Classifiers and Maxim Flouting


ผศ.ดร.เกศกานดา จตุรงคโชค




Numeral classifiers have been studied by both linguists who consider them to be
function morphemes with no semantic significance and those who contend that they are
semantically loaded. While considering both views not to be incorrect, this study, leaning
toward the latter view, demonstrates that speakers use classifiers to achieve their intended
communicative goals. Questionnaires were administered to native speaker informants to
ascertain whether Thai native speakers are bound by linguistic rules when matching a noun
with its classifier. In many cases, the assignment of classifier to noun was found to be
indecisive. Such indecisiveness suggests that the assignment of a classifier to a noun is not
rigidly rule-governed. In addition to the questionnaire, informants were asked to read four
short scenarios, each of which consisted of a misuse or flouting of a classifier. Not judging
the flouting as a mistake, they stated what communicative goal was achieved via such
flouting. The results show that classifiers, in addition to having semantic contents, can be
used as pragmatic devices.

(2019). Classifiers and Maxim Flouting. LEARN JOURNAL, 12(2), 1-13.