REDUPLICATION

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REDUPLICATION. The act or result of doubling a sound, word, or word element, usually for grammatical or lexical purposes. In classical Greek, grammatical reduplication serves to form the perfect of the verb, by means of a prefixed syllable that repeats the initial consonant: lū́o I loosen, léluka I have loosened. A mix of grammatical and lexical reduplication occurs in various languages: for example pluralizing in Malay contoh example, contoh-contoh examples, raja king, rajaraja kings. A word in which this process occurs is a reduplication or (more commonly) a reduplicative. In English, lexical reduplication is found: (1) In occasional borrowings, such as beriberi, a disease caused by deficiency of vitamin B1, (from Sinhala, an emphatic doubling of beri weakness). (2) In echoic or otherwise phonetically suggestive words, such as tut-tut/tsk-tsk. In most cases, some elements contrast while others are repeated, as with mishmash and hanky-panky. Such words are often informal and whimsical, with contrasts that affect vowels (mish-mash, pingpong, pitter-patter, tick-tock, tittle-tattle) or consonants (mumbo-jumbo, niminy-piminy), the latter often involving an opening h-sound (hanky-panky, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, hocus-pocus, holus-bolus, hugger-mugger). Less precisely reduplicative resemblances occur in such words as hunky-dory and associations can be made between actions in such words as walkie-talkie. (3) In such occasional emphatic repetitions as no-no in the slang expression It's a no-no (It's something definitely not to be done). (4) In pidgin and creole usages, such as Tok Pisin lukluk to stare (from look) and singsing a festival (from sing), Kamtok and Krio bɛnbɛn crooked (from bend), and Kamtok and Nigerian Pidgin katakata confused (from scatter). See ALLITERATION, ASSONANCE, ECHOISM, JEWISH ENGLISH, JOURNALESE, SCOTS, SINGSONG.

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