n the brink of a historic, historic unprecedented moment

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NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Is the repeat of historic an emphasis of being historically important, that is, a way of rhetoric?


Thanks in advance

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"We are on the brink of a historic, historic unprecedented moment but we still have work to do, don't we?" she said. "We have six elections tomorrow and are going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California."

-CNN

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  • gaylussac

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You are correct that the repetition of the word is done for emphasis.

    That said, this is a relatively uncommon and very informal rhetorical device, and I wouldn't recommend using it. In fact, at first blush it looks as though she actually stumbled and said the word twice by accident (though I don't think that was the case!)
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A small number of words can be repeated emphatically, as part of English grammar: very very big or far far away. Your example is slightly different. Yes, it's a rhetorical device, but the intonation is different. The speaker intentionally pauses a little before repeating the word, as if you might not have taken it in fully the first time. Other example might be:

    This year's discovery of gravitational waves is of major, major importance.
    We have a huge, huge problem here.

    It's probably only used in speech, but it can be rather formal speech: such as announcements, whether about Hillary Clinton or gravitational waves.
     

    joanvillafane

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I don't know if you are just reading this or if you have access to the video, but one element that has not been mentioned is that this was said before a cheering audience. When the crowd bursts out in applause and cheers, Hillary pauses to allow the sound to subside, then repeats the word. So yes, it's for emphasis, but also due to circumstances of the event.
     
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