Feature GB159: Are nouns reduplicated?

Patrons: Jakob Lesage



A noun is reduplicated if its root is fully or partially repeated. The word class of the outcome of the process is not relevant, as long as the root is a noun. Full repetition of already inflected nouns or units larger than a root does not trigger a 1 for this feature. This feature only targets productive reduplication. Reduplication in closed classes (e.g. kinship terms) is not relevant. Lexicalized examples are irrelevant.


  1. Code 1 if a source mentions productive reduplication of nouns.
  2. Code 1 if you identify productively reduplicated nouns in a source.
  3. Code 0 if a source mentions that there is no productive reduplication (of nouns).
  4. Code 0 if a source discusses reduplication of verbs or other items but not of nouns.
  5. Code 0 if the only instances of reduplicated nouns are lexicalized.
  6. Code ? if there are examples that contain potential reduplicated nouns but their analysis remains inconclusive.
  7. Code ? if you suspect the author may have missed or disregarded reduplicated nouns.


Leti (ISO 693-3: lti, Glottolog: leti1246)

In Leti, adjectives can be derived from nouns by means of reduplication (van Engelenhoven 2004: 101-102, 123). Leti is coded 1 for this feature.

üau ‘idiot, n.’   → üa-üau ‘idiot[ic], adj.’
lèpa ‘fool’       → lèplèpa ‘foolish’
mèla ‘night’      → mèl-mèla ‘by night, dark’

Loup A (ISO 693-3: xlo, Glottolog: loup1243)

In Loup A, there are some examples of reduplicated plural nouns corresponding to simplex singular nouns, but this reduplication process is not productive (Gustafson 2000: 48–49). Because there is no productive reduplication for nouns, this language is coded 0.

sankecem8 ‘good hunting dog’     -> sasanekecem8ek ‘good hunting dogs’
8ik8an ‘dull thing’              -> 8a8ik8aněs ‘dull things’

Abu' Arapesh (ISO 639-3: aah, Glottolog: abua1245)

In Abu' Arapesh, repetition and reduplication are only productive in child language (Nekitel 1985: 174). This language is coded 0.

Yulu (ISO 639-3: yul, Glottolog: yulu1243)

For Yulu, Santandrea (1970: 79) explicitly mentions that reduplication does not occur. This language is coded 0.

Further reading

Gil, David. 2005. From repetition to reduplication in Riau Indonesian. In Bernhard Hurch (eds), Studies on reduplication, 31–64. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Hurch, Bernhard (ed.). 2005. Studies on reduplication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Marantz, Alec. 1982. Re reduplication. Linguistic Inquiry 13. 435–482.

Moravcsik, Edith A. 1978. Reduplicative Constructions. In Joseph H. Greenberg, Charles Albert Ferguson & Edith A. Moravcsik (eds), Universals of human language. Volume 3: Word structure, 297–334. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Rubino, Carl. 2005. Reduplication: Form, function and distribution. In Bernhard Hurch (eds), Studies on reduplication, 11–29. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.


Gustafson, Holly S. 2000. A grammar of the Nipmuck language. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba. (MA thesis.)

Nekitel, Otto. 1985. Sociolinguistic aspects of Abu', a Papuan Language of the Sepik Area, Papua New Guinea. Canberra: Australian National University. (Doctoral dissertation.)

van Engelenhoven, Aone. 2004. Leti: A language of Southwest Maluku. (Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk instituut voor taal-, land- en volkenkunde, 211.) Leiden: Leiden: KITLV Press.

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Name Glottocode Family Macroarea Contributor Value Source Comment