Slovene Nouns and Adjectives: Non-standard Use of Dual Number from 1925 to 2015

Reference work entry


Dual is a grammatical expression of number that some languages use in addition to singular and plural, referring to precisely two entities. The dual number existed in Proto-Indo-European language. In modern Indo-European languages, the dual is an archaism and the one that has been preserved only in a small number of Slavic languages: in addition to Slovene, also in Upper and Lower Sorbian and Kashubian. Slovene language expresses the dual through grammar (and not, for example, through vocabulary). This chapter presents this most visible and specific Slovene grammatical category preserved to the present in standard Slovene, colloquial Slovene varieties, and various Slovene dialects (over 40). Dual number use goes also well beyond boundaries between Slovene and neighboring languages and their variants: it is used in some dialects in Austrian Carinthia and in some Kajkavian dialects in Croatia.

Using linguistic geography methods (i.e., morphological maps), the most recent linguistic data from the whole of the Slovene linguistic territory is compared with older data from 1925 Tesnière’s book and atlas on Slovene dual, and the tendencies of disappearing of the dual forms in modern Slovene dialects are observed. Using latest linguistic data (2003–2015) will enable even more precise comparisons and contrasts to be drawn with the dual in all variants of Slovene language. The distribution of the dual in different dialects is important because it allows us to look for the driving forces behind the change: these can be external (contact with other languages) or internal (influences from other dialects).


Slovene language Slovene dialects Morphology Dual number Mapping 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fran Ramovš Institute of the Slovenian LanguageScientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and ArtsLjubljanaSlovenia

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