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A wide variety of languages (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) employ special expressions, numeral classifiers, in numeral noun phrases that pertain to the number of some things, e.g., their counterparts of ‘three cows’. This paper discusses what numeral classifiers are, and what distinguishes them from measure words and other related expressions. The paper argues that numeral classifiers are para-numerals for one serving as numeratives (the para-numeral account). Numeratives are expressions belonging to a wide syntactic class that includes not only numeral classifiers but also their syntactic cousins, including (a) various kinds of measure words, and (b) group numeratives. Included among group numeratives are para-numerals, grammatical cousins of numerals: ‘pair’, ‘couple’, ‘dozen’, ‘score’, etc., and their counterparts in numeral classifier languages. On the para-numeral account, numeral classifiers are siblings of the usual para-numeral numeratives. While these are grammatical cousins of numerals for numbers greater than one, numeral classifiers are cousins of numerals for one. The view of classifier languages presented in the paper contrasts sharply with the prevailing view of classifier languages in contemporary linguistics. The prevailing view holds that all classifier language nouns are mass nouns (the mass noun thesis), while taking numeral classifiers to be measure words (the measure word account). The para-numeral account contrasts with the measure word account of the function of classifiers, and meshes well with a thesis of classifier language nouns opposite to the mass noun thesis: classifier languages have count nouns as well as mass nouns (the count noun thesis).