Skip to main content
Object categorisation using Malay shape-based numeral classifiers
GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies
  • Khazriyati Salehuddin, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Heather Winskel, Southern Cross University
Document Type
Publication Date
Peer Reviewed
Categorisation is fundamental in human cognition and language development. Crosslinguisticstudies on categorisation propose numeral classifiers as a linguisticmanifestation of human categorisation and conceptualisation. Thus, studies on numeralclassifier acquisition enable researchers to examine how children learn to categoriseobjects in their environment using a constrained framework, and how this abilitybecomes more refined as children grow older. This study investigated the strategieschildren utilise in categorising objects into eight Malay shape-based numeral classifiercategories using a paired discrimination task. One-hundred-and-forty-eight childrenranging in age from 6 to 9 years and a comparison group of adults participated in thisstudy. Results revealed that children categorised objects more readily when there was astrong (two-perceptual feature distinction) than weak (one-perceptual feature distinction)contrast, and when exemplars were typical rather than atypical. There appears to be agradual transition from a perceptually biased to a broader, more rule-based system.
Citation Information

Salehuddin, K & Winskel, H 2011, 'Object categorisation using Malay shaped-based numerical classifiers', GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, vol.11, no. 3, pp. 53-68.

Published version available from: