coupled words 2½, 3½ and such

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ngonyama
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coupled words 2½, 3½ and such

Post by ngonyama » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:07 am

The Taalunie recognizes such a thing as a samenkoppeling. This is a term arrived at by coupling a number of other words together. They are always written using koppeltekens (hyphens: -). No, this is not the same as a compound (samenstelling) that is typically written as onewordwithouthyphens. In a samenkoppeling the hyphens as mandatory.

E.g. you put peper en zout (pepper and salt) on the table, and there are sets (a stel) of little containers for this purpose.
Such a set is a peper-en-zoutstel.
Because the multiword expression peper en zout is compounded with the noun stel this becomes a samenkoppeling written with hyphens.

This has rather strange consequences for the half integer numerals, like 2½, 3½, 4½ etc.

As an adjective 2½ is either short: tweeënhalf or long twee en een half

Het duurde tweeënhalf uur
Het duurde twee en een halve maand

However, if you use, say 7½ as a noun, e.g. the grade you get on a grade report (in Holland they usually involve a scale from 0-10), the noun becomes a samenkoppeling:

Ik had een zeven-en-een-half op mijn rapport.

So, diaeresis in tweeënhalf, spaces in twee en een half, and hyphens in twee-en-een-half.

If the Taalunie has done this to confuse the enemy, they certainly succeed in confusing many native speakers too, :mad:

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