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THEORY: Uses of reduplication

From:Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
Date:Sunday, March 2, 2008, 7:26
I recall seeing a while back a web page or article that gave a short
list of some of the uses which reduplication serves in languages
around the world -- e.g. to indicate plurality, diminutive,
augmentative, intensive, frequentative, habitual, etc. Now I can't
find it. Does anyone know where this list might be?

(I thought it was in the Wikipedia article on reduplication, but I
don't see it, although they do give a few examples of its uses in
various languages.)

Second, does anyone know of any theory dealing with reduplication
where both the base and the reduplicant have some sort of *semantic*
value and are related syntactically or morphologically? See, I don't
even have the vocabulary to ask that question clearly. Unfortunately,
I can't think of a really good example right now, but a contrived one
would be _book book_, meaning a book *about* books.* In that phrase,
both instances of _book_ carry semantic information which is related
in a grammatical way, and the whole phrase _book book_ differs from
_book_ in a substantially *semantic* way, rather than a purely
grammatical way (like it would if reduplication could form plurals in

* Admittedly, I don't think anyone would say "book book", except in
cases of *another* kind of reduplication, where the meaning would be
"an actual book on paper, as opposed to an ebook or audio book". I am
not sure whether *that* kind of reduplication changes the semantics
or not.

I suppose I could just call the phrase "book about books" an example
of reduplication, since it doesn't seem to be integral to the
definition that the base and reduplicant stand immediately adjacent;
then I could avoid the mess about whether someone would say it.


David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>