Measure words for virtual things named after real things

September 20, 2012, 09:31 PM posted in General Discussion

Dear hive mind: when words for physical objects are extended to include similar objects in the virtual world, do the same measure words apply?

一把刷子: for a hairbrush or paintbrush. But still 把 if it's a "brush" used to modify formatting or digital images?

一张照片: for an old picture of grandma, but can you still use 张 to count the number of photos stored in my phone?

一本影集: for a photo album, but still 本 if it's an online photo album? This is the one that feels weirdest to me (I'm guessing that the collocation for photo album is less like album and more like gallery, but a quick search of my online resources isn't turning up anything convincing).




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