Emphatic Reduplication In Languages

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Kasrav, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Kasrav Senior Member

    India - English
    North Indian languages, esp Hindi - has expressions/units of words that repeat for emphasis / intensity

    jaldi-jaldi (quickly quickly)

    ahista-ahista (slowly slowly)

    baar-baar (again and again)

    zara-zara (a little)

    Is this limited to Hindi or are there other languages where this is used ?

    Thanks in advance and hope this is the right place for this question
  2. rbrunner Senior Member

    German - Switzerland
    This is very typical for the Philippine language Tagalog as well.

    But it might be that this is present in nearly all languages, and that the languages differ only in the extent of using this. I think of things like the English exclamation hush hush!, or German na na! or Swiss German so so! French vite vite, and so on.
  3. Treaty Senior Member

    Basically, three of them are Persian. The fourth, Baar-baar seems to be made of Persian baar (time, turn) but not used in Persian. This structure is used frequently in Persian with both adjectives and nouns. Although, Indian has probably developed this structure independently. Anyway, does this structure exist with genuine Hindi words?
  4. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    baar is one of the words that's both genuine Hindi and Persian.

    Other repeated words:

    pal-pal = every moment

    khaa-khaa = eat eat

    jaa-jaa = go go

    English has hurry, hurry; no, no; very, very, etc. I'm sure there are many more in Hindi, English, and practically every language.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  5. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    In Hebrew לאט לאט /le'át le'át/ "slowly slowly" is often used.
  6. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    Turkish, 'sık sık' - often.
    Greek, 'σιγά σιγά' - slowly
  7. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Modern Greek has it too. I've read that we adopted it from Turkish but I just can't remember where I read it or if there's a term for the phenomenon.
    Λίγο λίγο (little), σιγά σιγά (slowly) etc. We even have one in Turkish: Γιαβάς-γιαβάς (slowly). I think in Turkish it's writen yavash yavash but I don't really speak the language I'm afraid.
  8. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech we have:

    1) lexicalized repetitions/reduplications of words (rather rare phenomenon in Czech), the new word has different meaning than its single component:

    až = up to, until;
    ažaž = more than enough, too much;
    tak = so, this way;
    taktak = barely, hardly;

    2) syntactical repetitions (either syndetic or asyndetic) for stylistic or rhetoric purposes:

    Bilbo šel a šel a šel, až došel na konec temného lesa. (syndetic, with a conjunction)
    Bilbo went and went and went, until he reached the end of the dark forest.
    Bilbo a marché longtemps, longtemps, longtemps, avant ... (asyndetic, without a conjunction)
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  9. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    See 'yavaş yavaş'.
  10. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    And what about "γιαλό γιαλό"?
  11. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Ben Jamin, yes, well, expressions like "γιαλό γιαλό" (shore) or "πόρτα πόρτα" (door), "τοίχο τοίχο" etc have a slightly different meaning. They are not duplicated for emphasis per se. It is to show hmmm continuity? consistency? I don't know how to put it.
    If a ship is going γιαλό γιαλό it hugs the shore never, ever going far from it. If someone is making enquiries πόρτα πόρτα he's not leaving a single door un-knocked. Someone moving τοίχο τοίχο is keeping his back constantly pressed against a wall. And so on and so forth.
  12. Tararam Senior Member

    Also "יום יום" (yom yom) = every day. "לילה לילה" (layla layla) = every night.
  13. jamesh625

    jamesh625 Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    English - Australia
    Sooo apparently Japanese has the highest number of these "repeated words" but with many different types of words represented:
    人々 people, many people (number)
    ふわふわ /mimetic word/ (emphasis)
    だんだん progressively (emphasis)
    徐々 increasingly, progressively (emphasis, repetition)
    なかなか quite, well (emphasis)
    そろそろ now, about now (mimetic?)
    様々 many, varied (number, repetition, array)
    我々 we, us (number, archaic)
    のろのろslowly, creeping (emphasis)
    久々 for a long time (emphasis, number, duration)
    A lot of words that are classified as gitaigo (擬態語, mimetic words) and giongo (擬音語, onomatopoeia) are double words like this. As are many other words in Japanese. It's also a useful way of constructing new words! :D
  14. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Polish has "dawno, dawno, temu"(long time ago) as a standard element of legends and fairy tales.
  15. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    We should distinguish between the lexicalized repetitions and the syntactical repetitions that serve for stylistic purposes (quite common in all languages).

    Example of a syndetic repetition in English:

    He understood that he had a problem, but he drank and drank and drank (= he kept drinking) until he lost his job, and finally until he drank himself to death.

    Example of an asyndetic repetition:

    Once upon a time, a long long time ago (= a very long time ago), when mice ran after cats and lions were chased by rats ...
  16. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Which of them is a lexicalized repetition, and which is a syntactical repetition?
  17. myšlenka Senior Member

    Both of bibax's examples from English are syntactic repetitions (reduplication). His point from #15 is that there is a difference between reduplications which are there for stylistic purposes and the reduplications that serve to express grammatical functions like plurality or verbal aspect etc. There are languages where this is the only means to express these concepts. Most (if not all) European languages are of very little interest with respect to reduplication.
  18. Kasrav Senior Member

    India - English
    thank you all. Ireney 's post # 11 above on various "purposes" of repetition is what I wanted to check as well but could not express....sometimes it is not emphasis but a sense of continuity chalte chalte (walking walking) for instance would render perhaps as "As <subject> was walking" and not walking very intensely :) are there any specialist terms for these functional uses...?
  19. aruniyan Senior Member

    In Tamil Grammer its called Irattai KiLavi (doubling words), often the word/sound is meaningless individually and to represent the repeated nature of the action.
    thiru thiru ena mulithaan - He looked thiru thiru
    kudu kudu ena Odinaan - He ran kudu kudu
    kuru kuru ena paarvai - He looked kuru kuru
    mala mala ena mudithaan - he finished mala mala (fast doing)
    vala vala ena pEsinaan - He talked vala vala (talkative)
    viru viru ena nadai - walk viru viru (fast walking)
    thaga thaga ena minnum - shining thaga thaga
    mani maniyaai ena ezhuthum - writing mani mani,(beautifull like beads arranged)
    a lot more is there...:)
  20. Kasrav Senior Member

    India - English
    thank you thank you :)
  21. origumi Senior Member

    Such repeating is common in colloquial Hebrew - for nouns, adjectives, adverbs.
  22. arielipi Senior Member

    It can also act as a negation, טוב טוב tov tov [=good good] can be as "whatever, it doesnt matter"
  23. Kasrav Senior Member

    India - English
    the more examples the friends in the forum give, the wider this topic gets (in a good way !)..I can relate to the "good good" example..however this "dismissive" quality of whatever, it doesnt matter is understood only in oral conversations based on the tone...is it different in Hebrew ? Does tov tov even in written form understood so ?
  24. arielipi Senior Member

    Well, in hebrew (as in any language i guess) the tone can change the meaning of things, tov tov can be very very well or what i said; it doesnt matter if its written or said, when said the tone tells you the true meaning, when written the context tells you the meaning.
  25. Ёж! Senior Member

    By the way, in Russian, too: «хорошо-хорошо!» can mean things around "I agree, but…" or "What you're talking of is well and good, but…", and the implied "but" can mean "but it does not matter"; sometimes, though, no 'but' is implied with these words. All in all, repetition in Russian often makes the emphasis of continuation or completion not on the action being narrated, but on the narration itself, for example: «он побежал быстро-быстро» ("he ran quickly-quickly") is like "look how I don't add anything to the word 'quickly', this word expresses everything that it's worth to say of how he was running", and the overall sense is positively diminutive in relation to him: for example, this phrase can appear in a tale about a hare.

    Another example is: «он шёл медленно-медленно», it means that the speaker is wondered or amazed about how slowly the person was walking (even if he was not walking very slowly); the overall sense of the speaker's wonder is rather positive. Alternatively, the speaker may just be talking figuratively: he suggests to compare the way how that person was walking with the way how the speaker is talking: without hurry, with carefulness and thoroughness.
  26. origumi Senior Member

    Such development in Russian and Hebrew is not necessarily independent. Nearly 20% of Israeli Hebrew speakers are either Russian natives or first generation children of Russian natives. Significant Russian migration started during the 1970s, I am not sure when this "good good" evolved.
  27. bazq Senior Member

    There's also "סוף סוף" - sof sof which means "finally/at last" (literally "end end").
    Do you know its origins?
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013

Share This Page