If you thought you’d got to grips with this grammar thing having read the previous 6 parts to Grammar – Love it or Loathe it?, I’m sorry but I’m going to spoil it all and talk about something called ‘Reduplication’ in this final article of the series.
What on earth is this all about?
Well, again, it’s something we use more or less every day when we’re talking and writing but we probably don’t even realise it.
There are 3 types of reduplication that are most common:
- Rhyming Reduplication
- Exact Reduplication and
- Ablaut Reduplication
Let me give you some examples of each and it’ll all become crystal clear (!)
Do you remember the song about a yellow polka-dot bikini that was ‘itsy-bitsy’ and ‘teeny-weeny’? Well, ‘itsy-bitsy’ and ‘teeny-weeny’ are examples of rhyming reduplication.
It happens when you get pairings of usually nonsensical words, such as ‘hokey-cokey’ or ‘okey-dokey’ or ‘fuzzy-wuzzy’ or ‘fuddy-duddy’ or ‘hanky-panky’.
Similar to rhyming reduplication, word pairings here are usually spelt the same.
Examples include: ‘bye-bye’ or ‘blah-blah’ or ‘choo-choo’ or ‘yada-yada’.
Now, this one, I feel certain, you will be familiar with because there are loads of everyday word pairings that come under this heading, e.g.
What do all these word pairings have in common? Well, the first vowel is always ‘i’ and the second is either ‘a’ or ‘o’.
Hands up who was fully aware that you were using an ‘ablaut reduplication’ when you said ‘ding-dong’? Be honest…
Next time you use these word pairings, just remember you’re using a reduplication rule.
This brings the Grammar – Love it or Loathe it? series to an end. If you’ve been brave enough to stick with it from the beginning, firstly, thank you and secondly, I hope you’ve got something out of it and that, like me, you will ‘love’ grammar from now on.
The English language is such a rich and ever-changing language and as a native speaker I’m just glad that it all comes naturally to me and that I don’t have to think twice about what I say or write. Having said that, it’s just as fascinating to understand why these things come out of our mouths or from the tip of a pencil or from the tips of our fingers on a keyboard.
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