The functions of classifiers in Chines language
|In modern Mandarin, classifiers are obligatory with numbers and demonstrative. Below is a pattern of quantity indication in the Chinese language structure.|
sa'n (number) zhi~ (classifier) ma'o (book)
zhe` (determiner) sa'n (number) zhi~ (classifier) ma'o (cat)
In the study, the Chinese quantity indication (number phrase) have four functions which are listed below. (1) - (3) is a 1997 classification by Furukawa while (4) was newly added in this study.
1) Quantity indication
3) Individualized functions
4) Indefinite functions
In connection with 2) above, Yasui, in 1998 categorized this as a classifier having to do with particles and their attachments; and a detailed analysis has been carried out on this.
For further and deeper understanding of the individualized function, please refer to Okouchi's 1985 research on the subject.
Chinese bare noun are definite nouns. Chines numeral phrases (number + classifier + noun) are indefinite nouns. Chinese numeral phrases are used in opposition to bare nouns. The numeral phrase is chosen by the speaker, but it is unknown to the listener. Therefore, in Chinese, numeral phrases become an indefinite marker. Contrasting to this, the definite marker is the bare noun.