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A study on syntactic and semantic features of english physical appearance adjectives with reference to their vietnamese equivalents

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A THESIS

A STUDY ON SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF ENGLISH
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE ADJECTIVES WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(Nghiên cứu đặc điểm cú pháp và ngữ nghĩa của nhóm tính từ tiếng Anh miêu tả
diện mạo và những tương đương trong tiếng Việt)

NGUYEN MINH PHUONG
Field: English language
Code: 60220201

Hanoi, 2017


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY


M.A THESIS

A STUDY ON SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF ENGLISH
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE ADJECTIVES WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(Nghiên cứu đặc điểm cú pháp và ngữ nghĩa của nhóm tính từ tiếng Anh miêu tả
diện mạo và những tương đương trong tiếng Việt)

NGUYEN MINH PHUONG

Field: English language
Code: 60220201
Supervisor: Dr. Trần Thị Thu Hiền

Hanoi, 2017


CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report
entitled A STUDY ON SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTICS FEATURES OF
ENGLISH

PHYSICAL

APPEARANCE

ADJECTIVES

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, 2017

Nguyen Minh Phuong

Approved by
SUPERVISOR


Dr. Trần Thị Thu Hiền

Trần Thị Thu Hiền
08 /12 / 2017

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This thesis could not have been completed without the help and support from
a number of people.
First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Tran
Thi Thu Hien, my supervisor, who has patiently and constantly supported me
through the stages of the study, and whose stimulating ideas, expertise, and
suggestions have inspired me greatly through my growth as an academic
researcher.
Secondly, I would like to give my thanks to all lecturers of Postgraduate
Faculty at Hanoi Open University for their valuable teaching and tremendous
assistant throught my study path.
A special word of thanks goes to the teachers and students at Hanoi
Technology and Business University, without their support and encouragement it
would never have been possible for me to have this thesis accomplished.
Last but not least, I am greatly indebted to my family, my friends for the
sacrifice they have devoted to the fulfillment of this academic work.

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ABSTRACT
The present thesis has been carried out on the background of the achievement
and deficiencies in the existing studies on English adjectives with reference to
the Vietnamese equivalents. The thesis, as mentined in its name, “ A study on
syntactic and semantic features of English physical appearance adjectives with
reference to their Vietnamese equivalents”, is an investigation of the syntactic
and semantics features of English physical adjectives, and from that results, the
auhor refers these characteristics to their Vietnamese equivalents. The thesis fills
a gap in the system of language works as there hasnot got a study working on the
syntactic and semantic features of English physical appearance adjectives before.
With the aim of providing a general and deeper view of English physical
appearance adjectives for English learners as a foreign language in Vietnam, the
thesis is carried out. The author employs some methods during the process of
studying. Descriptive method seems to be the major with others as the
quanlitative analysis, comparative and contrastive methods are the supporting
methods. The English data source of the study is from the books “Andersen’s
fairy tales” of H.C. Andersen (1993) and “100 selected stories” of O. Henry
(2012). The Vietnamese data source used in the thesis is from the book “100
truyen ngan hay Viet Nam the ky 20” of Literature Punlishing House(2014). The
result of the thesis finds out 6 similarities and 3 differences in terms of syntactic
features; and 4 similarities and 2 differences in terms of semantic features. From
that result, the author suggests some implications using in teaching English
adjectives denoting people appearance.

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ABBREVIATIONS

N

: Noun

Adj

: Adjective

~

: equivalent to



: non-equivalent to

><

: Opposite meaning with

[]

: phonetics transcription

*

: Wrong sentence



: Without verb

iv


LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.1. Engish idioms using simile with their Vietnamese equivalence ............ 44
Table 4.2. Engish idioms using metaphor with their Vietnamese equivalence ....... 45

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY ........................................................................ i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.......................................................................................ii
ASTRACT ................................................................................................................ iii
ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................... iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................... vi
Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION.................................................................................... 1
1.1. Rationale ........................................................................................................... 1
1.2. Aims of the research .......................................................................................... 2
1.3. Objectives of the research.................................................................................. 2
1.4. Scope of the research ......................................................................................... 3
1.5 Significance of the research ................................................................................ 4
1.6 Structural organization of the research................................................................ 4
Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................ 6
2.1. Review of previous studies ................................................................................ 6
2.2. An overview of syntax and semantics ................................................................ 8
2.2.1. Syntax ......................................................................................................... 8
2.2.2. Semantics .................................................................................................... 8
2.3. An overview of English and Vietnamese adjectives......................................... 10
2.3.1. A brief description of English adjectives ................................................... 10
2.3.1.1. What is an adjective? ......................................................................... 11
2.3.1.2. Syntactic functions of English adjectives ............................................ 12
2.3.1.3. Syntactic subclassification of English adjectives................................. 14
2.3.1.4. Semantic subclassification of English adjectives................................. 17
2.3.1.5. Semantic functions of English adjectives ............................................ 19
2.2.1.6. Classification of English adjectives in terms of their usage ................ 21
2.3.2. A brief description of Vietnamese adjectives ............................................. 21
2.3.2.1. Definition of Vietnamese adjectives .................................................... 22
2.3.2.2. Classification of Vietnamese adjectives .............................................. 22
2.4. English physical appearance adjectives ........................................................... 26
2.5. Chapter summary ............................................................................................. 26
Chapter 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .......................................................... 27
3.1. Research-governing orientation ....................................................................... 27
3.1.1. Research questions ................................................................................... 27
3.1.2. Research settings ...................................................................................... 27
3.1.3. Research approach ................................................................................... 28
3.1.4. Principle/ criteria for intended data collection and data analysis ............. 28
3.2. Research methods ............................................................................................ 29
3.2.1. Major methods versus supporting methods ............................................... 29
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3.2.2. Data collection techniques ........................................................................ 30
3.2.3. Data analysis techniques .......................................................................... 30
3.3. Chapter summary ............................................................................................ 30
Chapter 4 THE SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF ENGLISH
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE ADJECTIVES WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS ........................................................................... 32
4.1. The syntactic features of English physical appearance adjectives .................... 32
4.2. The semantic features of English physical appearance adjectives .................... 34
4.3. The comparison between English physical appearance adjectives and
Vietnamese physical appearance adjectives ............................................................ 35
4.3.1. In terms of syntactic features .......................................................................... 35
4.3.2. In terms of semantic features .......................................................................... 42
4.4. Implications for teaching ................................................................................. 47
4.5. Chapter summary ............................................................................................ 49
Chapter 5 CONCLUSIONS .................................................................................... 50
5.1. Recapitulation ................................................................................................. 50
5.2. Concluding remarks ........................................................................................ 51
5.3. Limitations and suggestions for further studies ................................................ 52
5.3.1. Limitations ................................................................................................ 52
5.3.2. Suggestions for further studies .................................................................. 52
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................ 54
APPENDIX A .......................................................................................................... 56
APPENDIX B ........................................................................................................... 58

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Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
This introductory chapter of the thesis introduces the research with detail
information of the reasons to choose the topic; the aim and objectives of the
author through the process of doing the thesis; the scopes that limit the study; the
significance from cerrying out the thesis; and the structural organization of the
whole research.

1.1. Rationale
In our modern life today, as in a “global village”, English plays the role of an
international language, a very important international means of communication
for people all over the world in almost fields of life such as economy, politics,
culture and education. Consequently, mastering English has been the desire and
need of people who need to join the international community in order to broaden
their knowledge, promote their professional career and have a wider network of
relationships.
As other languages, to master English, learners need to obtain the basic
knowledge of grammar and a certainly number of vocabularies as well as skills
such as listening, speaking, etc. Having a wide range of vocabularies helps
learners gain the effect in writing and speaking as well as in communication.
Having the basis knowledge of grammar helps learners communicate effectively,
avoids the misunderstanding in communication. And adjective is a part of
grammar. Along with noun, verb, adjective is one of three main parts of speech
in English grammar.
Adjective is the specific device used in describing people. Describing people
is one of the very first topics for language learners. And describing people is also
a functional requirement in daily life. From the beginners to the advanced
learners, they sometimes still need to describe someone for some purposes. And
in my process of working, I sometimes see the sentences written by my students:
I love my mother. She is skinny with her black long hair and red lips. With me,

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she is always the most beautiful women in the world. The sentence is true
according to grammar rules but it seems not natural in the vocabulary meaning.
The word skinny should be replaced by slim to make the sentences more suitable.
Besides, it seems that students lacks of vocabularies to express their thought.
They use again and again some common adjectives as thin, fat, old, young, etc.
that make the writing/speaking become normal and not imaginable. So, in this
study, the author collects some common adjectives and suggests some other
expressions by idioms or fixed expressions with the view to help English
learners can use the correct vocabulary to express their ideas.
Making comparison between English Adjective groups describing people
appearance with their Vietnamese equivalents helps English learners have a full
understanding about the similarities and differences in the expressions of the two
languages. Consequently, English learners can choose the correspondent
expressions with their ideas in the foreign language.
They are the reasons why the author decided to make a further study on the
topic “A study on syntactic and semantic features of English physical
appearance adjectives with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents” with
a view to provide English learners some groups of English adjectives that share
the same denotation but different connotation. The author hopes it will be an
interesting and helpful material for teachers and learners of English and for
people who are interested in English vocabulary.
1.2. Aims of the research
The M.A thesis is carried out with a view of helping Vietnamese learners have
a general and deeper view of English and Vietnamese physical appearance
adjectives and show how these adjectives used in sentence/utterance in English.
Having insight into the syntactic and semantics features of English and
Vietnamese physical appearance adjectives as well as the similarities and
differences in terms of syntactic and semantics features helps students more
understand and use a wide range of vocabularies more flexible.
1.3. Objectives of the research
The thesis is carried out to pursue these following specific objectives:

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- To analyze syntactic and semantic features of English physical appearance
adjectives.
- To find out the similarities and differences in terms of syntactic and
semantic features of English and Vietnamese physical appearance adjectives.
- To provide possible suggestions in teaching English physical appearance
adjectives for 1st students at HUBT.
1.4. Scope of the research
The study has academic scope and social scope.
(i)

Academic scope

In terms of academic scope, as in the tittle of the thesis mentions, the research
only focuses on the syntactic and semantic features of English and Vietnamese
physical appearance adjectives. So, the thesis exists some academic scopes:
- The thesis only considers the syntactic and semantic features. other features,
such as grammatical or cutural features, etc,. are not considered in in thesis.
- The author only studies the adjectives denoting people physical appearance,
so the other parts of speech, with other characteristics of description, are not
mentioned in the research.
- The study only focuses on the English and Vietnamese adjectives. The
adjectives from other languages are not the data for this thesis.
- In the limitation of the thesis, the author only consider the denotation
meaning of the English adjectives, in the comparison with their Vietnamese
equivalents. The other meaning, connotation or derivation are not mentioned in
this research. In terms of semantic, besides considering the denotation of the
English adjectives only, the author also has a comparison between the meaning
of the English idioms denoting people physical appearance with reference to
their Vietnamese equivalents.
(ii) Social scope
The population and novels, books,etc. are too large to measure so the author
only considers the “standard English” – the English from the nations with
English as their official language, not the English from all over the world.

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1.5 Significance of the research
In terms of theoretical significance, the thesis is expected to contribute an indepth description of English and Vietnamese adjectives in general, and English
and Vietnamese physical appearance adjectives in particular, with the clearly
discrimination about the syntactic features, and about the semantic with
rhetorical devices denoting physical appearance.
In terms of practical significance, the author hopes the results of the reaserch
will partly influence the adjectives denoting people appearance teaching
programs for teachers. The author also hopes to supply for the Vietnamese
learners of English as a foreign language with a number of adjective
vocabularies describing people appearance with the specific meaning. As a
result, Vietnamese learners can improve their vocabularies and their writing and
speaking skills as well.
1.6 Structural organization of the research
This thesis is designed with five chapters: Introduction, Literature Review,
Methodology, Findings and Discussions and Conclusion.
Chapter 1 – Introduction – represents a brief account of relevant information
for carrying out the study such as the rationale for choosing the topic; the aims
and objectives of the issue; the scope, the significance and the structural
organization of the research.
Chapter 2 – Literature Review – provides the readers with the knowledge
background of the thesis, which attempts to present some previous studies as
well as the theoretical background including the syntactic and semantic functions
and classifications of English adjectives. This part also presents an over view of
Vietnamese adjectives: the definition and classification of Vietnamese adjectives
from the perspective of some Vietnamese linguists.
Chapter 3 – Methodology – includes the information related to the researchgoverning orientation and methodologies (major methods and supporting
methods) employed in the process of carrying out the research. In detail, it
comprises the research questions, research settings, research approach and

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principle/criteria for intended data collections and data analysis. The chapter also
includes the techniques for data collection and data analysis as well.
Chapter 4 – Findings and discussions – presents the three main issues. The
first one discusses the similarities and differences of English and Vietnamese
physical appearance adjectives in terms of syntactic feature. The second is about
the similarities and differences of English and Vietnamese physical appearance
adjectives in terms of semantic feature. The last part is the implication of the
study in teaching English – some suggestions in teaching Engish physical
appearance adjectives for freshmen at HUBT.
Chapter 5 – Conclusions – includes 3 parts: The recapitulation summarizes the
whole study and the whole process of the study; shows the significance of the
research for knoledge in the discipline: what is new and important about the
thesis. The second part, concluding remark, presents the remarks on the three
objectives of the research. The limitations and suggestions for further study, as
the name, points out the short comings of the thesis and some recommendations
for further studies.

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Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature review has 2 main sections: The review of previous studies
related to the research area of the thesis; and the review of theoretical
background. In this chapter, the author surveys scholarly articles, books, theories
and other sources relevant to the area of the thesis and by so doing, providing the
description, summary and the critical evaluation of these works. The chapter also
establishes a framework for the thesis and places the work within the existing
body of literature.
2.1. Review of previous studies
Up to now, many significant studies have been carried out with the aim of
doing the contrastive analysis between the English and Vietnamese language
components. In this part, the author reviews some works overseas and in
Vietnam related to the theme of the thesis.
There are a lot of works overseas have a look at syntactic and semantic
features of English adjectives. In this thesis, the author mainly reviews the
knowledge from the investigation of Quirk (1985).
In his work named ‘A comprehensive grammar of the English language”,
Quirk (1985), has a fully insight into English grammar with all of the word
classes, including adjectives. Quirk (1985) has described an in-depth
investigation into the English adjectives in the system of English grammar with
the syntactic and semantic features of adjective. In this thesis, the author uses the
knowledge of Quirk (1985) as the framework for the English adjective.
Besides of using the knowledge of Quirk (1985) as the framework of the
thesis, the author also have a look at the investigation of Gunter Radden and
René Dirven (2007). The work, as its name, presented the English grammar in a
new perspective, the cognitive.
Alexander (1990) is also a reference source for the author to refer to in the
process of carrying out the thesis.

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Another work that must be listed as the guidance for the author to make a
reference to is the work of M.A.K Halliday (2004). The work presented English
grammar from the functional grammar perspective.
In terms of Vietnamese previous studies, the author reviews some works
written in English and some works in Vietnamese.
Take a look at “Grammatical and semantic features of some adjectives
denoting happiness – the felling of pleasure” by Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong and
Nguyen Thi Van Lam (2008). The authors discussed five adjectives denoting
happiness alternately in terms grammatical and semantic features, idioms and
words formed then gave some suggestions for teaching.
Another work is “Functions of English adjectives and their equivalents in
Vietnamese language” by Ho Thanh An (2010). The findings concludes there are
some similarities and differences between semantic and syntactic function of
adjectives in English and Vietnamese, but the common point is the attitude on
which adjectives are based to form noun phrase.
It seems that there only have some studies written in Vietnamese compare and
contrast the sentence structures. There are not much studies investigating the
parts of speech. The author mentions two in a number of researches that related
to the topic of the thesis.
Doan Van Hien with the paper “Đối chiếu từ loại Tiếng Anh và Tiếng Việt”
(2009). In his study, he compares and contrasts the English and Vietnamese parts
of speech, with the purpose of finding out the similarities and differences in the
two languages. The major perspective of the author is studying 5 parts of speech:
noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, number, conjunction and compares the frequency
of them appear in contexts. This study only examines the parts of speech in
general, not in specific, and the author does not investigate the syntactic and
semantic features of each parts of speech.
After reviewing some studies overseas and in Vietnam, the author recognizes
there is not a study investigating the syntactic and semantic features of English
adjectives denoting physical appearance. So, the author decided to carry out this
thesis, with the purpose of examining the syntactic and semantic features of

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English physical appearance adjectives, then, making a contrast with their
Vietnamese equivalents to find out the similarities and differences between
them, and making some suggestions for teaching.
2.2. An overview of syntax and semantics
2.2.1. Syntax
Syntax is the grammatical structure of words and phrases to create coherent
sentences. The study of syntax is the investigation of the rules, principles, and
processes which determine the structure of sentences in human languages.
Syntax can be seen as the governing principles defining which combinations of
linguistic symbols are deemed to be correctly structured by natural language
speakers.
The scientific study of natural language syntax can be found as early as
the Aṣṭādhyāyī, the 4th-c. BC Sanskrit grammar of the Indian grammarian
Pāṇini. In the Western world, the systematic study of syntax was largely
neglected or conflated with other objects such as logic, until the late 1950s, with
the rise of theories of generative grammar developed by Noam Chomsky and
others.
There are some definitions of syntax.
Oxford dictionary defines syntax as the arrangement of words and phrases to
create well-formed sentences in a language. It is a set of rule for or an analysis of
the syntax of a language. It also is a branch of linguistics that deals with syntax.
The knowledge of this part provides the base to determine the syntax of the
English adjectives.
2.2.2. Semantics
Semantics is the systematic study of meaning in language. In other words, it is
the study of how language organizes and expresses meaning.
In the semantics, the linguists study the meaning of the levels of linguistic
units: morpheme – word – phrase – clause – sentence/utterance – discourse. In
the scope of this thesis, the author studies the meaning of words and idioms.

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In terms of word meaning, there are denotative, connotative, structural and
categorical meaning. But in the cope of this thesis, the author only considers the
denotative.
Denotative is the meaning of word acquires by virtue of what it refers to. The
denotative has conceptual and referential meaning.
In terms of considering idioms meaning, the author also has an investigation
of rehrtorical devices, such as simile and metaphor, using in idioms denoting
people physical appearance.
According to Wikipedia, a rhetorical device, or resource of language, is a
technique that an author or a speaker uses to convey to the listeners or reader a
meaning with the goal of persuading him or her towards considering a topic from
a different perspective, using sentences designed to encourage or provoke an
emotional display of a given perspective or action. Rhetorical devices can be
used to evoke an emotional response in the audience, but that is not their primary
purpose.
The Free Dictionary defines rhetorical devices as expressive stylistic locutions
that are historically evolved means of organizing a sentence and that utilize
chiefly the emotional and imperative qualities of speech; an obsolete terms for
figures of speech. In a narrow sense, the term applies to three figures of speech;
rhetorical exclamation, rhetorical appeal, and rhetorical question (a statement in
the form of a question).
Simply speaking, a rhetorical device is a use of language that is intended to
have an effect on its audience through spoken or written forms. Especially, in
traditional grammar, rhetorical was the study of style through grammatical and
logical analysis.
There are many linguistics studed the rhetorical devices such as R. Taylor
with “Understanding the elements of literature; its forms, techniques and cultural
conventions” (1981), G. Little with “Approach to literature: An introuction to
critical study of content method in writing” (1985), J. Lyons with “Linguistic
semantics. An introduction” (1995). The way they define and classify the
different rhetorical devices are almost the same.

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In this thesis, the author mentions three common devices that often used in
expressions denoting physical appearance.
Simile
A simile is a figure of speech which derives from classical rhetoric. It is used
to make a “direct comperison”. Similes may be confused with metaphors, which
do the same kind of thing. Simile use comparisons, with the words “like” or
“as”. Metaphor use indirect comparisons, without the words “like” or “as”. There
are some illustrated examples:
Rain like cats and dogs (very heavy rain)
Eat like a horse (eat a lot of food)
Eat like a bird (eat very little food)
Metaphor
Metaphor is an expression, often found in literature, that describes a person or
object by rferring to something that is considered to have similar characteritics to
that person or object.
Let’s have a look at these following examples:
Mắt nai (beautiful eyes)
To fall in love (love somebody)
Golden love (a beautiful love)

Hyperpole
Hyperpole is an exaggerated statement not meant to be uderstood literally, but
with powerful effect.
There are some examples using hyperpole:
It was a nightmare to meet him again.
I had to wait an eternity for the file to download.
2.3. An overview of English and Vietnamese adjectives
2.3.1. A brief description of English adjectives
Adjective is an important part of speech in English grammar. Up to now, there
has a vast of works studied English adjectives such as Traditional grammar of

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Randolph Quirk et al (1985); Functional grammar of M.A.K. Halliday (2008);
Chomsky’s Universal grammar of V.J.Cook and Mark Newson(2007); Cognitive
grammar of Gunter Radden and René Dirven (2007). The knowledge in this part
mainly collected from the book: A comprehensive grammar of the English
language of the author Randolph Quirk et al (1985).
2.3.1.1. What is an adjective?
The Oxford dictionary defines adjective as a word naming an attribute of a
noun, such as sweet, red or technical, etc. The Cambridge dictionary defines
Adjective as a word that describes a noun or pronoun, such as big, boring,
purple, etc.
According to Randolph Quirk (1985) in the work “A comprehensive grammar
of the English language”, we can not know whether a word is an adjective or not
if we only look at it in isolation, because the form of a word does not necessarily
indicate its syntactic function. For example, some suffixes typically found only
with adjectives, as shown below:
-able: comfortable
-ful: playful
-ish: selfish
-ous: dangerous
-less: useless.
But there are some words have no identifying form such as beautiful,
handsome, thin, big, etc. With these words, Randolph instructs us to identify the
adjectives from its potentialities for inflection. He said: “It is true that man
adjectives inflect for the comparative and superlative” for example: big – bigger
– biggest.
In some cases, many adjectives do not have inflected form, for example,
beautiful – *beautifuler – *beautifulest. Moreover, some adjectives are also have
the inflected form, that may disturbs the learners with adjectives, for example,
hard – harder – hardest.
Furthermore, in most of case, an adverb can be derived from an adjective by
adding the suffix –ly as in clear –clearly. But, some of the adjectives do not

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allow to add the suffix to form an adverb as in old - *oldly. And some adjective
can form by adding –ly to an existing adjective, for example, kind – kindly.
To sum up, adjective is one of the most important parts of speech (noun, verb,
adjective, adverb) in grammar that describes an attribute of a noun, expresses the
quality, quantity, size, color, characteristics, etc.
2.3.1.2. Syntactic functions of English adjectives
From the perspective of Randolph Quirk (1985), the English adjectives have
some syntactic functions as below:
Attribute
Adjectives are attributive when they premodify the head of a noun phrase as
in these examples:
an intelligent child
a magical piece of music
Predicative
Adjectives are predicative when they function as subject complement or
object complement. There is a copular relationship between subject and subject
complement. Let’s see the following examples:
The children are happy with the presents.
The man looks tired from the work.

Postpositive
Adjectives can sometimes be postpositive when they can immediately follow
the noun or pronoun they modify as in these examples:
someone stupid
something bigger
Adjectives with complementation
Adjectives with complementation normally cannot have attributive position
but require postposition. Let’s consider the following examples:
a suitable man. But not: *a suitable for the part man.
The complementation can be a prepositional phrase or a to-infinitive clause:
There are some illustrated examples:

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I know an actor suitable for the part.
She has a car more expensive than mine.
Adjectives as heads of noun phrases
Adjectives are typically used as heads of noun phrases to refer to certain fairly
well-established clauses of persons, e.g: the brave, the weak.
There are three types of adjectives functioning as noun-phrase heads:
(1)

The innocent are often deceived by the unscrupulous.

(2)

The industrious Dutch are admired by their neighbors.

(3)

She admires the mystical.

Type (1), adjectives can premodify personal nouns(the young people) can be nounphrase heads (the young) with plural and generic reference denoting classes,
categories, or types of people. The adjective can itself be premodified or
postmodified. In this type, adjectives can be modified by adverbs, e.g: the very wise.
Type (2): Some adjectives denoting nationalities can be noun-phrase heads.
Unlike type (a), adjectives cannot be modified by adverb, e.g: *the very English,
but they can be modified by adjectives, which are normally nonrestrictive, e.g:
the industrious Dutch.
In type (1) and (2), adjectives take plural concord.
Type (3): The adjectives function as noun-phrase heads with abstract
reference. Theyy include, in particular, superlatives, in which case we can
sometimes insert a general noun like thing in its abstract sense. E.g: The latest
(thing/news) is that he is going to run for re-election.
The adjectives in (3) take singular concord and they can be modified by
adverbs, like in (1).
Contingent adjective clauses
The contingent adjective is a special type of supplementiev adjective clause.
The contingent adjective clause expresses the circumstance or condition under
which what is said in the superordinate clause applies. The contingent clause is
elliptical with ellipsis of an appropriate form of be, and (sometimes) of the
subordinator. Let’s see the example:
When fit, the Labrador is an excellent retriever.

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The contingent clause can also refer to the object of the superordinate clause,
though only a few adjectives are available for this use.
There is an illustrated example:
I can’t drink it hot.
Exclamatory adjective clauses
Adjectives, especially those that can be complement when the subject is
eventive, for example: That’s excellent! , can be exclamations, with or without
an initial wh-element.
There are some other examples:
Wonderful!
(How) nice!
(How) good of you!
Such adjectives phrases need not be dependent on any previous linguistic
context, but may be a comment on some subject or activity in the situational
context.
2.3.1.3. Syntactic subclassification of English adjectives
There are some adjectives that restricted to attributive or to predicative use.
The restrictions are not always absolute, and sometimes vary with individual
speakers.
Let have a look at these examples:
a red apple. (red: Attributive)

~ The apple is red. (red: Predicative)

my old friend. (old >< new) (old: Attributive only)
an old friend of mine
He felt ill. (ill: Predicative only)
*He ill felt

Attribute only
In general, adjectives that are restricted to attributive position or that occur
predominantly in attributive position, do not characterize the referent of the noun
directly.
(i). Intensifying adjectives

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Some adjectives have a heightening effect on the noun they modif, or the
reverse, allowing effect. At least three semantic subslasses of intensifying
adjectives can be distinguished
(1)

Emphasizers

Emphasizers have a general heightening effect and are generally attributive
only. These are some illustrated examples:
a true scholar
a clear failure
a real hero
(2)Amplifiers
Amplifiers scale upwards from an assumed norm, and are central adjectives if
they are inherent and denote a high or extreme degree
Let’s have a look at the example:
a complete victory

~

The victory was complete.

great destruction

~

The destruction was great.

Amplifier are non-inherent, they are attributive only as in these examples:
a complete fool



The fool is complete.

a firm friend



The friend is firm.

(complete refers to the completeness of the folly, and firm refers to the
firmness of the friendship, in which sense it is asterisked here)
(3)Downtoners
Downtoners have a lowering effect, usually scaling downwards from an
assumed norm. They are relative few (eg: slight in a slight effort) and can be
ignored for our present purpose, since they are generally central adjectives.
Many of the intensifying adjectives can be related to intensifying adverbs, for
example:
He is a true scholar.

~

He is a truly scholar.

It was a clear failure.

~

It was clearly a failure.

(ii). Restrictive adjectives
There are some restrictive adjectives that have the grammar role as attributive
only in a sentence: certain, principal, same, only, particular, specific, very, etc.

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These adjectives are often appear in noun phrases, restrict the reference of the
noun exclusively, particularly, or chiefly. For example:
the very man
a particular child
But these adjectives sometimes have homonyms. For example:
a certain person

~

a particular person

~

a sure winner

certain is a restrictive
a certain winner
certain is an intensifier
Some restrictive adjectives can have a relationship with restrictive adverbs.
For example:
It is the main reason.

~

It is mainly the reason.

That was the precise reason

~

That was precisely reason.

(iii). Other adjectives related to adverbs
Many of non-inherent adjectives have a relationship with adverbs by adding
the suffix –ly are attributive only but not all of them are within the case of
intensifying or restrictive adjectives. With the rest of adjectives that do not
belong to the two above groups, linguists put them into the group of adjectives
that related to adverbs.
From the work “A comprehensive grammar of the English grammar”,
Randolph Quirk had listed a number of adjectives belong to this group:
my former friend

[formerly my friend]

an old friend

[a friend of old]

past students

[strudents in the past]

a possible friend

[possibly a friend]

a present king

[the king at present]

an occasional visitor

[occasionally a visitor]

To see more examples, the readers can read the study the work “A
comprehensive grammar of the English grammar” of Randolph Quirk, page 431.
(iiii). Adjectives related to nouns

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