I've been working on the quantifiers for a conlang of mine and noticed that the concepts "other" and "more" are each related to the notion of additional quantities. So, we have these pairs of English sentences, which pairs appear to me to be synonymous.

"We needed three more loaves of bread."
"We needed three other loaves of bread."

"He shot three more bullets into the target."
"He shot three other bullets into the target."

"Nolan had three more sisters living in New Jersey."
"Nolan had three other sisters living in New Jersey."

The following post on the English Stack Exchange pointed out that "other," or at least "another," can connote difference in a way that "more" does not.


For example, consider this pair of sentences:

"The doctor prescribed more medication."
"The doctor prescribed other medication."

Obviously, these sentences are not synonymous. "More medication" can mean "more of the same medication," whereas "other medication" refers to different medication.

However, given that one morpheme can have more than one meaning, are there any natural languages with a morpheme that means both "more" and "other," or is this ambiguity intolerable?

  • 1
    How about "additional" in English? "Additional medication" seems like it has the ambiguity you want.
    – Draconis
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 2:04
  • 1
    Homonymy is so common that this is almost certainly the case. But such a language would be able to disambiguate the meanings, because as you said they have quite distinct meanings.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 13:57
  • Why are you using the term morpheme?? more, other and another are not morphemes. The word another arises when adding an to other but that is not relevant to your question.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 18:31
  • James, A morpheme does not stand on its own. It is an add-on like an s for a plural or third-person simple present verbs as in walks or cats or the ed for simple past tense: talk versus talked.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 18:42
  • @Lambie: I was thinking of single-morpheme terms like "more" and "other." Draconis's comment, and yours, reminded me that a multi-morphemic term might also convey "more" and "other." Commented May 25, 2023 at 18:42


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