Dual is the grammatical number used for two referents.
In some languages, in addition to the singular and plural there is also a dual, which is used when exactly two people or things are meant. The plural in these languages is used only for groups greater than two.
Slovenian uses the dual number in full, as does Inuktitut. Sorbian, the Slavic language of a very small minority in Germany, also uses the dual number. The Greek language used in the Homeric texts, the Iliad and Odyssey, has some use of the dual. Among living languages, modern standard Arabic uses dual number. Hebrew has some forms of dual, largely for parts of the body and things that come in pairs, such as `aynayim (eyes), shinayim (teeth, even all 32), and mishqafayim (eyeglasses). Akkadian had a dual number, though its use was confined to standard phrases like "two hands", "two eyes", and "two arms". Sanskrit also possesses a dual number, with specific (although fewer) inflections for verbs and nouns.
See also Grammatical number.
Languages with dual include:
- Ancient Greek
- Arabic : classical and modern Arabic
- Biblical Hebrew
- Old Norse
- Sorbian : indigenous Slavic minority of 100,000 in Germany
Grammar | Language | Linguistics