no plural (where English has plural)

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zingendezaag
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no plural (where English has plural)

Post by zingendezaag » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:58 am

Hi, I found these sentences on the internet using google:


Baerke en Theike zijn allebei voetbalfan.

Slapen en eten zijn allebei werkwoorden.



Am wondering why the voetbalfan is singular but werkwoorden is plural.

Also, why is aap singular in:

Zijn jullie dommer dan een aap?
Are you guys dumber than monkeys?


Edit: Also, does anyone know of a Dutch grammar book covering this? I can't find any reference to it in the ones I've got.

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Bert
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Re: no plural (where English has plural)

Post by Bert » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:09 pm

Just an extra. You can also find "Wij zijn allebei voetbalfans en zitten bij VV Lyra, dat is in De Lier." on the internet.
http://voetbal-nl-eredivisie.jouwweb.nl/wie-zijn-wij

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Quetzal
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Re: no plural (where English has plural)

Post by Quetzal » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:01 pm

zingendezaag wrote:Hi, I found these sentences on the internet using google:


Baerke en Theike zijn allebei voetbalfan.

Slapen en eten zijn allebei werkwoorden.



Am wondering why the voetbalfan is singular but werkwoorden is plural.

Also, why is aap singular in:

Zijn jullie dommer dan een aap?
Are you guys dumber than monkeys?


Edit: Also, does anyone know of a Dutch grammar book covering this? I can't find any reference to it in the ones I've got.
Yikes. Now there's a good question. No wonder you haven't found any reference to it in any grammar book, that's not something there are any simple rules for... or any rules at all, that I'm aware of.

The best I can do is that "fan" in sentences like "Ik ben fan van ..." is a noun used as a (predicative) adjective, which is admittedly all kinds of weird, and not a concept I've ever thought about before. It lacks the article, and so seems more related (grammatically) to e.g. "Ik ben gek op ...", than it does to "Ik ben een fan van...", which certainly also exists, and is straightforward enough. And which would definitely have "Ze zijn fans van" in the plural.

And then we go and make it a compound word on top of it, "voetbalfan" instead of just "fan van voetbal", but that doesn't really change the basics of it.

Conclusion: this is a fascinating anomaly even to a native speaker, but you may be relieved to know that the alternative with a plural is also possible, so you can just use that.

The "aap" thing is less interesting, that's just Dutch phrasing things a little differently than English, although I wouldn't be surprised at all if some speakers of English were fine with "are you guys dumber than a monkey?". After all, they could all be dumber than one and the same monkey, rather than each needing their own monkey compared to whom they could be dumber... :P

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