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University of Southern California

1. Le, Giang Ha. Vietnamese sentence final particles.

Degree: MA, East Asian Languages and Cultures, 2015, University of Southern California

This work presents a thorough description of Vietnamese sentence final particles, including their pragmatic usages and core meanings. In total, the paper investigates 28 primary particles and 45 dialectal variants that appear in sentence final position. A few sub-syllabic meaningful units such as [+high] tones, initial consonants đ, k, h, and nasals, are also identified. This description leads to categorization of the particles into 4 major groups: the clausal typing particles, the deitic particles, the aspectual particles, and the discourse markers. An investigation into the hierarchical order of the particles suggests that the order of functional projections in CP domain is DiscourseP>MoodInformativeP>MoodEvalP>DeikP1> DeikP2>ForceP. This order would suggest that in Vietnamese the discourse domain (DiscourseP) is higher than propositional domain (DeikP) which is then higher than the sentential (ForceP) domain. The paper also explores syntactic analyses for three particles in particular: không, chưa, and đâu. The proposed derivation for NPQ involving the first two particles is that: không is base-generated in Neg and move to C for SFP interpretation, whereas chưa is base-generated in C and does not undergo movement. This work also provides support to an analysis where đâu is not a wh-word in a NWC but is simply a head in ForceP. Advisors/Committee Members: Simpson, Andrew (Committee Chair), Li, Audrey (Committee Member), Hayden, George (Committee Member), Kim, Namkil (Committee Member), Hoskins, Janet A. (Committee Member).

Subjects/Keywords: descriptive linguistics; syntax; particles; head directionality

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APA (6th Edition):

Le, G. H. (2015). Vietnamese sentence final particles. (Masters Thesis). University of Southern California. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Le, Giang Ha. “Vietnamese sentence final particles.” 2015. Masters Thesis, University of Southern California. Accessed October 26, 2020.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Le, Giang Ha. “Vietnamese sentence final particles.” 2015. Web. 26 Oct 2020.


Le GH. Vietnamese sentence final particles. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. University of Southern California; 2015. [cited 2020 Oct 26]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Le GH. Vietnamese sentence final particles. [Masters Thesis]. University of Southern California; 2015. Available from: