Measure words for people

People

I often hear people saying that a difficult part of learning Mandarin is getting used to all the measure words. There are a bunch of them, but I actually think it's easier than in English.

Does any English-speaking person really know all the collective nouns for things i.e. a flock of geese, but a murder of crows, etc.

Chinese has one standard measure word:

(Gè). It's pronounced a bit like the "ge" in "gert", and has a sort of guttural sound, and definitely not like the "ge" in "german".

It can be used for people. So I can say:

一个人 (Yīgè rén) which is literally like "one unit/measure person"

It can also be used for specific types of person:

一个男人 (Yīgè nánrén) for "one man"
一个女人 (Yīgè nǚrén) for "one woman"

If I'm referring to family members, I can use:

(kǒu) which is pronounced like rhyming with "row" as in "row a boat"

I can then say:

三口人 (Sānkǒu rén) for "three family members"

A more polite measure word for other people though would be:

(Wèi) which is pronounced like "way".

I can then say:

一位老女人 (Yī wèi lǎo nǚrén) for "an old woman"

Many of these types of measure words also have different meanings when not used as measure words.

For example: (Wèi) when used as a noun, can mean seat or place.

If I need to show status to someone, not just the respect that (Wèi)  implies, I can use:

(Míng) which is pronounced pretty much as you'd expect in English

I can then say:

一名法官 (Yī míng fǎguān) for "a judge"

 

 

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