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Perfect Reduplicatives

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April 12, 2010, 21:01
wordcrafter
Perfect Reduplicatives
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.
April 13, 2010, 03:47
Robert Arvanitis
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
April 14, 2010, 07:18
wordcrafter
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.]
April 15, 2010, 06:45
wordcrafter
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]
April 15, 2010, 16:46
goofy
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?
April 15, 2010, 20:52
wordcrafter
tsetse – an African bloodsucking fly which transmits sleeping sickness and other diseases
[from Bantu]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.
April 15, 2010, 20:59
goofy
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/.
April 16, 2010, 05:06
Robert Arvanitis
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
April 16, 2010, 19:57
wordcrafter
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