Dubbel meervoud -(e)n / -s

  • Siegfried Theissen


The Grote Van Dale and the Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst include
hundreds of nouns whose plural can be formed with -(e)n or/and -s without any
difference in meaning. Thanks to the two large electronic corpuses (for Flanders,
the weekly magazine Knack, 1991-2000, and for the Netherlands, the daily
newspaper NRC-Handelsblad, 1993-1994) which include over 60 millions
words, the autor has determined which plural was more frequent for some 150
common nouns. The study brings out differences between north and south
alchough it appears that the magazine Knack has increasingly been using
standards from the Netherlands over the past few years. A comparison with
the historical Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal shows an evolution towards
plural forms in -s, a trend which is more marked in the south than in the
north. We can also notice that while GVD and ANS still mention the two
plurals for a number of nouns, in most cases, at least in a written text, as a matter
of fact they have only kept one of the two forms, either with -s or with -n.

How to Cite:

Theissen, S., (2003) “Dubbel meervoud -(e)n / -s”, Handelingen - Koninklijke Zuid-Nederlandse maatschappij voor taal- en letterkunde en geschiedenis 57, 89-116. doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2003
Peer Reviewed