S. dual nouns grammar.

S. dual nouns grammar.

Like Quenya, Sindarin once had a dual inflection, used for pairs of objects, but in Sindarin this dual has fallen out of use:

The S. duals of nouns or pronouns early became obsolete, except in written works. A case occurs in Orgalaðad “Day of the Two Trees”, but since these S. nouns were all derived from Quenya names of the 6-day week, brought from Valinor, it may be due to an attempt to imitate Q. duals, such as ciriat 2 ships. In any case -d was later lost, and so we have argonath “the group of (two) noble stones” instead of *argonad (1972 letter to Richard Jeffery, Let/427).

This Sindarin dual was derived from ✶ata the “numerative dual ending”. The other ancient (and more common) dual ending was ✶, but since final vowels vanished in Sindarin this u-dual vanished completely and there are only remnants of it in fossilized forms like the plural (really a dual) of lheweg “ear”:

There are several clear -ad duals attested in Sindarin, however:

It is conceivable that the -ad dual remained active into the First Age (when names like Orgaladhad were introduced) and only fell out of use by the Third Age.

Conceptual Development: Tolkien mentioned an archaic dual form in the Gnomish Grammar of the 1910s that used the dual suffix -wi:

Nouns only preserve in living forms singular and plural. Traces occur of the commonest old duals but these are now confined to such as: ... mabwi “(a pair of) hands” ... talwi “feet” ... hent [or] henwi “eyes” ... hethwi “brother and sister” ... hunt (old -nt ending) “the nose (originally nostrils)”. Dual -wi, -wint, -wid [nominative, genitive, dative]. Adjectives follow in singular but without mutation (GG/10-11).

Signs of both the -wi/-ui and the -(n)t dual suffixes can also be seen in declension charts appearing in Gnomish Lexicon Slips (addendums to the Gnomish Lexicon) written towards the end of the 1910s (PE13/117-118):

Some dual forms are mentioned in the Early Noldorin Grammar of the 1920s, following roughly the same patterns:

There is also a remnant of the -(n)t dual in The Etymologies of the 1930s: the dual hent for N. hên “eye” (EtyAC/KHEN-D-E).

Examples (dual)
#argonad ← argonath ✧ Let/427
Gwanûr [← gwanunig] ✧ LotR/1054
gwanûr “pair of twins” [← gwanunig] ✧ PE17/116
gwanūn “pair of twins” ← gwanunig ✧ WJ/367
lhaw ← lhaw (dual) ✧ PE17/62
lhaw [← lheweg] ✧ PE17/77
lhaw [← lheweg] ✧ TT17/33
samarad ← sammar ✧ VT48/20

Reference ✧ Let/427 ✧ dual

Element In


N. dual nouns grammar.

Examples (dual)
hent ← hên ✧ EtyAC/KHEN-D-E
lhaw “ears (of one person)” ← lheweg ✧ Ety/LAS²

Element In


ᴱN. dual nouns grammar.

Examples (dual)
him ← hen(n) ✧ PE13/122
henu ← hen(n) ✧ PE13/122
i·badui ← bad stop-mutation b-mutation ✧ PE13/120
i·nuilent ← duilen stop-mutation d-mutation ✧ PE13/120


G. dual nouns grammar.

Examples (dual)
engant ← engan ✧ PE13/116
celelt “2 jars” ← ceral ✧ PE13/116
golui ← †gôl ✧ PE13/117
golew ← †gôl ✧ PE13/117
golwew ← †gôl ✧ PE13/117
gui(w) “men” ← gweg ✧ PE13/117
henwi “(a pair of) eyes, the eyes of one person” [← hen] ✧ GG/10
gochenwi [← hen] ✧ GG/10
henwi “eyes (dual)” ← hen ✧ GL/48
hethwi “a brother and sister” [← †heth¹] ✧ GG/10
mabwi “(a pair of) hands, the hands of one person” [← mab] ✧ GG/10
gomabwi [← mab] ✧ GG/10
talwi “(a pair of) feet, the feet of one person” [← tâl] ✧ GG/10
godalwi [← tâl] ✧ GG/10
talwi “feet” [← tâl] ✧ GG/15
mabwid “hands” [← mab] dative ✧ GG/11
mabid [← mab] dative ✧ GG/11
a·ngolui ← †gôl soft-mutation genitive ng-mutation ✧ PE13/117
i·ngolui ← †gôl soft-mutation genitive ng-mutation ✧ PE13/117
na·ngolui ← †gôl soft-mutation genitive ng-mutation ✧ PE13/117
dalwint “feet” [← tâl] soft-mutation genitive t-mutation ✧ GG/11

References ✧ GG/10-11