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why is the measure word for ship is difference ,such as these sentences,please?

一艘大船。
一只小船。

For learning: Chinese (Mandarin)
Base language: Chinese (Mandarin)
Category: Language

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    I believe ship can take a few measure words.
    Smaller boats use 叶”and“只.
    Larger boats use 条
    Warships and really really large boats use 艘.

    It also I believe because China is so big and words can vary across the country, for example some places in China use 土豆 for potato and other places might use 马铃薯 or 薯.

    when we describing a small ship we use '只'as measure word, but in terms of big ship such as steamer we ues '艘' ; it's just phrase, no clear reason :D

    *** 番薯 直譯為 foreign yam 沒錯 但是 是 sweet foreign yam
    是屬於植物的塊根 亦稱為「白薯」、「番藷」、「番芋」、「地瓜」、
    「甘薯」、「甘藷」、「山芋」

    *** 馬鈴薯 是屬於植物的塊莖 亦稱為「山藥蛋」、「洋芋」

    *** " 葉 " 用作船隻量詞 僅限於 "一葉扁舟" "一葉小舟"而不能說成 一葉船 一葉小船
    葉 用以形容舟之扁平 甚至無船舷 無舟艙

    *** "艘" 用於計算船隻、艦艇的單位 並不限定於 體積特大者 這是比較正式的用法
    一艘航空母艦 一艘軍艦 一艘貨船 一艘大船 一艘遊艇 一艘帆船 一艘小船 一艘漁船 均可

    *** "隻" "條" 是描述其長型 不是描述體積 屬於較隨意的用法
    "隻" 簡化為 "只" 失其描述長型的原義
    詞彙 "船隻"

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