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Numeral classifiers in Mandarin Chinese

Hong Zhang
Journal of East Asian Linguistics
Vol. 16, No. 1 (March, 2007), pp. 43-59
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25702282
Page Count: 17
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Numeral classifiers in Mandarin Chinese
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Abstract

This article uses a multilevel approach to study the Chinese numeral classifiers. It argues that although shape categories constitute a major cognitive base for numeral classification, lexical taxonomy, linguistic convention, and stylistic creativity also play a role in determining the use of Chinese classifiers. It cautions that in general the relationship between noun and classifier is explicable from the semantic/cognitive stance, but the relationship is not always transparent and consistent. At times the choice of a classifier can be entirely arbitrary and subject to linguistic innovation.

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