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Comparative

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:28 pm
by Fabiola
Hi,

Is it possible to say in Dutch 'vreselijkere' ( the inflected form
of comparative of vreselijk) ?

I've learnt that longer adjectives have no inflected form with -e in comparative.

Please answer me

Thank you

Re: Comparative

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:14 pm
by Bert
Fabiola wrote:Hi,

Is it possible to say in Dutch 'vreselijkere' ( the inflected form
of comparative of vreselijk) ?

I've learnt that longer adjectives have no inflected form with -e in comparative.

Please answer me

Thank you
Yes, it's possible. An example: "Bestaat er een vreselijkere klus dan databases op orde brengen?!"

Re: Comparative

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:23 am
by ngonyama
Yes "vreselijkere" can be used, but four schwa's [ə] on a row does not make it any easier to pronounce it. This is why the last -e is sometimes dropped. Especially if there are even more schwa's following:

vréselijkere begeléíding

would have six. Yikes.

Re: Comparative

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:38 pm
by Fabiola
In which situations is the final -e dropped ?
Does it happen only in colloquial language ?

Thank you for your answer

Re: Comparative

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:19 pm
by ngonyama
Fabiola wrote:In which situations is the final -e dropped ?
Does it happen only in colloquial language ?

Thank you for your answer
No, it does not just happen in colloquial language. Even in poetry people may do it to improve the rhythm of the sentence. And that is really the point: if the sentence become difficult to pronounce people may drop the -e. That even happens in the positive, especially for neuter nouns in the definite, but less frequently because the comparative has a schwa-syllable (-er-) more.

I'm afraid that the use of the flection -e is pretty complicated in Dutch. In part that is because it is a surviving element of an otherwise defunct system: the case system. Think of our inflections as the ruins of a castle: nobody lives there anymore, but there are plenty of remnants, far more than in English, because its demise is more recent. There are still a few walls and a moat and even some furniture and one wall still has a window that opens and closes: the adjective flection -e. There is nobody home to identify exactly when it is supposed to be open and when closed. Oh, look, there is even an ending -s in some cases!

Not a very stable situation and hard to cast in a rigid set of rules, because the remnants are still dying out as we speak. The plural genitive article "der" was still a common part of the language when I was a child. Today it is definitely archaic. This is not like German or Russian...

Re: Comparative

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:57 pm
by Joke
The cases in which we drop the -e for this reason are rather rare. I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you are very advanced in learning Dutch. Just remember that it can happen, so that you are not surprised when you come across it in a text.
It is never wrong to write the -e in where the normal rules tell you that it should be (that is, always before de-words and before definite het-words).