Contrastive analysis of affix in english and vietnamese



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Affix in English and Vietnamese Kiên Huyền Trang



CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF AFFIX

IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE

KIÊN HUYỀN TRANG

CLASS: 4BO7

UNIVERSITY OF PEDAGOGY

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH




ENGLISH-VIETNAMESE COMPARATIVE LINGUISTICS

INSTRUCTOR: NGUYỄN NGỌC VŨ

DECEMBER 31ST, 2010

Introduction
It’s not easy for us to understand accurately meaning of an English word without Vietnamese-English dictionary. However, whether Vietnamese-English dictionary is perfect or not. To be honest, a defect in today dictionary is word-by-word translation. If we establish a table of contrastive analysis being based on categories (human category, conceptual category…), we won’t find it difficult to choose words and understand deeply their meanings in translation. Especially, in some categories there are similarities between English and Vietnamese when we add affixes to stem word. It’s reason why I chose this topic. In this paper, you will know what a “semi affix” in Vietnamese is, what an affix in English is, and similarities in some categories between affix in English and “semi affix” in Vietnamese.

CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF AFFIX

IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE

As we all know that English is the inflectional language but listed analytic one. That means word formation of English are less inflective and much more form words and word orders. Vietnamese is the monomorphemic language having only root and no inflection. Therefore, there are similarities of word formation between English and Vietnamese – they are form words and word orders.

In “Ngữ pháp tiếng Việt”, Professor Nguyễn Tài Cẩn divided morphemes of Vietnamese into 4 types:




Independent monosyllable

Dependent monosyllable

Contentive word

Form word

Meaning monosyllable

học

sẽ

quốc (quốc kì)

giả (học giả)



Meaningless monosyllable

_

_


dãi (dễ dãi)

cộ (xe cộ)


(Publisher HaNoi national university, 1999, page 37)

Or according to Ph. D Nguyễn Hồng Cổn:

Validity
Action

Semantic

Grammatical

Completely independent

học, đẹp…

sẽ, dù…

Incompletely independent


thủy, quốc…



bù(bù nhìn), bất(bất hiếu), vô(vô lý)…

When Professor Nguyễn Thiện Giáp presents constituents of word formation, he shows definition of “semi affix”: semi affix is element not losing completely its lexical meaning but repeated in many words and having properties of affix. Basic criterion of semi affix is its auxiliary property expressing in characteristics of meaning, function and distribution. It both undertakes function of word formation and has relation to stems in meaning and form. Therefore, it doesn’t completely become to affix. (Dẫn luận ngôn ngữ học, Educational Publisher, 1998, page 67). Then, when contrasting with Vietnamese, he judges: in Vietnamese, elements such as viên, giả, sĩ, hóa, bất… also have properties of semi affixes (page 68). Contrasting with above classification of Professor Nguyễn Hồng Cổn, the morphemes, which have grammatical validity but not perfectly independent and Sino-Vietnamese origin, have properties of semi affixes. Vietnamese has very limited affixation. Only prefixation and suffixation are attested. A few semi affixes are used along with reduplication. Many semi affixes come from the Sino-Vietnamese origin and learned part of the lexicon.


  • For example:

-: nghệ sĩ, họa , nhạc , viện , nha

-học: dân tộc học, tâm lý học, xã hội học, sinh học

tiền-: tiền đề, tiền lệ, tiền tố, tiền sử, tiền nhiệm…

bất-: bất biến, bất cần, bất chính, bất công, bất định, bất nhân, bất nghĩa, bất ngờ…

In above examples, we realize that each word is formed from two elements: one has lexical meaning, another one has tendency toward grammatical meaning. It is the second element that we are discussing is morpheme having properties of semi affixes. When contrasting with English, we realize that there are correspondences in function of word formation between affix in English and “semi affix” in Vietnamese. In English, we have following examples corresponding to above ones in Vietnamese.


    • artist, painter, musician, academician, dentist

    • ethnology, psychology, sociology, biology

    • premise, precedent, prehistoric, prefix, predecessor…

    • invariable, careless, illegal, injustice, indeterminate, humanless, ungrateful, unexpected…

So, what is an affix? It is a morpheme that is attached to a word stem to form a new word. Affixation is, thus, the linguistic process speakers use to form new words by adding morphemes at the beginning (prefixation), the middle (infixation), or the end (suffixation) of words.

Affixes are divided into several categories, depending on their position with reference to the stem. Prefix (appears at the front of a stem- predecessor) and suffix (appears at the back of a stem- beautiful) are extremely common terms. Infix (appears within a stem- minneflippinsota) and circumfix (one portion appears at the front of a stem, and the other at the rear- ascattered) are less so, as they are not important in European languages. The other terms (interfix, duplifix, transfix, simulfix, suprafix, disfix) are uncommon.



Therefore, it is clear to find out that there are correspondences in function of word formation between affix in English and “semi affix” in Vietnamese. However, it is not one- to- one correspondence. That means one “semi affix” in Vietnamese is not entirely equal to one affix in English. For example, the word “sĩ” in Vietnamese corresponds to “-ist”, “-er”, “-an”, “-ian” in English (Vietnamese is the source language). On the contrary, English is the source language, affix “-er” in “teacher”, “worker”, “driver”…correspond to “-sĩ”( nha sĩ), “-viên”(giáo viên), “-nhân”(công nhân)…
As a result, this correspondence has to be of higher level and has property of general.
As we all know, reference is one of important functions of word. That means word is lexical mean which is used for naming things, phenomenons, actions, properties… Each race always has categories of time, human, negative, affirmative…they are general categories. However, there are similarities and difference in reference among languages. We realize that through above examples, the pattern: root + affix/ “semi affix” is similarity in word formation between English and Vietnamese. Whereas, frequency and nature of this pattern are different in every language. We can assert that it is the popular pattern in English because English is inflectional language. Although there is not one- to – one correspondence in word formation, if we examine other plane – plane of content which morphemes express, we can realize that each category always has groups of morphemes in every language.

  • For example:

  • Negative category

  • English

  • dis-(not; the opposite of): dishonest, dislike, disappear, disadvantage, disagree…

  • il-(ill-)(not; the opposite of): illegal, illiberal, illogical, illegible, illegitimate,

ill-assorted, ill-considered, …

  • im-(not; the opposite of; to put into the condition mentioned ): immoral, immobile, immiscible, immoderate, immovable, imperil…

  • in-(not; the opposite of): infinite, independent, incapable, inability, inaccurate, inflame…

  • ir-(not; the opposite of): irregular, irrelevant, irrational, irreligious, irreparable…

  • non-(not): nonresident, nonrestrictive, nonscientific, nonsensical, nonviolent…

  • un-(not; the opposite of): unable, untruth, unconsciously, unlock, unreal…

  • -less(without; not doing; not affected by): careless, loveless, meaningless, homeless, friendless, tireless, selfless…

  • Vietnamese

  • bất-: bất đồng, bất biến, bất tận, bất hiếu, bất nghĩa…

  • phi-: phi lí, phi nghĩa, phi đạo đức, phi nhân tính, phi ngôn ngữ…

  • vô-: vô đạo, vô tình, vô hình, vô văn hóa, vô lý…

  • Capability category

  • English

  • -able(that can or must be; having the quality of): capable, calculable, taxable, fashionable, comfortable, changeable…

  • -ible: responsible, incredible, possible, visible, comprehensible…

-ability, -ibility, -ably, -ibly

  • Vietnamese

  • khả-: khả dụng, khả năng, khả biến, khả dĩ, khả ái, khả kính…

  • -được: viết được, ăn được, nhìn được…

  • Human category

  • English

  • -er: teacher, worker, painter, maker, driver, hairdresser…

  • -eer: engineer, auctioneer, mountaineer,

  • -or: doctor, editor, professor, actor, visitor, inventor…

  • -ist: tourist, scientist, dentist, artist, psychologist, environmentalist…

  • -ant: assistant, inhabitant…

  • -ent: student, respondent, correspondent…

  • -an/ian: republican, electrician, musician, librarian, mathematician, Rusian…

  • -ee: employee, interviewee, refugee, absentee…

  • Vietnamese

  • -sĩ: bác sĩ, tu sĩ, tiến sĩ, dược sĩ, nghệ sĩ, y sĩ…

  • -viên: nhân viên, diễn viên, sinh viên, thông dịch viên, biên tập viên,phát thanh viên…

  • -giả: tác giả, học giả, kí giả…

  • -nhân: thi nhân, công nhân, bệnh nhân, nạn nhân, quân nhân, nghệ nhân…

  • nhà-: nhà báo, nhà thơ, nhà chính trị, nhà giáo, nhà văn, nhà phê bình…




  • Implications in language teaching

So far, we have discussed the similarities and differences between affix in English and “semi affix” in Vietnamese. Analyzing this aspect between two languages helps the teachers and students a lot in language teaching and learning. Firstly, in term of methodology, the teachers have one more way to present new vocabulary that is by contrasting English and Vietnamese. This way not only makes the lesson more interesting but also gives students a chance to revise their mother tongue, Vietnamese. Secondly, knowing the way to form new words from stem words and affixes or semi affixes, students can enrich their vocabulary which are very necessary in language learning. Lastly, by giving students a general understanding of word formation from affixes in English and Vietnamese, they can avoid some common mistakes in this field when choosing which affix matches accurately to stem word and being easier in translation.

  • Conclusion

In general, through this paper, we know that there are similarities of word formation between English and Vietnamese – they are form words and word orders. Besides, we also know some definitions relating to affix (semi affix, prefix, suffix, infix, interfix…) and their origin, property, and some sample examples. Especially, there are stable correspondences between affixes in English and semi affix in Vietnamese. Although they are not one-to-one correspondences, their existence is a definite advantage in translation as well as language teaching and learning.


  • Reference




  • Quinion. Michael. August 17th, 2009. Types of affix. Affix: the building blocks of English. Retrieved from http://www.affixes.org/typesofaffix.html

  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2009). Vietnamese morphology. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_morphology

  • Ngon ngu.net, linguistics, Vietnamese language and more… June 28th,2006. Phu to tieng anh. Retrieved from http://ngonngu.net/index.php?p=8

  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. November 5th, 2010. Affixes. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affix

  • Nguyen, Can T. 1999. Ngữ pháp tiếng việt, pp.37. Hà Nội: Nhà xuất bản đại học quốc gia Hà Nội.

  • Nguyen, Giap T. 1998. Dẫn luận ngôn ngữ học, pp.67-68. Hà Nội: Nhà xuất bản giáo dục.




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