Comparing classifier use in 1995 and 2010 early child Cantonese to explore social change in Hong Kong

Hui Li, Eileen Chin Mei Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-97
Number of pages19
JournalChinese Language and Discourse
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • classifier use
  • Cantonese
  • young children

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