Comparatives and Superlatives Part Four

Establishing the comparative and superlative system for Diinlang has proved troublesome. Part of the problem is that English words like “more” and “most” are also used as nouns, pronouns and determiners as well as being adverbs.

My most recent strategy is to approach these words from a different direction by considering their use as quantifiers. The new Diinlang system of pluralizing the determiner rather than the noun has actually helped clarify things.

Wikipedia tells us that:

English has the following quantifier pronouns:
Uncountable (thus, with a singular verb form)
  • enough – Enough is enough.
  • little – Little is known about this period of history.
  • less – Less is known about this period of history.
  • much – Much was discussed at the meeting.
  • more – More is better. (Also countable plural; see there.)
  • most – Most was rotten. (Usually specified, such as in most of the food.) (Also countable plural; see there.)
  • plenty – Thanks, that’s plenty.

Countable, singular
  • one – One has got through. (Often modified or specified, such as in a single one, one of them etc.)
Countable, plural
  • several – Several were chosen.
  • few – Few were chosen.
  • fewer – Fewer are going to church these days.
  • many – Many were chosen.
  • more – More were ignored. (Often specified, such as in more of us.) (Also uncountable, see there.)
  • most – Most would agree. (Also uncountable, see there.)
The original Diinlang comparative and superlative system used –ha and –ho as suffixes, the equivalent of the English system of using –er and –est. “Good, better, best” becomes “bon, bonha, bonho” in Diinlang.

-ta” has been introduced as an augmentative in Diinlang and “-ko” as a diminutive. Logically these words on their own would mean “big/ large quantitiy/ much” or “small/ little/ not much”. It therefore logically follows that taha and taho would mean “more” or “most” of an uncountable quantity. Koha and koho would mean a lesser or least amount. (Bear in mind that in English “less” is sometimes used as a comparative instead of “lesser”).

When used with countable nouns “many”, “more” and “most” are only used with plural nouns and often mean “high number of”, “higher number of” and “highest number of/ majority of”). Since in Diinlang the determiner is usually pluralized rather than the noun we get taz, tazha and tazho (or taz, tahaz or tahoz). Few, fewer etc, meaning “a small number of” and so on become koz, kozha etc.
Words concerned with numbers  of things therefore have a plural “-z” ending while those concerned with size or other quantities that may be uncountable do not.