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Erbse

measure word of 香蕉 (个,根,条,只)

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Erbse

I was surprised when my textbook introduced the measure word for 香蕉. It says 个 is the correct one. A good friend from Shanghai said 根 is the only correct one and I used that when shopping for bananas. If I had to guess freely, I thought 条 should be correct. Google says:

"一只香蕉" 594,000 (edit: thanks to xiaocai)

"一根香蕉" 195,000

"一个香蕉" 110,000

"一条香蕉" 66,100

Wikipedia uses 根 and 条 in one single article:

但是一根淨重約100克的香蕉的卡路里僅約87千卡

一條中等大小的香蕉含有451mg的鉀

So I'm a little bit confused which one is correct. Maybe one of those is meant for bananas after removing the peel? Or is it a regional thing? Formal vs. informal? Any insight would be nice.

Edited by Erbse
added one more measure word

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buzhongren

The online dictionary MDGB and printed Tuttle Concise Chinese Dictionary says the MW is 根. 个 is the universal MW.

xiele,

Jim

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skylee

Of the four choices, the only one that I would not use is 個.

個 is not really that universal.

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chrix

As far as I know, 個 has already replaced many classifiers in spoken colloquial Northern Mandarin and is well on its way towards becoming a universal classifier.

The written language will probably be slower to change.

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Daan

根 is used by the guy at the fruit stand across the street from where I live here in Taipei. I actually had a conversation with him once about the measure word used for bananas. He must have thought I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic :wink:

(See, I managed to restrain myself and not use "had gone bananas" there...)

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xiaocai
As far as I know, 個 has already replaced many classifiers in spoken colloquial Northern Mandarin and is well on its way towards becoming a universal classifier.

How come I don't feel this change...?

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chrix
How come I don't feel this change...?

As I'm not a mind-reader, I don't know. Though one could start with a bit of googling :conf (like the OP did)

On a more serious note, if you want to start a discussion on this, you could perhaps lay out in a bit more detail where you don't agree, and then we might even open a new thread devoted to this issue.

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Kenny同志
As far as I know, 個 has already replaced many classifiers in spoken colloquial Northern Mandarin and is well on its way towards becoming a universal classifier.

个 is a frequently used classifier in my dialect. we say 一个狗的/狗儿,一个鸭的/鸭儿,一个牛儿、一个山上 and the like. I don't think 个 has replaced other classifiers as 个 is always there.

In colloquial Chinese, as far as I know, 一根香蕉, 一个香蕉 are quite common, while 一只香蕉 sounds to me somewhat formal. I've never heard of 一条香蕉. Maybe it is valid in some dialects.

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xiaocai
As I'm not a mind-reader, I don't know. Though one could start with a bit of googling (like the OP did)

On a more serious note, if you want to start a discussion on this, you could perhaps lay out in a bit more detail where you don't agree, and then we might even open a new thread devoted to this issue.

I have no intention to go into the details of this matter as I am not a linguist or whoever that would be very interested in this kind of changes. All I wanted to say was that as an individual I haven't noticed any significant change of the use of classifiers. Perhaps statistically there is, but just like I said, I don't feel it at all.

Same as kenny2006woo's case, 个 is also used more frequently in my dialect compared to other classifiers. So yes, I think this might have had some impact on the way I speak standard mandarin (even it is not that standard...). But I would see it as more of a dialectic influence rather than "the trend from north".

@ kenny2006woo: I also find "一条香蕉" somewhat funny. I don't know why but it sounds weird to me. :mrgreen: But then again, it could be just me.

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Kenny同志
I don't know why but it sounds weird to me. But then again, probably it is just me.

Then you are not alone. I feel that way too.

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skylee
But I would see it as more of a dialectic influence rather than "the trend from north".

xiaocai, thank you so much for mentioning it. I was quite upset by "the trend from north" theory. I am not sure why what is in spoken colloquial Northern Mandarin "is well on its way towards becoming a universal classifier". Of course one could argue that it is just an observation and the sentence does not imply causal relationship. :mrgreen:

Like you, I am not a linguist and could be very intimidated when linguists say something (as if it) is true. :)

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Mouseneb

I had a tutor from Xi'an and I was asking him for some measure words for various nouns. He told me 个 every time. I thought that was odd, so I started asking him for some I knew for sure were not 个. He answered 个 for those as well. When I asked him why, he shrugged and said it was ok to use 个 for everything. I said, ok, but I want to know the correct measure word. he said "Just use 个, it will be ok." He isn't my tutor anymore...

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Kenny同志
When I asked him why, he shrugged and said it was ok to use 个 for everything

This is of course not the case and it is very irresponsible of your tutor to utter such a conclusion. For example, it is wrong to say 一个纸 in whatever circumstances. Although, 一个牛儿 is perfectly acceptable in some dialects, it is weird to the ears of almost all native Chinese speakers when you speak in Mandarin.Bear in mind that quite a number of Mandarin tutors are not qualified or TRULY professional. On some occasions, I am even tempted to say THEY (some translators and tutors) KNOW NOTHING. I've been refraining from doing this so far, but it is really tempting.

Edited by kenny2006woo

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anonymoose

People often worry about what the "correct" noun classifier is, or more broadly, what the "correct" word in any situation is, but since languages are subjective by nature, its difficult to say authoritatively what is correct and what is not. In many of these situations, one must accept that there is more than one possible answer. A more useful answer would be to give the relative frequency of use of the various words, which Erbse already did using Google statistics. (I know they're not perfect, but they give a rough idea.)

By the way, in Shanghainese, 只 and 个 seem to be by far the most frequently used noun classifiers.

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HashiriKata
Like you, I am not a linguist and could be very intimidated when linguists say something (as if it) is true.
Is "linguist" becoming a dirty word? :D. There are many kinds of linguists and many don't usually claim any knowledge. There are also many true linguists who aren't even aware that they are.

8)

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tooironic

So I guess we're not mentioning 串 then? :D

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Lu

When I saw the question I immediately thought 只, but 根 also sounds good. 條 to my feeling is for long things that bend more than once, or that can bend and unbend. Fish and roads qualify, but not bananas, they are rigid.

If that makes any sense.

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Erbse

Lu, thanks for the 条 explaination. So much better than everything I heard so far.

I have trouble using 只 , because I mostly used it for animals so far.

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Shi Tong

I've heard both 条 and 只 TBH, but I would use 只, and certainly not 个.

个is used in a lot of places it "shouldn't" be used, and my Taiwanese friends and teacher told me it's either an indication of lazyness or lack of education.

That's not to say that if they always use 个 in some places, that those people are wrong or less educated, it's what they're used to, and that makes sense to them, but to those who are trying to say the correct measure words for the correct item, it's quite annoying!:wink:

I reckon that over time, the rules will relax and more and more things will become 个

I know that there is already something which is dying, and that's the measure word for trousers/ pants, because most people use "jian4", instead of the traditional word, which I have already personally forgotten!!:mrgreen:

BTW- in reply to Lu, isn't 条 mostly used in conjunction with wire/ thread/ rope/ string? Indicating that your answer is right?.. I know that most people say "yi 条 xian" for "one (length of) string".

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