English has two ways to form comparatives and superlatives. The first is by preceding the item being described by the adverb “more” or “most”. This is the system used in many European languages and also in Mandarin. Some languages, such as Portuguese use one word, “mais” meaning “more” and “ o mais” meaning “the most”. The word “most” in English is somewhat ambivalent. “most red” means nothing discussed is more red. “Most people” means the majority, not the entirety.
The second commonly used system uses the suffixes -er and -est. “-er” is also used to create agent nouns in English. It is also used for words that are neither comparatives nor agent nouns. Its actual pronunciation in RP English is “-ə”.
Both systems are widely used in English, the choice being determined by the syllable number of the word being modified. The system used in Diinlang needs to be simpler to learn but remain versatile.
The first draft of Diinlang used the suffixes “-ha” and “-ho” for the comparative and superlative. Observing that the “h” sound could sometimes be problematic for my Portuguese-speaking friends I then changed this to “-tah” and “-toh”. Latest idea is to instead convert these to prefixes. This is easier to learn for speakers of the many languages that form comparatives and superlatives with a word before the word of interest. It also maintains a convenient single word form for when the comparative or superlative word is uses as an adjective.
Many quantities in English are described by a number of words. Temperature, for example is described by “hot”, “cold”, “warm”, “cool”, “tepid” etc. For Diinlang we want a logical system that is easier to learn. It should be easy and logical to deduce the word for a smaller or larger quantity of a property. The system I propose for Diinlang uses the prefixes “et/mes/tai”. “tai” comes from Chinese and is used in terms such as “tai chi” which means “great ultimate”. It also means “the highest part of a roof”. “et” is a diminutive used in some English words such as “bomblet”. “et” therefore means a small amount of something, “tai” a large amount.
To illustrate how this works, let us assume that the word for temperature is “hii”. This is adapted from the Dutton speedword for heat, “he”. Cold is “he-x”, meaning “opposite of heat” and temperature is actually “gre-he” where “gre” means “grade, degree or stage.
“taihii” would mean hot or high temperature.
“ethii” would mean cold.
“meshii” would mean medium heat. This can be taken as a temperature comfortable for human beings.
“etmeshii” and “mestaihii” represent cool and warm temperatures.
With the comparative prefix added “tataihii” means hotter and thus “totaihii” is “hottest”.
With this basic system you only need to know the core word for weight, number, mass, height etc to form the derived words for large or small quantities, comparatives or superlatives.
A superlative or comparative usually needs to be compared with something. In English this is often introduced by the word “than”. “Your porridge is hotter than mine!” One option in Diinlang is to use “di” as the comparative conjunction. In many languages the equivalent to di (of/from) is used in this way.
In English comparisons are also made using the word “as”, particularly when the two things are regarded as similar. “You are nearly as tall as me!” Note the “as…as…” format, although the first “as” is sometimes omitted. “as” is a nice, compact word but with a definition that is hard to pin down. Possibly in Diinlang “as” can be used as a more general purpose conjunction and used instead of “than” even when there is a considerable difference between the items.
“Ti bi tataihii as mi” = “You are hotter than me”