"Helter Skelter" is not only one of the Beatles’ wildest songs, but also a prime example of a reduplicative word in all its glory. Reduplication is the linguistic term for when an element of a word is repeated, resulting in a shift in meaning. Here are some of the main types of reduplicatives:
- Rhyming: whoo-hoo
- Vowel switches (also called “ablaut”): hip-hop
- Exact: night-night
Exact reduplication can be combined with contrastive focus, which is when the repeated word is used to intensify meaning. Case in point: If you’ve ever been in a relationship that was finally a “relationship-relationship,” or gone out on a ”date-date,” you know that the repetition makes the meaning much more significant.
What are some of your favorite reduplicative words? What are some of your favorite reduplicative words? What are some of your favorite reduplicative words?