Article

Reduplication

Suzanne Urbanczyk

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0036
Reduplication

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Reduplication is a word-formation process in which meaning is expressed by repeating all or part of a word. The study of reduplication has generated a great deal of interest in terms of understanding a number of properties associated with the word-formation process. As with morphology in general, two considerations that arise in reduplication are related to form and meaning. As for form, the term “reduplicant” has been widely used to refer to the repeated portion of a word, while “base” is used to refer to the portion of the word that provides the source material for repetition. There are three key issues regarding reduplicative form for which theories of reduplication aim to account: segmental identity effects between base and reduplicant, the shape of reduplicants, and factors to consider in identifying the base of reduplication. The definitive feature of reduplication—that it involves copying a portion of the word—has generated a large variety of mechanisms to account for how repetition takes place. Because there are other phenomena in languages that involve the repetition of linguistic elements, there has also been research in how to determine whether or not a repetition is reduplication. In terms of the meaning, several recurrent meanings arise in reduplication, often related to “plurality” and “repetition.” This has led to research that explores issues related to iconicity in language. Related to research on meaning is a growing body of work investigating diachronic considerations in reduplication. Another growing area of research on reduplication relates to linguistic genesis by examining reduplication in Creoles, signed languages, and first-language acquisition. One area that lags behind others regards psycholinguistic studies of how speakers represent reduplication in their mental lexicons.

Article.  8347 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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