The term classifier is used for a variety of elements whose function can somehow be described as that of assigning linguistic expressions to classes:
In Chinese, unless the noun itself denotes a unit of a measurement (e.g. nián 'year'), it must be preceded by a classifier when it occurs with a numeral or a demonstrative.
yí gè qiú one CL ball 'one ball'
- numeral classifier (this is probably the most frequent sense when classifier is used alone), also called sortal classifier
- mensural classifier
- possessive classifier
- classifier (Athapaskan linguistics)