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Long ago, we presented a hodge-podge of reduplicatives, words like higgledy-piggledy, niminy-piminy, namby-pamby, tuppenny-ha'penny, jiggery-pokery, hunky-dory and hugger-mugger. But this week we’ll consider the extreme form, where the two parts are not merely similar; they are identical. Words of this sort are particularly endemic to certain geographical pockets of the world. Notably, such places as Baden Baden (in Germany), Bora Bora, Pago Pago, Sing Sing (New York state) and Walla Walla (Washington state).

And speaking of pockets:

pocketa-pocketanoun: a series of rapidly repeated percussive sounds, like those of an internal-combustion engine, of train wheels on the track, etc. [also, a representation of that sound: The engine went pocketa-pocketa.]

I’m not kidding. It’s in OED.
    We’re going through!” The Commander’s voice was like thin ice breaking. … “We can’t make it, sir. It’s spoiling for a hurricane, if you ask me.” “I’m not asking you, Lieutenant Berg,” said the Commander. “Throw on the power lights! Rev her up to 8,500! We’re going through!” The pounding of the cylinders increased: ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa.
    – James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    "It's forty kilometers through hell, sir," said the sergeant. Mitty finished one last brandy. "After all," he said softly, "what isn't?" The pounding of the cannon increased; there was the rat-tat-tatting of machine guns, and from somewhere came the menacing pocketa-pocketa-pocketa of the new flame-throwers. Walter Mitty walked to the door … . He turned and waved to the sergeant. "Cheerio!" he said.
    – James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
 
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Since the "nearly identical" reduplicatives pre-date my membership here, I take the liberty of sharing my favorite "nearly" in this, the "perfect" thread.


"Kinu" is the Japanese for silk. By repetition, "kinuginu" is the sound of rustling silk. And by poetic metaphor, kinuginu also evokes the sound of lovers dressing each other, early in the morning.

(Found in "100 Poems from the Japanese" by Kenneth Rexroth.)


RJA
 
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Walter Mitty in his airplane reminds me …

ack-ack(military, informal) anti-aircraft gunfire or guns
[from the letters AA, for “anti-aircraft”.
To avoid confusion when saying the names of letters, we can use a code: Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta Echo Foxtrot … . In the British army’s code from 1898 to 1942, ack was the letter A: “Ack Beer Charlie Don Edward Freddy … .” The RAF called it “Ac”, I believe.]
    Our first intimation of danger was the sound of ack-ack shells exploding in the sky behind us. We stopped [the jeep] in nothing flat, and piled out.
    – Ernie Pyle, Here Is Your War: Story of G.I. Joe
 
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couscous – a North African dish of steamed or soaked semolina, usually served with spicy meat or vegetables [Wordcrafter note: I love it as a starch side-dish.]
[from Arabic kaskasa to pound, or bruise small; to pulverize]
    She was simple and naive. Besides couscous, she could not prepare a thing.
    – Mouloud Feraoun, The Poor Man's Son

    Incredibly versatile, couscous marries beautifully with a range of range of ingredients and flavors. ... A couscous dish can be sweet or spicy, a hearty one-dish meal or a dessert, Southwestern or Moroccan. It's also remarkably easy to prepare. Food icon Craig Claiborne lavishes his highest praise on traditional Moroccan couscous, ranking it among the top dishes in the world.
    – Dallas Morning News, Say "koos-koos" and you've got an easy dish in 5 minutes, May 17, 1995
 
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quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
[from Arabic kaskasa to pound, or bruise small; to pulverize]


Is this really a reduplicated form, or does it just look like one?
 
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tsetse – an African bloodsucking fly which transmits sleeping sickness and other diseases
[from Bantu]
    Aunt Betsy was fixing to change her will,
    And would have left us out in the chill.
    A Glossina morsitans bit Aunt Betsy.
    Tsk, tsk, tsetse.
    – Ogden Nash
Bonus word:
tsk
or tsk tsk – an interjection that expresses disapproval
noun: the sound made; verb; to express disapproval this way.
It is not pronounced to rhyme with brisk and wisk. OED, in craven cowardice, gives no pronunciation. To make the right sound, put your tongue-tip behind your upper front teeth and try to say a “t” sound. It comes out somewhat like a click or cluck.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
To make the right sound, put your tongue-tip behind your upper front teeth and try to say a “t” sound. It comes out somewhat like a click or cluck.


It's a dental click, in IPA: /ǀ/.
 
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Still too traumatized by a wild ride in Bangkok to describe the vehicle called the "tuk tuk," so you'll have to read for yourself at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_rickshaw


RJA
 
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juju – a charm or fetish (esp. of West Africa), or the supernatural power power of that charm
[Origin unclear. Some trace it to French jeu play, others to Yoruba or Hausa.]

grisgris (also gregree; gregre; grigri) – an African charm, amulet, or fetish
    Gris-gris or “juju” refers to magic charms or spells, often conjuring bags containing such items as bones, herbs, charms, snake skin, etc., tied up in a piece of cloth.
    – Skeptical Inquirer, Voodoo in New Orleans, Dec. 12, 2009

    He told Ron about the fetish market where you could buy dried split birds, old bones, skulls, jujus to put curses on people, potions to appease gods, get fertile, cure impotence …
    – Robert Wilson, The Big Killing

    “You have no children?”
    “No, Doctor, it has not happened yet.”
    “And you have been with him how long?”
    “One year.”
    “You have found no grigri against you?”
    – Helen Benedict, The Edge of Eden
 
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