The Why and How of Total Reduplication: Current Issues and New Perspectives
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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This article explores the iconicity of Total Reduplication (TR) and considers how iconicity is manifested in the reduplication of object, event, and attribute-denoting forms in Caribbean Creole (CC) languages. We argue that TR naturally lends itself to a “more of the same content” interpretation, but that iconicity is nevertheless compromised by restrictions on the eligibility of simplex forms as input for TR, arbitrary gaps in the interpretations available for reduplicated forms, and in the frequently attested secondary, affective connotations of the process. Additionally, we point out that the view that the presence of TR and other reduplicative processes in CC languages results from substrate transfer is difficult to maintain in light of the failure to find good parallels for these processes in relevant substrate languages. Thus, the presumed simplicity of iconicity disintegrates upon closer scrutiny.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): creole language: iconicity; reduplication; simplicity; substrate transfer
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