A Semantic Study of the Classifier 只zhī, 个gè And 条tiáo in Mandarin And Three Southern Chinese Dialects

  • Chanyaporn Chawla Chulalongkorn University, Thailand


As we know, in spoken language, 个gè is a commonly accepted general classifier 3 in Modern Chinese. However, this is not the case for other dialects. In the Southern dialects, the specific classifier 只zhī in Mandarin is adopted (Wang, 2008 (c): 279- 281). Additionally, in certain Southern
dialects, 条tiáo has a wide range of uses. Thus, it can be said thatall these individual classifiers share one common feature: all are often used with several kinds of common nouns, i.e. for persons, animals, body parts, objects of daily use, etc. Consequently, in this paper, I will explore the three Chinese classifiers 只zhī, 个gè and 条tiáo in Mandarin, comparing them with the three other Southern dialects, namely Hakka, Chaozhou, and Cantonese, employing the prototype theory (Rosch, 1978) and interview technique, in order to reveal how Northern and Southern people view the world through these classifiers.

Author Biography

Chanyaporn Chawla, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand