A "friend" friend? Is that ironical?

Fumiko Take

Senior Member
Vietnamese
Here are some quotes from the "Lois & Clark" series:
A- Who are you?
B (a guy)- I'm a friend of her ("her" is another female character whom B is looking for)
A- A boyfriend, **a "friend" friend** or just a friend?
Do you have any idea what "a 'friend' friend" is supposed to mean? Is that ironical or something?
 
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  • nobuta1997

    Member
    Mandarin Chinese & Shandong dialect
    I think it has something to do with the story/context, because that doesn't sound like the way people normally talk anyway.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It might be 'Are you Facebook "friends" or friends in real life?' I think that for an outsider this could be ambiguous. If "just a friend" means "a real-life friend", then it might be ironical. Presumably the two people in the series knew what they were talking about.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    A "friend friend" in my experience means a true/real friend.

    It's a double construction that emphasizes the word "friend".
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Yes, there's even a word for it apparently: reduplication - see the "hotword" blog.
    It could very well be as perpend says. The only thing that puzzles me is the inverted commas in '"friend" friend'.
     

    Ania R.

    Senior Member
    Polish (Poland)
    Yes, there's even a word for it apparently: reduplication - see the "hotword" blog.
    It could very well be as perpend says. The only thing that puzzles me is the inverted commas in '"friend" friend'.
    I think that the inverted commas are there so that we know that the word was pronounced differently/emphasized in the original utterance. Since it's spoken language we have to find some ways to mark the stress/emphasis and difference in tone when we transcribe :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The emphasis could be, as Beryl suggested in #2, that the "friend" isn't a real friend; or it could simply emphasise that they are true friends, as perpend says. I don't think we can know. Maybe the tone of voice of the speaker and facial clues would make it clear.
     
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