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martes, 4 de diciembre de 2012

Reduplicatives, reduplicatives, reduplicatives.

Reduplicatives, sometimes called "echo words," or "echo phrases" are formulations such as hobnob, pell-mell, herky-jerky, hoity-toity, itsy-bitsy, niminy-piminy.  

Reduplicatives never travel alone. Actually, they always come in pairs and may sound rather silly. They are formed through reduplication of words, when you repeat a word to form a new one, or slightly change the vowel or consonant. These are inventive and musical words and there are hundreds of them in English.

There are three basic types of reduplicatives:

- some repeat the word exactly,
- some use rhyme for formation,
- and others, use vowel or consonant shift to come up with the other half of the pair. 

The majority of them are two-syllable words, although there are some with three syllables.

This type of word formation seems to come naturally to us. Some like hurly-burly are quite old (Shakespeare was responsible for it) and others are quite recent additions like chick-flick, a film genre geared towards (dirigido a) women.

-  Rhyming reduplicatives: hodge-podge, willy-nilly, helter-skelter, kowtow, harum-scarum, jeepers-creepers, okey-dokey, heebie-jeebie, gang-bang, hocus-pocus

- Vowel change reduplicatives: words that are formed by ablaut or vowel shift, such as ping-pong, shilly-shally, zig-zag, bibble-babble, pitter-patter, splish-splash, flim-flam. 

- There are also some lovely oddities that resist classification: dipsy-doodle, topsy-turvey, hunky-dory, tilly-valley, and, at the outer limit, hullabaloo.

Reduplicatives are not exactly easy to remember, so there´s really no point on me making a list here. I´ll give you a few of them in this post, the easiest ones so you remember them and I will be giving you more along the way in "La frase del día" section. As they say, one day at a time.

- hush-hush - confidential
- airy-fairy - nrealistic; light and delicate
- helter-skelter - adv. atropelladamente /noun tobogán
- easy-peasy – very easy
- fuddy-duddy – conservative or dull person
- chop, chop: hurry up!
- hocus-pocus – trickery; a magician’s incantation
- okey-dokey – OK
- super-duper – very pleasing
- chit-chat – gossipy talk
- riff-raff – rabble; people who are worthless
- mish-mash – a confused mixture
- flip-flop – this has several meanings, including a backward somersaut and a sandal with a piece between the toes.

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