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Word-class features and reduplicative meaning

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Abstract

Total reduplication (TR) of the type X X (as in Modern Greek vima “step” > vima vima “step by step”) has been discussed as a possible language universal (Stolz 2003/4, 2006). The meanings arising from reduplication are often considered a direct function of the word classes that the process applies to (Kiyomi 1995; Dixon & Aikhenvald 2004; Singh 2005). This paper explores the correlation of word classes with reduplicative meaning in a typological perspective and with special reference to TR in Modern Greek (MG). Typological evidence shows that instead of assumed general characteristics of word classes, particular lexical and morphosyntactic features of sub-classes within major classes seem to be responsible for the rise of certain meanings in reduplication. The features discussed here concern countability, plural marking and gradability of the lexical content of the MG bases for TR.

References

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