chapter  3
Nouns, classifiers and noun phrases
Pages 17

Nouns can be divided into two broad categories: proper nouns and common nouns. When a noun is accompanied by one or more modifying words, such as 'three cars', 'that car' or 'the red car' it is called a noun phrase. Noun phrases in Thai frequently involve the use of a class of words called classifiers. Classifiers are an obligatory component of noun phrases containing numerals. Classifiers occur not only with cardinal numbers, but also with other quantifiers, demonstratives and adjectives. In both English and Thai, uncountable nouns, such as rice, beer and silk may be counted by the kilo, the bottle or the metre; in Thai these measure words are regarded as classifiers. There has been a huge influx of English borrowings over the last 50 years, including scientific, technical and business terms and words associated with food, dress, arts, sports and other leisure activities.