possible. Frawley
(1992, 140), for example, divides verbs into four principal classes, namely: acts, states,
causes, and motion. Main objective of this thesis is to serve as the primary research
sources from motion.
In this study, the writer will focus on the classification according to Quirk R.
(1985) in terms of sentence patterns and sentence elements as follows:

2.3.2.1. In terms of sentence patterns
According to Quirk, R. (1985), a sentence can be classified into 7 patterns: SV,
SVO, SVC, SVA, SVOO, SVOC, SVOA.
Table 2.1. Verb classes in terms of sentence patterns
S(subject) V(erb)
Type

Someone

SV

O(bject(s)) C(omplement) A(dverbial)

was

( 1a)

laughing

Type
SVO

My
mother

enjoys

Type
SVC

The
country

became

Parties

(2a)
Totally
independent

10

(3a)


Type
SVA

I

have
been

Type

Mary

gave

SVOO

in the garden

(4a)
(5a)

the visitor
a glass of
milk

Type

Most

SVOC

people

Type

you

consider
must put

these

rather

books

expensive

all the toys

(6a)
upstairs

(7a)

SVOA
(Quirk, R. 1985)
The seven falls naturally into three main types. There are:
a two – element pattern: SV
three – element patterns: SV
+ O/C/A
three four – element patterns: SVO
+ O/C/A
Cutting across this threefold classification are three main verb classes:
Intransitive verbs (e.g.: laugh in (1a), are followed by no obligatory element, and occur
in type SV.
Transitive verbs (e.g.: 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 (e.g.: become in (3a), be in (4a) are followed by a Subject, Complement,
or Adverbial, occur in type SVC and SVA.
In a 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 occur in type SVO
Transitive verbs =>
- Ditransitive verbs occur in type SVOO
Complex transitive verbs occur in type SVOC
and SVOA.

2.3.2.2. In terms of sentence elements
According to Quirk, R. (1985), a typical simple sentence contains 5 main
categories: S, V, O, A, C. These elements can be subclassified once again. For

11


example, Ao ( object- related adverbial), As ( subject- related abverbial), Cs ( object
complement), Co ( object complement), Od( direct object), Oi (indirect object). Each
element will be described and exemplified in more details as follows:
(i) Subject
This sentence element is characterized by three following criteria:
First, a subject is a noun phrase or a clause with nominal function.
A noun phrase can be a proper noun such as Tom, Paris, a pronoun such as I,
we, you, they, or common nouns (either count nouns or mass nouns)
I like cakes. -> pronoun
The girl is my sister. -> common noun
John likes her. -> proper noun
In many cases, Subject can also be a clause as in the example below:
Whether we need it is a different matter. -> nominal clause
Second, a subject occurs before the verb phrase in declarative clauses, and
immediately after the operator in question clauses.
He
had given
the girl an apple.
Subject
verb phrase

-

Will
he
ask any questions?
Operator
Subject
Third, a subject has number and person concord, where applicable with the verb

phrase.
The child is playing on the slide.
The children are playing with the sand.
(ii) Object
An object is like a subject, is a noun phrase or clause with nominal function.
My mother enjoys parties. -> noun phrase
I don’t know whether we need it. -> nominal clause
An object can be either a direct object or indirect one. An indirect object, where
both objects are present, precedes the direct one. A direct object may occur without an
indirect object.

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(iii) Complement
A complement is a noun phrase, an adjective phrase or a clause with nominal
function.
Most people consider these books rather expensive. -> adjective clause
The country became a separate nation. -> noun phrase
The problem is whether we need it. -> nominal clause
A compliment usually follows the subject, verb phrase and (if one is present)
object. It doesn‟t become subject through the passive transformation.
(iv) Adverbial
An adverbial is an adverb, adverb phrase, adverbial clause, noun phrase, or
prepositional phrase.
The doorman showed the guests into the drawing room. -> prepositional clause
We’ll stay there. -> adverb
We’ll stay next door. -> noun phrase
We’ll stay where it is convenient. -> adverbial clause
An adverbial is generally optional, for example, it can be added to or removed
from a sentence without affecting its acceptability.

2.4. An overview of motion verbs in English and Vietnamese
2.4.1. Motion verbs in English
2.4.1.1. Definitions of motion verbs
As is apparent from the term, motion verbs are those verbs that express a kind of
motion such as go, walk, run and hurry and so on. The category of motion verbs is
very broad. As Pablo and Gutierrez (2001,207) explain a directed motion event refers
to a situation in which an object, the Figure, moves with regards to a reference point,
the Ground, following a trajectory, the Path. This description is based on Talmy‟s
description (cited in Kudrnacova 2005, 54) of a motion situation, where he clarifies the
individual component as follows: The Figure (i.e. the object moving with respect to
another object, called the Ground), the Path (i.e. the course followed by the Figure) and
Motion (which refers to the presence per se of motion in the event of motion). To
describe this terminology more clearly, Kudrnacova (2008, 33) offers a sample
sentence John ran to the house where John represents the Figure, the house represents
the Ground, to expresses the Path, and walk presents the Motion and Manner.

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Kudrnacova (2008, 33) further states, that deixis embodied in verb roots (as in come
and go) is termed „Direction‟. “The path may also be expressed in particles (called
„satellites‟) such as in John went off‟ ( Kudnacova 2008, 33 ).
Motion verbs are also dealt with by Frawley (1992). He describes a motion as a
displacement of an entity. However, even though his work is based on Talmy‟s
characterisation of motion events, he does not use entirely the same semantic factors as
Talmy to describe the displacement. Fawley‟s factors are Them, Source, Goal, Path,
Site, Cause, Manner, and Conveyance (Frawley 1992, 170). The Theme, the displaced
entity, corresponds with Talmy‟s Figure. The Source represents the origin of the
movement and the Goal represents its destination, the Site denotes the location of the
movements and the Conveyance represents the means by which the motion is carried
out. Manner and Path will be described in more detail in the following sections.
2.4.1. 2. Classifications of motion verbs in English
There may exist several possible ways of classification of motion verbs.
First, the category of motion verbs can be further divided into two subcategories
with their own specific properties and behavior. These subcategories are manner of
motion verbs and path verbs and will be described in greater detail in the following
parts.
(i)

Path verbs
The class of path verbs cover all verbs which incorporate the direction of the

movement. Because directionality represents a constitutive feature of this category,
path verbs are sometimes called verbs of inherently directed motion or verbs of
direction as an opposite to verbs of displacement. In the work of Levin and Rappaport
Hovav (1992), this sub- category is labeled arrive class after one of the members of
this class: Path verbs are mute about the manner of motion and only encode
information about the direction of the motion: John left, John arrived. (Kudrnacove,
2008, 7). Or, in Levin‟s words, the meaning of these verbs includes a specification of
the direction of motion, even in the absence of an overt directional complement
(Kudrnacove, 1993,236).
(ii)

Manner of Motion Verbs
Manner of motion verbs encode information about the physical modality of
motion but, in contrast to the so-called path verbs, do not provide information about a

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specific direction of motion (He ran, He walked) unless they combine with an explicit
directional phrase such as in He ran to the store, He walked to the store (Kudrnacove,
2009, 143).
These verbs inherently include the notion of the transmission of energy from
one participant to another, this may be the same participant whose „self‟ is divided into
the acting self and the acted upon self, as in John walked himself to the station
(Kudrnacove, 2008, 10), and thus are used in different constructions than path verbs.
Second, motion verbs can also be divided into subgroups. For example,
according to Dixon ( 1991), motion verbs are divided into 7 subtypes as follows : (1)
Motion –a, the Run subtype, refers to a mode of motion, e.g., run, walk, crawl,
slide, spin, roll, turn, wriggle, swing, wave, rock, shake, climb, dive, stroll, trot, gallop,
jog, dance, march, jump, bounce, swim, fly and one sense, of play ( as in the child is
playing in the sand ).
(2)
Motion – b, the Arrive subtype, deals with motion with respects to a definite
Locus, e.g. (i) arrive, return, go, come; (ii) enter, cross, depart, travel, pass, escape;
come in, go out; (iii) reach, approach, visit.
(3)
Motion – c, the Take subtype, refers to causing something to be motion with
respect to a Locus, e.g. (i) take, bring, fetch; (ii) send; (iii) move, raise, lift, steal.
(4)
Motion – d, the FOLLOW subtype, refers to motion with respects to something
which is moving, e.g. (i) follow, tract, lead, guide, precede; accompany; (ii) meet.
(5)
Motion – e, the CARRY subtype, refers to motion in juxtaposition with some
moving object, e.g. carry, bear, transport, cart.
(6)
Motion – f, the THROW subtype, these are transitive verbs with the thing
moving as O and the causer as A. e.g. Mary pushed the bed
(7)
Motion – g, the DROP subtype, refers to unwanted motion. These verbs may be
used intransitively with the moving thing in S function. The motion may be due to a
combination of natural forces such as gravity.

2.4.1.3. Syntactic features of motion verbs in English
According to R.M.W. Dixon (1991), motion verbs can be transitive or
intransitive ones.
A fair proportion of motion verbs are intransitive. Some of them may be used
transitively in a causative sense (i.e. S=O) as in some examples below:

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Or

The horse trotted around the ring.
He trotted the horse around the ring.
The plant stood on the window- sill.

Or

He stood the plant on the window- sill.

(R.M.W. Dixon 1991, 95)
Others are basically transitive. Only some of these may omit an object NP if it
can be inferred from context and/or surrounding dialogue:
We followed him as far as the minefield.
Or

We followed as far as the minefield.
(R.M.W. Dixon 1991, 95)

Transitivity is largely determined by the meaning of a verb; that is, by the
subtype to which it belongs.
For example, verbs in RUN subtype are basically intransitive such as run, slide,
spin, roll,]
He loves strolling.
Or
The dog walked.
However, some RUN verbs can also be used in transitive constructions, e.g.
spin, roll, rock, trot, march, slide …
He slid the dog down the icy track.
(R.M.W. Dixon 1991, 95)
These syntactic features of motion verbs are the basis of analyzing the syntactic
features of the take subtype in English and in Vietnamese in chapter IV.

2.4.1.4. Semantic features of motion verbs in English
According to R.M.W. Dixon (1991), each semantic type associated with the
verb class takes a number of semantic roles. For example, a GIVING verb involves
Donor, Gift, and Recipient; a SPEAKING verb can demand reference to Speaker,
Addressee, Message and Medium, …
MOTION verb group, can also possess a number of semantic roles such as
Moving, Locus, a Causer and Giving role. However, not every verb from this group
necessarily requires all of the roles.
(I) Moving role
First, some MOTION verbs take just one role, the thing Moving as follows:

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