This study compared and analysed the classifier usage in two cohorts: the 492 Cantonese-speaking young children tested in 1995 (Tse & Li, 2011), and the 143 children tested in 2010 (Li & Tse, 2011). The results indicated that: (1) the 1995 and 2010 cohorts shared the same 8 most commonly used classifiers, go3, zek3, gaa3, bui1, baa2, gau6, zoeng1, gaan1; (2) Two top 10 classifiers were found in the 2010 cohort: zi1, and bou6; (3) both cohorts overused the general classifier go3; and (4) both cohorts overused zek3 and gau6 to replace sortal classifiers and even to replace the general classifier go3. The pragmatic features and the associated social changes were discussed to understand the minor changes in classifier use between 1995 and 2010 cohorts.
- classifier use
- young children