Saturday, August 8, 2009

"it"


15 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

Fun drawings. We all learn!

Indrani said...

:)
You never fail to make me smile.

Pietro said...

It's the easier part to overturn!

Pietro said...

A keyboard slip: the easiest.
:-)

thyme said...

Thank you Indrani, I am only relaying the smile, the Superkid is the real responsible :-)

Don't worry Pietro, I think the easier is also correct, because there is a comparison between exactly two items. In Itallian, easiest and easier are both the same: "più facile", true?

Pietro said...

In Italian easier is più facile (comparative): questo esercizio è più facile di quello; the easiest is il più facile (superlative): questo è il più facile degli esercizi.

thyme said...

That is interesting.. so the meaning of the word più depends wether the article is there or not. I am trying to think if the Dutch is more like the Italian or more like the English.. it is difficult to compare because the comparative and superlative for different words are not always formed the same... in Dutch "easy" is "makkelijk", "easier" is "makkelijker" and "easiest" is "makkelijkst" so the comparative and the superlative is in the suffix, but "difficult" in Dutch is "moeilijk"... "more difficult" (più difficile) is "moelijker" in Dutch and "most difficult" (il più difficile) is "moeilijkst": so the Dutch has the suffix but the English construction is like the Italian ... except it has two different words for "more" and "most" so the meaning does not depend on the article.

Pietro said...

Yes, for the polysyllabic adjective difficult the Italian and the English constructions for the comparative and the superlative are the same: più difficile = more difficult; il più difficile = the most difficult. For the monosyllabic and the bisyllabic
adjectives ending in -y, in English instead of more and most there are the suffixes -er and -est, and the article remains for the superlative. How do you say in Dutch the most difficult: the moeilijkst (with the article) or just moeilijkst?

thyme said...

The most difficult is "het moeilijkst" or "de moeilijkste" depending on the gender ("het" is neuter, "de" is either feminin or masculin), so we say it with the article. however if the comparison is between two items it is also possible to say "the more difficult excercise" (of the two) "de moeilijkere opgave" which then would be automatically "de moeilijkste opgave (van de twee)" ... and then we would say "deze opgave is de moeilijkste van de twee, deze opgave is het moeilijkst... van de twee is dit de moeilijkere opgave" (this is the more / most difficult exercise of the two)

I am getting a little bit confused now... But for example if someone has an older or younger brother then saying "A is the older brother of such and such" (de oudere broer) does not automatically mean they are the eldest (de oudste) brother.

Pietro said...

Really interesting that if the comparison is between two items in Dutch it's also possible to say the more difficult (of the two); I think in English this is not possible.

thyme said...

It is interesting that you think in English it is not possible. Why? If you say "the more difficult (of the two)" does that sentence have no meaning to you?

The English has two different words for more and most. Whereas I don't think it is possible to use the superlative without the article in either Italian, English or Dutch, there does not seem to be a reason why the comparative with the article should be incorrect in English like in Dutch, because the meaning of the word does not depend on the presence of the article, as it does in Italian.

thyme said...

I have suddenly come to realize that in Dutch all the words that do not get the suffix are of foreign (Latin) origin, except for example "ingewikkeld" (complicated) for which the comparative is "ingewikkelder" but the superlative exists in both forms: "ingewikkeldst" and "meest ingewikkeld".. probably because the "d" at the end of the word makes the suffix "st" a bit difficult to pronounce...

Pietro said...

Certainly, Thyme, the more difficult (of the two) has meaning for me! If you say the sentence is correct in English, I'm glad, so much the better! :-)

Pietro said...

About your comment on my blog, I've forgotten my first comment: in the progress of the various comments there has been a conceptual development! :-)

thyme said...

There has been :-)

I find it a rare pleasure to see that the human mind does not depend on language to form thoughts, because different words in different grammatical constructions can convey exactly the same meaning.