Good, Better, Best

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Swedish-Norwegian reader:

    I just wondered this thing because in Sweden/Norway we have bra-bättre-bäst and bra-bedre-best, respectively. The latter to forms is pronounced very much like the English “better, best” in both languages.

    The Nordic-Scandinavian languages also have their root in old german, so the explaination here seems pretty likely.

  2. Keith:

    English has indeed word very similar to the Germanic root “bat” and to the modern Scandinavian word “bra”: it is “braw”, now used almost exclusively in Scots English.

    The dictionaries tell us that this is a 16th century borrowing from the French “brave” (in the sense of “good, fine“, and not in the sense “courageous“). But I wonder if this is the whole story. Such a borrowing would have been made easier through the similarity with the older word “bra” which may have persisted in areas of Norse-Gael populations.

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