What English could really benefit from is a standard diminutive form. Many other languages have at least one common way to transform a noun into a dimunitive form, usually by adding a suffix. In French you can add -ette or -ot, Spanish often uses -ina or -ino, Portuguese the similar -inha or -inho, and Italian has a variety such as -etta/-etto and -ino/-ina.
Of course, English borrows some diminutive words from Latin languages, such as featurette, operetta, caipirinha, and duckling/gosling (from Norse). And many specific forms of English feature unique diminutive forms. Scots for example, has quite a few, mainly from older forms of English and Scottish Gaelic. Some words used in Ireland are influenced by the Irish Gaelic diminutive -ín. It’s fairly common for a male baby to be described as a cute little maneen. A country lane might be called a boreen, from the word bóithrín (from bóthair [road] + –ín).
English used to have standard diminutive forms, evidence of which we can still see today. Continue reading