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The following sentence is from a newspaper article メレンゲ菓子は数あれど、これほど繊細なものは珍しい。

  1. あれど = あるけど makes sense to me in the context, and this seems to be supported by my searches so far - is it simply a written form?
  2. The full phrase "は数あれど" appears extremely common on google - is 数 here read しばしば, and is this a set phrase?
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は数あれど is not a phrase. – user458 Aug 17 '11 at 18:16
@sawa: I may be wrong, but I think it's a phrase, while it is indeed not a sentence. – Axioplase Aug 18 '11 at 5:13
@Axioplase It is not. It is not even a constituent. メレンゲ菓子は or メレンゲ菓子は数あれど are each a phrase. – user458 Aug 18 '11 at 5:15
up vote 7 down vote accepted
  1. Yes, basically. It's a literary construction (and indeed the origin of けど); basically you take the conditional stem (仮定形) of a verb (or other conjugable) and instead of attaching 〜ば you attach a 〜ど: so あれど、言えど、思えど、よけれど etc.

    Note for pedants: Technically, it's the perfective stem (已然形) we attach a 〜ど to.

  2. 数 is pronounced かず here. The collocation 数ある means ‘many’. The first half of your sentence may be translated as follows: ‘Although there are many meringues, ...’

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Also note that we use "number" in a similar way in English: "There are a number of ways to serve a meringue, but the best way is..." – Matt Aug 18 '11 at 0:42

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