Contrastive focus reduplication

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This is a salad-salad, not a tuna salad[1]

Contrastive focus reduplication (also lexical cloning, the double construction) is a type of syntactic reduplication found in some languages that indicates the prototypical meaning of the repeated word or phrase, a form of retronymy. The term word word was coined by U.S. writer Paul Dickson in 1982 to describe this.[2]

The first part of the reduplicant bears contrastive intonational stress.


The authors of the original article note that a number of examples was collected in a "reduplication corpus"[3] they have gathered:[1]

  • SALAD-salad refers to the original meaning of green salad
  • AUCKLAND-Auckland refers to the New Zealand city, of all cities with this name
  • "I’m up, I’m just not UP–up" — Language Log noticed that this example from the "Contrastive focus reduplication" paper was pinched by Zits. [4]

The poem "After the Funeral"[5] by Billy Collins contains many examples of contrastive focus reduplication.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ghomeshi, Jila; Jackendoff, Ray; Rosen, Nicole; & Russell, Kevin. (2004). Contrastive focus reduplication in English (the salad-salad paper). Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 22, 307–357
  2. ^ The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford University Press. 1992. p. 1127. ISBN 0-19-214183-X. 
  3. ^ Corpus of English contrastive focus reduplications
  4. ^ Contrastive focus reduplication in Zits
  5. ^ ""Elusive" and "After the Funeral" by Billy Collins" (PDF). Boulevard Magazine. Retrieved 2014-10-26. [dead link]
  • Dray, Nancy. (1987). Doubles and modifiers in English. (Unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Chicago).
  • Horn, Laurence. (1993). Economy and redundancy in a dualistic model of natural language. In S. Shore & M. Vilkuna (Eds.), SKY 1993: Yearbook of the Linguistic Association of Finland (pp. 31–72).
  • Wierzbicka, Anna. (1991). Cross-cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.