Chinese Classifiers and Count Nouns

Year
2009
Volume 10
Issue 2
Pages
209-226
Authors
Byeong-Uk Yi
Abstract
Many linguists, philosophers, and anthropologists hold that classifier languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai, have no count nouns, and that all their common nouns are mass nouns. This paper argues that Chinese draws a syntactic, as well as semantic, distinction between mass and count nouns, and suggests how the approach taken to clarify the distinction can be extended to other classifier languages.

Keywords: classifier, count noun, mass noun hypothesis, number, quantity, quantifier, measure word