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A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS ON RHETORICAL QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A THESIS

A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF
RHETORICAL QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH
AND VIETNAMESE
(NGHIÊN CỨU ĐỐI CHIẾU CÂU HỎI TU TỪ
TRONG TIẾNG ANH VÀ TIẾNG VIỆT)

LE NAM THANG

FIELD: ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Hanoi, 2017

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING

HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A THESIS

A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF
RHETORICAL QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH
AND VIETNAMESE
(NGHIÊN CỨU ĐỐI CHIẾU CÂU HỎI TU TỪ
TRONG TIẾNG ANH VÀ TIẾNG VIỆT)
LE NAM THANG
Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Supervisor: Nguyen Dang Suu, PhD

Hanoi, 2017

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CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report entitled
“A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS ON RHETORICAL QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH AND
VIETNAMESE” submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master in English Language. Except for the indicated reference, no other person’s
work has been used without due acknowledgement in the text of the thesis.
Hanoi, 2017

Le Nam Thang

Approved by
SUPERVISOR

Nguyễn Đăng Sửu, PhD
(Signature and full name)
Date:……………………

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First of all I would like to thank all of my teachers in the Faculty of postgraduate
H.O.U for teaching and providing me with knowledge of English language so that
today I can do this research.
I own my deepest gratitude to my respectful supervisor, Nguyen Dang Suu, who
inspired me with the interest of rhetorical question and helped me to understand it to
the core. If not for his guidance and encouragement, this paper would not have been
completed. I thank him for being very caring and supportive.
Last but far from least, I am immensely grateful to my parents and my dear ones for
their credit and responsibility toward me during my study at Hanoi Open University
as well as their vital support for my writing this thesis.
Although every effort has been made, there still are inevitable shortcomings here
and there in the paper. I am, once again, grateful to any one who reads and is
tolerant of those shortcomings.

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ABSTRACT
This study looks at rhetorical questions in English and Vietnamese. The major
concern is the contrastive analysis of pragmatic of rhetorical questions in English
and Vietnamese. It also analyzes the similarities and difference of rhetorical
questions into Vietnamese and find out some mistakes on the bilingual story “An
ideal husband”. We use the extracts from such story to prove the mistakes. The aims
of doing this is to find out the similarities and difference of rhetorical questions into
Vietnamese based on bilingual story – An Ideal Husband to help English learner can
translating effectively translate works in general and rhetorical questions in
particular into Vietnamese.

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LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES

Table 4.1 Frequency of translation methods of questions in biligual story ............. 50
Table 4.2 Frequency of cohesive devices in the bilingual story “An ideal husband”
.............................................................................................................................. 52
Figure 4.1 Percentage of cohesive devices used in the bilingual “An ideal husband”
.............................................................................................................................. 53

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Certificate of originality .......................................................................................... i
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................ ii
Abstract ................................................................................................................. iii
List of tables and figures......................................................................................... iv
CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale ....................................................................................................... 1
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study ................................................................... 2
1.3. Research questions ........................................................................................ 2
1.4. Methods of the study ..................................................................................... 2
1.5. Scope of the Study......................................................................................... 2
1.6. Significance of the study ............................................................................... 2
1.7. Structure of the graduation paper ................................................................... 3
CHAPTER 2 –LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Previous study ............................................................................................... 4
2.1.1. In English ................................................................................................ 4
2.1.2. In Vietnamese ......................................................................................... 7
2.1.3. The Thesis ............................................................................................... 8
2.2 Theory framework .......................................................................................... 8
2.2.1. Theories of Speech Act ........................................................................... 8
2.2.2. Criteria to Recognize Speech Act .......................................................... 13
2.2.3 Classifications of questions .................................................................... 16
2.3. Some necessary theory of translation equivalence ...................................... 22
2.4. Summary ..................................................................................................... 23
CHAPTER 3: CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF RHETORICAL QUESTIONS
IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE
3.1. Characteristic of pragmatics of the rhetorical questions in English .............. 24
3.2. Pragmatic characteristic of the rhetorical questions in Vietnamese .............. 27
3.2.1. Questions as Greetings .......................................................................... 27
3.2.2. Questions as Invitations ........................................................................ 27

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3.2.3. Question as a wonder ............................................................................ 28
3.2.4. Questions as requests ........................................................................... 29
3.2.5. Questions as threats ............................................................................... 29
3.2.6. Questions as assertions .......................................................................... 30
3.2.7. Questions as negations and denials ........................................................ 31
3.2.8. Questions as complaints ........................................................................ 32
3.2.9. Questions as suggestions/ advice ........................................................... 33
3.2.10. Questions as offers .............................................................................. 34
3.2.11. Questions showing incredulity and surprise ......................................... 34
3.2.12. Questions as reproach .......................................................................... 35
3.2.13. Questions for imprecation ................................................................... 35
3.2.14. Questions as wishes ............................................................................. 35
3.2.15. Questions as regret ............................................................................. 36
3.2.16. Questions requesting for permission .................................................... 36
3.2.17. Questions as promises ......................................................................... 36
3.2.18. Questions as exclamations ................................................................... 37
3.2.19. Questions as jokes ............................................................................... 37
3.3. Comparison between rhetorical questions in English and Vietnamese base on
bilingual story .................................................................................................... 38
3.3.1. In terms of the similarities rhetorical question in English ...................... 38
3.3.2. Interm of the differences of rhetorical question in English..................... 41
CHAPTER 4: AN ANALYSIS OF RHETORICAL QUESTIONS BASING ON
THE BILINGUAL STORY “AN IDEAL HUSBAND” – HOANG NGUYEN
4.1 Collaborative research easy make mistake intranslating by Vietnamese
learner ................................................................................................................ 45
4.1.1. Equivalence of Translation .................................................................... 45
4.1.2. Some lexical cohesive devices cross-cutting and cross-cultural ............. 46
4.1.3. Some major translation methods ............................................................ 48
4.2. The analysis of translation used in the bilingual story “An ideal husband” .. 49
4.2.1.Translation methods in the bilingual story “An ideal husband ................ 49
4.2.2.The uses of cohesive devices in the bilingual story “An ideal husband” . 50

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4.3. The analysis combinative with methods translation in the bilingual story “An
ideal husband”into Vietnamese .......................................................................... 53
4.3.1. The methods in the bilingual story “An ideal husband” into Vietnamese
....................................................................................................................... 53
4.3.2. Some mistakes and suggestions Vietnamese learner when translating in
the bilingual story “An ideal husband” into Vietnamese.................................. 54
4.4. Summary ..................................................................................................... 57
Chapter 5 - CONCLUSIONS
5.1 Concluding remarks ..................................................................................... 58
5.2 Limitation of the study ................................................................................. 58
5.3 Recommendations/Suggestions for further study .......................................... 58
REFERENCES

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CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale
In everyday communication, exchanging information is a very common activity.
The act of giving and receiving information takes place anywhere, which a
conversation is formed. The question is a category, so It is one of the common
actions. Questions, therefore, become an important component in communication.
They play a significant role in human’s activity. As a result, there have been, so far,
many researches on grammatical question. Many grammatical issues are focused on
analyzingthe structure of questions and pointed out conventional uses of questions.
Therefore, referring to rhetical question with response, and also to the important
role in the activity and human perception, communication event research is
considered to describe the elements which are relevant to achieve its. Order,
warning, advice, offer.,
However, for the past decades, new branches of linguistics, semantics, pragmatic
have been developing rapidly together with phonetics, lexicology and grammar.
Some linguists such as, Austin, Searle, Yuleis prominent in the field of pragmatic.
Thus, more and more pragmatics-basing researches on aspects of linguistics are
being carried out.
Among those researches, pragmatics-based study of questions makes a worthmentioning contribution to this development. Recently, other functions or
unconventional uses of questions are studied by T. Givón in English and by Cao
Xuân Hạo in Vietnamese. These two authors state that questions are used not only
for the purpose of seeking information to fulfill the questioner’s gap of information
but also for many other purposes.
However, the study of comparing and contrasting these functions of questions in the
two languages remains a gap for readers to understand the rhetorical question in
English and Vietnamese, which is useful for the Teaching and Learning of
translation. For the above-mentioned reasons, the writer chooses the thesis A
CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS ON RHETORICAL QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH
AND VIETNAMESE based on bilingual story – An Ideal Husband translated by
Hoang Nguyen.

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1.2. Aims and objectives of the study
The study aims at giving the characteristics of English and Vietnamese rhetorical
questions and the detailed contrastive analysis to find out the similarities and
diferences between English and Vietnamese rhetorical questions. At the same time,
the researcher tries to suggest some solutions to the mistakes in translating
questions from English into Vietnamese on the bilingual story “An ideal husband”
As clearly stated above, the objectives of the research are to:
- Study the similarities and differences of CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF
RHETORICAL QUESTIONS in relation to particular contexts;
- Find out the similarities and differences of rhetorical questions in both English
and Vietnamese languages;
- Deliver the mistakes made by the translator basing on the bilingual story “An ideal
husband” in translation and some possible suggested solutions to the problems.
1.3. Research questions
- What are the similarities and differences of rhetorical questions in English?
- What are the similarities and differences of rhetorical questions in Vietnamese?
- What are the mistakes on the bilingual story – An Ideal Husband in particular?
1.4. Methods of the study
The main methods are the qualitative, quantitative and descriptive in combination
with data collection and data analysis approaches to find out the similarities and
differences of rhetorical questions in the research into the bilingual story “An ideal
husband”.
1.5. Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is the CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS and find out the
similarities and differences of rhetorical questions IN ENGLISH AND
VIETNAMESE based on bilingual story – An Ideal Husband
1.6. Significance of the study
One of the main contributions of this thesis is find out the similarities and
differences of rhetorical questions IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE based on
bilingual story – An Ideal Husband and easy make mistakes when translate which
can provides the knowledge of questions in general and rhetorical questions in

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particular for students of English so that they can use them in a better way after
graduating from university.
1.7. Structure of the graduation paper
This graduation paper is divided into 5 chapters:
Chapter 1: Introduction where the writer would like to introduce the reason why
choose the topic for my research, the aims, the scope, the methods ofthe study and
the structure of the paper, as well.
Chapter 2: Overview of general theories of questions are mentioned.
Chapter 3: Contrastive study of rhetorical questions in English and Vietnamese.
Chapter 4: Applications of rhetorical questions
Chapter 5: Conclusion

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CHAPTER 2 –LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Previous study
Questions are seen in every language. It is definitely clear that different languages
have different grammatical structures; therefore, questions of on language
difference from studying questions, referring to rhetical question with response, and
also to the important role in the activity and human perception, communication
event research is considered to describe the elements which are relevant to achieve
its. Order, warning, advice, offerthe similarities and difference which will be stated
bellow.
2.1.1. In English
Starting with the observations of 79 languages by Russell Ultan (1969), many
languages make use of a terminal rising contour to designate a question, sometimes
with, sometimes without other interrogative markers such as inversion of subject or
object, interrogative particles etc., Furthermore, all studied language have non–
intonational devices for indicating questions. Certainly, at the very least all
languages mark information questions with interrogative words such as who, what,
where…Many label questions especially yes/no questions with special interrogative
particles.
Statement
You are a student

Questions
Are you a student?

The fact that interrogative particles usually occur either at the beginning of the
clause (or enclitic to the initial constituent) or at the end leads us to suppose some
relationship between the particle position and the dominant type of constituent order
for a given language. Similarly, interrogative words seem to occur most commonly
in sentence-initial position, which may account for inversion in some types of
information questions. Probably, most languages append questions to declarative
statements to request confirmation
You are a student, aren’t you?
You are French, aren’t you

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Many modern European languages make use of standard inversion patterns to signal
questions such as in English.
(Russell Ultan, Some General Characteristics of Interrogative Systems 1969, p.213)
Did he come home?
When did he come home?
From the above observations, Bollinger,D. in his study (1957) divided the
identifying characteristics of interrogative utterances into four classes: interrogative
distribution (general occurrence before a reply); syntax (inversion, interrogative
words, interrogative tags and other syntactic devices); interrogative intonation
(predominance of terminal rising or high pitch); interrogative gestures (eyebrow
lifted, head inclined forward, mouth left open at the end of the utterances). Besides
other factors such as emphasis and nuances added to the general interrogative theme
(degree of familiarity between speaker and hearer, degree of doubt (rhetority of
questions) characteristically produce variation in from of interrogative sentences.
According Encylopedia of Linguistics, questions are a universal structure type with
at least one universal function, that of requesting information. Structurally, two
major types of questions are WH or special questions and YES/NO or general
questions. The former includes one or more questions pronouns such as who, how…
which typically are related in form to indefinite relative pronouns. Languages show
considerable similarities in how they use intonation, word order and morphology to
differentiate questions from statements. Some recurrent structural characteristics
include.
a) Rising intonation, generally at the sentence final position, in yes/no
questions.
b) Sentence initial or preverbal position of questions pronouns, especially
in languages with other than Subject Verb Object order.
c) Inversion of the declarative Subject-Verb order.
Questions particles may mark either kind of question:
Questions particles may be positioned sentence-finally
Are you teacher ?
In English, interrogative auxiliary verbs like, to be, to have, to do, as for me, are
considered the so-called questions particles.

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Statement

Question
Do you like Mozart?

You like Mozart.



They are laughing.



Why are they laughing?

You have seen John.



Have you seen John?

Semantically, questions differ from statements for the reason that they are
not propositions: They cannot be true or false. As speech acts, questions resemble
commands and they require some actions in response. When the answer is not
categorically determined by the questions, questions may form a third type
semantically clear-cut. Some yes/no questions require more than yes/no answer.
Has anything happened?
The answer to the above questions is definitely not “yes” or “no”. It depends on the
context of the utterance; the answer may be a long story.
In general, the type of answer appropriate to questions may not be determined
syntactically or semantically: it is often a pragmatic matter depending on the speech
situation. Hence a distinction must be made between “answer” and “response”; all
answers are responses, but not all responses are answers:
Where’s my box of chocolate?
I’ve got to catch the train.
The non-answer “I’ve got to catch the train.” Includes indication on listener’s part
that he is unable or provide an answer to the questions; it is based on incorrect
presupposition on part of speaker.
Semantic subclasses of questions may be defined by reference to the speaker’s
degree of prior knowledge of the answer (rhetorical questions or examination
questions) or his degree of certainty about one correct answer (negative question).
May I help you? – (an offer)
Would you close the door? – ( a request)

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2.1.2. In Vietnamese
There are, at my hands, Diep Quang Ban and Cao Xuan Hao, which are written
about questions. Obviously, opinions are different from each other.
Professor Diep Quang Ban states that question is an interrogative sentence that is
used to seek an information answer or an explanation from the questioned.
(Diep Quang Ban, Ngữ pháp tiếng Việt, 2000, p.226)
A Vietnamese interrogative sentence is formed by the following factors:
-

Interrogative pronouns ai (who, person), gì, cái gì (what, thing), nào (Which,
alternative), ‘như’ thế nào (how, manner, quality), sao (why, reason), bao nhiêu
(how much, how many, quality), bao giờ (when, time), đâu (where , place)…
Sao họ vẫn chưa đến?

-

The conjunction ‘hay’ (or) in alternative questions
Anh lấy quyển sách này hay quyển sách kia?

- The interrogative particles in general questions ( yes/no question)
Such as à, ư, ạ, a, nhỉ, nhẻ, hả, hở, chứ, chớ, etc…
Cậu mới về hở “hả, chứ, à”?
The interrogative particles are positioned at the end of the utterance, of which
aconvey neutral bias, the rest are used with different emotion on the part of the
speaker.
-

The interrogative tone.

In his book, professor Cao Xuân Hạo states that a question has an illocutionary act,
which requires an answer giving information on predicate or part of it and provides
true presupposition. He divides questions into two major types: Information
Question and Rhetorical Question. The former has an illocutionary act of asking
for information i.e. the information answer is needed. Meanwhile, the latter has
another illocutionary act. Depending on context that the participants are playing
their roles in conversation, this type of question can function as a requirement, an
exclamation, a suggestion and so forth.

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2.1.3. The Thesis
In the chapter 1 the auther would like to introduce Rationale, Aims of study,
Objective, Scope and Methods of the study. The thesis deals with general features
and the theories of the rhetorical question.
Into English and Vietnamese languages, questions are the sentence with a question
mark at the end of the utterances. The function of questions is seeking for
information or the explanation that the speakers (the questioner) do not know or
doubt.
Tuổi về hưu của công ty anh là bao nhiêu?
Tại sao bà ta không tha thứ chứ?
(A.H, p192, 193)
Questions are, however, not always used to fulfill the information gap. In specific
context, a question has other functions. Specifically, it can function as a greeting, an
assertion, and an invitation…in form of interrogative sentence.
Why don’t you see a doctor
? →
Tại sao cậu không đi khám xem ? →
Can’t you unplug that phone
Mày tắt cái phone đi.

advice
khuyên răn

? → a requirement
→ yêu cầu

2.2 Theory framework
2.2.1. Theories of Speech Act
2.2.1.1. Definition
When a person utters a sequence of words, he is often trying to achieve some effect
with those words, an effect in which might, in some cases, have been accompanied
by an alternative action. The utterance “Where is my hat?” is not a mere strings of
words but has the effect of urging the listener to join in the search for the speaker’s
hat. Such sequences of speech are called speech acts.
The theory further identify that there are two kinds of utterances, they are called
constative and performative utterances. In his book of ‘How do things with words’
Austin clearly talks about the disparities between the constative and performative
utterances.

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A constative utterances is something which describes or denotes the situation, in
relation with the fact of true or false.
The performative utterances is something which do not describes anything at all.
The utterances in the sentences or in the part of sentences are normally considered
as having a meaning of its own. The feelings, attitudes, emotions and thoughts of
the person performing linguistic act are much of a principal unit here.
Mrs Erlynne: Oh! What am I to say to you? You saved me last night? (Goes
toward her) (A.H P.442, 443)
This utterance have its specific meaning only in relation to it specific context.
In Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistic, speech act is
defined as: “Speech act is an UTTERANCE which has a functional unit in
communication. In speech act theory, an utterance has two kinds of meanings:
Propositional meaning and Illocutionary meaning.
a) Propositional meaning (known as locutionary meaning)
This basic literal meaning of the utterance is conveyed by the particular words and
structures that the utterance contains.
b) Illocutional meaning (known as illocutionary force)
This is the effect the utterance or written text which has on the reader or listener.
For example in “Where is my hat?”

the propositional meaning is what the

utterance says about the place that the hat is laying. The illocutionary force is the
request for the listener. It may be intended as a request for the listener to join the
search.
Therefore, the utterance that has both propositional meaning and illocutionary
meaning is called a speech act. Every speech act conveys at least one illocutionary
force but most convey more than one. For instance, “I’ve got a headache.” Apart
from the propositional meaning of the speaker’s physical state, it may function as an
excuse or a complaint…
(Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, Jack C.
Richards,Richard W. Schmidt. P 542, 543)
John has two small sons. The two sons are fighting.
John: Be quiet! I’ve got a headache.
→ (A complaint)

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For these reasons, speech acts are part of social interactive behaviour and must be
interpreted as an aspect of social interaction. It is this feature that attributes to the
role of speech act in communicative language.
2.2.1.2. Components of Speech Act
Speech acts consist of three parts: locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary.
Locutionary act is an act that produces utterances through three operations namely
phonetical, syntactical and semantic.
-

Phonetic operation provides a phonetic interpretation of the surface of the

-

utterance.
Syntactic operation is a syntactic arrangement of words which varies in size
in specific speech act.

-

Semantic operation provides a semantic interpretation of syntactic structure.

Illocutionary act in an act which makes use of the enunciation to imply something
that speakers want to do through language, for instance, an order, an invitation, a
suggestion and a threat…. Illocutionary act is the final act of hierarchy of speaking
aiming at doing something to the hearer in concrete contexts.
One utterance can have more than one illocution the utterance “Take action now!”
Can funtion as an order or a piece of advice.
Therefore, speech act must be interpreted with attention to their context and their
function as an intergral part of social interactive behaviour.
Perlocutionaryact is performed when the purpose of speaking is to cause an effect
on the hearer. Speakers want their opinions to be recognized, their advice taken,
warning heeded…. By this act, the speakers aim at bringing about or effecting the
thought or action of the hearer or others with words, (which is involved with the
locution and illocutionary points of the utterances). The point of carefully
distinguishing the perlocutionary effect of speech act from others is that
perlocutions can be often accidental and thus bear a relatively unsystematic
relationship to any claussification sentence types or unprediction in communication.
This results in unexpected information gap in communication. It normally creates a
sense of consequential effects on the audiences. The effects may be in the form of

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thoughts, imaginations, feelings or emotions. The effect upon the addressee is the
main charactership of perlocutionary utterances.
Austin himself admits that these three components of utterances are not altogether
separable.“We must consider the total situation in which the utterance is issuedthe total speech act – if we are to see the parallel between statements and
performative utterance, and how each can go wrong. Perhaps indeed there is no
great distinction between statements and performative utterances.” Austin.
2.2.1.3. Speech Act Classification
There are two major approaches of speech act classification: (1) a lexical
classification of so-called illocutionary verbs initiated by J. Austin (1962) and (2) J.
Searle’s classification of acts, which will be introduced as follows:
2.2.1.3.1. A Lexical Classification of Speech Acts
Lexically, there are five classes of illocutionary verbs:
- expositives: utterances which have verbs to expound view, to conduct arguments,
clarify usage or reference, for example, state, contend, insist, deny, remind, guess…
- verdictives: utterances which have verbs of giving a verdict, for example, rank,
grade, call, define, analyze…
- commissives: which commit the speaker to dong something, but also include
declaration or announcements of intention such as promise, bet, advise, dare…
- behavitives: utterances which have verbs of reacting other people’s behavior or
attitudes such as thank, criticize, bless…
2.2.1.3.2 Classification of Acts
2.2.1.3.2.1. Criteria of classification
Searl John (1975) listed 12 differences between acts among which there were only
three main criteria he used to classify speech act.
a) Illocutionary force : the purpose of the act from the speaker’s perspective or
speaker’s intention, for example, a request attempts to get the hearer to do
something, a description is a representation of something, a promise is the
undertaking of an obligation that a speaker does something.

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b) Direction of fit : true value lies on the basis of word-to-world correspondence
of the speaker; or requests have a world-to-words fit because the word must be
changed to fulfill the speaker’s request.
c) Expressed psychological states: for example, a promise expresses a speaker’s
intention to do something; a request expresses a speaker’s desire that hears
should do something.
2.2.1.3.2.2. Classification of Speech Act
On the basis of the three above criteria, Searle John classifies speech act into
five classes :
a) Representative/ Assertive is speech act which describes state or event in the
world. This is on of the basic thing man does with language in order to tell people
how things are. The illocutionary point of representative is to commit a speaker in
varying degree (assert, claim, say, suggest, doubt, deny…) to the truth of something.
Speech act of this kind has a truth-value and show word-to-world correspondence
and express a speaker’s belief of the propositional content.
SIR . R . C: You think science cannot grapple with the problem of women?
SIR . R . C: Thế bà có cho rằng khoa học cũng không nắm bắt được vấn đề phụ nữ
không?
SIR . R . C: And now tell me, what makes you leave your brilliant Vienna for our
gloomy London – or perhaps the question í indiscreet?
SIR . R . C:Bây giờ , xin bà cho biết vì sao bà từ giã Viên chói lọi của bà để tới
Luân Đôn u ám của chúng tôi? Chết, hỏi thế này có hơi hớ henh không?
SIR . R . C: Well, at any rate, may I-know if it is politics or pleasure?
SIR . R . C: Vậy thì dù sao bà cũng có thể nói cho biết: vì chính trị hay là vì vui thú?
(A.H, P38,39)
b) Directive is speech acts having the function of getting a listener to do
something for the speaker. The primary illocutionary point of directives may differ
in the force of the attempt and such differences in the force of the attempt and such
differences in the force of the attempt result in different directives. Suggestions,
request, commands, directions, insistence, appeals are all directives which show
word-to-world fit and express the speaker’s wish or desire that the hearer does

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something.
Situation : (commanding officer – recruit – at a parade ground)
At-ten-tion! Now, quick match. Left…right…left…right.
c) Commisive is speech acts that commit the speaker to doing something in
the future either by threatening or promising.
If you don’t stop, I’ll call the police. (a threat)
I’ll take you to the movie tomorrow. ( a promise )
d) Expressive is speech acts in which the speaker expresses feeling and
attitude to something such as an apology, a complaint, a thank, a congratulation…
I’m sorry; my car was broken down on the road.
Expressive has the function to express the speakers’ attitude to a certain state of
affairs specified in the propositional content that must be related to the speaker or
hearer . There is no direction of fit but a greater variety of psychological states in
this type than the three above-mentioned ones since representative, directive and
commissive are only associated with consistent psychological dimension (belief,
wish and intent respectively)
e) Declarative is speech acts that change the state of affairs in the world
simply through their successful execution. They bring about correspondence
between the propositional content and the world, thus direction of fit is both worldto-word and word-to-world. This kind of speech act is closest to the concept of a
performative, an act of doing something with words.
(Judge – an accused man, at court)
With the alibi, I declare this man innocent.
2.2.2. Criteria to Recognize Speech Act
It is not so easy to recognize and classify speech acts; still, Anna Wierzbicka and
Searle John have introduced a thorough criteria of classification of speech acts on
which I will mainly base to compare the speech acts in my collected questions.
Additionally, I take context of situation as criteria for my classifying the speech act
conveying in those questions.

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2.2.2.1. Anna Wierzbicka’s Classification
She classifies the speech acts into 37 groups:
Order

Group

Nhóm

1.

The order group

Ra lệnh

2.

The ask 1 group

Hỏi

3.

The ask 2 group

Yêu cầu

4.

The call group

Gọi

5.

The forbid group

Cấm

6.

The permit group

Cho phép

7.

The argue group

Lập luận

8.

The reprimand group

Trắch mắng

9.

The mock group

Chế giễu

10.

The blame group

Khiển trách

11.

The attack group

Công kích

12.

The warn group

Cảnh báo

13.

The advice group

Khuyên bảo

14.

The offer group

Ban tặng

15.

The praise group

Khen ngợi

16.

The promise group

Hứa hẹn

17.

The thank group

Cảm ơn

18.

The forgive group

Tha thứ

19.

The complain group

Phàn nàn

20.

The guess group

Phán đoán

21.

The exclaim group

Cảm thán

22.

The hint group

Gợi ý

23.

The conclude group

Kết luận

24.

The tell group

Bảo cho biết

25.

The inform group

Thông báo

26.

The sum up group

Tóm tắt

27.

The admit group

Chấp nhận

28.

The assert group

Khẳng định

29.

The confirm group

Củng cố

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30.

The stress group

Nhấm mạnh

31.

The declare group

Tuyên bố

32.

The baptize group

Đặt tên thánh

33.

The remark group

Nhận xét

34.

The answer group

Trả lời

35.

The discuss group

Tranh cãi

36.

The talk group

Trò chuyện

37.

The accuse group

Buộc tội

2.2.2.2. Searle’s Criteria of Classification
As clearly presented in 2.1.3.2.1, there are three typical criteria of classification of
speech act:
1. Illocutionary force
2. Direction of lit
3. Expressed psychological states
2.2.2.3. Context
In the Thesis the writer would like to mention of the similarities and differences of
rhetorical questions in English and focus only the bilingual story “An Ideal
Husband - Một người chồng lý tưởng”. So the writer would like to share some
mistakes but did not critic the translator.
If we were to attempt to say what an utterance in conversation meant, but ignored
its context of use, we would not be successful or forced to conclude that its meaning
would be vague and ambiguous.
It is, therefore, impossible to say what most utterances mean, or what their intent is,
without having some knowledge of the situation in which they occur. Ronald
Warchaugh writes that context includes not only the linguistic one, the utterances
preceding of following the utterance in question, but also the surrounding physical
context, previous conversation, relevant aspects of the partipants’ life history, the
general rules of behavior the parties subscribe to, the assumptions about how the
various bits pieces of the world function.

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Only by acknowledging that all these factors contribute to the meaning of particular
utterance in a particular context can we hope to understand what is going on when a
person say something to another.
It is context that creates possibilities for interpretation and helps remove the
multiple ambiguities that a utterance would have if they occur in isolation. Take the
following utterance for example:
A: Would you like another drink?
B: Yes, I would. Thank you, but make it a small one.
The utterance of “A” is both a question and an offer. We know that with the help of
the surface form of the response in which “Yes, I would.” Responds to the question
and “Thank you” responds to the offer. However, in other context the utterance
“Would you like anther drink?” does not function as what it has been discussed. In
some case, the host in saying “Would you like another drink?” may have the
intention of embarrassing the guess who has already finished several bottles of
wine, or he may have the intention of getting the guest to take the hint and leave,
and so on.
Thus, in labeling utterance in general and questions in particular, we need to know
who is talking to whom. We must be concerned with the where and when of the
utterance. We must also examine the content with the content of what is said and
the precise manner in which the content is communicated. The specific choice of
words and phrases that relate to the topic or topics under discussion also interest us,
as well as the discovery of what a particular utterance achieved.
2.2.3 Classifications of questions
Questions can be divided into three major classes according to the type of answer
they expect:
-

Those that expect the answer yes or no are yes/no questions
And were you interested? ( A.H.p.24)
Those that contain a “wh-element” (who, what, how,…) and expect an

answer supplying missing information are wh- questions.
Hum! Which is Going? Beautiful idiot, or the other thing? (A.H. P28)
- The third type of lesser important is the alternative questions, which expect
an answer of two or more alternatives mentioned in the questions.

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