Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Plural Classifier xie and Grammatical Number in Mandarin Chinese


This paper presents an analysis of Mandarin Chinese as having both singular classifiers and a plural classifier, xie. The Num head is the cross-linguistic locus for number marking, hosting both plural suffixes (such as English -s) and classifiers. As Mandarin bare nouns are general number (inclusive plural), singular classifiers create a singular reading while plural classifier xie creates a plural (exclusive plural) reading; thus Mandarin makes a three-way grammatical number distinction.

Main Content
Current View