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 ✶-ū, 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).
|#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
N. dual nouns grammar.
|hent||← hên||✧ EtyAC/KHEN-D-E|
|lhaw||“ears (of one person)”||← lheweg||✧ Ety/LAS²|
ᴱN. dual nouns grammar.
|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.
|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