Passive voice

Concept of the concept of voice in languages. Active voice and passive voice syntactically, semantically and pragmatically viewed. Voice and related concept. Passive Voice in English. Passive Constructions in Vietnamese. Dependent and Independent verbs.

31.05.2014
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Acknowledgements

I am deeply grateful to Dr. Trn Xun ip, my supervisor, for his invaluable support throughout the process of writing the thesis.

My sincere gratitude goes to Dr. L Hng Tin, Head of the Post-graduate Department, and Assoc. Prof., Dr. Trn Hu Mnh for their open recommendations on the perspective on the theme.

I would like to take this chance to thank my relative, my husband and my children Minh -Quang who are always besides me, encourage me to finish the thesis.

I also wish at this time to thank all linguists and grammarians whose researches have been quoted in this thesis.

Table of contents

Part one - Introduction

1. Rationale of the study

2. Thesis objective

3. Research questions

4. Scope and Methods of the Study

5. Design of the study

Part Two: Development

Chapter One: Theoretical Background

1.1 Concept of voice in languages

1.2 Active voice and passive voice syntactically, semantically and pragmatically viewed

1.3 Voice and related concept

1.4 English verbs

1.4.1 Classification of English verbs

1.4.2 Tense, aspect and mood of English verbs

1.4.3 Phrases and clauses

Chapter Two: Passive Voice in English

2.1 Passive Voice in English Traditional Grammar

2.2.1. English passive constructions in traditional grammar

2.2.2 The phrase of By and With

2.2.3 Usage of English passive voice

2.3 Passive Voice in Functional grammar

2.3.1 Passive Types

2.3.2 The phrase of by and with

2.3.3 Usage of Passive

2.4. Passive voice in Transformational-Generative grammar

2.4.1 Organization of Transformational- Generative grammar

2.4.2 Passive constructions and Noun phrases

2.4 Sum -up remarks

Chapter Three: Passive Constructions in Vietnamese

3.1 Verbs in Vietnamese

3.1.1 Dependent and Independent verbs

3.1.2 Transitive - Intransitive verbs

3.2 Vietnamese passive expressions in different views

3.2.1 Rejection of Passive voice in Vietnamese

3.2.2 Support for Passive Expressions in Vietnamese

3.2.3 Vietnamese Passive Usage

3.3 Sum-up remarks of Vietnamese passive

Chapter Four: Contrastive Analysis

4.1 Contrast of English and Vietnamese passive constructions syntactically

4.1.1 Structural similarities

4.1.2 Differences

4.2 Contrast of English and Vietnamese passive constructions semantically

4.2.1 Similarities

4.3 Contrast of English and Vietnamese passive structures pragmatically

4.3.1 Similarities and differences

4.3.2. English passive constructions and the equivalents

Part Three: Conclusion

Bibliography

APPENDICES

Part one - Introduction

1. Rationale of the study

According to Asher R.E. (1994:4938), linguists use the term voice in a number of senses and the broadest definition of voice encompassing a wide range of grammatical constructions that are commonly thought to be quite distinct from those related by the active- passive alternation. In this view, the term voices in general and passive voice in particular do exist in all languages. In Vietnamese, the debates around the passive voice have lasted for several stages. In the early days of Vietnamese research, the concept of passive construction was accepted. The rules applied here, however, were rigidly transformed from European languages. The inappropriate features of these artificial sentences lead to the refusal of passive constructions in the next stage of Vietnamese research. While the concept of voice in general and passive voice in particular is familiar to the English, it is an abstract concept to Vietnamese learners and generations of Vietnamese learners have to deal with the passive constructions. There have been several studies of the passive voice in English and the passive contrast between English and Vietnamese. These researches, however, neither confirm the existence of the passive in Vietnamese nor point out the difference in factors decisive to passive usage in two languages.

In many recent researches, Vietnamese passive constructions are accepted and seen from different views, among which the Functional grammar helps to deal with many argumentative points in the previous stages.

2. Thesis objective

The thesis is to contrast the passive constructions in English and in Vietnamese based on the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features.

Firstly, in the syntactic features, the thesis will point out the compulsory and optional parts between the typical passive constructions in two languages.

Then in semantic features, the difference is drawn from the distinguishing features of different components in a Vietnamese passive expression namely passive markers, passive subjects.

Finally, the pragmatic features will be presented in two sub-groups: Information structure and the pragmatic effects of the passive constructions. The final part helps to see the relation between the passive constructions and other related constructions in two languages based on the pragmatic effects of agent demotion and non- agent promotion.

3. Research questions

The thesis is to contrast the English passive and the Vietnamese passive constructions based on the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features. The research is to answer the questions related to the three following features :

Syntactic features

+ What are the typical patterns of the passive sentences and passive noun phrases in English and in Vietnamese?

+ Which parts are the obligatory parts and optional parts in the passive expressions in two languages?

+What are the differences in the obligatory parts and optional parts in the two languages?

Semantic features

+ What are the extra meanings of Vietnamese passive markers? In addition, how do these markers decide the subjectivity and objectivity of passive constructions in Vietnamese?

+ What is the decisive role of Noun type (animate/inanimate subject) and Verb type towards the formation of active/ neutral/ passive expressions?

Pragmatic features

+ What factors in the theory of information structure decide the choice of passive/ active in two languages?

+ Which constructions are in close relations with the passive constructions based on the two major pragmatic effects: agent demotion and patient promotion in two languages? This aim is based on the comparison of each English passive pattern in two pragmatic effects with a number of Vietnamese equivalents.

4. Scope and Methods of the Study

In this thesis, the passive is viewed from different grammatical approaches among which the approach based on the structure will be taken as the basis for the comparison and contrast.

The main research methods include three techniques namely (1) description, (2) translation and (3) deduction. The descriptive and deductive approach is applied in the theory revision to come to the nature of passive voice in English and Vietnamese. The translation is used in the contrast of the English passive noun phrase/ the Vietnamese passive noun phrase and the pragmatic effects of the English passive/ Vietnamese equivalents

5. Design of the study

The paper is divided into three main parts: the Introduction, the Development, and the Conclusion. The Introduction briefly introduces the thesis.

The Development has four chapters: Chapter one starts with the concept of voice in general and passive voice in particular. Chapter two deals with the English passive and chapter three is with the Vietnamese passive. The contrastive analysis in chapter four points out the difference in English and Vietnamese passive constructions syntactically semantically and pragmatically. The final part is to find out the factors decisive to the choice between Vietnamese passive constructions and other Vietnamese substitutional structures.

Part three is the conclusion which summarizes the achievement in the thesis.

Part Two: Development

Chapter One: Theoretical Background

1.1 Concept of voice in languages

According to the authors of the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, the term voice, in a narrow sense, refers to morphological categories. However, in English and Vietnamese, verbs do not have distinct morphological categories for difference voices. Therefore, as Asher R.E believed, in these languages, voice are defined in terms of syntactic constructions with reference to specific grammatical characteristics and voice can be understood as a system of correlation between semantic roles such as agent and patient and between grammatical functions such as subjects and objects

1.2 Active voice and passive voice syntactically, semantically and pragmatically viewed

From the syntactic aspect, the opposition between active voice and passive voice can be seen in the movement of constituents in the linear order and correlation between grammatical functions such as subject and object. From the semantic aspect, it is the correlation between semantic roles such as agent and patient. From the pragmatics aspect, the passive voice is in greater interest, which includes the pragmatic function and the pragmatic aspect. The pragmatic function is related to the passive sentence's frequency in different type of texts. The pragmatic aspect is concerned with agent demotion (agent defocusing)/patient promotion and agent promotion which unifies passive construction with other construction such as the plural (in English), the honorific (in French), the indefinite person constructions (in English).

1.3 Voice and related concept

The concept in analysis in this thesis is the Information structure. The information unit is a unit of information. The information unit is a structure made up of two functions, the New and the Given. From the point of view of Information structure at the sentence level, the New Information is the information considered New to the hearer and the Old information is the already existing stock of knowledge in the hearer's mind.

In English, Passive constructions allow the New information at the following part of the sentence as the late news, which follows the universal rule of the Given being followed by the New information.

1.4 English verbs

Under different approaches with different criteria, the system of English verbs is differently classified under different labels. The main part presented here is taken from Quirk R., et al. (1972).

1.4.1 Classification of English verbs

a. Lexical, semi -auxiliary and auxiliary verbs

The first division between auxiliary, semi auxiliary and lexical verbs is based on the grammatical functions in verb phrase. The auxiliary is subdivided into primary and modal auxiliaries.

- Lexical: walk, write, play

- Semi - auxiliary: Have to, be bound to

- Auxiliary:

+ Primary: do, have, be

+ Modal: can, may, shall, will. ought to, used to, need, dare .

The passive forms are often associated with Auxiliary verbs. However, some Auxiliary verbs like do, have, be can be used as lexical verb and have a wide range of forms including present participle and the past participle.

All of three subdivisions of lexical semi -auxiliary and auxiliary verbs do exist in passive constructions. Auxiliary is a compulsory part of English typical passive constructions. With a semi - auxiliary and a lexical verb the passive constructions sometimes differ among themselves and from the original sentence.

b. Transitive and Intransitive verbs

An other way of verb classification is based on the object government capability. According to Quirk, R. et al. (1980), intransitive verbs do not permit any type of object or complement. However, many verbs of this type do accept adjuncts of direction, position or extension.

Transitive verbs do take direct objects. If the transitive verbs permit indirect objects, they will be classified as ditransitive verbs. Some transitive verbs have object complements and these are to be distinguished as complex-transitive. Some verbs like ergative can be classified as either transitive (with object) or intransitive (with the subject).

The concept of voice is always related to the transitive verbs. Some transitive verbs like reflexive verbs do not come in passive forms .

1.4.2 Tense, aspect and mood of English verbs

a. Tense and Aspect

The English Tense, Aspect are often realized in finite verb phrases. Tense refers to the relationship between the form of verbs and the concept of time. In English, these are two tenses: present tense and past tense.

Aspect refers to the manner in which the verb action is regarded or experienced. English has two sets of aspectual contrast perfective/non perfective and progressive/ non-progressive.

The two tenses of present and past are combined with four aspects of simple, perfect, progressive and perfect progressive.

b. Mood

Mood shows speaker`s attitude towards the action. In English, there are 3 moods: indicative, imperative and subjunctive.

English Mood is realized with 3 moods: Indicative, imperative and subjective which are in turns composed of declarative- question, imperative sentences and clause containing recommendation, resolution, surprise

1.4.3 Phrases and clauses

a. Phrases

According to Richards J.C (1993:53), A phrase is a group of words which form a grammatical unit. A phrase does not have a subject - predicate structure. Phrases are usually classified according to their central word or headQuirk, R. et al. classifies English verb phrases into two categories: Finite verb phrase and non-finite verb phrase. The alternative of voice is associated with Finite verb phrases only

b. Clauses

Based on the structure, Quirk, R. classifies clauses into finite, nonfinite and verb less clauses.

The finite clause always contains a subject as well as a predicate, except in the case of commands and subject ellipsis. Nearly all dependent clauses are finite clauses.

The non -finite, in contrast, is always without the subject although some non-finite clauses can have optional subjects. There are four types of non -finite clauses: Infinitive with to, Infinitive without to, -ing participle, -ed participle.

Chapter Two: Passive Voice in English

2.1 Passive Voice in English Traditional Grammar

The concept of voice is defined in many grammar books and dictionaries. Following is a typical definition:

Voice is a grammatical category which makes it possible to view the action of sentence in two ways without change in the fact reported

(Quirk, R.: 801)

2.2.1 English passive constructions in traditional grammar

Among seven sentence patterns, three following ones allow passive transformations: S- V-0 (-A),S-V-O-O (-A), S- V-0-C (-A). In addition passive constructions include Special passive constructions, The causative and Pseudo-passive

Passive constructions from the S - V - O (- A):

In this sentence pattern, the passive comes when the object is a noun phrase, a finite clause.

When the object is a non -finite clause (infinitive and ing- participle), reflexive pronoun there is no passive constructions.

However, for a limited group of verbs like advise, insist, propose, recommend, suggest, agree, arrange, determine, demand, decide, etc, the passive construction is that ... should +past participle

From the S - V- Oi- Od (-A) structure

a) When both Oi- Od are noun phrases, both can be used as the subject of the passive sentence

b) When Oi is a noun phrase and the Od is a finite clause, there are two ways of passivization by the subject of the passive being either the Oi (more common) or Od in the corresponding active sentences.

c) When Oi is a noun phrase and Od is a non -finite clause (to infinitive), subject of the passive construction is with the Oi only.

d) When Oi is a noun phrase and Od is a prepositional phrase, the passive construction starts with Oi.

e) Idiomatic expression:

When the idiomatic expression has the structure of Verb (V) + Noun phrase (Nphr) + Preposition (Pr) +Noun phrase (Nphn), the passive construction can have the subject of either noun phrase.

From the S - V - O - C (- A) structure

In this sentence pattern, the object of active sentence is always a noun phrase, which usually becomes the subject of the passive constructions. The difference in structures lies with the various complement types (Noun phrase, adjective phrase, to-infinitive clause, bare -infinitive clause, ing participle clause, ed- participle clause)

Exception: With bare -infinitive clauses, causative verbs (have, let, make) take a bare-infinitive in their infinitive clauses but "make" takes to- infinitive.

Special passive constructions

The typical passive constructions in English are BE+ Past Participle. Other constructions with passive meaning includes Get + Past participle, Become + past participle, -Ing form with passive meaning (Need-Want-Deserve-Require + Ving)

The causative

The causative structure `s usage is similar to that of Be - passive. The causative structure consists of two structures Have + Obj + PII and Get +Obj+ PII. Get +Obj+ PII is found more in informal languages. It can be found in all tenses. In the imperative get' is more natural than have.

Pseudo-passive

Pseudo-passive is a sentence active in form but passive in meaning. The subject is the inanimate subject. Pseudo-passive is the typical non - agent passive constructions.

2.2.2 The phrase of By and With

According to Quirk, R and Greenbaum, S. (1976:160) the agentive or instrument can be expressed by a by - phrase. However, only the instrument can be expressed by a with phrase. In the case of get passive, the by -phrase helps to identify whether the sentence is in the middle voice or passive voice The agentive by- phrase also occurs as a post-modifier to signify authorship: a novel by Tolstoy, a picture by Degas,etc.

2.2.3 Usage of English passive voice

Different linguists use different expressions to describe the English passive usage. All these expressions have common points in nature, which are the non- agent emphasis (non-agent promotion) and the agent ignorance (agent demotion). Among these expressions, the one used by Asher, R. (1994) seems to be the most persuasive ones. His suggestions not only cover all other linguists' suggestions but also pave the new way in understanding the passive construction, which suggest the relation between the passive constructions and other construction based on the two pragmatic effects.

Agent demotion

Asher, R. (1994:4941) shortly suggests the passive assign it (the agent) a periphery role in syntax even if it is encoded. This statement is identical with other linguists' expressions like unknown, unimportant, obvious agent or more interest on the action than on the agent.

Asher, R (1994:4941) also suggests that pragmatic effect of Agent demotion unifies the passive with honorific forms (the usage of plural forms for even single agent), indefinite person constructions involving indefinite pronouns corresponding to they,oneand we.

Non-agent promotion

This pragmatic effect is not separated from the pragmatic effect of Agent demotion. The two pragmatic effects of Agent demotion and Non-agent promotion are like two sides of the same coin. This pragmatic effect of Non-agent promotion is similar to other linguists' expressions like the passive is used when we are more interested in the action than the person who does it

However, Asher, R. fails to give the reasons related to linguistics, the speaker's psychology.

2.3 Passive Voice in Functional grammar

2.3.1 Passive Types

Type of passive clause in transitive analysis is classified in following main types: true passive, beneficiary-passive, range-passive and circumstantial passive, which is further, divided into manner passive and true passive.

a, True passive: effective, medium/subject, agent: by

Mary

was

upset

by the new

Medium

Process: mental

Agent

Subject

Finite

Predicator

Adjunct

b, Beneficiary-passive: effective, beneficiary/subject, and agent: by..

My ant

was

given

this teapot

by the Duke

Beneficiary

Process

Medium

Agent

Subject

Finite

Predicator

Complement

Adjunct

c, Range-passive: Middle(i.e.: medio -passive),Range/subject, medium: by....

Songs

the music

were

was

sung

enjoyed

by the choir

by the audience

Range

Process

Medium

Subject

Finite

Predicator

Adjunct

According to Halliday, M. there are other types of passive constructions when the indirect participants act as the potential subjects. Circumstantial passives are those include Location- passive, Manner - passive and others. E.g.

The bed has not been slept in (Location- passive)

This pen has never been written with(Manner - passive)

These are medio- passives. But passives with idiomatic phrasal verbs, such as it has been done away with, she is very much looked up to, the prize has never been put in for are often true passive in the sense that the prepositional phrase really represents a participant.

d, circumstantial passive

d1.Location passive: middle (medio -passive) Location subject; Medium: by

The bed

has not

been slept in

by anyone

Location

Process

Medium

Subject

Finite

Predicator

Adjunct

Adjunct

True passive :effective; Medium subject; Agent: by

It

has

been done

away

with

by the man

Location

Process

Medium

Finite

Predicator

Adjunct

Adjunct

Adjunct

2.3.2 The phrase of by and with

Halliday, M. states that the clauses with features of agency can be put in passive by using an analytic causative or bringing in an Agent of the second order. The examples can be seen in all processes: Material, Mental, and Relational

2.3.3 Usage of Passive

According to M. Halliday (1985:169) the reason for choosing passive in effective clause are:

- To get the Medium as subject, and therefore as marked Theme

- To make the Agent either late news (by putting it last) or implicit (by leaving it out).

The agent - by-phrase is mentioned in 20% of passive clause (M. Swan) and about 18% (T. Givn). Its occurrence depends on the information structure of sentence; the by-phrase will occur when it is new information and the agent comes as new at the end of the sentence E.g.

Nice-picture

Yes, it was painted by my grandmother

(passive verb so that the news-the painter-goes at the end).

(Swan, M.:410)

2.4 Passive voice in Transformational-Generative grammar

2.4.1 Organization of Transformational- Generative grammar

Initiated by Chomsky and quoted by Borsley R.D, any structure can be described into two ways: D - Structure and S- Structure. D - Structure (Deep structure) is the identical structural description of lexical strings in accordance with the principle of general linguistics. S - Structure (surface structure) is related to D -structure via the application of movement transformation (substitution or adjunction). S - Structure is the interface between the levels of phonetic form (PF) and logical form (LF). It is the S -structure that shows the contrast between languages.

Passive analysis in the study is based on the interrelation among D - Structure, S - Structure and LP and on sub - theory of Theme role (O - criterion) and Case filter.

2.4.2 Passive constructions and Noun phrases

a. Noun phrase passivization

The idea and examples here are taken from Borsley. R.(1999). There are certain relations among passive constructions and noun phrases. The noun phrases are formed with the possessive markers of and `s

1 The active sentence: The Vikings destroyed the monastery

2. The passive sentence : The monastery was destroyed by the Vikings

3.a The monastery `s destruction by the Vikings

4.a The destruction of the monastery by the Vikings

5.a The Vikings' destruction of the monastery

1.The active sentence: The king betrayed the country.

2. The passive sentence: The country was betrayed by the king

3.b The country `s betrayal by the king

4.b The betrayal of the country by the king

5.b The king `s betrayal of the country

The example (5a) might have the following D-structure

The (3.a) have the following D-structure

Finally, the (4.a) has the following D- structure:

2.4 Sum -up remarks

In this chapter, the English passive voice has been seen from three grammar approaches namely Traditional grammar, Transformational- Generative grammar and Functional grammar.

In this part, the concept of voice is a system of correlation between semantic roles such as agent and patient and between grammatical functions such as subjects and objects

Syntactically, all the passive constructions consist of the compulsory past participles.

The optional parts of passive construction include such parts as the by- phrase, subject modifier, the adverbs and adjuncts. More over, based on the theory of case filter, passive noun phrases have been proved to originate from passive sentences with the insertion of possessive markers' and of.

Semantically, the passive subjects have different semantic roles namely Goal, Recipient, Arrival, Beneficiary and Place. Based on the meaning of separate parts, some of possessive verbs do not occur in the passive forms.

Finally, in the field of pragmatics, the choice of the passive is associated with the information structure and two pragmatic effects: agent demotion/ patient promotion and agent promotion. Following the information structure, the Given information precedes the New information. In relation to the pragmatic effects, the emphasis of non- agent passive sentences is on the action, which is associated with the pragmatic effects of agent demotion/ non- agent promotion; the emphasis of agent including passive sentences is also on the action but in this group the agent is considered as the late news, which is associated with the pragmatic effect of non- agent promotion only.

Chapter Three: Passive Constructions in Vietnamese

language voice english passive

3.1 Verbs in Vietnamese

In relation to Passive constructions, the following concepts are to be analyzed: Independent - dependent verbs and Transitive - intransitive verbs.

3.1.1 Dependent and Independent verbs

The independent verbs are the verbs having the meaning themselves and can stand independently without the support of other verbs.

The dependent verbs, on the other hand, do not have full lexical meaning and these verbs often accompanied with independent verbs.

3.1.2 Transitive - Intransitive verbs

Intransitive verbs do not govern object. Meanwhile transitive verbs do govern at least one object.

3.2 Vietnamese passive expressions in different views

3.2.1 Rejection of Passive voice in Vietnamese

The reasons often include

+Vietnamese being an isolated analytic and topic prominent language in which the verb does not change in accordance with person tense, mood and voice.

+ b? and ?c consided as true notional transitive verbs in Vietnamese, not formal words in forming Passive sentences.

Among the non - advocates of Passive construction such names as Thomson (1965), ?nh, (2000), H?o (2002) are the most prominent

3.2.2 Support for Passive Expressions in Vietnamese

a Non - b c passive constructions

In this part, the structures in interest are non- b c constructions which consist of two subgroups: Non - b c constructions with no function words b, c and Non- b, c constructions with other function words

* Non b c constructions with no functional words

This type of sentence has the structure O - V. The decisive factors in this type of sentence are lexical meaning of subject:

+ Animate/inanimate

+ Physical condition, age

1.Human beings a. persons who serve others a'. adult

b.person who are served b'. children

2. Animals a. big or strong animal

b. small or weak animal

3. Inanimate a. instrument

b. natural phenomenon.

* Predicate with chu, mc, phi

The passive ones include: ?c (?ng), ch?u (b?, m?c, ph?i) with the meaning as follows:

- ?c or ?ng refer to good things or lucky things to the receiver.

- Ch?u, b?, m?c, ph?i refer to bad things, unexpected things.

b Passive Constructions with b, c

Ban (2004) classifies grammatical the function of bޔ c into three sub groups: Lexical verb. Modal verb and Passive function words.

As lexical verbs, bޔ c have two constructions : Bޔ c +Noun(noun phrase) and Bޔ c + Embedded sentence.

As modal verbs, bޔ c can combine with: Verb (effective or ineffective), Adjective and Preposition.

As passive formal words, bޔ c have distinctive usage in the structure of passive constructions in Vietnamese

A general syntactic structure of a passive sentence in Vietnamese is as follows:

Subject1

(passive voice)

Passive functional words

Subject2

(active)

Predicator2

(transitive verb)

Complement (and Object)

Passive

Functional words

bޔ, c

Predicator

(embedded sentence)

Following Halliday, M. the passive subjects in Ban, Dip Quang pattern have the following semantic roles: Objective / Goal , Recipient, Goal (Arrival), Beneficiary, Maleficiary, Locative / Place

c The agent

+ Agent less passive sentence.

+ Agent - including passive sentence with no connectors and connectors b?i, do, (l) c?a

3.2.3 Vietnamese Passive Usage

In Vietnamese, the choice between active and passive construction depends on both extra -linguistic factors and linguistic factors.

a. Extra- linguistic factors

According to different linguists, the passive structures in Vietnamese to :

+ Follow Information structure: the new information in the rheme and the given information in the theme

+ Impress the reader

+ Avoid changing the sentence subject

+ Allow the choice between marked and unmarked theme

b. Linguistics factors

Linguistics factors decide the type of sentence in Vietnamese consist of:

+ The lexical meaning of Subject: animate/ inanimate noun, served/serving person, instrumental/non- instrumental object

+ Subject complement or sentence adjunct showing aspect, mood or circumstances.

+ The two different ways of understanding the relation between direct object + indirect object (E.g. :Chi + tc + b) as possessive( Chi + tc + ca + b) and beneficiary( Chi + tc + cho + b). While the first have one passive structure, the other can have two passive structures.

3.3 Sum-up remarks of Vietnamese passive

In this part, the author attempts to clarify the complex and controversy of Vietnamese passive mentioned in the previous part. This part is to answer the following questions:

+ Is there passive voice in Vietnamese?

+ If there is, what is typical pattern of Vietnamese passive?

+Does it include passive functional words? Moreover, if it does what are the compulsory passive functional words?

+What are the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features of the Vietnamese passive pattern?

Voice in Vietnamese

This term, as Asher suggests, can be defined in term of syntactic constructions with reference to specific grammatical characteristics. This implies that voice exists in all languages but with different surface structure. The concept of voice in English and Vietnamese shares the common feature of the semantic roles of the sentence subjects. The difference is in the fact that English voice is related to verb forms while the Vietnamese voice is related lexical and grammatical means.

Pattern of Vietnamese passive

The second questions have different answer among linguists. Different structures suggested by linguists include:

- N + b/c + V + bi + N

- N + V + bi + N

- N + do/ca + N + V

- N + l (ca) + N + V

and some others

Among these different views, the view of Ban, Dip Quang (2004) sounds the most persuasive. In his latest version 2004, Ban, Dip Quang considers sentences containing b?ng,do, b?i and c?a to be sentences with dependent predicator l. One common thing among these types of sentences is that the formal word l can be inserted in the middle of the sentence, in front of b?ng, do, b?i and c?a.

According to Ban, Dip Quang (2004), a general syntactic structure of a passive sentence in Vietnamese is as follows:

Subject1 (passive)

Passive

Functional words bޔ, c

Predicator

(embedded sentence)

Passive functional words

Subject2

(active)

Predicator2

(transitive verb)

Complement object

The way of classification based on the function of the words b ,c deals with the many different structures relating to b ,c suggested by other linguists. Ban, Dip Quang (2004) points out the different function of b ,c as lexical verbs, modal verbs and passive functional verbs

He also follows Halliday, M. in analyzing the passive subjects in different semantic roles. This helps to explain the passive constructions with the subject's semantic roles of arrival, place that are difficult to explain in other linguists' theory.

The neutral sentence is the central concept in solving the questions above. The neutral sentence in his idea is the passive construction (O-V) in other linguists. The neutral sentence is related to the thematic sentence with the presence of the added subject. This helps to answer the question whether the Vietnamese includes the thematic sentences or passive sentences .

However if Ban, Dip Quang (2004) ideas are followed, one point should be accepted here is that there do not always exist any group of thematic - neutral -passive constructions.

Semantic features of Vietnamese passive

Under the modern view based on Functional grammar, Ban suggests the following semantic roles of subjects in passive constructions: Goal, Recipient, Arrival, Beneficiary, Maleficiary and Place. This is the updated way in analyzing passive constructions in Vietnamese, which helps to tackle with structures difficult to analyze in the traditional criteria of Subject and Predicate.

Semantic features of Vietnamese passive are derived from the lexical meaning of the passive functional words bޔ ,c and the passive subjects and the transitive verbs.

Semantically bޔ is associated with negative attitude of the speakers while c is associated with the positive attitude of the speakers.

The type of nouns and their accompanied features in the passive subjects partly decide the naturalness of passive sentences. The criteria here are based on the scale of animate/ inanimate nouns, instrumental/ non-instrumental noun, adult/ children, serving person/ served person.

There is a group of verbs in Vietnamese rarely found in passive forms. These verbs often are spiritual effective verbs like d, d dnh (comfort/soothe), an i (console/comfort),and some others.

The next distinguishing feature of Vietnamese passive is derived from the way of ellipsis in Vietnamese. From one structure

C gio/ chi/ tc/ b

The teacher/ comb/hair/ the girl's

There are two ways of understanding: possessive relation chi tc ca b and beneficiary relation chi tc cho b. While the first accept one corresponding passive , the latter does accept two corresponding passive constructions

Usage of Vietnamese passive

The choice between active and passive construction depends on both extra -linguistic factors and linguistic factors.

Extra-linguistic/ pragmatic factors are related to Information structure

Linguistic factors include lexical meaning of subject, the companion of adjunct, and lexical meaning of verbs.

In short, based on their meaning, not on structure, Passive constructions can be said to exist in Vietnamese. In the view of passive voice commonly found in inflectional languages, Vietnamese has no passive voice but constructions with passive meaning. In the broader view of passive voice suggested by Asher R.E. in The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, the passive voice does exist in Vietnamese. The passive voice in Vietnamese, is semantically not characterized by the inflection in verbs but by lexical terms, word order and syntactic structures.

Hence, the passive definition of Ban, Dip Quang (2004) will be the basis for Vietnamese passive constructions in the part of contrastive analysis between English passive constructions and the Vietnamese ones.

Chapter Four: Contrastive Analysis

4.1 Contrast of English and Vietnamese passive constructions syntactically

4.1.1 Structural similarities

a) The Passive construction in both languages shares one common characteristic namely grammatical function between the subject and the object in which the object in active sentence turns into the grammatical subject in the passive sentence.

b) The agent is the optional part in both languages.

4.1.2 Differences

The differences focus on the obligatory and compulsory parts in the passive constructions in two languages, the grammatical properties of passive constructions' subjects and the noun phrase passivization.

* The obligatory and compulsory parts in Passive constructions.

The typical passive constructions in two languages are:

In English

In Vietnamese

Be + PII

B,c +embedded sentence (transitive verb)

Become/get + PII

In English, all passive constructions are related to PII and one verb among fixed verbs like be, get, have while the Vietnamese passive construction include the agent, the adjunct showing causes, reasons or circumstances even the subject modifiers. E.g.

a. Thuyn b ( h) y

b. Thuyn b (h) y

c. Thuyn b (h) y ri

Among the Vietnamese passive sentences, the sentence a.( Thuyn b ( h) y) sounds unnatural. When this sentence is added with adverbs like , ri it turns out to be natural in use. It can be said that the optional parts in English make the passive sentences natural in Vietnamese .

* Noun phrase passivization

The formation of passive noun phrase in English is based on the movement of the by - phrase plus the insertion of possessive markers of and s'.

Meanwhile, as the comparison partly points out, the related passive noun phrases in Vietnamese do need such subordinators as vic, s E.g.

The monastery `s destruction by the Vikings

Vic tu vin b ph hu do ngi Viking gy ra

The country `s betrayal by the king

Vic t quc b quc vng phn bi

4.2 Contrast of English and Vietnamese passive constructions semantically

4.2.1 Similarities

The common feature between passive sentences in English and Vietnamese lies in the fact that the grammatical subjects of passive constructions have the same semantic roles namely: goal, beneficiary, recipient...

4.2.2 Differences.

The differences between English passive structures and Vietnamese ones are analyzed in three areas: the Vietnamese passive functional words (b, c), the passive subject and the verb.

The first difference is related to bޔ c as passive functional words. The difference is the subjectivity in Vietnamese passive sentences. Bޔ, c expressions partly shows speakers' attitude towards the event meanwhile the passive expressions in English focus on the event.

How ever, in scientific document, the way of utilizing c does not always show speaker's attitude.

The second difference in terms of meaning is the decisive role of lexical meaning of the subject in Vietnamese. With the same surface structure, the lexical meaning of subject will decide whether the sentence is active, neutral, or passive. Whether the subject is serving or served person, adult or children, instrumental object or non- instrumental object decide the type of the sentence.

Vietnamese

English

Active Vietnamese /Active English

a.Thy Phong cha chm bi

The prof. Phong hasn't marked the exam paper yet.

Neutral Vietnamese

/Passive English

b.Bi ca em Phong cha chm

Phong's exam paper has not been marked yet.

Thematic Vietnamese

/Active English

c.Bi ca em Phong thy cha chm

About Phong's exam paper , the prof. has not marked it yet

Passive Vietnamese

/Passive English

d.Bi ca em Phong cha c chm

Phong's exam paper has not been marked yet.

ActiveVietnamese /Active English

e.Thy Phong cha c chm bi

The prof. Phong hasn't been allowed to mark the exam paper yet.

One English passive sentence is the equivalent to both of the Vietnamese passive sentence and the Vietnamese neutral sentence. The Vietnamese neutral sentence stands in middle between the active sentence and the thematic ones in terms of structure. However, the Vietnamese neutral is similar to the passive sentence in the same way that the grammatical subject is affected by the agent. Therefore, the Vietnamese active and thematic ones are translated into the active ones while both the Vietnamese neutral and passive equal with the English passive constructions. All these sentences are somehow related to the others. Whether the sentences have the passive meaning or not depends on the lexical meaning of the subjects.

The third difference among Vietnamese and English passive constructions is the decisive role of verbs' lexical meaning to the type of sentence: passive constructions or active ones. There are two ways of understanding from the same structure:

Verb + direct object + indirect object

bt +tay + n

ra + tay + n.

One understanding is the possession :

Verb + (direct object + indirect object)

bt + tay ( + ca) + n

The other way of understanding is based on the semantic role of the beneficiary:

Verb + direct object + indirect object

ra + tay (+cho) + n.

In most English cases of two objects, there are two passive constructions with the grammatical subjects being the direct and indirect object in the active sentence. In Vietnamese, the two corresponding passive constructions are accepted in the case the indirect object is considered as the beneficiary. If the indirect object is understood as it possesses the direct object, there is only one passive construction with the indirect object as the grammatical subject.

The forth difference is in the verb constraints. In the group of transitive verb suggested by Quirk, R. (1972), some English transitive verbs like have, lack, hold, become, fit, suit, resemble do not occur in passive. In Vietnamese, suggested by Qu, Nguyn Th (2003), some transitive verbs rarely occur in passive. These verbs often are spiritual verbs like d, d dnh (comfort/soothe), an i (console/comfort), khuyn khch, khch l (encourage) and others. These verbs usually occur in neutral sentences only.

4.3 Contrast of English and Vietnamese passive structures pragmatically

This part is aimed at finding out the factors decisive to the choice of: Active/passive, agent /non-agent including passive expressions, Vietnamese passive expressions and substitutional structures.

4.3.1 Similarities and differences

The similarity between English passive constructions and the Vietnamese equivalents can be in some areas as follows:

1. Information structure: Given Information precedes New Information.

2. The sentence focus:

+The Focus is on the action/ the agent is in peripheral role (in the non - agent passive expression)

+The Focus is on the action/ the agent is the late news (in the agent -including passive expression).

The next similarity is the sentence focus which is on the action-not on the doer (in case of non-agent sentence) or on the doer/agent (in case of agent- including sentence).

4.3.2 English passive constructions and the equivalents

As it is mentioned in the theory, the pragmatic effects of the passive voice in English are related to two aspects namely agent demotion (agent defocusing) and patient promotion (patient focusing). These aspects themselves unify passive structure with other structures in a different way in different languages.

In English, the two passive structures (agent including and non- agent structures ) have distinctive focus. While the non- agent structures focus on the action rather on the doer, agent - including structures emphasize the doer. That means in English the passive voice has two different emphasis:

S + BE+ PAST PARTICIPLE : agent demotion and patient promotion

S + BE + PAST PARTICIPLE+BY PHRASE: patient promotion and agent being the late news

The author intends to firstly point out the difference in terms of structure in the two groups of Vietnamese equivalents. Then the frequencies of these structures are listed. Finally, some factors decisive to the usage of these structures are to be pointed out. The investigation is the passive sentence -based only.

Among 600 collected English passive sentences, the Vietnamese translated versions are found with the frequency as follows:

The types of constructions equivalent to the English passive consist of Active sentence, Neutral sentences, Passive sentences, Impersonal structures with Ngi ta,Ta, Impersonal structures with verbs, modal verbs, Special structures with existential, original and possessive markers c ca and Idiomatic, cultural expressions, proper name.

The frequency is in the following table:

Active sentences

156

26%

Neutral sentences

85

14%

Passive sentences

(non agent sentences

agent -including sentences)

207

135

82

34.5%

22.5%

12.%

Impersonal structures with Ngi ta,Ta

24

4%

Impersonal structures with verbs, modal verbs

83

13%

Special structures with existential, original and possessive markers c ca:

13

2%

Idiomatic, cultural expressions, proper name

24

4%

Other structures

8

1.5%

Table: Vietnamese equivalents of English passive constructions

Following are some examples:

Neutral sentences

This finding is based on a year of study of successes and failures involving services in different countries

Pht hin ny da trn cuc nghin cu v nhng thnh cng v tht bi lin quan n cc dch v trong vng mt nm nhiu nc khc nhau

( Special English no 53- De...


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