I don't think of myself as a conductor conductor

< Previous | Next >


This is a sentence which a cellist and conductor talked about conducting an orchestra.

Conducting an orchestra—especially if you don’t have a chance to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic right away—is extremely demanding. You have to control everything, and to be tremendously self-critical. I still don’t think of myself as a conductor conductor—not like some, who seem to think they have exclusive rights to the Brahms symphonies! I think that’s just silly.
(Use of italics is original in the sentence.)

I have never come across this expression that the same nouns have been repeated. Would you explain what this expression means?
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Repeating the word like that is a way of saying "a real conductor, someone who is a conductor in every way." When this is done in speech, the first word is stressed, "I don't think of myself as a conductor conductor."


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    In case this isn't obvious, you can use the repeated word for many nouns to indicate that something/someone is a stereotypical member of that category, and the construction is usually in the negative.

    I'm not an artist artist.


    Senior Member
    American English
    In the US, actors and other artists are often unable to support themselves on the income from their art. Therefore, they keep another job, often temporary or part-time; they often refer to this as their "job-job;" a job that, unlike their artistic endeavors, is really a job.

    All the above is primarily to say that I'm used to seeing this useage as I indicated, with a hyphen, although I've seen the OP's use of italic for the first one fairly often, too.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm interested that you all say this. My first reaction was that it was a word-processing error.

    There's a moment I remember in a Molière play where the maid rushes in to see her master and the conversation in one English translation goes:

    Maid: Sir! Sir! There's a doctor at the door.
    Master: A doctor! What sort of doctor?
    Maid: A doctor doctor.

    I wonder if this effect is more usual in AE, and if the translator was American. I would translate the French word-for-word as A doctor of medicine, which seems more natural in the BE I know.
    < Previous | Next >