Dual (grammatical number)

Dual (grammatical number)

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Dual is a grammatical number
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

 that some languages use in addition to singular and plural
Plural
In linguistics, plurality or [a] plural is a concept of quantity representing a value of more-than-one. Typically applied to nouns, a plural word or marker is used to distinguish a value other than the default quantity of a noun, which is typically one...

. When a noun or pronoun appears in dual form, it is interpreted as referring to precisely two of the entities (objects or persons) identified by the noun or pronoun. Verbs can also have dual agreement forms in these languages.

The dual number existed in Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

, persisted in many of the now extinct ancient Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 that descended from it—Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

, Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 and Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

 for example—and can still be found in a few modern Indo-European languages such as Scottish Gaelic, Slovenian, Frisian
North Frisian language
North Frisian is a minority language of Germany, spoken by about 10,000 people in North Frisia. The language is part of the larger group of the West Germanic Frisian languages.-Classification:...

, Chakavian
Chakavian dialect
Chakavian or Čakavian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The name stems from the word for "what?", which is "ča" in Čakavian...

 and Sorbian
Sorbian languages
The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

. Many more modern Indo-European languages show residual traces of the dual, as in the English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 distinctions both vs. all, either vs. any, neither vs. none, and so on.

Many Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

 also have dual number. For instance, in Arabic all nouns can have singular, plural, or dual forms. For non-broken plural
Broken plural
In linguistics, a broken plural is an irregular plural form of a noun or adjective found in the Semitic languages and other Afroasiatic languages such as Berber. Broken plurals are formed by changing the pattern of consonants and vowels inside the singular form...

s, masculine plural nouns end with ون and feminine plural nouns end with ات , whilst ان , is added to the end of a noun to indicate that it is dual (even among nouns that have broken plurals).

Comparative characteristics


Many languages make a distinction between singular and plural
Plural
In linguistics, plurality or [a] plural is a concept of quantity representing a value of more-than-one. Typically applied to nouns, a plural word or marker is used to distinguish a value other than the default quantity of a noun, which is typically one...

: English, for example, distinguishes between man and men, or house and houses. In some language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

s, in addition to such singular and plural forms, there is also a dual form, which is used when exactly two people or things are meant. In many languages with dual forms, use of the dual is mandatory, and the plural is used only for groups greater than two. However, use of the dual is optional in some languages such as many modern Arabic dialects including Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the language spoken by contemporary Egyptians.It is more commonly known locally as the Egyptian colloquial language or Egyptian dialect ....

. In other languages such as Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, the dual exists only for words naming time spans (day, week, etc.), a few measure words, and for words that naturally come in pairs and are not used in the plural except in rhetoric: eyes, ears, and so forth. In Slovene the use of the dual is mandatory, except for nouns that are natural pairs, such as trousers, eyes, for which the plural form can be used.

Although relatively few languages have the dual number and most have no number or only singular and plural, using different words for groups of two and groups greater than two is not uncommon. English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 has words distinguishing dual vs. plural number, including: both/all, either/any, neither/none, between/among, former/first, and latter/last. Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

, which has no grammatical number, also has words dochira (which of the two) and dore (which of the three or more), etc.

Use in modern languages


Among living languages, Modern Standard Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 has a mandatory dual number, marked on nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns. (First-person dual forms, however, do not exist; compare this to the lack of third-person dual forms in the old Germanic languages.) Many of the spoken Arabic dialects have a dual marking for nouns (only), but its use is not mandatory. Likewise, Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 had a dual number, though its use was confined to standard phrases like "two hands", "two eyes", and "two arms". The dual in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 has also atrophied, generally being used for only time, number, and natural pairs even in its most ancient form.

Inuktitut
Inuktitut
Inuktitut or Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian Inuit language is the name of some of the Inuit languages spoken in Canada...

 and the related Central Alaskan Yup'ik language
Central Alaskan Yup'ik language
Central Alaskan Yup'ik or just Yup'ik is a Yupik language of the Eskimo language family, in turn a member of the Eskimo–Aleut language group, spoken in western and southwestern Alaska. Both in ethnic population and in number of speakers, Central Alaskan Yup'ik is the largest of the languages...

 use dual forms; however, the related Greenlandic language does not (though it used to have them).

Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

, particularly Polynesian languages
Polynesian languages
The Polynesian languages are a language family spoken in the region known as Polynesia. They are classified as part of the Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family. They fall into two branches: Tongic and Nuclear Polynesian. Polynesians share many cultural traits...

 such as Hawaiian
Hawaiian language
The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaii, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the state of Hawaii...

, Niuean
Niuean language
The Niuean language or Niue language is a Polynesian language, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian languages. It is most closely related to Tongan and slightly more distantly to other Polynesian languages such as Māori, Sāmoan, and Hawaiian...

 and Tongan
Tongan language
Tongan is an Austronesian language spoken in Tonga. It has around 200,000 speakers and is a national language of Tonga. It is a VSO language.-Related languages:...

, possess a dual number for pronouns but not for nouns, as nouns are generally marked for plural syntactically and not morphologically. Other Austronesian languages, particularly those spoken in the Philippines
Languages of the Philippines
In the Philippines, there are between 120 and 175 languages, depending on the method of classification. Four languages no longer have any known speakers. Almost all the Philippine languages belong to the Austronesian language family...

, have a dual first-person pronoun; these languages include Ilokano
Ilokano language
Ilokano or Ilocano is the third most-spoken language of the Republic of the Philippines....

 (data), Tausug
Tausug language
Tausūg is a language spoken in the province of Sulu in the Philippines, in Malaysia, and in Indonesia by the Tausūg people....

 (kita), and Kapampangan
Kapampangan language
The Pampangan language, or Kapampangan , is one of the major languages of the Philippines. It is the language spoken in the province of Pampanga, the southern half of the province of Tarlac and the northern portion of the province of Bataan. Kapampangan is also understood in some barangays of...

 (ikata). These forms mean we, but specifically you and I. This form once existed in Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

 (kata or sometimes kita) but has disappeared from standard usage (save for certain dialects such as in Batangas
Batangas Tagalog
Batangas Tagalog, more properly Batangan, is a dialect of the Tagalog language spoken primarily in the province of Batangas, Philippines, as well as some parts of Quezon, Laguna, and Mindoro island. The dialect is distinctively characterized by a very strong accent and its vocabulary and grammar is...

) since the middle of the 20th century.

The dual was a standard feature of the Proto-Uralic language
Proto-Uralic language
Proto-Uralic is the hypothetical language ancestral to the Uralic language family. The language was originally spoken in a small area in about 7000-2000 BC , and expanded to give differentiated protolanguages. The exact location of the area or Urheimat is not known, but the vicinity of the Ural...

, and lives on in Sami languages
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

 and Samoyedic languages
Samoyedic languages
The Samoyedic languages are spoken on both sides of the Ural mountains, in northernmost Eurasia, by approximately 30,000 speakers altogether....

, while other branches like Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian have lost it. Sami also features dual pronouns, expressing the concept of "we two here" as contrasted to "we". Nenets, two closely related Samoyedic languages
Samoyedic languages
The Samoyedic languages are spoken on both sides of the Ural mountains, in northernmost Eurasia, by approximately 30,000 speakers altogether....

, features a complete set of dual possessive suffix
Possessive suffix
In linguistics, a possessive affix is a suffix or prefix attached to a noun to indicate its possessor, much in the manner of possessive adjectives. Possessive suffixes are found in some Uralic, Altaic, Semitic, and Indo-European languages...

es for two systems, the number of possessors and the number of possessed objects (for example, "two houses of us two" expressed in one word).

The dual form is also used in several modern Indo-European languages, such as Scottish Gaelic, Slovenian, Frisian
North Frisian language
North Frisian is a minority language of Germany, spoken by about 10,000 people in North Frisia. The language is part of the larger group of the West Germanic Frisian languages.-Classification:...

 and Sorbian
Sorbian languages
The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

 (see below for details). The dual was a common feature of all early Slavic languages at the beginning of the second millennium CE.

Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew


In Biblical, Mishnaic, and Medieval Hebrew
Medieval Hebrew
Medieval Hebrew has many features that distinguish it from older forms of Hebrew. These affect grammar, syntax, sentence structure, and also include a wide variety of new lexical items, which are usually based on older forms....

, like Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and other Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

, all nouns can have singular, plural or dual forms, and there is still a debate whether there are vestiges of dual verbal forms and pronouns. However, in practice, most nouns use only singular and plural forms. Usually ים is added to masculine words to make them plural for example ספר/ספרים "book/books", whilst with feminine nouns the ה is replaced with ות . For example פרה/פרות "cow/cows". An example of the dual form is יום/יומיים/ימים "day/two days/[two or more] days". Some words occur so often in pairs that the form with the dual suffix is used in practice for the general plural, such as עין/עינים "eye/eyes", used even in a sentence like, "The spider has eight eyes." Thus words like only appear to be dual, but are in fact what is called "pseudo-dual", which is a way of making a plural. Sometimes, words can change meaning depending on whether the dual or plural form is used, for example; 'ayin can mean eye or water spring in the singular, but in the plural eyes will take the dual form of 'enayim whilst springs are 'eynot. Adjectives, verbs, and pronouns have only singular and plural, with the plural forms of these being used with dual nouns.

Modern Hebrew


In Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew , also known as Israeli Hebrew or Modern Israeli Hebrew, is the language spoken in Israel and in some Jewish communities worldwide, from the early 20th century to the present....

 as used in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, there is also a dual number, but its use is very restricted. The dual form is usually used in expressions of time and number. These nouns have plurals as well, which are used for numbers higher than two, for example:
Singular Double Triple
פעם אחת (once) פעמיים (twice) שלוש פעמים (thrice)
שבוע אחד (one week) שבועיים (two weeks) שלושה שבועות (three weeks)
מאה (one hundred) מאתיים (two hundred) שלוש מאות (three hundred)


The pseudo-dual is used to form the plural of some body parts, for instance:
רגל (leg) → רגליים (legs)
אוזן (ear) → אוזניים (ears)
עין (eye) → עיניים (eyes)
יד (hand) → ידיים (hands)


In this case, even if there are more than two, the dual is still used, for instance ("a dog has four legs").

The dual in Indo-European languages


The category of dual can doubtless be reconstructed for the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

, the ancestor of all Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

, and it has been retained as a fully functioning category in the earliest attested daughter languages. The best evidence for the dual among ancient Indo-European languages can be found in Old Indo-Iranian (Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 and Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

), Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey. It is an archaic version of Ionic Greek, with admixtures from certain other dialects, such as Aeolic Greek. It later served as the basis of Epic Greek, the language of epic poetry, typically in...

 and Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

, where its use was obligatory for all inflected categories including verbs, nouns, adjectives, pronouns and some numerals. Various traces of dual can also be found in Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

 and Old Irish (see below), and in some fossilized terms in Latin.

Due to the scarcity of evidence, the reconstruction of dual endings for Proto-Indo-European is difficult, but at least formally according the comparative method
Comparative method
In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with common descent from a shared ancestor, as opposed to the method of internal reconstruction, which analyzes the internal...

 it can be ascertained that no more than three dual endings are reconstructible for nominal inflection. reconstruct the dual endings as:
  • Nominative
    Nominative case
    The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

    /Accusative
    Accusative case
    The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

    /Vocative
    Vocative case
    The vocative case is the case used for a noun identifying the person being addressed and/or occasionally the determiners of that noun. A vocative expression is an expression of direct address, wherein the identity of the party being spoken to is set forth expressly within a sentence...

    : *-h₁(e)
  • Genitive
    Genitive case
    In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

    /Ablative
    Ablative case
    In linguistics, ablative case is a name given to cases in various languages whose common characteristic is that they mark motion away from something, though the details in each language may differ...

    : *-h₁(e) / *-oHs
  • Dative
    Dative case
    The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given, as in "George gave Jamie a drink"....

    : *-me / *-OH
  • Locative
    Locative case
    Locative is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by"...

    : *-h₁ow
  • Instrumental
    Instrumental case
    The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action...

    : *-bʰih₁


Proto-Indo-European category of dual did not only denote two of something: it could also be used as an associative marker, the so-called elliptical dual. For example, the Vedic
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

 deity Mitrá
Mitra (Vedic)
This article is about the Vedic deity Mitra. For other divinities with related names, see the general article Mitra.Mitra is an important divinity of Indic culture, and the patron divinity of honesty, friendship, contracts and meetings...

, when appearing in dual form Mitrā́ it refers to both Mitra and his companion Varuṇa
Varuna
In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

. Homeric dual refers to Ajax the Greater
Ajax (mythology)
Ajax or Aias was a mythological Greek hero, the son of Telamon and Periboea and king of Salamis. He plays an important role in Homer's Iliad and in the Epic Cycle, a series of epic poems about the Trojan War. To distinguish him from Ajax, son of Oileus , he is called "Telamonian Ajax," "Greater...

 and his fighting companion Teucer
Teucer
In Greek mythology Teucer, also Teucrus or Teucris , was the son of King Telamon of Salamis Island and his second wife Hesione, daughter of King Laomedon of Troy. He fought alongside his half-brother, Ajax, in the Trojan War and is the legendary founder of the city Salamis on Cyprus...

, and Latin plural Castorēs is used to denote both the semi-god Castor
Castor and Pollux
In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri . Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who visited Leda in the guise of a swan...

 and his twin brother Pollux
Castor and Pollux
In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri . Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who visited Leda in the guise of a swan...

.

Beside nominal (nouns, adjectives and pronouns), the dual was also present in verbal inflection where the syncretism was much lower.

Of living Indo-European languages, the dual can be found in Scottish Gaelic dialects, Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

, Breton
Breton language
Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

, but fully functioning as a paradigmatic category only in Sorbian
Sorbian languages
The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

, Chakavian
Chakavian dialect
Chakavian or Čakavian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The name stems from the word for "what?", which is "ča" in Čakavian...

 and Slovene. Remnants of the dual can be found in many of the remaining daughter languages, where certain forms of the noun are used with the number two (see below for examples).

The dual in Greek


The dual can be found in Ancient Greek Homeric texts such as the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

 and the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

, although its use is only sporadic, owing as much to artistic prerogatives as dictional and metrical requirements within the hexametric meter
Hexameter
Hexameter is a metrical line of verse consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to Greek mythology, hexameter...

. There were only two distinct forms of the dual in Ancient Greek.

In classical Greek, the dual was all but lost, except in the Attic dialect of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, where it persisted until the fifth century B.C. Even in this case, its use depended on the author and certain stock expressions.

In Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

 and Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

 the only remnant of the dual is the numeral for "two", δύο, dýo, which has lost its Genitive and Dative cases (both δυοῖν, dyoĩn) and retains its nominative/accusative form. Thus it appears to be undeclined in all cases.

The dual in Latin


The dual was lost in Latin and its sister Italic languages
Italic languages
The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin , and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and Latin.In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed...

. However, certain fossilized forms remained, for example, diviginti (twenty), but triginta (thirty), the words ambo (both, compare Slavic oba), duo/duae with a dual declension.

The dual in the Celtic languages


Reconstructed Common Celtic nominal and adjectival declensions contain distinct dual forms; pronouns and verbs do not. In Old Irish, nouns and the definite article still have dual forms, but only when accompanied by the numeral da "two". Traces of the dual remain in Middle Welsh, in nouns denoting pairs of body parts that incorporate the numeral two: e.g. deulin (from glin "knee"), dwyglust (from clust "ear").

In the modern languages, there are still significant remnants of dual number in Scottish Gaelic in nominal phrases containing the numeral dà (including the higher numerals 12, 22, etc.) As the following table shows, dà combines with a singular noun, which is lenited
Lenition
In linguistics, lenition is a kind of sound change that alters consonants, making them "weaker" in some way. The word lenition itself means "softening" or "weakening" . Lenition can happen both synchronically and diachronically...

. Masculine nouns take no special inflection, but feminine nouns have a slenderized
Palatalization
In linguistics, palatalization , also palatization, may refer to two different processes by which a sound, usually a consonant, comes to be produced with the tongue in a position in the mouth near the palate....

 dual form, which is in fact identical to the dative singular.
Singular Dual Plural
cù ("a dog", masculine) dà chù ("two dogs") trì coin ("three dogs")
clach ("a stone", feminine) dà chloich ("two stones") trì clachan ("three stones")


Languages of the Brythonic
Brythonic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael...

 branch do not have dual number. As mentioned above for Middle Welsh, some nouns can be said to have dual forms, prefixed with a form of the numeral "two" (Breton daou-/div-, Welsh dau-/deu-/dwy-, Cornish dew-/diw-). This process is not fully productive, however, and the prefixed forms are semantically restricted. For example, Breton daouarn (< dorn "hand") can only refer to one person's pair of hands, not any two hands from two different people. Welsh deufis must refer to a period of two consecutive months, whereas dau fis can be any two months.

The dual in the Germanic languages


The dual was present in all the early Germanic languages, as well as in Proto-Germanic. However, the dual had been entirely lost in nouns by that time, and since verbs agreed with nouns in number, so had the third-person dual form of verbs as a result. The dual therefore remained only in the first and second person pronouns and their accompanying verb forms.

Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

 retained this situation more or less unchanged. It had markings for the first and second person for both the verbs and pronouns, for example wit "we two" as compared to weis "we, more than two". Old English, Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 and the other old Germanic languages had dual marking only in the personal pronouns, but not in the verbs.

The dual has disappeared as a productive form in all the living languages, with loss of the dual occurring in North Frisian dialects only quite recently. The dual survives very marginally in some Limburgish dialects as weet (we two) and jee (you two), but is archaic and no longer in common use. In Austro-Bavarian, the old dual pronouns have replaced the standard plural pronouns, for example, accusative enk, you plural (from Proto-Germanic *inkw, *inkwiz). A similar development in the pronoun system can be seen in Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

 and Faroese
Faroese language
Faroese , is an Insular Nordic language spoken by 48,000 people in the Faroe Islands and about 25,000 Faroese people in Denmark and elsewhere...

. Another remnant of the dual can be found in the use of the pronoun begge ("both") in the Scandinavian languages of Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 and Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, bägge in Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 and báðir/báðar/bæði in Faroese and Icelandic. In these languages, in order to state "all + number", the constructions are begge to/báðir tveir/báðar tvær/bæði tvey ("all two") but alle tre/allir tríggir/allar tríggjar/øll trý ("all three"), while the form *alle to is unattested.

Another example of a lost dual exists in the Faroese ordinals 1st and 2nd, which can be translated two ways: First there is fyrri and seinni, which mean the 1st and 2nd of two respectively, while fyrsti and annar mean 1st and 2nd of more than two.

The dual in the Baltic Languages


Among the Baltic languages
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

, the dual form existed but is now nearly obsolete in standard Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

. It can be occasionally found in poetic contexts and some dialects. The dual form Du litu was still used on two litas coins issued in 1925, but the plural form (2 litai) is used on modern two litas coins.
Singular Dual Plural
vyras ("a man") vyru ("two men") vyrai ("men")
mergina ("a girl") mergini ("two girls") merginos ("girls")
einu ("I go") einava ("We two go") einame ("We (more than two) go")

The dual in the Slavic languages


Common Slavic had a complete singular-dual-plural number system, although the nominal dual paradigms showed considerable syncretism
Syncretism (linguistics)
In linguistics, syncretism is the identity of form of distinct morphological forms of a word. This phenomenon is typical of fusional languages....

, just as they did in Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

. Dual was fully operable at the time of Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 manuscript writings, and it has been subsequently lost in most Slavic dialects in the historical period.

Of the living languages, only Slovene, Chakavian
Chakavian dialect
Chakavian or Čakavian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The name stems from the word for "what?", which is "ča" in Čakavian...

 and Sorbian
Sorbian languages
The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

 have preserved the dual number as a productive form. In all of the remaining languages, its influence is still found in the declension of nouns of which there are commonly only two: eyes, ears, shoulders, in certain fixed expressions, and the agreement of nouns when used with numbers.

In all the languages, the declension of the "two" maintains most of its dual characteristics, which can be verified from the table below.

language nom.-acc.-voc. gen.-loc. dat. instr.
Common Slavic *dъva (masc.) / *dъvě (fem./nt.) *dъvoju *dъvěma *dъvěma
Belarusian два (masc./nt.) дзве (fem.) двух (masc./nt.)
дзвюх (fem.)
двум (masc./nt.)
дзвюм (fem.)
двума (masc./nt.)
дзвюма (fem.)
Croatian dva/dvoje (masc./nt.) dvije (fem.) dva/dvoje (masc./nt.) dviju (fem.) dvama (masc./nt.) dvima/dvjema (fem.) dvama (masc./nt.) dvima/dvjema (fem.)
Czech dva (masc.) / dvě (fem./nt.) dvou dvěma dvěma
Polish dwa (masc./nt.) / dwie (fem.)1 dwu / dwóch dwu / dwóm dwoma / dwiema
Russian два (masc./nt.) / две (fem.) двух двум двумя
Slovak dva (masc. inanim.), dvaja-dvoch (masc. anim.) / dve (fem., nt.) dvoch dvom dvoma/dvomi
Serbian два/dva (masc./nt.)
две/dve (fem.)
двају/dvaju (masc. Gen only; Loc = Instr)
два/dva (nt.)
двеју/dveju (fem. Gen only; Loc = Instr)
двома/dvоma (masc./nt.)
двема/dvema (fem.)
двојим(а)/dvоjim(a) (masc./nt.)
двема/dvema (fem.)
Slovene dva (masc.) dve (fem./nt.) dveh dvema dvema
Sorbian dwaj (masc.) dwě (fem./nt.) dweju² dwěmaj dwěmaj
Ukrainian два (masc./nt.) дві (fem.) двох двом двома


Notes:
  1. In some Slavic languages, there is a further distinction between animate and inanimate masculine nouns. In Polish, for animate masculine nouns the possible nominative forms are dwaj, or dwóch.
  2. In Sorbian, the form given is for the genitive, since the locative form is the same as the dative and instrumental forms.


Furthermore, it should be noted that the words oba and obidva (obydwa in Polish), which both mean "both", are declined similarly to the numeral "two."

In Common Slavic, the rules were relatively simple for determining the appropriate case and number form of the noun, when it was used with a numeral. The following rules apply:
  1. With the numeral "one", both the noun, adjective, and numeral were in the same singular case, with the numeral being declined as an adjective.
  2. With the numeral "two", both the noun, adjective, and numeral were in the same dual case. There were separate forms for the masculine and neuter-feminine nouns.
  3. With the numerals "three" and "four," the noun, adjective, and numeral were in the same plural case.
  4. With any numeral above "four", in the nominative case, the numeral was followed by the noun and adjective in the genitive plural case. For all other cases, both the noun, adjective, and numeral were in the same plural case.


With the loss of the dual in most of the Slavic languages, the above pattern now is only seen in the forms of the numbers for the tens, hundreds, and rarely thousands. This can be seen by examining the following table:
Language 10 20 30 50 100 200 300 500
Common Slavic *desętь *dъva desęti *trije desęte *pętь desętь *sъto *dъvě sъtě *tri sъta *pętь sъtь
Belarusian дзесяць дваццаць трыццаць пяцьдзесят сто дзвесце трыста пяцьсот
Bulgarian десет двадесет тридесет петдесет сто двеста триста петстотин
Croatian deset dvadeset trideset pedeset sto dvjesto tristo petsto
Czech deset dvacet třicet padesát sto dvě stě tři sta pět set
Polish dziesięć dwadzieścia trzydzieści pięćdziesiąt sto dwieście trzysta pięćset
Russian десять двадцать тридцать пятьдесят сто двести триста пятьсот
Serbian десет двадесет тридесет педесет сто двеста триста петсто
Upper Sorbian dźesać dwaceći třiceći pjećdźesat sto dwě sćě tři sta pjeć stow
Slovak desať dvadsať tridsať päťdesiat sto dvesto tristo päťsto
Slovene deset dvajset trideset petdeset sto dvesto tristo petsto
Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

десять двадцять тридцять п'ятдесят сто двісті триста п'ятсот


The Common Slavic rules governing the declension of nouns after numerals, which were described above, have been preserved in Slovene. In those Slavic languages that have lost the dual, the system has been simplified and changed in various ways, but many languages have kept traces of the dual in it. In general, Czech, Slovak, Polish and Ukrainian have extended the pattern of "three/four" to "two"; Russian, Belarusian, Croatian and Serbian have, on the contrary, extended the pattern of "two" to "three/four"; and Bulgarian and Macedonian have extended the pattern of "two" to all numerals. The resulting systems are as follows:
  1. In Czech, Slovak, Polish and Ukrainian, numerals from "two" to "four" are always followed by a noun in the same plural case, but higher numerals (if in the nominative) are followed by a noun in the genitive plural.
  2. In Russian, Belarusian, Croatian and Serbian, numerals from "two" to "four" (if in the nominative) are followed by a noun in a form originating from the Common Slavic nominative dual, which has now completely or almost completely merged with the genitive singular. Higher numerals (if in the nominative) are followed by a noun in the genitive plural.
  3. In Bulgarian and Macedonian, all numerals are followed by a noun in a form originating from the Common Slavic nominative dual, which has now been re-interpreted as a special so-called "count form" or "quantitative plural".


These different systems are exemplified in the table below where the word "wolf" is used to form nominative noun phrases with various numerals. The dual and forms originating from it are underlined.
"wolf" "wolves" "two wolves" "three wolves" "five wolves"
noun form nom. sing. nom. plur. varies
Common Slavic *vьlkъ vьlci dъva vьlka (nom. dual) tri vьlci (nom. pl.) pętь vьlkъ (gen. pl.)
Slovene  volk volkovi dva volkova (nom. dual) trije volkovi (nom. pl.) pet volkov (gen. pl.)
Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

vlk vlci dva/tři vlci (nom. pl.) pět vlků (gen. pl.)
Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

wilk wilki
wilcy (rare)
dwa/trzy wilki (nom. pl.)
dwaj/trzej wilcy (nom. pl.)
pięć wilków (gen. pl.)
Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...


 
vlk
 
vlky (concrete)
vlci (abstract)
dva/tri vlky (nom. pl.)
dvaja/traja vlci (nom. pl.)
päť vlkov (gen. pl.)
piati vlci (nom. pl.)
Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

вовк вовки́ два/три во́вки (nom. pl.) п'ять вовків (gen. pl.)
Belarusian
Belarusian language
The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

воўк ваўкі два/тры ваўкі (nom. pl.) пяць ваўкоў (gen. pl.)
Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

волк волки два/три волкa (gen. sg.) пять волков (gen. pl.)
Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 and Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

 
вук/vuk вукови/vukovi (concrete)
вŷци/vûci (abstract)
два/три вука/dva/tri vuka (gen. sg.) пет вукова/pet vukova (gen. pl.)
Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 
вълк вълци два/три/пет вълка (count form)


The dual has also left traces in the declension of nouns describing body parts that humans customarily had two of, for example: eyes, ears, legs, breasts, and hands. Often the plural declension is used to give a figurative meaning. The table below summarizes the key such points.
Language Examples
Czech certain body parts and their modifying adjectives require in the instrumental and genitive plural cases dual forms : se svýma očima (instrumental dual: "with one's own (two) eyes") or u nohou (genitive dual: "at the (two) feet"). Colloquial Czech will often substitute the dual instrumental for the literary plural instrumental case.
Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

Oko ("eye") and ucho ("ear") have plural stems deriving from old dual forms, and alternative instrumental and genitive plural forms with archaic dual endings: gen. pl. oczu/ócz/oczów, uszu/uszów; instr. pl. oczami/oczyma, uszami/uszyma). The declension of ręka ("hand, arm") also contains old dual forms (nom./acc./voc. pl ręce, instr. pl. rękami/rękoma, loc. sg./pl. rękach/ręku). The historically dual forms are usually used to refer a person's two hands (dziecko na ręku "child-in-arms"), while the regularized plural forms are used elsewhere. Other archaic dual forms, including dual verbs, can be encountered in older literature and in dialects: Jak nie chceta, to nie musita "If you don't want to, you don't have to".
Slovak In Slovak, the genitive plural and instrumental plural for the words "eyes" and "ears" has also retained its dual forms: očú/očí and ušú/uší.
Ukrainian The words eyes and shoulders had dual forms in the instrumental plural case: очима ("eyes") and плечима ("shoulders"). Furthermore, the nominative plural word "вуса", which is the dual of "вус" ("whisker"), refers to the moustache, while the true nominative plural word "вуси" refers to whiskers.
Bulgarian Some words such as ръка "hand" use the originally dual form as a plural (ръце).
Russian In Russian the world колено ("knee", "tribe (Israelites)") has different plurals: колена ("Israelites") is pure plural and колени (body part) is a dual form. Some cases are different as well: коленами vs. коленями (instr.pl.).

Slovene


Beside Sorbian languages
Sorbian languages
The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

, Chakavian dialect
Chakavian dialect
Chakavian or Čakavian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The name stems from the word for "what?", which is "ča" in Čakavian...

 and the extinct Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

, the Slovene is the only Slavic language that retains full grammatical use of the dual, including distinct dual forms for both nouns and verbs. The dual declension merges with the plural in certain nominal cases (e.g., genitive). Note that dual number is compatible with use of the pronoun oba(dva) or obe(dve) ("both").

Nominative case of noun "wolf", with and without numerals:
without numerals
nom. sg. (wolf) nom. dual (2 wolves) nom. pl. (wolves)
Slovene volk volkova volkovi

with numerals
wolf 2 wolves 3 (or 4) wolves 5 (+) wolves (gen. pl.)
Slovene en volk dva volkova trije volkovi pet volkov


The dual is recognised by many Slovene speakers as one of the most distinctive features of the language and a mark of recognition, and is often mentioned in tourist brochures.

For verbs, the endings in the present tense are given as -va, -ta, -ta. The table below shows a comparison of the conjugation of the verb oddati, which means to give away and belongs to Class I in the singular, dual, and plural.
Singular Dual Plural
First Person oddam oddava oddamo
Second Person oddaš oddata oddate
Third Person odda oddata oddajo


In the imperative the endings are given as -iva for the first person dual and -ita for the second person dual. The table below shows the imperative forms for the verb hoditi (to walk) in the first and second persons of the imperative (the imperative does not exist for 1st person singular).
Singular Dual Plural
First Person hodiva hodimo
Second Person hodi hodita hodite

Sorbian Language


As in Slovenian, the Sorbian language (both dialects Upper and Lower Sorbian) have preserved the dual. For nouns, the following endings are used:
Masculine Feminine/Neuter
Nominative, Accusative, Vocative -aj/-ej -e (2) /-y/-i
Genitive (1) -ow -ow
Dative, Instrumental, Locative -omaj -omaj


(1) The genitive form is based on the plural form of the noun.
(2) The -e ending causes various softening changes to occur to the preceding constant, for further information see the article on Sorbian.

For example, the declension of sin (masculine) and crow (feminine) in the dual in Upper Sorbian would be given as
hrěch (sin) wróna (crow)
Nominative, Accusative, Vocative hrěchaj wrónje
Genitive hrěchow wrónow
Dative, Instrumental, Locative hrěchomaj wrónomaj


For verbs, the endings in the present tense are given as -moj, -tej/-taj, -tej/-taj. The table below shows a comparison of the conjugation of the verb pisać, which means to write and belongs to Class I in the singular, dual, and plural.
Singular Dual Plural
First Person pisam pisamoj pisaamy
Second Person pisaš pisatej pisaće
Third Person pisa pisaatej pisaja

Languages with dual number

  • Austronesian languages
    Austronesian languages
    The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

    • Tagalog language
      Tagalog language
      Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

    • Cabuano language
    • Ilocano language
    • Māori
      Maori language
      Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...

       (only the personal pronouns)
    • Samoan
      Samoan language
      Samoan Samoan Samoan (Gagana Sāmoa, is the language of the Samoan Islands, comprising the independent country of Samoa and the United States territory of American Samoa. It is an official language—alongside English—in both jurisdictions. Samoan, a Polynesian language, is the first language for most...

       (only the personal pronouns)
    • Tahitian
      Tahitian language
      Tahitian is an indigenous language spoken mainly in the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is an Eastern Polynesian language closely related to the other indigenous languages spoken in French Polynesia: Marquesan, Tuamotuan, Mangarevan, and Austral Islands languages...

       (only the personal pronouns)
    • Chamorro
      Chamorro
      Chamorro may refer to:* Chamorro language, an Austronesian language spoken on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands* Chamorro Party, a 19th century Portuguese political party...

       (reflected in the verb)
  • Indo-European languages
    Indo-European languages
    The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

    • Avestan
      Avestan language
      Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

    • Ancient Greek
      Ancient Greek
      Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

    • Germanic languages
      Germanic languages
      The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

       (only first and second person pronouns and verb forms)
      • Frisian (only pronouns in some North Frisian
        North Frisian language
        North Frisian is a minority language of Germany, spoken by about 10,000 people in North Frisia. The language is part of the larger group of the West Germanic Frisian languages.-Classification:...

         dialects)
      • Gothic
        Gothic language
        Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

      • Limburgish (obsolete, only the personal pronouns)
      • Old English (only the personal pronouns)
    • Insular Celtic languages
      Insular Celtic languages
      Insular Celtic languages are those Celtic languages that originated in the British Isles, in contrast to the Continental Celtic languages of mainland Europe and Anatolia. All surviving Celtic languages are from the Insular Celtic group; the Continental Celtic languages are extinct...

      :
      • Old Irish
      • Scottish Gaelic (only nouns, only following the numeral for 'two')
    • Old Church Slavonic
      Old Church Slavonic
      Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

    • Old East Slavic
    • Sanskrit
      Sanskrit
      Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

    • Slovene
    • Chakavian
      Chakavian dialect
      Chakavian or Čakavian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The name stems from the word for "what?", which is "ča" in Čakavian...

    • Sorbian languages
      Sorbian languages
      The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

      :
      • Lower Sorbian
      • Upper Sorbian
  • Uralic languages
    Uralic languages
    The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

    • Khanty
      Khanty language
      Khanty or Xanty language, also known previously as the Ostyak language, is a language of the Khant peoples. It is spoken in Khanty-Mansi and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous okrugs, as well as in Aleksandrovsky and Kargosoksky districts of Tomsk Oblast in Russia...

    • Mansi
      Mansi language
      The Mansi language is a language of the Mansi people. It is spoken in territories of Russia along the Ob River and its tributaries, including the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug and the Sverdlovsk Oblast...

    • Nenets
    • Sami languages
      Sami languages
      Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

  • Afroasiatic languages
    • Akkadian
      Akkadian language
      Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

       (Assyrian and Babylonian)
    • Arabic
      Arabic language
      Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

    • Biblical Hebrew
    • Egyptian
      Egyptian language
      Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

       (including Coptic
      Coptic language
      Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

      )
    • Maltese
      Maltese language
      Maltese is the national language of Malta, and a co-official language of the country alongside English,while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic...

  • Other languages
    • Hmong
      Hmong language
      Hmong or Mong is the common name for a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmong–Mien/Miao–Yao language family spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, northern Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos...

    • Lakota
      Lakota language
      Lakota is a Siouan language spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux tribes. While generally taught and considered by speakers as a separate language, Lakota is mutually understandable with the other two languages , and is considered by most linguists one of the three major varieties of the Sioux...

       (only the personal pronouns, always means "you and I")
    • Inuktitut
      Inuktitut
      Inuktitut or Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian Inuit language is the name of some of the Inuit languages spoken in Canada...

    • American Sign Language
      American Sign Language grammar
      The grammar of American Sign Language is the best studied of any sign language, though research is still in its infancy, dating back only to William Stokoe in the 1960s. Stokoe was the first linguist to approach any sign language as a full natural language with its own grammar, an approach which...

    • Quenya
      Quenya
      Quenya is a fictional language devised by J. R. R. Tolkien, and used in his Secondary world, often called Middle-earth.Quenya is one of the many Elvish languages spoken by the immortal Elves, called Quendi in Quenya. The tongue actually called Quenya was in origin the speech of two clans of Elves...

       (a fictional language
      Fictional language
      Fictional languages are by far the largest group of artistic languages. Fictional languages are intended to be the languages of a fictional world and are often designed with the intent of giving more depth and an appearance of plausibility to the fictional worlds with which they are associated, and...

       devised by J. R. R. Tolkien
      J. R. R. Tolkien
      John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

      )