An Investigation of Vietnamese Classifiers in English – Vietnamese Translation




numeral classifiers, stative verbs, animate, inanimate


The research was conducted to investigate the use of the three most common classifiers cái, con, người, and figure out the patterns of how to use them when English noun phrases are translated into Vietnamese. To do this, a corpus has been built from the two bestselling literary works The Great Gatsby and Tuesday with Morrie in the English version accompanied by the Vietnamese translated version. The data collected were analyzed in terms of counting numbers of occurrences, calculating percentages and frequency to conclude what classifier among the three is the most frequently used. The findings of this research can be summarized as follow: first, cái is a classifier for inanimate objects, whereas con and người are used with animate ones; however, there is one exception that emerges during the research, which is the classifier con followed by inanimate nouns. Second, from a typical structure of CL + N, formulae are given for the translation of each classifier in specific cases. Finally, double and triple classifiers are chronologically formed by these three classifiers with suggested formulae for Vietnamese translation. The findings aim to support Vietnamese learners using classifiers correctly when translating English noun phrases into Vietnamese noun phrases.

Author Biography

Dang Thi Kim Phuong, Hoa Sen University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Dang Thi Kim Phuong is currently a Master’s degree student at Hoa Sen University in the major of English Language. She is working at the International Schools of North America as a learning support teacher and she has been teaching in the private education sector for about 7 years. At the workplace, she has been facing situations in which Vietnamese students studying in an international environment have struggled to speak and write their mother tongue. This overshadows the beauty of Vietnamese. Understanding this, her research mainly focuses on contrastive English and Vietnamese to find out the easiest way for people to learn Vietnamese effectively.


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How to Cite

Dang, T. K. P. (2022). An Investigation of Vietnamese Classifiers in English – Vietnamese Translation. International Journal of TESOL & Education, 2(3), 208–224.