Point II : The Use of Classifiers

 

The examples below are taken from the Basic Sentences you have learned in this unit:

 

mùak  bay   nán raakhaa  thaˆwray
  'How much is that hat?'
bay  năkhráp.
  'Which one?'
bay  sĭidam rʉ̆y  khráp.
  'The black one?'
maˆy  chaˆy,  bay  sĭinámtaan.
  'No, the brown one.'
phŏm  càʔ  sʉ́y bay  raakhaa  haˆa bàad.
  'I'll buy the five baht one.'

 

     In each of the examples above the classifier bay (used here as the classifier for 'hat') is used with a descriptive word or phrase.  You will notice that whereas a number-word comes before the classifier (Unit 2, section B.1, Point 5), the examples here show us that the place for the descriptive word or phrase is after the classifier.

     The examples you had in Point 1 of this section showed you that descriptive words are not always preceded by a classifier.  In this connection notice the following contrasting pairs of examples:

mùak  bay  nán     raakhaa  thaˆwray   'How much is that hat?'
mùak  nán raakhaa  thaˆwray   'How much is that hat or those hats?'
soˆm  bay   níi  duu  dii  maˆak   'This orange looks very good.'
soˆm  níi  duu  dii  maˆak   'This orange or these oranges look very good.'

     These examples indicate that when the classifier is used with a descriptive word you are talking about one particular hat or orange or whatever it may be.  When the classifier is omitted, on the other hand, you may be talking about one hat or several, about one orange or the whole lot of them.

 

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