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Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by kyrintethron, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    This is probably a really basic question, but I want to be sure I'm understanding this perfectly.

    I've learned 群 as a measure word for groups, crowds, herds, flocks, etc. And I understand its basic use, e.g. 一群鸟.

    Where I'm perplexed is its use with people. And so this is a two part question:

    1) I've learned 人群 as a word for crowd (of people). What would be the appropriate measure word for this?

    个? - 一个人群?
    群? - 一群人群?
    or does it simply stand alone? 一人群?

    2) What makes more sense to a native? Using 人群 above (with whichever measure word is appropriate)? or saying 一群人 instead?

    Thanks!
    -K
     
  2. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    Very good questions, kyrinththron!
    In my experience, I've never seen a measure word for 人群.
    And yes, you can say 一群人, which means "a crowd/ group of people".

    The reason for 人群 not to have a measure-word is that 人群 normally refers to all of people at a particular place or event. In English, we use "the crowd", which is not countable.
    As an illustration, contrast the following example:
    一群人站在门外聊天。(A group of people/ a crowd stood talking outside the door.)
    人群开始向前移动。(The crowd began to move onwards.)

    Do note, I have seen 这些人群 (These groups of people), so if you count 些 as a measure-word then there are measure-words for 人群. The thing that separates it from 一群人 is that it's definite whereas 一群人 is not.
     
  3. tarlou Senior Member

    Chinese
    Both 一个人群 and 一群人 are correct.

    一群人群 is very awkward. Normally I think there is no need to say "several crowds of people". But if this phrase is needed for some reason, I'd say 几个人群 or 几群人 (几群人 is better).

    一人群 is wrong at the first glance. But maybe it is possible in a context: 看,外边有一人群 (look, there is a crowd outside). 个 can be "swallowed" sometimes, but note that Southern Chinese may probably consider this sentence as wrong.

    I think 一群人 is a better and more natural phrase than 一个人群.
    When there is an adjective, for example a big crowd of people, always use 一大群人 and don't try 一个人群, because there is no way to add a one-word adjective to 一个人群. The minimum one is probably 一个很大的人群 (still very awkward).
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
  4. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    Those were awesome responses, xiaolijie and tarlou!! Wonderful information and insights!

    谢谢!!
     
  5. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    人群 is "population" in statistics. In that case you say 一个人群 (a population), not 一群人 (a crowd).
     
  6. zhg Senior Member

    Chinese
    I agree with xiaolijie,I have never seen 人群 being measured either.Just curious ,do you say one crowd two crowds three crowds in English?
     
  7. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    No, we normally say "a crowd" (indefinite, mentioned for the first time) or "the crowd" (definite, the hearer knows what crowd is being talked about). As I mentioned in my earlier post, we have the equivalent contrast in Chinese: 一群人 vs 人群.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  8. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    Interestingly enough, I can think of times when the distinction could be made ("two [separate] crowds gathered to fight [each other]"), but it seems more natural to use other words, like "two gangs" or "two groups of people". It could make sense to say "two crowds", but I can't recall ever hearing it or seeing it written.

    -K
     
  9. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

    Yes, in Chinese, there's also another word to replace 群 if you want to count the crowd, and it's 伙, e.g. 外面有两伙人打起来了。-- There're two gangs fighting outside.
     
  10. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    The word "crowd" includes the basic sense of "an undifferentiated mix". For this reason, it's very unusual to say "two crowds", "three crowds", because these words imply that the crowd are properly sorted, which is a contradiction of the basic meaning. So, if they are actually sorted, they're sorted into "groups", "gangs", "cohorts", delegations, ... and not "crowds" :)
     
  11. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    Haha, it's funny that you mention that, because I just learned it yesterday right before I started this thread. My understanding is that it's a derogatory word for unruly groups of people like hoodlums or gangs. Is it used exclusively in this way? Or can it also be used for "counting" any type(s) of crowds or groups of people?
     
  12. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    伙 here is a measure-word and I don't feel it's that derogatory: 一伙儿学生 :)
    It probably depends on the context and the way it's used.
     
  13. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    Is there any distinction between 伙 and 群? or are they synonyms?
    And can 伙 be used for animals, too? or is it restricted to people?

    Thanks,
    -K
     
  14. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    Yes, they're kind of synonyms, but 伙 as far as I know tends to be used for people whereas you can use 群 for people, animals and things.
     
  15. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    Got it. :)

    谢谢
     
  16. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    By the way, 伙 indicates that the group of people are socially / mentally connected. 一群人 is just a group of people who are physically close to each other, but there is a good chance they don't know each other and have different purposes. That is, they may or may not socially connected; on the other hand, 一伙人 is a group of people who usually know each other. They belong to the same organization and have the same purpose.
     
  17. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    I see. Does this social connectedness always imply a sense of familiarity among the members of the group? Or can their social connection be as loose as a group of kids checking to see if they got a part in the school play (whether they know each other or not)?

    -K
     
  18. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    伙 literally means 'partner'. When it is used in the sense of 'group', it emphasizes the 'partnership' within this group. However, it really depends on the context which 'partnership' it refers to. It could emphasize more on 1) the objective aspect of partnership, that is, the teamwork and the common purpose or 2) the familiarity and the closeness of the members. Note that in (1), it may be somewhat derogatory, and as such, is usually used with 'criminal/hooligan/pirates'...

    I would use 伙 for school kids who are good friends playing together; but probably would stick with 群 for a bunch of random kids checking a list.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  19. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    Yeah, my dictionary made the same implication, so I had only planned on using it in that context anyway. Even if it's possible to use it in a non-derogatory sense, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    -K
     
  20. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    This is an excellent post, stellari, and is what we need here. I don't think a standard dictionary would be able to come to this depth.
     
  21. HYCHIN Junior Member

    Cantonese
    I speak Cantonese. I cannot accept 一人群 as tarlou has said.

    In Cantonese 人群 can be counted by the measure word 批 (batch): 有两三批人群聚集. (indefinite subject introduced by 有)
    I don't know whether the North accepts the word 批.

    I think is also ok: 我身处在那个人群中. (a definite object)

    I suggest that if a measure word for groups, like 伙, 批, 群, is used, then the phrase 人群 can be replaced by 人 without making any difference in meaning: 有一批人=有一批人群
    But 个 does not mean a group, so 那个人群=那群人

    What do you think of the meaning of the following sentence?
    每年夏天, 大批狮群会进入草原.
    (A) Every summer, many groups of lions will enter the grasslands.
    (B) Every summer, a large group of lions will enter the grasslands.
    (C) This sentence is ambiguous
    (D) I won't say in this way.
     
  22. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

    We do say 批, but I wouldn't use it as the measure word of 人群. I'd say 一批人:tick: and 两三批人:tick: rather than 一批人群:confused:.
    大批狮群 sounds OK for me, but I don't think 批 is used as a measure word here. I think 大批 is just like "a large number of"

    @xiaolijie: Yes, I also find stellari has given very clear and comprehensive explanation in post #16 and #18!:thumbsup:
    WR may need a "vote" button for each post, so that the learners could search for "the most voted thread/post" before they encounter the same problem:D
     
  23. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    @HYCHIN: I'd translate "大批狮群" in your sentence as "large groups of lions" (instead of "a large group of lions", since during the summer there will be more than one group entering the grasslands).

    @Lucia_zwl: Thanks for your great post ! :)
    Unfortunately we don't have such a button and moderators can't just add features if they want to. We're only a small part of WR! But you may like to try suggesting this in the Comments & Suggestions forum :)
     
  24. BODYholic Senior Member

    Singapore
    Chinese Cantonese
    I don't think it is really that difficult, especially for native speakers right?
    Anyway, 大批狮群 is the same as 大批狮群.
    If there are hordes of lion prides, we say "大批大批的狮群". Another words, "一批又一批的狮群...".
     
  25. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    I think I understand. Is 伙 used with enough frequency to describe non-delinquents that I could feel comfortable using it to describe any associated group of people without implying negative connotations or sounding offensive? or is there a more neutral measure word for this?

    Thanks,
    -K

    Also, thanks for the clarification on the options with 人群 and the introduction of 批. I really have learned far more than I ever expected to from a single post. You all make WR a great place to learn!

    谢谢!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  26. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    I agree with Lucia and xiaolijie. I would interpret 大批狮群 it as prides (pl.) of lions. However, knowing that someone out there might interpret it in a slightly different way, I would consider it ambiguous and thus avoid to use it myself if I have to be precise about the number of groups.
     

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