Reduplicative Word Forms in English

Hi Key followers ;) Have you ever come across peculiar repetitive compound words like chit-chat or hanky-panky? :D You might have. Why do we prefer to use these repetitive compound words? Maybe for the musical rhyming sequences. These compound words are sounding different. The terms you are using are for the sake of rhyme, repetition, and rhythm, and not for grammar.
Lexicographers and language experts have recognized these word repetition or reduplication and sorted them out using its form. In Standard English you will find only three types of repetitive compound words: the simple 'Duplicative Type', 'Alliterative Type' - those with vowel gradation; and the 'Rhyming Type'. Most English grammars will attest to this fact of language. Repetition of words has become well-established, well-recognized and are well-accepted in spoken or written English.
For example consider the example hanky-panky but, there rhymes in this compound word. In the other example chit-chat, you find rhyming; however you notice the occurrence same consonants and different vowels. In some other word repetitions you may come across exact duplication of the initial word. Let me show the concepts with lists of typical examples.

A. Duplicative Type
- Repetitive Compound words: Rhythmic word formation. Consider following examples for its rhythm:
1) ack-ack - anti aircraft fire
2) aye-aye - yes (found used by seamen)
3) bang-bang - sound of a gun when firing
4) beriberi - disease due to vitamin B deficiency
5) bonbon -a candy or sweet that often has a center of fondant, fruit, or nuts and is coated with chocolate or fondant
6) boo-boo - a stupid mistake or blunder
7) bye-bye - goodbye
8) cha-cha - ballroom dance (Latin)
9) choo-choo - A locomotive train or sound of the train
10) chop chop - right away; quickly (from pidgin English)
11) froufrou - Fussy or showy dress
12) goody goody - someone virtuous or smug
13) ha-ha - the sound of laughter
14) hush-hush - secret; confidential
15) muumuu - loose, bright Hawaiian dress
16) night-night - goodnight
17) no-no - forbidden
18) papa - father
19) pawpaw - same as papaya
Do you find any change between the two word components? No. You find that the initial word is simply duplicated. There is no rhyming, but repetition of identical constituents for the sake of rhythm.

B. Alliterative Type - Repetitive Compound words: Another peculiar word formation. Consider following examples for yet another peculiarity.
1) chit-chat - informal gossipy talk
2) clip clop - sound of a horse's hooves
3) criss-cross - made of lines which cross each other repeatedly
4) dilly-dally - to loiter
5) ding-dong - the sound of a bell
6) flim-flam - foolishness
7) flip-flop - several meanings, 1. sound of repeated flapping 2. a backward
8) somersaut 3. a sandal with a piece between the toes
9) hip-hop - type of music
10) knick-knack - a small ornament or trinket
11) mish-mash - a confused mixture
12) ping pong - table tennis
13) pitter-patter - a light, tapping sound such as of rain drops
14) riff-raff - rabble; people who are worthless
15) riprap - broken stones on water used to protect riverbanks
16) see-saw - children playing on a piece of wood with a central balance which
allows it to move up and down
18) shilly-shally - unable to come to a decision
19) tick tock - sound of a clock
20) tittle-tattle - idle chat or gossip
21) zigzag - sharp turns in alterating directions
Is there rhyming? Yes. You might have noticed that these compound words do not rhyme in the usual way. Have you noticed that the two components of these words have same consonants? Yes you agree. Then what makes the difference? Yes the vowels alone are replaced. So they are alliterative i.e. the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables.

C. Rhyming Type
- Repetitive Compound words: This peculiar word formation is for the sake of rhyming. Consider following examples:
1) airy-fairy - One that is insubstantial or impractical
2) argy-bargy - verbal dispute
3) artsy-fartsy - pretentiously or affectedly artistic (also arty-farty)
4) boo hoo - crying sound
5) boogie-woogie - piano jazz style
6) bow-wow - the sound of a dog
7) easy-peasy - very easy
8) fuddy-duddy - conservative or dull person
9) hanky-panky - suspicious behaviour
10) heebie-jeebies - nervousness
11) helter-skelter - haphazard
12) higgledy-piggledy - muddled
13) hocus-pocus - trickery; a magician's incantation
14) hodge-podge - a confused mixture
15) hoity-toity - haughty
16) itsy-bitsy - tiny
17) jeepers creepers - exclamation of surprise
18) mumbo-jumbo - derogatory reference to a religious or spiritual ritual
19) namby-pamby - feeble, weak
20) nitty gritty - the facts
21) okey-dokey - OK
22) super-duper - very pleasing
23) willy-nilly - whether it's wanted or not
You may notice that the initial word is repeated identically except for the first letter. Are you able to feel the rhyming? You may notice rhyming in poetry. You might have noticed, while first component of these words would occur at the end of the first line of poetry, the second component could complete in the next line.
Tautonym Type - Repetitive Compound words: Wikipedia reports yet another category of repetitive compound words. What is Tautonym? 'A tautonym is a binomial scientific name in which the name of the genus and that of the species (referred to as the specific epithet in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and the specific name in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature) are identical.
Tautonymy (i.e., the usage of tautonyms) is permissible in zoological nomenclature but tautonyms are considered illegitimate under the current nomenclature rules for botanical nomenclature. You may refer the big Consider the examples:

1) Gorilla gorilla - (Western Gorilla)
2) Hyaena hyaena - (Striped Hyena)
3) Jiges Jiges - (Black Rabbit)
4) Vulpes vulpes - (Red Fox)

1) Bubo bubo - (Eurasian Eagle Owl)
2) Grus grus - (Common Crane)
3) Guira guira - (Guira Cuckoo)
4) Luscinia luscinia - (Thrush Nightingale)


1) Cerastes cerastes - (desert horned viper)
2) Hypnale hypnale - (hump-nosed viper)
3) Naja naja - (Indian cobra)
4) Natrix natrix - (grass snake)

1) Catla catla - (catla)
2) Chaca chaca - (frogmouth catfish)
3) Hippocampus hipocampus - (European seahorse)
4) Pristis pristis - (common sawfish)

Ok,Please Refer the following Websites for your detailed learning (including examples) :D


Popular Posts