Hello all! I'd like to ask about an issue that drew my attention in Portuguese. Why are countable items tagged/labeled in the form of bare singular nominal in Portuguese language?
In Portuguese language, I know that there is countable/uncountable distinction. Hence, in Portuguese language countable nouns are used plural in a sentence just like saying "I bought apples" in English. However at groceries/stores in Portugal I noticed that many kinds of fruit and vegetables are tagged singular. For example apples are tagged as "maçã" not "maçãs". There are also plural usages at the labels of packages such as "ervilhas(peas)" and "morangos(strawberries)". I know that count/mass distinction appears in many European languages and plural form is preferred in order to tag/label such items on price tags, product packages, ingredients/nutrition lists etc. due to sentential usage. In English, countable nouns are all tagged in plural such as apples, strawberries, oranges, jackets etc.if they are more than one.
Why is there that inconsistency and how are countable items are tagged in Portuguese? For example if I have a product which is a bag of oranges, should I translate it labeling as "laranja" or "laranjas"? If a product includes oranges, in the ingredients list is it written as "laranja" or "laranjas"? Is there any literature, research that touches upon that tagging/labeling issues? Thank you very much for your help and contribution.