I've been working with Rosetta Stone for about 2 weeks now, and due to the immersion (from the start, the entire program is entirely Chinese—no English anywhere), they don't do any explaining of grammatical concepts, they just demonstrate them.
I've come across four phrases that appear to be demonstrating some grammatical concept that I don't understand.
Here they are:
So I understand these to mean
- a car
- an egg
- five books
- five newspapers
Let's take #3. 五本书. I get that 五 is 5 and 书 is book. How does 本 function here? Is it a plural marker? Is there something with number words? Because it also seems like you can say 一匹马. So is 匹 here a plural marker? If these are plural markers, why are there so many?
To distill my question down, what is the word that often comes between a number and a noun? Are these phrases actually different, but they seem similar? It almost seems like every word has its own plural marker (if that's what these are). Are there more that I don't know about?