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Before number denotation de, het or nothing?

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:49 am
by k.tihanyi
Hy,

I'm asking why it is "de" in the sentence:

“Kinderen onder de 9 jaar zien nog niet alles in het verkeer.”

Is the reason that “9 jaar” is plural even if (het) jaar remains in singular?

So would it be: “Kinderen onder het 1 jaar…”? while e.g. “Kinderen onder de 1 week…”?

Would it be incorrect without article? So for example:

Kinderen onder 9 jaar/1 jaar/ 1 week…

Thanks a lot

Re: Before number denotation de, het or nothing?

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:16 pm
by BrutallyFrank
k.tihanyi wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:49 am
Hy,

I'm asking why it is "de" in the sentence:

“Kinderen onder de 9 jaar zien nog niet alles in het verkeer.”

Is the reason that “9 jaar” is plural even if (het) jaar remains in singular?

So would it be: “Kinderen onder het 1 jaar…”? while e.g. “Kinderen onder de 1 week…”?

Would it be incorrect without article? So for example:

Kinderen onder 9 jaar/1 jaar/ 1 week…

Thanks a lot
In this case it's because it implies there's an age limit. On average there wouldn't be 'de' or 'het', so 'onder het 1 jaar' or 'onder de 1 week' are wrong (even though your train of thought is quite logical). One would probably say: jonger dan 1 jaar/1 week.

Because it's about an age limit, the full sentence would be something like: kinderen onder de leeftijd van 9 jaar zien nog niet alles in het verkeer. Somehow we abbreviated it to 'de 9 jaar' without letting go of 'de' (which would probably be more logical). Personally I think that 'de 9 jaar' still implies that limit (maybe even focus on it), although for someone else it seems very strange if you don't know about the words 'leeftijd van' or 'grens van'.

Re: Before number denotation de, het or nothing?

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:03 pm
by BrutallyFrank
k.tihanyi wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:49 am
Would it be incorrect without article? So for example:

Kinderen onder 9 jaar/1 jaar/ 1 week…

Thanks a lot
Oops, I missed that last part: yes, it would be correct to leave 'het lidwoord' out!

Re: Before number denotation de, het or nothing?

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:55 pm
by ngonyama
The singular "het jaar" used to have a plural "de jaar" (or earlier "de jare") in the nominative and accusative case, but "den jaren" in the dative case. Later the dative form "jaren" became the plural in general and the case system collapsed, but in combinations with numerals you can still see the old plural:

Het jaar dat ik daar doorgebracht heb -- singular
De twee jaar die ik daar doorgebracht heb -- plural with numeral

De jaren die ik daar doorgebracht heb -- the plural as it is mostly used now.

Re: Before number denotation de, het or nothing?

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:02 pm
by k.tihanyi
This old dutch reasoning (het jaar->de jaar, de jare) seems extremely interesting. Is there (can be) a similar explanation also for the other nouns (apparently) in singular after numerals (uur, kwartier; meter, hectare, liter, kilogram, ton, euro; maal, keer...)?

Thank you immensely

Re: Before number denotation de, het or nothing?

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:12 pm
by ngonyama
For "uur" I am pretty certain the same applies as for "jaar".

The other ones I am not so sure of, because, say, meter or euro, are words that came along long after the collapse of our declensions. (1500-1600 or so). Maybe the use of the "singular" there was done by analogy: by that time even Dutch speakers thought that "twee uur" was a singular.

By the way: Middle Dutch is certainly not the only language where plurals could be unchanged and only recognizable from their articles. In French you have lots of them like la fois - les fois. In modern Dutch that duplicity has often been resolved because the dative "-en" ending became the accepted plural even for strong declensions. They originally had -e for nom/acc plural. (The weak declensions already had -en in nom/acc.)