The Mandarin classifier is changing: How and why


  • Mingzhe Zheng
  • Jie Liu



Mandarin Chinese, nominal classifiers, language change, social meaning


This study aims to investigate the current state of Mandarin nominal classifier, uncover the change in classifiers across time, and explore the social meaning of classifier variation. A production experiment found a decline in diversity in specific classifiers over time. Perception results from the younger group demonstrate that classifier variation indexes a series of related personality characteristics. The age difference in participants’ production and perception indicates that the classifier variation is a change led by young people and suggests such change might have been motivated by the variable’s social meanings.




How to Cite

Zheng, Mingzhe, and Jie Liu. 2023. “The Mandarin Classifier Is Changing: How and Why”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 8 (1): 5498.