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Does reduplication have anything to do with the large number of Japanese language double-words (e.g. gorogoro, sorosoro, potsupotsu, barabara, garagara, kurukuru, wakuwaku, pekopeko, isoiso, etc)?

It depends a little bit on your definition of reduplication, but in general, yes, surely. The article's definition and description is far too narrow, I'm planning on extending it to be more complete --Strangeloop (talk) 21:25, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I think there are two distinct categories of duplicated words in Japanese. Things like hitobito = people (hito = person) or hibi = days (hi = day) are clear examples of reduplication, complicated by rendaku, the way initial "h" turns into "b" in compounds. In these case the word that gets doubled has its own kanji. But then there are the words which don't have kanji and are even often written in katakana, which seem to be to be onomatopeia in the extended Japanese style, and often have associations of childishness. I'd say "pekopeko" (hungry), fuwafuwa (soft) and so on would fall into this category, which isn't really reduplication: for one thing the phrase that's doubled ("jiro", "fuwa" etc) doesn't have much distinct meaning of its own. This page is on the subject, although it doesn't seem to draw the same distinction that seems quite crisp to me. --AlexChurchill 11:53, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)
As I said, it depends. I think it is useful to make language-internal (semantic) distinctions between words or word classes that show reduplication, like you do. But I think that a general description of reduplication would have to focus on what happens (i.e., duplicating (some part of) the word), because that seems to define the phenomenon. Lots of interesting semantic things happen in reduplication, and lots of word classes undergo the process; it would be good to mention all sorts of examples in the article, but one shouldn't ground the definition of the morphological process on this variation. So I would, for example, be reluctant to add the condition that the base should have a distinct meaning of its own. - Strangeloop (talk) 06:51, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Can't believe that the duplication character used in Thai: ๆ is not mentioned. The full name of this character is: ไม้ยมก , and is pronounced maya-mok. Example word that uses this character is: ใกล้ ๆ , pronounced "glai-glai" which means "very near". (talk) 21:45, 5 December 2011 (UTC)Gene Livingston

Reduplication in English?[edit]

Many informal or pejorative English forms like shilly-shally, mumbo-jumbo, hugger-mugger are often described in dictionary etymologies as formed by reduplication. The article's definition suggests only the possibility of conjugation/declension of a word, rather than creating new words. Is there some other technical name for the process at work in English? Joestynes 04:29, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

English also has exact reduplication which means something along the lines of "canonical example of" or "literal interpretation of." For example, if I were to say "My father used to have a pet lion" you might respond "He had a lion lion?", that is, did he actually have a literal lion as a pet, or did you mean something figurative? You also see this in sentences like "Yeah, but do you like like her?"
I haven't got a thought-out opinion on your English examples (I remember reading some article about this sort of English forms, I'll try to dig it up), but surely reduplication is not confined to conjugation/declension of a word, or to grammatical functions only. I call it reduplication, but there you have the problem: we haven't got a very thorough definition of reduplication here. I think it's best to focus on the morphological aspect of reduplication, since that is what defines the phenomenon. If it is used in grammar or somewhere else is of course interesting, but it doesn't belong to the definition.
Many African language use reduplication extensively for all sorts of semantic nuances as well as grammatical tasks. Yoruba for example uses (partial) reduplication to add the notion of 'intensity' to an adjectival concept: rògòdò 'round and big' > rògòdò-dò 'very round and big' and gbèm 'heavy and soft' > gbèm-gbè 'very heavy and soft'.
I am planning a rewrite of this article soon, since I think it is a little too anecdotal and example-centered (does anyone know the meaning of 'wiki-wiki' in Hawaiian?). If anyone disagrees with me, just let me know. --Strangeloop (talk) 21:25, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
"wiki-wiki" means, as far as I know, "very fast" or "express" in Hawaiian. When you land in Honolulu and are about to depart the plane, the airplane staff instructs you that you need to take the "wiki wiki bus" (express bus) to get to the terminal.
"wiki" is a stative verb meaning to hurry, hasten. The reduplication "wiki-wiki" is translated as fast, speedy. From Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui & Elbert. DaveDixon (talk) 19:10, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
the example given of Finnish slang seems quite similar to reduplication usage I would consider to be a part of commonly used English, at least here in the UK. I can't think of any examples, but as far as I can tell I would say that in English, the first instance of the redoubled word becomes an adjective that describes the following word as being literally true. To use the Finnish example (although i'm not sure if this would ever come up in English usage) "food food" would mean food that has the property of being literally real/proper food, as opposed to food that has some degree of fakeness about it - pretty similar to the Finnish. Can anyone think of any examples that would be more commonly used in English, and perhaps explain it a little better than I can? ;) -- 23:14, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
google gives Corpus of English contrastive focus reduplications which I also am too lazy to incorporate into the article. Joestynes 01:22, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I'm amazing this article doesn't refer to "schm" reduplication! (Reduplication, schmeduplication.) Though I guess it might be more accurate to call it Yiddish reduplication than English reduplication... Somegeek 13:15, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

There is a separate article shm-reduplication. It's referred to and linked to in the "English reduplication" section. User:Angr 13:43, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I had performed a text search of the article for 'schm', my mistake. Somegeek 19:41, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm not convinced that "walkie-talkie" is an example of reduplication. It's a rhyming foreshortening of "walk and talk," which was a novel concept in an era when radios where big and heavy and required high voltage power. See Walkie-talkie. DaveDixon (talk) 19:10, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

leipo and leloipa[edit]

Instead of using an irregular example of a Greek verb, shouldn't a more regular one like luw be substituted? E.g. luw to leluka in the perfect.

Maybe, although neither of them are very bright examples of reduplication. Probably we should look out for more prototypical examples of reduplication to use in the article. mark 15:38, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
My understanding is that leipo, leloipa is a fairly obvious example of IE reduplication; the irregularity comes from the fact that it also exhibits vowel gradation in the past stem. Perhaps this should be pointed out. -- Smerdis of Tlön 19:55, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

organization suggestion[edit]


I suggest that this page be organized into different redup. types. Maybe something like:

  • partial redup
  • total
  • prefixal
  • suffixal
  • internal
  • with or without non-iterative content
  • segmental redup (C, CV, CVC)
  • syllable/mora redup
  • etc. etc.

Also a survey of some of the common functions & meanings of reduplication, as it is often iconic in meaning.

I'll provide a bibliography later, in case folks are interested. peace - Ish ishwar 20:50, 2005 Mar 10 (UTC)

the list of examples is too long. needs pruning & moving to respective lang article.
someone needs to edit the function section. it's poor. – ishwar  (speak) 01:05, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Chinese reduplication[edit]

Currently the article mentions the following:

Mandarin Chinese also uses reduplication: 人 ren for "person", 人人 renren for "everybody". Japanese does it too: 時 toki "time", tokidoki 時々 "sometimes, from time to time". Note that in these languages reduplication is not a productive process, i. e. it's not part of a regular system.

I don't know about Japanese, but that last statement is not true for Chinese. Reduplication has become idiomatic for nouns such as 人, but it is productive for other parts of speech. Any measure word in Chinese can be reduplicated. For instance 枝, the measure word for stick-like objects, can be used in the following manner:

一枝筆 = One pencil
枝枝筆 = Every pencil

Reduplication is also productive for verbs as well. When verbs are reduplicated, it indicates a delimitative aspect. For instance:

看看 (look look) = to have a little look
討論討論 (discuss discuss) = to have a little chat

Lastly, reduplication in adjectives serves to emphasize the adjective. Is there a reason why the statement about reduplication as an unproductive process is there? Does it apply only to Japanese? --Umofomia 10:31, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Since there hasn't been any response in a week, I've removed the statement. --Umofomia 09:48, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

In Basque[edit]

For reduplication in Basque, see:

Why "reduplication" when "duplication" would seem to be correct?[edit]

Given a word, "x", duplication would produce "x x". The prefix "re" has several meanings; undoing something (for example, a term familiar to Wikipedia, "revert"),or doing something again ("repeat"). Given "x" and its duplication generating "x x", it would be pointless for the "re" of "reduplication" to mean undo (thus generating the single "x") so it must mean to duplicate again (generating either "x x x" if you think only the original "x" is referenced or "x x x x" if the the result thus far is again duplicated).

The obvious question: Naming this process "duplication" would seem to be adequate, indeed logically correct. Why was it named "reduplication"? (talk) 04:45, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Reduplication is just the standard linguistic term, and has been for some time. It seems redundant, but there are other words in English like that too. (talk) 06:54, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
(edit May 24th: I eternally seem to be getting this confused. In fact it is the allophone that is the specific, and phoneme that is the abstract, the reverse of my comment here! — robbiemuffin page talk 14:28, 24 May 2008 (UTC)) Another one I think is like that is grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence, which almost always is really grapheme-to-allophone correspondence. — robbiemuffin page talk 20:30, 21 May 2008 (UTC) above is right: it is just the standard linguistic term at least since Pott's early comparative study of the phenomenon. See Pott, August Friedrich. 1862. Doppelung (Reduplikation, Gemination): Als eines der wichtigsten Bildungsmittel der Sprache, beleuchtet aus sprachen aller Welttheile. Meyer. — mark 09:15, 24 May 2008 (UTC)


Hebrew language also has some examples:

par (פר) - Bull parpar (פרפר) - Butterfly

gal (גל) - Wave galgal (גלגל) - Wheel

tzar (צר) - Narrow tzartzar (צרצר) - cricket

These seem like they might be coincidences rather than reduplications, as the meanings of the single and double terms don't appear to be related. RCTN (talk) 19:51, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
There are similar ones in Arabic. If you look at the root carefully, sometimes you can find the connection (I'm speaking of the untrained eye of course). However, the words have become very independent of each other and people use them as sperate words. I don't know if they are considered reduplications. Examples of the Arabic would be:
sal (سل) to pull a sword out of it's pocket > salsal (سلسل) to make a chain
qal (قل) to become little (in number or amount) > qalqal (قلقل) to become unstable
Sar (صر) to make a squeaking sound > SurSur (صُرصُر) cricket > also SarSar (صَرصَر) whistling wind
--Mahaodeh (talk) 03:00, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

kookoo (קוקו) - crazy (person) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

There oought to be a section added on reduplication in Semitic languages. In Semitic, we find reduplication of at least the following sorts, using numerals for radical consonants: 123 -> 1223 123 -> 12323

Is reduplication responsible for the biblical phrases usually translated in the forms "Song of Songs" or "King of Kings?" This seems to match the exemplary or intensifying sense seen in the current examples. RCTN (talk) 19:51, 5 December 2008 (UTC)


I have used, and heard some other people use Finnish style reduplication (meaning 'genuine') in Polish. This is rather coincidence and not Finnish influence.-- (talk) 07:33, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Words in category:Reduplicants[edit]

The following words in Category:Reduplicants are not currently mentioned in the article. I list them here as suggestions for inclusion if they are linguistically significant.

Category:Double-named places also has reduplicated places from several areas of the world.

If the members of these categories are added to this article or made into new lists, then they may be speedily deleted; see CFD 20008 June 11. - Fayenatic (talk) 15:05, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

redlink Morphological Doubling Theory[edit]

Chinese II[edit]

Do nicknames / proper nouns count? In Chinese, it's common practice (at least among my wife's extended family) that people are called by their first name (first syllable of a typically three-syllable name), but doubled. For example, a person named Gao Ze Xin would be called Xin Xin by his family and friends. Should this kind of thing be mentioned in the article? — Loadmaster (talk) 15:38, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Sure, if it can be sourced. It's actually very common in European languages too (Lulu, Dodo, Mimi, etc.) +Angr 15:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Indo-Aryan (and Dravidian) languages[edit]

This section is extremely overly-simplified and not accurate. Here are some good examples soecific to Hindi:

हरेक लड़के को एक एक रूपया दो | harek laDke ko ek ek rupiya do. ek = one and saying ek ek doesn't mean "one one" but instead becomes "one to each". from this book: page 210

Other good examples are कभी kabhi by itself means "often" but कभी कभी kabhi kabhi means "sometimes".

When adjectives are concerned, reduplication of said adjective makes a bigger meaning, i.e. बड़ी बड़ी आँखें baDi baDi aankhe.n means "really big eyes", whereas बड़ी आँखें baDi aankhe.n just means "big eyes".

Finally, I'm not sure if this is reduplication, but there is also the case of इश्क विश्क ishq vishq. इश्क ishq by itself means romantic love, and विश्क by itself has no meaning. Together, इश्क विश्क ishq vishq denotes a negative feeling towards romantic love (as in the English phrase money-schmoney denotes "who needs money").

I'd edit the Wikipedia page except I'm not sure how to pull Hindi out from under the Indo-Aryan title without totally messing up the feel of the article. I hope what I wrote made sense.  :) (talk) 05:53, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Oh and finally, why are we lumping Dravidian languages in with Indo-Aryan languages? The two are not at all related except for some Sanskrit that was shared from the Indo-Aryans to the Dravidians. It's almost like lumping Romanian and Hungarian together in a language article because the two countries are neighbors, despite the fact that Romanian is based off Latin and Hungarian is a Uralic language and is close to Finnish and Siberian, but has no relationship with Romanian whatsoever except for a few words shared between the two over the years (talk) 16:05, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Reduplication in Sanskrit[edit]

A whole new sections could be added for reduplication in Sanskrit. More than any other language Indo-European or otherwise, Sanskrit demonstrates the use of reduplication in abundance. The third conjugation of verbs (juhotyAdi) - dA - dadAti, dhA - dadhAti etc. Perfect past tense - vac - uvAca, gam - jagAma, bhU - babhUva etc Desideratives - pA - pipAsA, j~na - jij~nAsA Frequentiatives - suShupti —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Why "tohu wabohu" may be reduplication and not merely rhyme[edit]

Hebrew תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ (tohu wabohu) is usually rendered in English as "formless and void". The reason that this phrase may be an example of reduplication, and not merely of rhyme, is that "bohu" appears not to have any other meaning, and does not appear anywhere else in the Hebrew bible, except in this single phrase. (This is all explained, with cites, at tohu wa-bohu.) It is possible, then, that "bohu" is a nonsense word, added as a reduplication to intensify the sense of "tohu", which means "vain" or "empty". This is why I added the phrase to this article.

Does this make sense? Is it plausible? Does "tohu wabohu" seem more like an appropriate addition now? Does anyone have any further thoughts?

Thanks, —Mark Dominus (talk) 01:27, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I would not include "tohu wabohu" under "Reduplication". Echo words (also called other titles), are arguably a different phenomenon. It would be much more interesting if you could cite other similar examples from Hebrew, not just a singleton. Pete unseth (talk) 22:57, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. —Mark Dominus (talk) 13:55, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

A word to check[edit]

hald "I hold" vs. haíhald (hĕhald) "I/he held"

I never saw Latin, Greek or PIE word ending in -ld. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Is "gigantic" an English example?[edit]

You'd think the adjective formed from "giant" would be "giantic" or something like that - Virginia-American (talk) 03:42, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

No. "gigas" was the Latin word for giant, which had the instrumental case form "gigantem". The /g/-->[j]/V_V (the intervocalic /g/ became /j/) in the romance language English borrowed the noun from (old French) so /gigantem/-->gijantem and then /gijant/ once the case system ended, but English borrowed the adjective "gigantic" from Latin in the 1610s [1], so it appears with an intervocalic /g/. "Gigantic" replaced the original English adjective "giantlike" from the 1570s [2]. I might be oversimplifying the phonological rule /g/-->[j]/V_V but it describes the gist of things. Brianc26 (talk) 21:50, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Wouldn't it have been the <g> before the high front vowel going from /ɡ/ to /dʒ/ (i.e. /ɡiɡantem/ to /dʒiɡantem/)? Jimp 12:54, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

Other Austronesian languages...[edit]

Languages of SE Asia should not be listed in the same sub category as Austronesian languages (the languages of mainland SE Asia are mostly not in the Austronesian family).

There needs to also be significantly more Austronesian language examples. I will add in one from Tagalog, and another from Ilokano in a few days, but I know the process occurs in all austronesian languages for things like verb intensity, verbal aspect, plurality (in some), and even validity (e.g. in Ilonggo bilay=house bilay-bilay=fake house; maestro=teacher, maestro-maestro=pretend teacher).

Basically, that section needs expansion... Brianc26 (talk) 05:10, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

MORE IMPORTANTLY (I just noticed this):

Austronesian languages are listed under Austro-Asiatic languages and in fact the Austronesian languages are an entirely different family... It would be like listing Indo-European languages as part of the Finno-Ugaritic family. Austronesian and Austo-Asiatic have confusingly similar names, and coexist geographically in South East Asia, but they are not established to belong to one language family. The locations of their proto languages are also fairly far apart... Proto-Austronesian was spoken on Taiwan, whereas the Proto-Mon-Khmer language probably was spoken thousands of miles away in mainland Asia.

Brianc26 (talk) 05:20, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Never mind. My fonts were just appearing weird for a moment... The austronesian languages still need more examples Brianc26 (talk) 05:22, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Mongolian duplication[edit]

[1],[2]. I think this might help. Komitsuki (talk) 06:25, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

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Is walkie-talkie really an example? The point of the thing is that it's mobile, i.e. you can walk with it, and you can talk to people with it. So, both the walkie and the talkie bits have their own meaning. It's not just a willy-nilly addition of some rhyming word. Jimp 12:44, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

Adding a more literal translation is apparently vandalism[edit]

Regarding this revert: How is translating Eerst bla-bla, dan boem-boem to its English formal equivalent First blah-blah, then boom-boom vandalism? --Damian Yerrick (talk) 19:52, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Resolved in this edit. Thank you. --Damian Yerrick (talk) 03:00, 9 November 2017 (UTC)