Measure word

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{language, word, form}
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{game, team, player}

In linguistics, measure words, known more formally as numeral classifiers and also called counters, count words, counter words, or counting words, are words (or morphemes) that are used in combination with a numeral to indicate the count of nouns. The term "numeral classifier" arises from the fact that measure words often classify the noun they modify into some semantic class closely akin, but distinct from grammatical number or gender. Measure words are most often used when counting. Their use is analogous to English words that represent units or portions of mass nouns, for example one drop of milk, ten grains of rice, fifty head of cattle, three pieces of cake.

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Global distribution

Measure words are part of the grammar of most East Asian languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Malay, Burmese, Thai, Hmong, and the Bengali and Munda languages just to the west of the East and Southeast Asia linguistic area. Among indigenous languages of the Americas, measure words occur in the Pacific Northwest, especially among the Tsimshianic languages, and in many languages of Mesoamerica, including Classic Maya and most of its modern derivatives. They also occur in some languages of the Amazon Basin (most famously Yagua) and a very small number of West African languages.

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