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Numeral measure nouns

A numeral measure noun refers to an exact number of things. For example, a phrase like in dozyn a dozen refers to an exact amount of countable things, namely twelve.


All numeral measure nouns can be preceded by numerals, whereas numerals themselves cannot be preceded by numerals. So the following contrast obtains:

Example 1

a. Trije dozyn
three dozen.SG
Three dozens
b. *Trije tolve
three twelve
Three dozens

Compounds with the suffix –tal number provide a productive example of numeral measure nouns:

Example 2

Trije tsientallen
three ten.number.PL
Three teams of ten

Such compounds have a regular plural after numerals, whereas a noun like dozyn dozen is not pluralised following a numeral.