On the Idiosyncrasies of the Mandarin Chinese Classifier System

NAACL 2019 Shijia LiuHongyuan MeiAdina WilliamsRyan Cotterell

While idiosyncrasies of the Chinese classifier system have been a richly studied topic among linguists (Adams and Conklin, 1973; Erbaugh, 1986; Lakoff, 1986), not much work has been done to quantify them with statistical methods. In this paper, we introduce an information-theoretic approach to measuring idiosyncrasy; we examine how much the uncertainty in Mandarin Chinese classifiers can be reduced by knowing semantic information about the nouns that the classifiers modify... (read more)

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