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It is said that European Portuguese has count/mass distinction as many Indo-European languages. However I noticed out that all products/items at stores in Portugal are labeled in singular form. In European Portuguese although countable nouns are used plural in a sentence like "I bought apples" as in English, they appear in the form of bare singular nominal on a price tag.

Hence, it is possible to see a price tag "maçã/kg" rather than "maçãs/kg" for the apples at the supermarkets in Portugal. I have seen plural tags for such items so far in all languages where there is count/mass distinction except European Portuguese. Why is there such use of bare nominals in European Portuguese which sounds incompatible with sentential meaning?

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    Just for the record, the same thing happens in Brazilian Portuguese. – Otavio Macedo Mar 30 '13 at 13:09
  • Thanks for the input. There is a useful article "Bare Nominals and Number in Brazilian and European Portuguese" written by Müller&Oliviera. So, on the contrary to European Portuguese, bare singular nominals are widely used in Brazilian Portuguese as far as I understand. It's not surprising that such tags are singular in Brazil. There is clear mass/count distinction in European Portuguese as stated in the article. However, they have bare singular nominals on tags which are different than the use in sentences. I couldn't find any explanation/exemplification regarding that issue. – LingX Mar 31 '13 at 3:06

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