Comparing Existential Sentences in Chinese, English and Vietnamese from the Perspective of Linguistic Typology




Keywords: existential sentence, type of linguistics, syntax, order, asymmetric


Chinese existential sentences denote “somewhere appears, exists or disappears something or someone” (someone or something exists, appears or disappears somewhere). This paper comes from the perspective of semantics and syntax to analyze and find out more about the existential sentences of Vietnamese with English and Chinese, and compares the similarities and differences of the three components “component of place”; “verb indicating the existence”; the "existence subject" of the three languages. The paper has applied the cognitive theory of spatial relationships to explain the different orders of existential sentences in these three languages. The paper goes one step further with the preliminary study of existential sentences in Japanese, Korean, and Thai, and finds that Eastern languages ​​can use the form of existential sentences to express two meanings: one is “in somewhere exists something”; and two is “in somewhere is lost something”, but Indo-European English cannot use the form of the existential sentence to express the idea “in somewhere is lost something”.

Author Biography

Vo Thi Quynh Trang, Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry, Vietnam

Vo Thi Quynh Trang ph.D, Lecturer at Faculty of Foreign Languages, Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry, Vietnam. Specializing in teaching Chinese, comparative study of Chinese, English and Vietnamese grammar, foreign language teaching methods.


Chen, Q. (2010). Analysing the differences of existential sentences in English – English. Science & Technology Information, No. 22, 139.

Diep, B. (1998). Vietnamese grammar. Education Press.

Fu, Y. (2009). Parsing and theoretical structure of existential sentences in English. China After School Education, No.8., 116.

Nguyen, N. M. (2021). Using Stories in Presenting English Grammar to Vietnamese Young Learners. International Journal of TESOL & Education, 1(3), 286–300.

Gu, M & Li,L. (2010). The information structure of the existential sentences in English-Chinese from a cognitive perspective. Que Lam Education Academy Publishing House, No.10, volume 26.

Hoang, P. (1980). Vietnamese grammar. (sentences). University Press.

Jia, Z. (2012). A study comparing existential Sino-English sentences, Master Thesis of Duong ChauUniversity.

Langacker, R.W.(1991). Fundations of Cognitive Grammer vol.II , Standford : Standford University Press.

Langacker, R.W. (2000). Grammar and Monceptualization , Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Tran, Q. H. (2021). An Investigation into Non-English Major Students’ Problems in Taking Aptis Listening and Reading. International Journal of TESOL & Education, 1(3), 176–191.

Xuan,W. (2008). Basic Korean Grammar, Social Science Publishing House, 1st.




How to Cite

Vo, T. Q. T. (2022). Comparing Existential Sentences in Chinese, English and Vietnamese from the Perspective of Linguistic Typology. International Journal of TESOL & Education, 2(3), 246–259.