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Original scientific paper

Ivan Marković; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Repetition and reduplication in language are two types of repeating the same language material, repetition being syntactical, and reduplication being morphological (inflectional and derivational) process. In the paper a dozen of Croatian repetitive constructions are recognised and described, and arguments are presented by which they can or cannot be considered as reduplicated. Several groups of lexemes are formed by some kind of repetition: 1) lexemes with the repetition of majoritive prefixes like pra– ’proto–’, naj– ’the most’, pre– ’too’, 2) adverbs gdjegdje ’here and there’, katkada ’sometimes’, and indefinite pronouns {to{ta ’different things’, kojekoji ’different, various’, 3) loan words like bombon ’sweet’, ciklus ’cycle’, and indigenous but derivationally not analyzable words like glagol ’verb’, pepeo ’ashes’, 4) adjectives raznorazni ’different’, vjekovje- čan ’eternal’, and danodnevni ’day in day out’, 5) adverbs like tako–tako ’so–so’, malo–malo ’from time to time’.
Several kinds of syntactically repetitive constructions are also recognized: 1) repetition of a verb with the connotation of iterativity, with possible conversion into interjection (vidi, vidi! ’oho!’), 2) repetition of the Duša mu je kamen – kamen ’His soul is stone – stone (i. e. made of stone)’ type, 3) repetition of the comparative of adjectives in gradational constructions sve + comp. + i + comp ’comp. + and + comp. (e. g. better and better)’, 4) adjectival periphrastic superlative phrases of the pun puncat ’completely full’ type, 5) repetition of a phrase with the connotation of derogativity and not fulfilling interlocutor’s expectations (Vrati mi novac, vrati mi novac... ’Return me the money, return me the money...’), 6) repetition in children’s mocking, 7) repetition of an NP or an AP in concessive clauses (Noga u gipsu, noga u gipsu – na bratovu se svadbu mora ići ’Leg in plaster, leg in plaster – one must attend one’s brother’s wedding (i. e. Even if one’s leg is in plaster,...)’).
It is concluded that Croatian, like other West European languages, does not have grammaticalized reduplication, and that reduplicated lexemes are often better described by other derivational processes. Only adjectival constructions of the pun puncat type exhibit properties of the proper reduplicated constructions to the greater extent. Connotations of Croatian syntactically repetitive constructions – derogativity, depreciation, concessivity – cannot be subsumed under the notion of mere increase, iterativity, or emphases. Meanings obtained by repetitive derivation are always positive in Croatian, and those obtained by repetition in syntax can be either positive or negative. Syntactical repetitive constructions are usually heard in colloquial language and are usually strengthened by particular apodictic intonation, and sometimes mocking, grimaces etc.



repetition (linguistics); reduplication (linguistics); word formation; syntax; colloquial language; Croatian


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