Matthew - DOC

Document Sample
Matthew - DOC Powered By Docstoc
					61-966                                                     Seminar in Applied Linguistics
Framingham State College                                           Dr. Marguerite Mahler
Student: Matthew Bertelsen                             Due Thursday, January 31st, 2007

Final Research Project

           Reduplication: a Very, Very Short Examinamination

      Reduplication is the repetition of an element of a word or phrase to add meaning.

At its source this element may be a single phoneme, a syllable, or a word itself; it may

result in an affix, compound or free-standing word. In its various forms, reduplication is

a productive feature found in many languages. It is also a persistent feature, and has

been used in historical linguistics as a sort of genetic marker (Ghaniabadi, Ghomeshi,

and Sadat-Tehrani, p.9).

      Some variants of reduplication repeat or nearly repeat whole words. These are

the forms common to us in English. “Very, very late” is later than merely “very late”

(Matthews, p.337); “WHITE white” can differentiate “virginal white” from “hussy white”

(Ghaniabadi, Ghomeshi, and Sadat-Tehrani, p.9).        Echo reduplication can be used

simply to form nominatives, e.g. “walkie-talkie” (Matthews, p.337) and “goody-goody”

(Crystal, p. 90); or it can indicate indifference / pejoration, e.g. “money schmoney”

(Ghaniabadi, Ghomeshi, and Sadat-Tehrani, p.13), and “tasty shmasty” (Frampton

2004, p.58).

      Echo reduplication is also suggested to be “virtually pan-Asian” (Ghaniabadi,

Ghomeshi, and Sadat-Tehrani, p.3), where it is used for categorical generalization.

Virtually the same variant – known as reduplicative compounding (Matthews, p.337) – is
M. Bertelsen                               Reduplication                          Page 2 of 9

employed in everyday conversation in Japanese onomatopoeic reduplication, both

representational, e.g. “kirakira” [“tinkle”], and figurative, e.g. “chirinchirin” [“twinkle”]

(Crystal, p. 176). Japanese, Persian, Vata, and Modern Hebrew insert free particles

between repeated words that, in other uses, have different lexical values.            These

examples reflect a synergy of meanings – perhaps even to the point of “opaque

combinations” that Stevens describes from Madurese (p.8) – rather than simple

(conceptual) compounding.

       The broader field of reduplication is that of affixal word modification. Crystal

offers a list of the derivationali results of this type that includes aspectual inflections,

qualitative and quantitative descriptions, a Somali reduplication that indicates a

completeness of available space, and an example from Nootka that indicates a

scattered distribution (p.177). The latter is also seen in Lushootseed (Frampton 2004,

p.178). There are more. Prefixal reduplication nominalizes in Yoruba (Ibid., p.56) and

Tagolog (Ibid., p.44); Kinande uses this feature to form a causative inflection (Ibid.,

p.136); Madurese has a similar inflection for acting “in a non-directed way” (Stevens,

p.8); and both Lushootseed (Frampton 2004, p.179) and Salish (van Eijk) reduplicatively

inflect to indicate that the protagonist or activity is “out of control”.

       In spite of its pervasiveness, and / or due to its diverse manifestations, analysis

of reduplication has yielded many disparate opinions about its nature. Stevens claims

that “reduplication is a lexical process” (p.1). Matthews defines it as “any syntactic

pattern in which words are repeated” (p.337).              Ghaniabadi, Ghomeshi, and Sadat-
M. Bertelsen                           Reduplication                            Page 3 of 9

Tehrani cite the Morphological Doubling Theory as suggesting that “reduplication

involves semantic rather than phonological identity” (p.1), and they assert that the

lexical examples of reduplication from several languages may even indicate an

association with tag question construction in English (p.12).

       The most common approaches found in this review were premised on the broad

and rather coarse phonological categories of “C” – consonants, and “V” – vowels. A

typical treatment explains: “Base is V-initial and Reduplicant has an inserted C…. The

CI [inserted C] is not identical to the neighboring Cs” (An).        Salish generates a

reduplicant VC in which C is the second or later C in the word (van Eijk).         Schuh

describes the form of plurifactional reduplication in Bade as concerning the reduplication

of the penultimate or final C with V reduplication or epenthesis where needed to avoid C

gemination and other prohibited CC sequences (p.2).

       Having thus and variously identified what is to be reduplicated, the discussions

turn to where to put it. For example, Indonesian prefixes a reduplicant to the stem “in a

position determined by other morphemes in the word and by the particular derivation”

(Stevens, p.1). At times, the issue has left researchers baffled, as Schuh confesses

regarding last consonant reduplication in Bade: “Direction of reduplication is

problematic…. I have no convincing solution to this quandry [sic]” (p.2).

       The seeming mechanical approach to reduplicant analysis may reflect a lingering

entrenchment of generative phonology, where surface structures are seen to be

informed by “an ordered set of phonological rules” (Matthews, p.156).         Generative
M. Bertelsen                            Reduplication                            Page 4 of 9

phonology has largely come to be regarded as overly “abstract” (Ibid.), but it still enjoys

its defenders, even as applied to reduplication.        As recently as 2000, Eric Raimy

asserted that reduplication “is the proof of generative phonology rather than an

exception to it” (Vajda, p.111).

       Reduplication is too common a language feature to leave standing as an

exception to a functional theory.      It is, for example, one of the most prominent

grammatical features in South-East Asian and Austronesian languages (Lande). And

Raimy himself declared that reduplication is not idiosyncratic (Vajda, p.112). Yet, it can

be troublesome. Schuh’s analysis of “on the fly” reduplication in Bade was inconclusive,

as no consistent patterns were discernable. Gouskova describes her dilemma with

reduplication in Tonkawa: “the affixal reduplicant is expected to be less marked, not

more, than the corresponding stems or affixes in the language. This line of attack on

reduplication has been very productive, as the long line of research in this area will

attest, but it doesn’t work for Tonkawa” (p.18). She concludes that there is “evidence

for reduplicant-specific constraints” and suggests that “it is entirely reasonable to expect

that in some languages, the reduplicant will be the exceptional morpheme, subject to

restrictions that do not apply elsewhere” (p.26).

       Of course, a theory that could account for all the variables of what is reduplicated

and where it is put would still have to address the issue of when: the sequential

operations of reduplicant modification. Frampton, who sees reduplication as analogous

to the replication of DNA (Frampton, 2004, p.1), furthers the comparison by suggesting
M. Bertelsen                             Reduplication                             Page 5 of 9

that phonological mutation (“adjustment”) takes place before copying (Ibid., p.5).

Referring more specifically to Madurese, Stevens argues that reduplication occurs after

other morpho- and phono-logical rules have been applied to the final C-V-C of the root,

which is then prefixed to the stem (p.1).

       Bade, on the other hand, seems to belie a tendency to alter the source vowel

after it has been copied, leaving only the reduplicant as true to the original (Schuh, p.2-

3; he suggests this pattern is frequent, but does not constitute a rule). Gouskova offers

Tonkawa (p.16) and Kikuyu (p.25) as examples in which the source vowel is changed to

match the reduplicant, the latter having been modified to accommodate phonological

restrictions specific only to reduplicants.

       Through these examples, Gouskova explains such phonological back-copying

reflects “a strong general preference for base-reduplicant identity” (p.26). But such

identity does not always hold sway. In Ciyao, a Bantu language, phonologically based

constraints outrank surface base-reduplicant identity (Mtenje, p.1-2).

       It is this idea of rule ranking that differentiates the Optimality Theory from that of

generative phonology. What is “optimal” is the least value of violations of applicable

rules: violation of a rule lower in the rules hierarchy is of lower value, and thus preferred

over violating a higher-order rule of consequently higher value. The violable options are

considered in parallel, or holistically: “The best satisfaction of the constraint hierarchy is

computed over the whole hierarchy and the whole candidate set. There is no serial

derivation” (Ibid., p.10). This theory does not propose a universal hierarchy; to the
M. Bertelsen                            Reduplication                            Page 6 of 9

contrary, “constraints are largely regarded as universal, but their rankings are language-

specific”, and even variability within a single language can be “attributed to differences

in the rankings of the same constraints” (Ibid.).

       Is there at least a universal tendency for what types of constraints are held to a

higher value in reduplication? Raimy offers that reduplication “derives from general

phonological and morphological principles” (Vajda, p.112). Vajda refines the hierarchy

in casting reduplication as the “most phonology-dependent of all morphological

processes” (Ibid.).     Frampton explains that reduplicant content in Sanscrit is

“phonologically determined” (Frampton, 2003, p.14). He expresses more generally that

the what and where of reduplication are morphological operations which are informed

by “prosodic adjustment”, and quickly follows with the caveat, “although prosodic

adjustment is in the phonology, it is morphologically conditioned” (Frampton, 2004, p.


       The Prosodic Morphology Hypothesis seems to give the lead firmly to prosody:

“Templates [morpheme shapes, that include reduplicants] are defined in terms of

prosodic constituents such as syllable and metrical foot rather than in terms of

segmental CV slots or X-slots” (Gouskova, p.1). Gouskova finds support for this in her

study of Tonkawa, in which reduplication is “limited in size to a light syllable; everything

else follows from the interaction of this requirement with the language’s prosodic

system” (Ibid., p.24). This hypothesis may be the light at the end of Schuh’s tunnel of

Bade; he has noted a pattern in the modification of the root following reduplication that
M. Bertelsen                           Reduplication                            Page 7 of 9

alternates metrical weight between “heavy”, “light”, and “neutralized” syllables (p.2). It

has been observed of Kinande that vowel height and harmony determine reduplicative

modifications (Frampton, 2004, p.136), and Frampton himself seems to qualify the

assertion of morphologically conditioned prosody by adding that “prosodic adjustment is

governed by a target prosodic desideratum (or desiderata), which is roughly equivalent

to [prosodic morphology]’s notion of a prosodic template” (Ibid., p.5).

       The fact that reduplication adds meaning defines it as morphological, but this

does not drive the process of affixal modification. The most common element in the

review of this feature is phonology, and, while it is a separate issue, phonology has a

significant role in shaping prosody.

       Though it may seem so at first, it is not simplistic to say that the highest-order

constraints on reduplication are based on what sounds right. Consider that infants have

been shown to discriminate between a familiar language and those that are not; this

may be driven by phono-prosodic differentiation, but the phonological features per se

would seem less obvious than the simply prosodic.               The earliest, controlled,

developmental speech feature is babbling – phonological play-and-experimentation.

Yet this develops into prosodic babbling before it results in words, and this prosody is a

clear imitation of the language common to the infant’s experience.

       Perhaps to at last discover the underlying form of such a prevalent surface

feature as reduplication, we will have to consider the arbitrary consensus that is most

basic and primary to any language. This will not result in satisfaction for those who
M. Bertelsen                                    Reduplication                                      Page 8 of 9

yearn for a single rule, a one-size-fits-all explanation. Rather, its universality is certain

to lie embedded in what is universal about all languages: their sounds and rhythms help

make them unique.

 Crystal employs the term “inflectional” for word elements that express grammatical contrasts.
“Derivational” is not its lexical, word-class counterpart, but more generally refers to the construction of
new words, of which inflections are a subset (p.90).


An, Young-ran. “Identity Avoidance in Korean Reduplication”. Stony Brook University.
      Retrieved Jan. 12, 2008, from
Crystal, David. 1997. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, 2nd ed. (Cambridge
       University Press, Cambridge)
Frampton, John. 2003. “Root Vowel Syncope and Reduplication in Sanskrit”.
     Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistics Society, 2003. Retrieved Jan. 12, 2008,
Frampton, John. February, 2004. “Distributed Reduplication”. Retrieved Jan. 12, 2008,
Ghaniabadi, Saeed, Jila Ghomeshi, and Nima Sadat-Tehrani. “Reduplication in
      Persian: A Morphological Doubling Approach”. Retrieved Jan. 12, 2008, from
Gouskova, Maria. “The Reduplicative Template in Tonkawa”. Retrieved Jan. 12, 2008,
Lande, Yury A. June, 2003. “Nominal Reduplication in Indonesian: Challenging the
      Theory of Grammatical Change”. The Seventh International Symposium on
      Malay / Indonesian Linguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 27-29 June 2003.
      Retrieved              Jan.               12,              2008,       from
M. Bertelsen                         Reduplication                          Page 9 of 9

Matthews, P. H. 2007. Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics, 2nd ed.       (Oxford
      University Press, Oxford)
Mtenje, Al. “An Optimality Theoretic Account of Ciyao Verbal Reduplication”. Retrieved
      Jan. 12, 2008, from
Schuh, Russell. 2002. “Verbal Pluractional Reduplication in Western Bade”. Bade /
      Ngizim Phonology and Morphology, Linguistics 252, Handout 07. Retrieved Jan.
      12,                               2008,                                 from
Stevens, Alan M. Oct. 1985. “Reduplication in Madurese”. Proceedings of the Second
      Annual Eastern States Conference on Linguistics, Buffalo, NY, October 3-5,
      1985.               Retrieved         Jan.       12,       2008,        from
Vajda, Edward J. 2003. Review of Eric Raimy, “The Phonology and Morphology of
      Reduplication”, CJL/RCL 48(1/2), 2003, Project Muse. Retrieved Jan. 12, 2008,
Van Eijk, Jan P. 1990. “VC Reduplication in Salish” Abstract. Anthropological
     Linguistics, Vol. 32, nos. 3-4 (Fall and Winter 1990). Retrieved Jan. 12, 2008,