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When I wrote my graduating paper, I received many helps. I was not only provided
sufficiently documents but also got a lot of experience and knowledge in translation -interpretation work.
I would like to give my sincere thanks to Ms. Nguyen Thi Yen Thoa, whose
encouragement; guidance and willingness motivated me from the beginning to the end
and enable me to finish this work.
Besides, I would like to address the thanks from bottom of my heart to Hai Phong
Private University for providing us professional learning environment and facilities, as
well as all teachers in the Faculty of Foreign Languages for giving enthusiasm and
sympathies to lift us to be the better ones as we are today.

ackowledgements

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ACKOWLEDGEMENTS
When I wrote my graduating paper, I received many helps. I was not only provided
sufficiently documents but also got a lot of experience and knowledge in translation –
interpretation work.
I would like to give my sincere thanks to Ms. Nguyen Thi Yen Thoa, whose
encouragement; guidance and willingness motivated me from the beginning to the end
and enable me to finish this work.
Besides, I would like to address the thanks from bottom of my heart to Hai Phong
Private University for providing us professional learning environment and facilities, as
well as all teachers in the Faculty of Foreign Languages for giving enthusiasm and
sympathies to lift us to be the better ones as we are today.
My deep thank is also sent to my family and friends for their support in the time I was
doing study and finishing the process of this paper.
In addition, because of limited knowledge and time in the process of completion,
shortcomings cannot be avoided so I expect to receive helpful advices from teachers
and readers to make the paper more perfect.
Student:
Nguyen Thi Hoa Phuong
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TABLE OF CONTENT
Acknowledgements
PART I: INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………….1
1. Rationale……………………………………………………………………………………………………….1
2. Scope of the study………………………………………………………………………………………….2
3. Aims of the study……………………………………………………………………………………………2
4. Method of the study………………………………………………………………………………………..2
5. Design of the study…………………………………………………………………………………………3
PART II: DEVELOPMENT ……………………………………………………………………………4
Chapter 1: Theoretical background
1. Language and culture………………………………………………………………………….4
1.1. What is language?……………………………………………………………………………………….4
1.2. What is culture?……………………………………………………………………………..6
1.3. Language and culture……………………………………………………………………………9
2. An overview of idioms……………………………………………………………………………………9
2.1. What is an idiom?……………………………………………………………………………………….9
2.2. Some common features of idioms ……………………………………………………………….11
3. An overview of proverbs …………………………………………………………………. ………12
3.1. What is a proverb?……………………………………………………………………………………..12
3.2. Some common features of proverbs …………………………………………………………..13
4. The distinction between idioms and proverbs ………………………………………………….13
4.1. English idioms and proverbs …………………………………………………………………….13
4.2. Vietnamese idioms and proverbs ……………………………………………………………….14
Chapter 2: Some idioms and proverbs relating to names of insect species
1. Idioms and proverbs relating to bees ………………………………………………………………15
2. Idioms and proverbs relating to fleas ……………………………………………………………..17
3. Idioms and proverbs relating to butterflies ………………………………………………………19
4. Idioms and proverbs relating to ants ………………………………………………………………22
5. Idioms and proverbs relating to flies ………………………………………………………………24
6. Idioms and proverbs relating to bugs ……………………………………………………………..26
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7. Idioms and proverbs relating to worms……………………………………………………………28
8. Idioms and proverbs relating to mosquitos………………………………………………………31
9. Idioms and proverbs relating to grasshoppers…………………………………………………..33
10. Idioms and proverbs relating to beetles………………………………………………………….35
11. Idioms and proverbs relating to cockroaches………………………………………………….36
11. Idioms and proverbs relating to crickets………………………………………………………..37
Chapter 3: Related problems faced by English learners and suggested solution
1. Some difficulties in studying idioms and proverbs …………………………………………..41
2. Suggested solutions ……………………………………………………………………………………..41
PART III: CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………….43
References
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Part 1: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
Each nation has its own particular culture and the cultural identity of ethnic groups has
decided the differences between customary practices, personality, and history of every
country in the world. Among them, folklore is the most precious treasure for any
country. As a result of a long process, proverbs and idioms have become important
parts constituting that culture. In both Vietnamese and English there are many
different idioms and proverbs that are really close to human life such as: nature, plants,
people and even to the small animals like insects. I chose to research on insects for the
following reasons:
– Firstly, Vietnam is an agricultural country, so insects of both beneficial and
harmful species are close to and necessary for agriculture. It is obvious that people
with considerable experience in agriculture are able to speak and understand the
language better. The vivid picture, as it is expressed by idioms and proverbs is the best
method to learn it.
– Secondly, In Britain, although industry has become the most important aspect
of the modern state, the people still consider agriculture to have a significant impact on
their culture, especially on the language. This is the reason why there are still lots of
proverbs and idioms referring to nature. Each category has specific insects. Utility,
different effects and people often lend their image to one or more of the general nature
of man. They are mostly constituted out of rhymes so that they can easily be
remembered. Through the country’s history, these idioms and proverbs were given
from one generation to another and are still relevant nowadays.
– Thirdly, idioms and proverbs are very common in spoken English and informal
written English as well as Vietnamese, thus it is important and fun to learn some of
them. In spoken English, they are used in most situations, from friendly conversations
to business meetings. In written English, they are especially common in newspaper
because the writers want to make the headlines and articles interesting and lively.
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This interesting topic has attracted a large number of scientific researchers as well as
numerous students. Even little children are interested in learning idioms, as they teach
them a lot about life and the way some people behave. I learned so many interesting
and useful things from this topic: understanding profound aspects of culture of both
English and Vietnamese nation and gaining experience for my future life.
2. Scope of the study
Idioms and proverbs are so large and difficult aspect of each language, that my
graduating paper cannot cover all insect idioms and proverbs; it only focuses on
typical insects such as bees, fleas, bugs, butterflies, ants, flies, worms, beetles, gnats,
crickets and grasshoppers.
3. Aims of the study
Idioms and proverbs are an extremely difficult topic, which is hardly understood by
foreign English learners, and even native speakers, who learn the idioms and proverbs
and do not know how to use them. Being aware of this fact, I appreciate the idioms
and proverbs associated to attitude and behavior of the speakers. Sometimes we can
ignore the spelling mistakes because we still understand, but if someone uses the
wrong idioms or proverbs, we cannot understand. Therefore, my research is aimed at:
– Collecting and classifying some idioms and proverbs which are usually used in
Vietnamese and English language.
– Finding out some similarities and differences between these two cultures.
– Helping the learners or someone interested in idioms and proverbs to use them
in a correct way.
4. Methods of the study
In order to learn English and Vietnamese idioms and proverbs relating to some
common insects’ name better and to make learners recognize the important roles of
idioms and proverbs in life, the following methods are used in the studying process:
– Material analysis: reading reference books to find and collect needed
information. Other hand, collecting the specific examples for study.
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– Consultations: having discussion with the supervisor, experts and friends.
– Comparison and contrast: selecting, comparing and contrasting examples in
English idioms and proverbs and Vietnamese ones in order to find the most similarities
and differences.
5. Design of the study
This paper provides a clear organization consisting three main parts, which are very
easy to explore and learn. Part I- Introduction, consists of five small parts namely:
Rationale, Scope of the study, Aims of the study, Methods of the study and Design of
the study. Three other chapters are presented in the Part II. “Language and Culture”,
“An overview of idioms” and “An overview of proverbs” are belonging to Chapter 1,
Theoretical background. In these sub-divisions I present some knowledge about
language and culture, idioms, proverbs definition and their some common features.
Chapter 2, Idioms and proverbs relating to insects’ names in English and Vietnamese.
Due to the limitation of time and knowledge, I just do research on ten typical insects’
names: Bees, Fleas, Butterflies, Ants, Flies, Bugs, Worms, Beetles, Gnats, Crickets
and the Grasshoppers. Chapter 3 is “Related problems faced by English learners and
suggested solutions”. And the last part is Part III, Conclusion.
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Part II: DEVELOPMENT
Chapter 1. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
1. Language and Culture
1.1. What is language?
Language has been studied for many years and different perspectives. Ancient Greek
philosophers elaborated on its proper use and purpose, modern scholars analyzed how
it is produced and perceived. However, in order to understand this term completely, we
must answer the question: “what is language?”
Many scholars did give the definition for the term of language. Language as a social
phenomenon was first described by Ferdinand se Saussure who claimed that providing
only historical description of languages (as it was done at his time) should not be only
approach to this complex entity. He maintained that crucial information about
language could be obtained from its common users, who in most cases do not posses
practically any theoretical knowledge about their native tongue and yet are competent
speakers. Moreover, as Saussure assumed, language use reflects the contemporary
structure, which should enable synchronic language analysis (language used at a given
point in time) in addition to diachronic analysis concerned with the past linguistic
forms. The aspect of using language or speech was called parole by Saussure. While
the underlying knowledge of linguistic structure was known as language.
Another view on language, mainly language as behavior partially from the behaviorist
psychology and philosophy. Linguistic presenting this attitude focused on different
languages used by various people rather than on linguistic universal, as they assumed
that linguistic data is best gathered by observation of human behavior and interaction.
Apart from that, it was assumed that meaning of sentences is not observable, thus it
must be analyzed referring to introspective judgments. What follows this assumption is
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the definition of language provided by linguistic who represent this approach. They
maintain that language is the totality of utterances that can be made in a speech
community.
According to the third approach to language started by Noam Chomsky, language is a
mental organ. Having noticed certain similarities among languages Chomsky
expressed the view that they cannot be explained by environmental factors or be
accidental and there needs to be a special mental ability embedded in human brains.
He defined language by means of generative grammar: a finite set of rules, which
would enable users to make an unlimited number of expressions. Representatives of
this approach support the view that it is not particular languages that should be
analyzed, but the Universal Grammar, or the mental organ that allows humans to
speak.
The last group is constituted by scholars who claimed that language is an abstract
object, as it does not occupy any space or time. Thus this view is in opposition to
Chomsky’s ideas, but linguistic who agree with it emphasize that the analysis of the
best abstract models of language can bring helpful effects of the entire area of study.
(
Basing on the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, we have a definition about
language like:
“Language is the system of communication in speech and writing that is used by
people of a particular country or area”
(Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, 1948, the 7th edition, page 862)
In short, language is the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex
systems of communication, other way, it is the tool for communication, which enable
human to communicate and cooperate with two styles: style of speaking and style of
writing. Each language is the property of a single social community. Even though
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some languages cannot be developed and be primitive, and even until now there is no
written language due to historical reasons, these languages still be wonderful
communication tool of man, as a means of idea and transmission of human culture.
1.2. What is culture?
Everyone talk about his or her culture with very high regard. However, do we know
exactly culture is? Let us discover the meaning of culture and its significance in the
life of an individual and society.
Culture is an integral part of every society. It is a learned pattern of behavior and ways
in which a person lives his or her life. Culture is essential for the existence of a
society, because it blinds people together. In the explicit sense of the term, culture
constitutes the music, food, art and literature of a society. However, these are only the
products of culture followed by the society and cannot be defined as culture.
The term was first used in this way by the pioneer English Anthropologist Edward B.
Taylor in his book, Primitive Culture, published in 1871. Taylor said that culture is
that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and
any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.
(
Besides, many other scholars have defined “what culture is”. According to Kluckhohn,
C., & Kelly, W.H. (1945). The concept of culture. In R. Linton (Ed.). The Science of
Man in the World Culture. New York, (page 78-105).”By culture we mean all those
historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational, and no
rational, which exist at any given time as potential guides for the behavior of men.”
Basing on Parson, T. (1949). Essays in Sociological Theory. Glencoe, IL, (page 8)
“Culture…consists in those patterns relative to behavior and the products of human
action which may be inherited, that is, passed on from generation to generation
independently of the biological genes”.
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On the view of Banks, J.A., Banks, & McGee, C. A. (1989). Multicultural education.
Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. “Most social scientists today view culture as
consisting primarily of the symbolic, ideational, and intangible aspects of human
societies. The essence of a culture is not its artifacts, tools, or other tangible cultural
elements but how the members of the group interpret, use, and perceive them. It is the
values, symbols, interpretations, and perspectives that distinguish one people from
another in modernized societies; it is not material objects and other tangible aspects
of human societies. People within a culture usually interpret the meaning of symbols,
artifacts, and behaviors in the same or in similar ways.”
(
As said by Nguyen Quang, Intercultural Communication, Vietnam national university,
Hanoi college of foreign languages press, page 3: “Culture: a shared background (for
example, national, ethnic, religious) resulting from a common language and
communication style, customs, belief, attitude and values. “Culture” in this text is not
refer to art, music, literature, food, clothing style and so on. It refers to the informal
and often hidden patterns of human interactions, expressions, and viewpoints that
people in one culture share. The hidden nature of culture has been compared to an
iceberg, most of which is hidden underwater. Like the iceberg, much of the influence of
culture on an individual cannot be seen. The part of culture that is exposed is not
always that which creates cross- cultural difficulties; the hidden aspects of culture
have significant effects on behavior and on interactions with others”.
Culture is something that a person learns from his family and surroundings, and is not
ingrained in him from birth. It does not have any biological connection because even if
a person is brought up in a culture different from that in which he was born, he
imbibes the culture of the society where he grows up. It is also not a hidden fact that
some people feel the need to follow the beliefs and traditions of their own culture,
even though they might be not subscribing to certain ideologies within.
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Culture is a complex tool which every individual has to learn to survive in a society. It
is the means through which people interact with others in the society. It acts in a
subconscious way and whatever we see and perceive, seems to be normal and natural.
Sometimes, other societies and people seem to be a little odd because they have a
different culture from ours. We must remember that every society has a distinct culture
that forms the backbone of the society. Culture does not remain stagnant; on the other
hand, it is evolving constantly and is in fact somewhat influenced by the other cultures
and societies.
Every society has a different culture, where people share a specific language,
traditions, behavior, perceptions and beliefs. Culture gives them an identity that makes
them unique and different from people of other cultures. When people of different
cultures migrate and settle in another society, the culture of that society becomes the
dominant culture and those of the immigrants form the subculture of the community.
Usually, people

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