It's time for The Reduplicatives. That could be the name of a rock band - the one known for razzle-dazzle and their hoity-toity demeanor.They come in pairs, make a little chit-chat, and then hurry-scurry off to their next go-go gig.
Reduplicatives are words formed when a term is either repeated exactly(as in bonbon), or with a slight variation in the vowel (as in ping-pong),or consonant (as in higgledy-piggledy). This process of compound word formation is known as reduplication.
The reduplicatives sent each day of that week were delightful and funny. The latest AWADmail from Wordsmith had a subscriber email about reduplicatives in Malay. Again, part of that email is quoted:
Source: AWADmail Issue 153 (Feb 6, 2005)
In Malay, a word repeatedly exactly denotes plurality: meja = table,therefore tables = meja-meja. Its quite cute, however, complications can arise - in some instances, where a word repeated exactly is a word in its own right. e.g. butterfly (rama rama) and needs to be pluralise. e.g.butterflies = rama rama rama rama. As you can imagine, it does sound funny to foreign ears when all you hear is a repetition of the word 4x!
The Malay example reminded me of reduplicatives in Tamil. More on that some other day.
List of reduplicatives that I found elsewhere.