Burmese classifiers system has been already studied (see Haas (1951), Burling (1965), Hla Pe (1965), Lehman (1979), Becker (1975)). However, all these surveys were devoted to Numeral classifiers analyzing them in terms of physical, functional or social characteristics and/or essence of the entities. Among the different noun categorizations, I intend to show that two kinds of categorization may be found in Burmese, based respectively on conceptual and taxonomic systems. Beside the obvious and complex numeral classifier system (conceptual system) used mainly for quantification, co-occur a noun classifier system (taxonomic one), and traces of an old pre-head classifier system, as suggested by Thurgood (1981). The conceptual system of numeral classifiers in Burmese uses physical criteria as shape, height, consistency, essence (animate vs non-animate, abstraction...) and social criteria (i.e. hierarchy in animacy), functional criterion as for classifying tools or vehicles, but also arrangement or collection criterion for grouping items, and quanta criteria to classify mass nouns . On the other hand, the taxonomic system of noun classifiers divides part of the living organisms in subcategories as the subcategory of trees, flowers, or animals. Then, the remnants of a classifier system using prefixes seem to reflect medicinal and culinary properties of plants. But this hypothesis has to be confirmed by deeper studies especially in other languages of the family.
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.