Why is Pays de Galles masculine and not plural? Is it an exception?

Why is Pays de Galles masculine and not plural? Is it an exception?

Asked 4 years ago
GruffKwiziq language super star

Good question! I suspect you're comparing "Pays de Galles" with "Pays-Bas" and they do look like they both ought to be plural. In fact, however, "pays" is actually the same word in singular and plural form (a bit like "sheep" in English). It means land or lands, and the country names literally mean, The Land of the Galls (Le Pays de Galles = Wales), and The Low-Lands (Les Pays-Bas = Holland).

That was a really good answer that clarified it for me completely. Thanks for making reference to "sheep" as it reminded me that there are indeed words that are used both for plural and singular forms of the same thing. Thank you.

Why is Pays de Galles masculine and not plural? Is it an exception?

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