This chapter is concerned with the expression of the notional singular of paired body part terms (e.g. 'one eye', 'one ear', 'one hand', 'one arm', 'one foot'). In some languages, the notional singular of such words requires or often occurs with an overt singular-marking element, e.g. Hungarian fél szem 'one eye', lit. 'half eyes'. The normal way to express the concept 'eyes' in Hungarian is to use the non-marked form szem, i.e. no plural marking is used (see Rounds 2001: 90). Such a singular-marking element is called an antidual marker here. Other languages with antidual marking use words like 'side' or 'grain' in the same way. Thus, an antidual marker is a special case of a singulative, which marks a singular form in opposition to a non-marked plural form. An example of antidual marking in a creole is given in (1):
This phenomenon seems to be rare cross-linguistically, and has not been studied in a comparative perspective.
Two different values are distinguished:
As can be seen from the value box, there are only six APiCS languages in which an antidual construction for singular paired body part terms is found (value 1). Another example is (2):
The vast majority of APiCS languages do not show antidual marking (value 2), as illustrated in example (3):
None of the six antidual-marking languages has this option exclusively; i.e. all languages also have the unmarked option (value 2).
In Haitian Creole, we find the word grenn 'unit, seed' which is used as the antidual marker:
Baker & Kriegel (2013) state for Mauritian Creole that the antidual structure, as in Seychelles Creole expressed by kote, is attested in 19th century texts, but that it is rarely used today:
Migge (2013) suggests the same historical development for Nengee. She suspects that the antidual marking is the older option in this language:
In Creolese the antidual construction with said 'side' is not restricted to specific lexical items (body parts), but is very much contextually restricted in that it is rather used to emphasize one item in a pair.
The case of Trinidad English Creole is interesting. It is not one of the six antidual-marking languages because it does not mark the singular in paired body parts. But according to Mühleisen (2013), the use of 'side' referring to one entity of paired things is very common, e.g. a side of shoe/earring/slipper 'one shoe/earring/slipper'. Bollée (2013) also cites a similar example in Reunion Creole (en kote soulye [a side shoe] 'one shoe'). These uses are very similar because the paired objects are pieces of clothing or adornment that are closely associated with paired body parts.
As can be seen from the figures and the map, this feature shows very little variation within the APiCS languages. But interestingly enough, all three French-based Indian Ocean creoles show this construction. As far as we know, there is no French dialectal model to this construction (see Chaudenson 1974, Philip Baker, p.c.). And neither of the major substratal sources for this group of creoles, Malagasy and Eastern Bantu languages, displays this construction (Maria Polinsky, p.c.; and Maarten Mous, p.c.).
The other three antidual-marking languages are Haitian Creole, Creolese, and Nengee, one French- and two English-based creoles of the Caribbean. The origin of this pattern in the creole languages is thus an intriguing open question.
From an etymological point of view, it is interesting to mention that in many creoles and pidgins it is the plural forms of the body part terms in the base language which were reanalyzed as the creole/pidgin lexeme unspecified for number, e.g. lizye 'eye(s)' (< French les yeux (pl.)), zorey 'ear(s)' (< French les oreilles (pl.)) in French-based creoles, iez 'ear(s)' in Jamaican (< English ears), glaza 'eye(s)' (< Russian glaza (pl.)) in Chinese Pidgin Russian. In Jamaican (Farquharson 2013) and Pichi (Yakpo 2013), the former English plural body parts tend to get only the singular interpretation. If one wants to refer explicitly to the two members of a pair, one needs to use the postposed plural word, e.g. Jamaican mi iez-dem 'my ears', and Pichi fut dɛn 'legs'.