The Why and How of Total Reduplication: Current Issues and New Perspectives
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Total Reduplication (henceforth TR) of the type exemplified by Modern Greek aspros aspros ‘white white’ “very white” and vima vima ‘step step’ “step by step” has an expressive dimension, mainly in that it is an optional strategy and it almost always has pragmatic connotations and effects (e.g. making a narration more vivid) (see, e.g., Zwicky & Pullum 1987; Beard & Volpe 2005). This paper poses the question whether TR can be viewed as a category of constructions that exclusively serve as expressive markers in Modern Greek (MG). I discuss the arguments and counterarguments to the idea that TR in MG can be described as a process of “expressive morphosyntax”, in parallel to Zwicky & Pullum’s (1987) notion of “expressive morphology” (which mainly refers to processes such as play languages, ideophones, and schm-reduplication). I also refer to a wide range of criteria of expressivity (involving functional as well as formal characteristics of expressives) in the relevant literature. The discussion points to an incomplete overlap between typical categories of expressives and TR. It also clarifies the senses in which TR is “expressive” and touches on issues of the status of TR in the grammar.


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