Talk:Chinese classifier/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

general comments

ge4 should probably have some greater prominence in the article since it's the most important of the measure words as a general catchall —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.186.194.109 (talk) 00:27, 31 January 2009 (UTC)


When I was living in China, from 1996 to 1998 the word "jīn", under "Weight/mass" was used colloquially as equivalent to 1KG, not one pound. If you wanted to get a pound equivalent you had to ask for a "banjin", a half jīn.

This might need to be looked into, and corrected or clarified.

Indy 03:21, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Jin by itself usually means 市斤shìjīn in the PRC. One shìjīn is 500 g, which is quite close to a pound (~454 g), but they are not the same. —Broccoli 01:04, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Can someone add English translations? For people who can't read Chinese, the section on "three cars" would make no sense at all.

This is great, I've been looking for a comprehensive list and not just the 'top ten'.

I prefer to read traditional characters (that's how I learned) and suggest adding the tradional forms to the simplified forms where they differ. I hope there isn't an encoding issue, but I expect utf-8 can take care of that if need be.

I've done this. Chameleon 21:20, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'd also prefer that usage notes also include some typical chinese terms that use the measure word in question, to make things completely clear.

'Measure word' is the term I know, and I would think among non-natives learning Chinese in a serious way, it would be more common than 'counter.' It appears the page for Chinese measure words redirects to this, when I'd expect it to be the other way around-- but that's just a nit.

Some indication of frequency of use would be helpful, for those of us slackers who don't want to master the whole set, but still prefer to use the more correct term in the common cases.

Dougfelt 22:10, 25 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestions; I'll be sure to update the article whenever possible. Also, this article was originally named "List of Chinese Measure Words", but was later changed to "Chinese counter" for reasons unbeknownst to me (although it is synonymous with MW, the usage is not at all widespread). -Taoster
The list is great - I need to learn these some day.
I have one proposal: the first column in the first table shouldn't have comments - comments should be reserved for column titled "comments". This means that the columns will be of equal width with the second table. If the columns were manually regulated (by use of the width parameter), that would work even better. Neonumbers 01:01, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

My textbook has bei1 as a measure word meaning "cup" or "glass", and ping2 meaning "bottle", as in "a glass of water", or "bottle of soda". Neither of these are in the table.

I don't know how we missed that one. I've added it. Chameleon 21:20, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The measure word with the meaning of fan (shan (扇)) for doors (and windows?) seems to be missing.

I think it would be a good idea to include some food senses of kuai (块), in particular loaf of bread.

When I've seen mile, it has been translated as English li, using the same character as for the Chinese unit (英里). i think the same is true of other English units. I don't think you have (ying) bang (英)镑 (pound sterling).

DJW

Move?

Move to Chinese measure word? --Jiang

literal meaning

A column should be added to show the literal meaning of the term before the major usage is introduced. For example, the word ba3 means a handful, which can apply to knife, scissors etc. Kowloonese 11:11, 18 Mar 2004 (UTC)

tradition chinese?

A column should be added to show the traditional chinese writing. Some characters means different thing in simplify vs. traditional writing. For example, the Simplified character zuo4 shown on this place means "sit" in Traditional Chinese, a different writing is needed for "seat" in TC.

Speaking of zuo4, the character used in the example "yizuo shan", 座, doesn't match the character used in the table. Someone who is more certain of their Chinese, please clarify or fix? —ajo, 1 Jan 2005
I've changed it to 座. My dictionary and my dad and the answers to my last Chinese test all reckon so. Neonumbers 12:24, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Your correction is good for Traditional Chinese. Is it also good for Simplified Chinese? Kowloonese 22:12, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)
I learn Simplified Chinese, so I'm fairly (emphasis only fairly) certain about it. The dictionary the MS Word uses says nothing about classifiers under 坐, and I assume that it's up to date. In any case, I'm certain that 座 can be used in Simplified Chinese (thus my correction isn't "wrong"), whether or not 坐 can be. Neonumbers 12:30, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Regional usage

Cantonese in Hong Kong uses quite a different set of measure word though the majority are the same. For example, "yat gou fan" (a lump of rice), "yat pat ye" (a smear of gunk), "yat look muk" (a rod of wood) are very Hong Kong specific. I bet there are different usage in each dialect. This list does not show any regional usage.

Perhaps creating Cantonese measure word would be a good idea if you'd like to include region-specific words. -24.94.17.47

The information should be added to this page. Dont split unless necessary. --Jiang 05:51, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Create a separate section at the bottom of this article for that. Chameleon 21:36, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

In modern colloquial speech of certain Chinese dialects - What does "colloquial" mean in this sentence?

a.) a regional "slang" term, that is non-standard and not used in formal speech? i.e. its usage would indicate that the conversation was informal,
b.) or a regional term used in all sociolects of the given variety of Chinese (including formal speech), but considered "colloquial" because it is not seen in Standard Chinese (i.e. the written language)?

The second definition of "colloquial" would be very confusing for those who aren't familiar with the linguistic situation in China and should be avoided. For example, the word "係" hai6 (to be in Cantonese) would be considered a "colloquialism" by the second definition but not the first.

Unitary?

"Unitary"? What is that supposed to be? Is it intended to be a countable noun? One unitary, two unitaries? Never heard of it. They are called measure words or classifiers — nothing else. Chameleon 19:41, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

English slang in this article?

Why is English slang added to this article? e.g. under the monetary unit, a dollar is a dollar. What is the point to mention a dollar is also called a "sqid" and a "buck" unless it is used as a Chinese slang. Kowloonese 22:49, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)

I think it's trying to say that 塊/块 kuài is a slang term, whereas 圓/元 yuán is the formal term. Kuài is used like the word "buck" is used in English. --Umofomia 09:17, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Table Format (changes summary)

A summary of my changes:

  • I regulated the width of the first two columns to 45 pixels and abbreviated "Simplified" and "Traditional" to "Simp." and "Trad.". I did this so that there is less space between columns, so the table is easier to follow, and looks better. I chose a width slightly wider than you'd expect to allow for those who put their browser on larger text sizes.
  • I removed notes from the first two columns and put them in the fourth. Where alternatives were given I made them two different rows ("A or B" -> "A", next row, "B"). Because the Chinese columns are on the left (as opposed to the right), I figure this won't make the table harder to follow. It also looks better (more regular).
  • Where two forms were given for Traditional, and one of them was the same as Simplified, I deleted the Simplifed. I realise (or figure) that whoever put them there did so because either is acceptable in Traditional(?). I deleted the Simplified so that the table would have more regularity. If pointing this usage is that necessary, we can always say so in the Main Use (fourth) column.

So it was basically layout I changed, to make it look better, sacrificing a few pedantic details or rearranging them. Hope no-one minds :-) Neonumbers 12:54, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I understand your goal to make the table look good. However, some information is lost when you changed some of the trad. usage. For example, 元 is both a Traditional and Simpilfied character and there are two ways to write the measure word in Traditional Chinese. These two pieces of info is lost in the new table. Kowloonese 23:12, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)
Yea, I anticipated that someone would mind that. I added a new line in the fourth column in those ones (元 and 毛) that says "(either form can be used in Traditional Chinese texts)". I dunno if the wording's clear enough, but I don't want to get too wordy. Neonumbers 10:32, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Did you follow some kind of guidelines for the table width? I use a big monitor, so the tables appear quite narrow to me. The fourth column can use some more width in my opinion. But then you also have to consider users that have tiny computer monitors in low res. So the right choice depends on the lowest common denominator. What is the small screen used nowadays? Kowloonese 19:31, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)
I only regulated the first two columns manually (to 45px). I think the table, before I came along, had a width of 50% and I didn't play with that so whatever screen res you have, big or small, the table'll be half the width of the window you're looking at (or half the width of the window minus the sidebar). It also means that if you resize the window, the table gets thinner (or fatter) too.
I reckon the smallest res around is 800x600. 640x480 died out a while back - my monitor won't even do that for me. But I think using relative-to-width might be better, maybe 75%? See what you think. Neonumbers 11:37, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

measuring Unit names vs. measure words

I have watched this article evolved. When multiple authors touched it, the definition shifted. To my understanding Chinese measure words are different from unit names. This article mixes the two together.

For example, 時辰 is a unit of time. I am not very fluent in Mandarin. But I think the proper way to use this unit is to say 一個時辰. 個 is the measure word. 時辰 is just a noun, like "bird". No one says 一時辰. I am from southern Chinese, but I've never heard people say 一鐘. Cantonese says 一點鐘 for one 0'clock and 一個鐘頭 for one hour. Again 點 and 個 is the measure word, 鐘 is not. We say 一分鐘, 一秒鐘, 一刻鐘, but we never say 一小時鐘. We say 一元 or 一塊 for one dollar, but 一塊 is actually the abbreviation of 一塊錢. So 塊 is a measure word. But no one ever say 一元錢, so 元 is a true unit, not a measure word. Another example is 一里, which is actually an abbreviation of 一里路. 一年 is actually an abbreviation of 一年時間. Same argument can also apply to everything listed in the True unit section. They are all confusing lying between "unit" and "measure word".

The article says

Some measure words are true units, which all languages must have in order to measure things, e.g. kilometres. These are displayed first, then other nominal classifiers, and finally verbal classifiers.

Is this statement really true for the Chinese language? The ultimate question is whether "True Unit" fit under the title of this article. Are "True unit" names really measure words in the sense of 量词???

Kowloonese 23:12, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Kowloonese, though admittedly I'm less qualified to comment on the matter (English is my first language and my Chinese is only secondary because of descent). And, the dictionary says they're all nouns. Neonumbers 11:42, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
After a year of my orginal comment, my argument still stands. It is not right to mix measure word and unit in the same article. Anyone besides Neonumbers want to comment on the current structure of the article? Kowloonese 23:11, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

use "classifier" not "measure word"

The correct linguistic term is "classifier". If you look on the respective pages for measure word and classifier, you'll see that -- to the extent that these terms are differentiated -- the term "measure word" is incorrect for Chinese. Benwing 03:55, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Proliferation of Phonetic Spellings

I think that the addition of another phonetic spelling column to the table, by anonymous users User:137.189.4.1 sets a bad precedent. If one then adds Shanghaihua, Hokken, Wade Giles, etc. the table will become too wide for sensible reading. Wikipedia tables aren't database tables; they are supposed to be human readable.

Now that the precedent is set, I can see every regional minority in China and the Chinese diaspora wanting to add their own column.

I would certainly be happy if that column were dropped. Given that this page is in the English language Wikipedia, I feel that it is necessary to have one Romanisation, and as PinYin is the most widely used one, I feel that that was the right one to retain.

--David Woolley 09:45, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Further investigation shows that Pingyam is a Cantonese term. It appears to be a generic term, as the second Google hit says, at the bottom, that Yale is used in that page. Yale seems to exist in several versions, for different Chinese dialects, so what is being referred to here is the Cantonese variant of Yale.

I'm less unhappy about Cantonese, given its large use outside CHina, than I would have been for lesser known dialects, but I still feel that it is setting a dangerous precedent. I've just increased the table width because there wasn't enough room to display usage examples well, but that space is being lost again.

I've changed Pingyam (currently broken) to Cantonese (Yale) to be consistent with the English speaking world's terminology.

If people want to promote the term Pingyam, I think the right thing to do is to add a note to the Cantonese (Yale) entry, and just possibly create a re-direct entry from Pingyam to that entry, although it would be a good idea to confirm that it doesn't have a generic meaning, first.

--David Woolley 10:42, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Measure words for confirmation

Could any native speaker confirm that 针 is a measure word, possibly needleful and possibly injection dose. The original expression that makes me think it is is "打一针" and googling 两针 produces a 63500 hits, some neeldework related, some apparently about slimming injections. However my dictionary doesn't give a measure word sense.

--David Woolley 18:49, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

I will count that as a measure word. For instance "打一針肉毒桿菌" (have an injection of Botox). -- G.S.K.Lee 10:29, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Xīe not mentioned

Is there a reason why xīe (些) is mentioned in the examples section but not listed as a measure word? It seems odd to use it and mark it in green but to not list it.

些 is NOT a measure word. -- G.S.K.Lee 15:21, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

then the last entry in the examples section is inappropriate for the article and should be removed Meteorswarm 06:21, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Removed. 一些 = some in English, but there are no expressions like 二些, 三些... Hence it cannot be called a measure word. -- G.S.K.Lee 09:39, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

hao and dian

My textbook has 号 hao as a measure word used for addresses and dates, such as 一零零七八号(number 10078) or 九月十一号(9th month 11th day). Also uses 点 dian to express time, such as 晚上九点刻 (9:15 in the evening). My Chinese ain't really so good yet, otherwise I would add it myself. 我的汉语不好。Anyway awesome article if I do say so myself. Shadowdrak 12:00, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

"点diǎn" means "o'clock/hour"; "号hào" means "the XXst/the XXnd/the XXth/(the ordinal number)/(the date)". I don't think that they are measure words. --70.21.9.134 13:26, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Area quantifiers

This page is missing area quantifiers like 亩, 公顷, etc.Jack (talk) 04:09, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

More measures

I think we should add 碗 (bowls) and 套 (sets). Don't know how to do the table myself though, sorry! Graham —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.143.149.29 (talk) 11:42, 14 April 2008 (UTC)


Article improvements

I just finished doing a near-total rewrite of the prose portion of this article, and am considering taking it to GAN soon. First, though, there are some things on my mind, and I'm welcoming comment...

  • Examples section: is it necessary? It seems nice, but maybe rather than including a whole section we could just take one or two examples and merge them into the intro.
  • List of classifiers: obviously, this is a big part of the article. It's also a concern...most of it is unsourced, which doesn't make it wrong, it just makes it hard to deal with; it also could invite quibbling over what to include. At the same time, I don't think it would be a good idea at all to remove it; I know some people, especially non-Chinese-speakers, who have used this list as a resource for their first foray into classifiers. (Granted, the external links section has links to similar lists, which I think are actually better than ours, but still, most people go to Wikipedia first and ignore those links, don't ask me why.) One thing that could help would be to base it off of some of the big classifier dictionaries, such as Hanyu Liangci Cidian (1988) and Xiandai Hanyu Liangci Yanjiu (2001), and require footnotes for items added that aren't in those.
  • Use of traditional characters: in the versions of this article before I came, the text used both traditional and simplified. When I rewrote it, I used only simplified, simply because I don't have traditional character input installed on my computer; I was originally going to ask someone else to fill in behind me, but then I got to a point where I had rewritten the entire text portion anyway so "consistency" is no longer an issue (right now the article is, almost, consistently in all-simplified). So the question is whether it would be worthwhile to add back in traditional characters. On the downside, it greatly increases the feeling of clutter within the text; on the plus side, we avoid accusations of bias and whatnot, and might be more accessible. My intuition is to give both traditional and simplified when introducing a particular classifier, as a word; and to use only simplified when giving full sentences or phrases.
  • I have tried to refrain from using jargon in the classifier vs. massifier and "relationship to noun" sections, but I might still need to do some more work making it accessible to lay readers. If anyone wants to read through those sections, please let me know if any parts were unclear.

Anyone please feel free to offer input or comments. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 20:37, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Regarding Trad/Simp characters, not all differ between the two. For the ones that do (which can be distinguished by checking the Xinhua Zidian for "alternate forms"), Google Translate or http://www.pin1yin1.com can easily fix that if you are unable to input Traditional. (Additionally, in WinXP, Traditional is supported by default if the Asian language pack is installed. It is the default IME in "Chinese (Taiwan)", while in "Chinese (PRC)", it can be activated in Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0 by checking "Traditional characters" in the Options menu.) Regards, -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email guestbook complaints 01:29, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh, just so you know, these are all included in WinXP, and in the case that they are not, they can be freely downloaded from the Microsoft website. I always have the following activated (while leaving English as default. I don't use all of them, however I frequently switch to Chinese when the time arises)
  • Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a
  • Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0
  • Microsoft IME Standard 2002 ver 8.1 (JP)
    • (or Microsoft Natural Input 2002 ver. 8.1) (JP)
    • (or Drawing Pad/Writing Pad) (JP)
  • Korean Input System (IME 2002)
  • Cyrillic (Russian)
  • English (Australia)
New Phonetic is the default Taiwan IME, its really difficult to use and it is rather irritating. You can choose between bopomofo, Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin input. MS Pinyin IME is what I typically use. It is the PRC version, and only supports Simplified by default, although you can type Traditional if you change the GB code in "Options". You can also draw Kanji using the Japanese Drawing Pad IME with the mouse. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email guestbook complaints 01:40, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see. I used to have traditional characters (came up in the list as "Chinese (Taiwan)") but never used them, and I only know how to type in pinyin (I think it was set to new phonetic or bopomofo, which is why I couldn't get it to work) and uninstalled it. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:49, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
There is a how-to FAQ at [1] - it has many different pages for WinXP and Vista support for Simplified and Traditional Characters. You mind find this page helpful. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email guestbook complaints 08:24, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Article improvements - comments

I have been asked to comment on this article, I guess in preparation for the GA nomination. I like the way it's written, and all I can say, really, is to congratulate the author(s) on work well done. If the current author is interested in more expansions, here are a few that a curious reader may suggest:

  • Historical situation. As the measure word article mentions, the (mandatory or near-mandatory) use of measure words is an areal feature, characteristic of modern Chinese language in all varieties and most of its southern, but nor northern neighbors; it also mentions that the classifiers were not common in Classical Chinese. Is there published research on how this feature either developed within Chinese, or spread between languages? It probably could be quite a fascinating topic, just as the development of articles in Germanic or Romance languages would be.
    • I've added a brief section. This stuff is somewhat difficult to find; the Morev article (which is actually more about Tai languages than Chinese) cites about 3 sources, but I can't get my hands on any of them yet, I've put in some requests with inter-library loan and will see if they come through". rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 23:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Can one modify "massifiers" by adjectives, e.g. by saying something like 一大杯咖啡 for "a big cup of coffee"?
    • Yes; I mentioned that a bit with the 一大群人 example, but only in passing (a single sentence at the end of the classifier vs. massifier section). The Cheng & Sybesma article has much, much more on this, if you think it's worth adding (in general, though, I've been trying to avoid getting too technical and detailed, for the sake of normal readers). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 23:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
  • To which extent are classifiers needed in ordinal construction, such as 第一[个(?)]人?
    • I believe they're mandatory, just as in normal number constructions. I'm not a native speaker so my "intuition" is not the best, but I'm pretty sure that's how it is. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 23:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
  • You don't need classifiers in constructions such as 三千马 or 五万人, do you?
    • As far as I know, you still do. The only time I hear those numbers "without" classifiers is with 'measurement units' like 天 and 元 (or, for example, the line from 大话西游, "一万年!"). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 23:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Some words don't need classifiers, e.g. some units of time (年,天, but not 星期,月) - I guess because they can themselves be used as measure words?
    • Yep, it's something like that. As far as I know, the fact that 年 and 天 don't take classifiers but 星期 and 月 do is an arbitrary historical accident. (I have a source somewhere that says something to that effect, but I don't remember which one off the top of my head). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 23:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Maybe expand even more the section on "Variation", trying to explain how speakers choose e.g. between 位, 名, or simple 个 when counting people, or between 条 and 只 when talking about dogs... This is discussed, in a sense under individual words, but maybe a general discussion would be useful.
  • This is already discussed to some extent in measure word, but we can just as well mention existing parallels in English: "5 grain of rice" or "3 blades of grass" (vs. "5 peas" or "3 flowers"), or "a copy (of a book/newspaper)".

Again, thanks for great work. Vmenkov (talk) 12:07, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Great work. A couple of suggestions/thoughts:
  • since you mention the similarity of systems of closely related or geographically related languages, perhaps a few examples?
  • Regarding the lack of classifiers on oracle bones; I have to admit hazy knowledge of that period of writing but if I remember rightly, the set of characters was rather restricted. Did characters exist at that stage that could have served as such? And, is there any evidence that the writing may have not fully reflected the language as it would have been spoken?
  • Merger of classifiers does not only affect 個; my mother never uses 匹 for horses, only for bolts of cloth, for horses 隻. I realise that's not a source but you may have one? Akerbeltz (talk) 19:49, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. Regarding the first point, unfortunately I don't know any Tai or Austronesian languages or any of the other ones described there; I just have those sources saying that the systems are similar, and I took it more or less at face value (I have very little background in historical linguistics and typology, so this section of the article was the most difficult for me to write). Wang's dissertation might have more; I haven't read all of it closely, but much of it is devoted to why she thinks Chinese had a classifier system before the Tai languages did, so I imagine she also spends some time describing the Tai system.
About the oracle bones... I too know little about this, but I think it's pretty widely accepted in Chinese linguistics that the writing system always lagged several centuries (at least) behind actual speaking. I wouldn't be surprised if things like classifiers were appearing in speech long before they are attested in writing, but unfortunately there's no good record of how language was spoken back then; the only stuff that has been preserved is more formal writing.
The thing about 匹 is interesting...is bolts of cloth also a standard thing that this classifier is used for, or do you think your mom is using it in a non-standard way (ie, in a dialect that's slightly different than Standard Mandarin)? It sounds to me like this is similar to what happens with 個 (and 隻 is also a very general, "overused" classifier like 個, I believe especially in Taiwan), but I have no explanation for the use of 匹 with bolts of cloth unless that's just a regular part of the dialect. Using 隻 for horse is not surprising, I think; to me at least, 匹 sounds very formal. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 20:09, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed on the oracle bones. I just thought there's an offchance historical linguistics may have spotted something. I'll have a look if I have anything in my library on Tai/Austronesian.
Well, the dictionaries list 匹 as applying to bolts of cloth and horses so it's not an unusual usage. I personally think that the move from 匹 to 隻 is due to HK being rather thin on horses so it probably got squeezed out to lack of usage, whereas bolts of cloth are fairly ubiquitous. Akerbeltz (talk) 20:24, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Tasks

(both for my own reference and for anyone else who is watching)

  • Rewrite intro, per WP:LEDE, so it summarizes the article. It should also, though, retain the very basic stuff about what classifiers are and when they are used (currently the 2nd para), which doesn't need to have its own section in the article since it's pretty simple. For most average readers, though—even people who have been students of Chinese for years—I imagine that is as much as they know about classifiers and is the main thing they're looking for when they come to this article (in addition to the list, of course)...let's just hope they also read on and learn about all the nitty gritty as well.
  • Decide what to do, if anything, about the list of classifiers. (One option is always to spin it out...although that kind of feels like cheating.) decided to split it out, this article was getting quite big.
  • Review the list to make sure things are put into the right sections. will deal with that over there.
  • Gen copyedit.

rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 00:20, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

If I may add one - replace the underline of Chinese characters for emphasis with bold or colour, otherwise non-readers of characters may think the underline is part of the character. Akerbeltz (talk) 21:51, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I did worry about that, but on the other hand I think bolding them is also sometimes discouraged because it can obscure the characters. Or maybe italicizing is more discouraged than bolding. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 21:54, 4 July 2009 (UTC) Ah, found it: Wikipedia:Chinese#Characters. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 22:00, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I suppose if it's just individual characters, rather than whole strings of text, the bolding might not be so hard to read....then again, it's also the individual characters that we want to be easiest to read, since those are the subject of the article. One solution might be to bold classifiers when they appear in example sentences/phrases, and leave them unbolded when they appear by themselves (I guess that's what is done with the underlining right now). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 22:16, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I take your point, how about just changing the color then? Or set a background color? Akerbeltz (talk) 22:23, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I was just about to suggest color as another alternative. I tried bold, here is what it looks like; I don't think I like it, it makes the article look very dark and 'busy'. Color might work, but it would have a similar problem, making the article look a bit crazy; also there are accessibility problems (in the case of colorblind readers, readers with strange background colors set, people reading from a kindle or whatever instead of a normal computer, etc.). I guess we have to ascertain how much of a problem the underlining really is. Personally, I think the underline doesn't usually look like part of the main character since it's below the main line of text...but I'm speaking as someone who already knows how to read Chinese, so that might not be so obvious to someone who doesn't read Chinese. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 22:26, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Another thought: I'm reading Wang's dissertation right now (to get some more info on 个) and she uses underlining, rather than bolding; as far as I remember, most other articles I've read also do that. Of course, that doesn't mean we have to copy them (first of all we're not paper, so we have color options that they didn't have...plus, we're writing for a general audience, whereas they are writing for an expert audience), but it's just a thought. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:19, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

I showed underlined characters in a printout to some friends who were over for coffee and asked them to copy the chracters, 3 of the 4 (all non-readers) copied the underline. Even when told, they found it hard to tell the difference. Remember most people can't even tell which way up! I had a half hour discussion with a German museum curator once because they had mirrored a chinese letter and he was trying to explain to me that you can read chinese either way... Akerbeltz (talk) 08:32, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Hahaha, oh boy. That reminds me of this post a few weeks ago by Victor Mair (link seems to be dead today, here is a mirror of it).
I don't have much time just now, but later today I'll try doing them in green or something and see how it looks. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:42, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Unfinished discussion from FAC

copied over from Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Chinese classifier/archive1

Types:

While you say 书本 has a "plural" sense, your examples both involve "all". Is it perhaps exhaustive rather than simply plural? Chinese obviously doesn't normally use number: what makes these constructions different?

Since some of the most salient mass classifiers in English are "loaf/slice/piece of bread/cheese", etc., it might be instructive to give a Chinese equivalent.

I'm a little concerned that so much attention is given to mass-CL, which are not of much interest to an English speaker, compared to the amount of time on count-CL. Also, the section on verbal CL could be and maybe should be expanded.

What kind of "event" does 場 count? I assume that it's extremely general, like 个 for nouns. Are there also more narrowly applicable verbal classifiers, or is Chinese rather semantically impoverished in this area? (E.g., are there different ways of counting human activities that might actually take place in an arena, as opposed to weather or calendrical events? Would 場 be used for "2 solar eclipses"? Is it the only CL that could be so used?) If spoken Chinese uses two dozen noun classifiers, how many verbal classifiers does it use? And come to think of it, how many of those two dozen are count-CL? An English speaker wouldn't think twice of learning the Chinese for a "cup" of tea or "slice" of pie, but would consider 只, 头, etc. to be a challenge, and it would be considerate to be explicit about the extent of the challenge.

I haven't read the rest of the article, but do you cover how much semantic play is involved? For example, in medieval Japan, the 'wing' classifier for birds was also used for rabbits, though I don't know how seriously. (People will laugh at this today.) The supposed motivation was that their ears resembled wings, but some suspect that it may have been a way to justify violating Buddhist proscriptions against eating meat. kwami (talk) 07:30, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

  • About 书本...I think you're right. I don't know much about the formal differences between plural and exhaustive, but AFAIK these forms are closer to exhaustive—it doesn't necessarily describe every item in the set, but describes them all in a general fashion (for example, 书本很多 would literally mean "the books are very many", ie 'there are a lot of books'—on the shelf, or whatever...slightly awkward example, I think 车辆 'the cars' is more common). I could modify that sentence to say "to convey a plural or exhaustive sense); I just can't find anything on WP to link "exhaustive" to.
"Exhaustive" isn't a linguistic term. I would just describe the sense rather than trying to find a (probably unhelpful) label for it.
Actually, now that I think about it, I think "all" is not necessary in the translations, so trying to describe the sense as exhaustive is probably unnecessarily confusing and perhaps not accurate anyway. Li & Thompson call it "plural or collective", which I think is the safest and probably the most accurate description. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:49, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • About loaves of bread/slices of cheese...I'll do some brainstorming and then add one. Interestingly, the best examples (the ones you named) are precisely the foods most people in China don't eat ;). Perhaps the best example is "pizza": 一张比萨 one-CL-pizza has a count-classifier and refers to a whole pizza, whereas 一块比萨 one piece pizza has a mass-classifier and refers to a single piece of pizza. It doesn't sound too awkward in Chinese, and it's still a phrase that all readers can recognized.
Yes, that occurred to be when I wrote it! The pizza example would be good. "Bread" is an odd word this way (where you need a measure word for the basic unit), and I can't think of another example like it. I know: for pizza you could give the literal translation "one pie of pizza" (or "one pizza pie") as well as the idiomatic "one pizza".
Added the pizza example. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:49, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • As for attention to mass-CL...actually, my concern has always been the opposite. Beyond the "types" section, the article focuses almost entirely on count-classifiers to the exclusion of mass-classifiers; there simply has not been much research on mass-classifiers, since count-classifiers are more interesting (especially back when people still believed studying count-classifiers was going to give us insight into how categorization works in the human brain...although that has not really been the case). For example, the "relation to nouns" section, where prototype theory and neutralization and usage variation is discussed, is pretty much all about count-classifiers (since mass-classifiers can be used with pretty much anything, there's nothing interesting to say about 'which nouns they pattern with'); same goes for the "purpose" section, since mass-classifiers are nearly universal cross-linguistically, whereas count-classifiers are somewhat special.
Okay. I just haven't read enough of the article.
  • As for verbal classifiers....it's pretty much the same issue, there's not much written on them. Li & Thompson don't even acknowledge them as their own category (they essentially give them two sentences, and describe them as "another type of measure word is one that denotes an instance of occurrence of an event"), and most papers on classifiers tend to have a footnote somewhere near the beginning basically saying "there are some verbal classifiers out there, but I'm only gonna talk about nominal classifiers here"...for example, Zhang 2007 has "Chinese classifiers are not limited to nominal ones (mingliang ci) but also include verb classifiers (dongliangci), measurement units (danwei liangci), and so on. In this study, I am only concerned with nominal classifiers." Personally, I'm not even really convinced yet that verbal classifiers deserve their own category, because they seem similar to nominal classifiers to me; for example, one of Li & Thompson's six examples is 那场火没人死 (that-CL-fire not.have people die "Nobody died in the fire")—seems to me like it's just another nominal classifier, where the classified noun happens to be an event. The only verbal classifiers that I'm really confident about are all the ones that roughly mean "times" (次 ci, 遍 bian, 回 hui, etc.), which is also the only example I included in the section; those are the only ones that seem clearly "verbal" to me.
Yes, I was a bit dubious about the distinction myself. I wonder if we could make this more overt?
  • As for your question on 場, it is basically just a classifier for events in general (perhaps I should say that instead of "general classifier for events", to avoid sounding like I'm comparing it to the super-special 个/個). For example, Li & Thompson's examples are 那场球很紧 (that CL ballgame was very tense), 张那场火没人死 (no one died in that CL fire), and 昨天有一场电影 (yesterday there was a CL movie); I could include these examples in the article if you think it would help.
As you said, it seems 球, 火, and 电影 are just nouns, that 'event' nouns take a separate classifier than long thin nouns or small animal nouns, not that they're verbal. I can't see creating a special subsection for them. The "times" counters, okay. That would seem to be a distinct category.
  • Questions about other verbal classifiers.... well, I believe there are pretty specific and pretty general verbal classifiers, like there are for nouns. For example, the ones I listed above (次、遍、回) all roughly mean "times" and can be used pretty generally ("I did X however-many times"), but there is also 躺 specifically for trips/journeys, so you can say "I went to Beijing one 次" or "I went to Beijing one 趟"; the meanings sound a tiny bit different to me but not in any way that's translatable. (Also, with ones like 躺 there is the same problem I mentioned above, that I'm not totally convinced it's a verbal classifier, rather than just being the nominal classifier for trips/journeys.)
Worth mentioning.
  • As for the number of verbal classifiers, I have not yet found any data on this (probably because not until fairly recently did anyone bother trying to consider them as anything separate from nominal classifiers, and even then the boundary between 'verbal' and 'nominal' classifier is very unclear). I also have been unable to get my hands on any of the Chinese-language "classifier dictionaries" that are mentioned in the article. My impression is that the system of verbal classifiers, while not necessarily "impoverished", is certainly much smaller than that for nominal classifiers; while they're similar in that both systems have a small subset of classifiers that do 99% of the work in real-life, for nominal classifiers there are hundreds of extra/rare classifiers beyond that core set, whereas for verbal classifiers there seem to be very few. Likewise, while the so-called "core" set of nominal classifiers consists of over 20 common classifiers, anything that could be called a "core" set of verbal classifiers would probably be more like 5.
Worth mentioning too.
  • About semantic play.... the "Purpose" and "Variation in usage" sections both briefly mention ways in which classifiers can be used for stylistic purposes, etc. I don't know of any specific examples as interesting as the birds/rabbits one you mention in Japanese, but there is definitely a good deal of similar stylistic use in Chinese (especially if you listen to enough pop music...). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 18:43, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Haven't gotten to those sections yet. That's what I find interesting. kwami (talk) 23:46, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Late reply

After finally getting a hold of the He book I was trying to find, I was able to find some more stuff to cite against the division of "verbal" and "nominal" classifiers, and in this edit I removed the "verbal" section and turned the stuff about verbal classifiers into a side note in the intro to the bigger section. I think this should address some of the issues you raised above, including the dubious nature of the distinction, the general-ness of 場, and the number of verbal classifiers (still haven't found statistics, just a citation asserting that the vast majority of classifiers are nominal). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:53, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Comments regarding the lead (in preparation for future FAC)

  • the words "such as" are used 8 times (38 in the whole article)
  • "for example" is used 4 times
  • the second and third paragraphs of the lead don't have many links. Maybe link:
"a few dozen to several hundred distinct classifiers" to the relevant list
"different dialects" to the relevant article/list
"languages close to Chinese" to the relevant article or list
"Chinese grammar"
similar classifier systems
Chinese system
  • isn't 'full' in "full nouns" useless or redundant?
  • maybe prosify "this"/"that" (remove /)
  • "meaning they do not have any meaning" the two 'meaning' close together is not very nice
  • "Each noun is associated with particular classifiers." Is that true? Are there not nouns with only 'ge' associated to?
  • "many flat objects" is 'many' really necessary?
  • "long and thin things" : 'things' is not very encyclopaedic
  • "The manner in which speakers choose which classifiers to use with which nouns" maybe simplify to "The way speakers choose classifiers", "to use with which nouns" seems redundant
  • "(for example, all "long" nouns take a certain classifier)" this has already been noted before. Maybe write something like '(as for the "long" objects above)'
  • the use of quotation marks in the second paragraph ("long" nouns, "prototypical" pairings, "correct" classifier, "general classifier", "mass-classifier") reads a bit non encyclopaedic.
  • "anything in a box, such as cigarettes or books" I didn't know books where in a box!
  • "In all, Chinese has anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred distinct classifiers" is 'in all' really necessary?
  • "with speakers of different dialects often using different classifiers to count the same item" The usage of classifier isn't limited to 'counting' items.
  • The penultimate sentence of the second paragraph is a bit long. Maybe replace semicolon with a full stop.
  • "although classifiers themselves did not appear in these phrases until much late" does 'these phrases' refer to 'Classifier-like phrases'? (supposedly the latter doesn't contain classifiers)

Maybe more to come, GeometryGirl (talk) 00:10, 2 August 2009 (UTC) .

Thanks for the comments; I'll try to take a closer look at these issues and respond soon (this weekend I'm moving so I don't have much time). I finally got access to a new book, which I will be able to pick up from the library tomorrow, and once I have my hands on that I will be doing some more content editing as well. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:05, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Quick responses:
  • "such as" and "for example": I think this is pretty much unavoidable when trying to walk the line between content that is accessible for lay readers and content that is useful for more knowledgeable readers. These phrases are mostly using when defining or giving examples of a piece of jargon or a difficult concept; for example, if I just said "a content word" without adding 'such as a noun', that statement would be fine for anyone who's taken a linguistic class or two, but would fly over the heads of all lay readers (and that's only in the very first sentence of the article!). It might make the style feel a bit bumpy, but I think it's necessary for making the content comprehensible, and I can't think of any better ways to word it.
  • links I linked "different dialects" to Varieties of Chinese, and linked Chinese grammar; I don't think the others are viable, though. For "a few dozen to several hundred distinct classifiers", linking the term just doesn't stylistically seem to fit into the sentence for me (although if others agree it should be linked, it wouldn't be the end of the world). For "languages close to Chinese", there is no single article to link to; this is referring to languages such as Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and Japanese, all of which are in different language families. There is the same problem with "similar classifier systems", there is no one article to link to (Japanese counter word and Korean counter word are both linked in the see also section, but most of the other languages don't seem to have separate articles for their classifiers; there is Vietnamese syntax#Classifier position, at least). For "Chinese system", any link given would be circular; this is the article about the Chinese classifier system.
  • I wrote "full noun" to stress that these were semantically meaningful nouns, as opposed to words that have the grammatical behavior of nouns but have been semantically bleached. If there is any better way to word this I'd be open to suggestions.
  • "Each noun is associated with particular classifiers": this wording was the subject of a long discussion between me and kwami at the recent FAC. Basically, we're trying to express what every first-year student knows but is hard to cram into one sentence: that when you have a given noun, there is some classifier you're supposed to use it with (at least in simplistic, textbook grammar) and others that you shouldn't use it with. Anyway, if the current wording is a problem, it could be changed to "most nouns are associated with one or two particular classifiers".
  • "many flat objects: I believe many or some other qualifier is definitely necessary, as it is not the case that all flat objects take the classifier zhang. One thing that's clear about classifier systems is that languages are very selective in how they choose what a noun's main feature is; take roads, for example, one language might classify them as "flat" things and another might classify them as "long" things. In Chinese, roads are flat things but never take the classifier zhang (except perhaps in some special stylistic usage--but the whole thing that makes that stylistic is that you're using a classifier you normally would not use), they are instead classified with tiao, the classifier for long things; likewise, ground or land might be considered flat, but takes other classifiers, such as kuai(r) (for chunks or pieces of things). So, the general point is, not all flat things use the classifier zhang—the language is very selective in choosing which flat things will be considered "flat" for classifier purposes—and thus "many" is necessary in this sentence.
  • "(for example, all "long" nouns take a certain classifier)": Actually, that bit is trying to make a slightly different point than the one above it; it's a classical/categorical explanation for why the "long" nouns mentioned above happen to use the same classifier (the claim here is that they take the same classifier because their long-ness determines which classifier to use...as opposed to the claim of prototype theory, which would say that "long" nouns use the same classifier because they're similar to some prototype noun that uses it). I have tried to clarify it with this edit; hopefully that will make the parenthetical remark seem less redundant.
  • I didn't know books were in a box!: They can be :) (for example, if you're moving?) rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:48, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
  • In all, Chinese has ... classifiers: I think "In all" is necessary...given that this statement comes right after a long discussion of a bunch of different kinds of classifiers, it makes sense to clarify here that this is an attempt to count all of them.

Good luck with your move. The changes you have made already make a difference. Here is a continuation of lead issues:

  • Concerning the 'such as', some are unnecessary (I've taken the first three occurrences and given alternate formulations):
"always used in conjunction with a content word such as a noun" -> 'always used in conjunction with a noun or another content word'
"classifier phrases may be guided less by grammar and more by stylistic or pragmatic concerns on the part of a speaker, such as trying to foreground new or important information" replace 'such as' by 'who may be'
"classifiers may be used in variant ways (such as appearing after the noun rather than before it, or being repeated)" -> replace 'such as' by 'including'
  • "Furthermore, in addition" that's a big awkward and unnecessary
  • I quite like "most nouns are associated with one or two particular classifiers"
  • "In the modern Chinese languages, words known as classifiers or measure words" wouldn't it be more precise to replace 'words' by 'characters'?
  • "the choice to use a number or demonstrative at all, however, is up to the speaker" Chinese is not only a spoken language! (BTW, 'speaker' is used 5 times in the lead, some of which should probably be replaced)
  • "many flat objects" I get your point, maybe use 'some' which is more neutral
  • "whereas long and thin objects use 条 tiáo" here the wording seems to imply that *all* long and thin objects use tiao
  • "the mass-classifier 盒 (hé, "box") may be used with anything in a box" same comment as above
  • "Use of classifiers did not become" maybe add 'The' before 'use'
  • "longness" is not a word (used twice in the article)
  • "how groups of nouns are categorized" is it the groups of nouns that are categorized or the nouns themselves?
  • "Each noun is associated with one or more particular classifiers. For example, many flat objects such as tables, papers, beds, and benches use the classifier 张 (張) zhāng, whereas long and thin objects use 条 tiáo." The second sentence does not give examples of the fact described in the first. It seems the examples relate more to mass-classifiers.
  • "the mass-classifier 盒 (hé, "box") may be used with anything in a box" maybe replace 'anything in a box' by 'boxed items'. Can we use 'he' for presents that come in a box?

Maybe more later. 86.210.201.141 (talk) 15:11, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

replies
  • Your changes to "such as" look good, thanks.
  • I will implement the changes then, and maybe others.
  • "words known as classifiers or measure words" – actually, it would not be appropriate to replace "word" with "character"; there is a bit of a 'one character = one word' myth in Chinese, but they are not really the same thing. Characters are just a means for writing syllables, just as alphabetic letters are a means for writing sounds, and they do not always correspond to words in modern Chinese; all classifiers really are words, not just characters, and in fact some [albeit rare] classifiers are composed of more than one character. These include measurement units like 英里、公斤、etc., and monosyllabic classifiers as pronounced in dialects with erhua, such as 块儿).
  • OK, thanks for the explanations.
  • "speaker" – in linguistics and discussions of languages, "speaker" is generally used as a catch-all to refer to both people speaking and writing the language. (For example, someone who is called a "native speaker" of a language is assumed to both speak and write it, assuming that there is widespread literacy in that language.)
  • OK, thanks for the explanations.
  • "Each noun is associated with one or more particular classifiers. For example, many flat objects such as tables, papers, beds, and benches use the classifier 张 (張) zhāng, whereas long and thin objects use 条 tiáo." – I'm not sure how these examples don't illustrate the first sentence, but perhaps something I wrote is unclear. Would it be better if I replace the general examples with specific ones? (Something like "for example, the word "table" usually takes the classifier 张, whereas the word "road' usually takes 条") rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 16:30, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry, my point was that the example was more "for every classifier specific nouns are attached" rather than "for every nouns specific classifiers are attached"
  • I see. That's a bit of a controversial point (kwami and I had a long discussion about it on the FAC page), but I think it's more feasible that a noun has a specific classifier, rather than vice versa... some classifiers are very specific in what nouns they go with (for example, pi is used almost exclusively for horses, and duo for flowers), but many, such as zhang and tiao, go with a huge number of nouns and their use is still expanding as new words come into the language. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:43, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

More random comments

  • "This is still an open question." The reference is already 10 years old.
    • As far as I know, this is the most recent comprehensive/review paper about this debate. If it's a problem, though, the whole sentence could just be removed, it's not very crucial. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "For example, books take the classifier 本 běn, flat things take 张 (張) zhāng, animals take 只 (隻) zhī, machines take 台 tái" It seems you are citing rules with no exceptions...
  • Not all simplified characters have their traditional equivalent (for example, 头). Maybe all characters should be checked consistently.
    • Sorry, I didn't realize there was a traditional character for that (I never officially learned traditional characters, so I just know some here and there); if you see any more that are missing, let me know! rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Maybe write a sentence somewhere in the article about the meanings of 量 and 词 to give insight.
    • I added "literal Chinese equivalent" before the word 量词; hopefully that is enough to express the meaning (there's not much to say other than that 量="to measure" and 词="word"). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC) I also added a link to the wiktionary entry, which decomposes the word into the two characters. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:19, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "more or less one item" grrrrrr
    • Replaced with "generally only used with one item" rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "wǒ qù-guo liǎng cì" why is liang ci in bold? This isn't consistent throughout the article.
    • Removed bold; I think originally this was the only full-sentence example so I put it there to help non-Chinese-speaking readers locate where the actual classifier was, but that was before we were underlining everything. It's not necessary anymore, thanks for the catch. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "There may be specific patterns behind which classifier-noun pairs may be "neutralized" to use the general classifier, and which may not." Thanks for responding about this sentence in the FAC. English is not my first language, and I find it very bizarre (if not ungrammatical) and difficult to understand. What does the last 'which' refer to? Could you please rewrite it.
    • It also refers to "which classifier-noun pairs". How about this rewording: Some classifier-noun pairs may be "neutralized" to use the general classifier, and some may not; this variation may be governed by specific patterns. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "there is massive variability" 'massive' it not encyclopedic
    • Replaced with "great"; I think there should be at least something, because every language has variability and the point I'm trying to make in this sentence is that this even more variability than usual....but I agree that "massive" is not the right tone. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "Even within dialects or within a speaker" 'within a speaker' projects the wrong image in my mind
    • Reworded to "Even within a single dialect or a single speaker". rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "Much research on classifier systems in general" 'much research' is vague, 'in general' is uncessary. I recommend you read this regarding redundancy.
    • I think it makes sense to use "in general" here since it's specifically being contrasted, in the very next phrase, with "in particular". As for "much research", I thought the footnote at the end of the paragraph would cover that (it includes some examples of papers that discuss this), although I can try to think of a rewording if necessary. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "Mass-classifiers are present in all languages" reference needed
    • The reference is the one at the end of the sentence (Tai 1994, p. 3; Allan 1997, pp. 285–6; Wang 1994, p. 1). I could duplicate it in the middle of the sentence as well, if it's unclear. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "Many authors have assumed that" 'many authors' is vague
    • Rewrote the first two sentences of this paragraph to remove the weasel words. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "to foreground important information and objects by making them bigger" is 'bigger' really the word used in the reference?
    • Probably not, but it's one of the main points that paper is getting it. In addition to grammatical mumbo jumbo about what classifiers do, they literally make a phrase bigger (longer to pronounce or write, longer to read/hear, etc.), drawing attention to them. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "count-classifiers might not serve an abstract grammatical" 'abstract grammatical' sounds oxymoronish
    • Really? It doesn't sound that way to me (maybe that's all the semesters of Chomsky-influenced linguistics classes speaking... "abstract grammatical" to me sounds redundant, if anything). Anyway, I removed "grammatical", so it's just "abstract function" now. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "In this way, count-classifiers might not serve an abstract grammatical or cognitive function, but may help in communication by making important information more noticeable and drawing attention to it." This sentence, concluding a paragraph, reads more like the conclusion of an essay than anything else. Let the facts speak for themselves...
    • I was mostly trying to sum up, in simple words, what may have been a confusing discussion. If you think the discussion was easy enough to follow already, this sentence could be removed. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

GeometryGirl (talk) 22:05, 2 August 2009 (UTC)