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In morphology, reduplication is an operation which copies some part (or all) of the base and attaches the copied element (the reduplicant) to the base. The copied element that is attached to the base is called reduplicant. Reduplication is a kind of non-linear morphology.

Reduplication is a word formation process by which some part of a base (= a segment, syllable, morpheme) is repeated, either to the left, or to the right, or, occasionally, in the middle.

Reduplication forms a predictable grammatical pattern, it is not any kind of repetition of phonological material. The function can be semantic (intensity, plurality, etc) or grammatical (agreement with subject, aspect, etc).


Ponapean duhp 'dive', du-duhp 'be diving' (reduplication of a CV syllable, Rehg 1981:78).

Tagalog has many reduplication rules, resulting in forms like (i) and (ii):

(i)  sulat			'writing'
     su-sulat   		'will write'
(ii) mag-sulat-sulat	        'to write intermittently'



The use of this term in its modern sense goes back at least to the 18th century.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Broselow, J. & J. McCarthy 1983. A Theory of Internal Reduplication, The Linguistic Review 3, pp. 25-88
  • Clements,G.N. 1985. The geometry of phonological features,, Phonolgical Yearbook 2,, 225-252
  • Marantz, A. 1982. Rereduplication, Linguistic Inquiry 13, pp. 435-482
  • Moravcsik, Edith A. 1978b. Reduplicative constructions. In: Greenberg, Joseph H. (ed.) Universals of Human Language. Vol. 3. Word Structure. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 297-334.
  • Rehg, Kenneth. 1981. Ponapean reference grammar. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.

Other languages

German Reduplikation