Feature GB160: Are elements apart from verbs or nouns reduplicated?

Patrons: Jakob Lesage



A lexeme 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 not a noun or a verb. Reduplication of function words counts, as does reduplication of numerals, adjectives and adverbs. Full repetition of already inflected words or units larger than a root does not trigger a 1 for this feature. This feature only targets productive reduplication. Lexicalized examples are irrelevant. For open word classes, this means that reduplication should not be limited to a small set of lexically determined roots. For closed word classes, any transparent reduplication counts as long as the non-reduplicated root is also still used. Roots that only occur in their reduplicated form should be considered lexicalized reduplications.


  1. Code 1 if a source mentions productive reduplication of any word class that is different from verbs and nouns.
  2. Code 1 if you identify productive reduplication of items that are not verbs or nouns in a source.
  3. Code 0 if a source mentions that there is no productive reduplication of items beyond verbs and/or nouns.
  4. Code 0 if a source discusses reduplication for nouns and/or verbs, but does not discuss reduplication for other items.
  5. Code 0 if the only instances of reduplication beyond verbs and nouns in the language are lexicalized. For open word classes, this means that reduplication would only apply to a small set of lexically determined roots. For closed word classes, this means that the simplex root of a reduplicated item is no longer available as a separate word.
  6. Code ? if there are examples that contain potential reduplication without verbal or nominal roots but their analysis remains inconclusive.
  7. Code ? if you suspect the author may have missed or disregarded reduplication of items beyond verbs and nouns in the language.


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

In Leti, reduplication derives adjectives from cardinal numerals (van Engelenhoven 2004: 101–102, 164). Leti is coded 1.

vòtelu ‘three’        → vò-te-telu ‘third’
sanunu ‘ten’          → sa-nu-nunu ‘tenth’
v(ï)èl-sia ‘ninety’   → v(ï)èl-si-sia ‘ninetieth’

Nyam (ISO 693-3: nmi, Glottolog: nyam1285)

In Nyam, demonstratives may be reduplicated to emphasize the particular referent that is singled out (Andreas 2012: 113-114). Nyam is coded 1.

a. lìbàŋ-éndɔ̀
‘this child (here)’ 

b. lìbàŋ-énd~èndɔ̀
‘this very child (here)’

c. lìbàŋ-énjì
‘that child (visible)’

d. lìbàŋ-énj~ènjì
‘that very child (visible)’

Nubi (ISO 693-3: kcn, Glottolog: nubi1253)

In Nubi, reduplication of adjectives indicates intensity (Wellens 2003: 82). Nubi is coded 1.

'Sika    'de   'kan    ba'tal-ba'tal.
Road(s)  DEF   be-ANT  bad-REDUP
‘The roads were very bad.’ (Wellens 2003: 82)

Lozi (ISO 639-3: loz, Glottolog: lozi1239)

Lozi does not have productive reduplication and is coded 0. Reduplicated ideophones occur, but the corresponding non-reduplicated forms do not occur, so this reduplication process is historical rather than synchronically productive. See Fortune (2001: 103).

cupwa cupwa     ‘walking in water’
nga nga nga     ‘shivering’
nyame nyame     ‘disappearing’
pululu          ‘being grey in colour’
temu temu       ‘looking round speechless’

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

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

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

For Yulu, Santandrea (1970: 79) explicitly mentions that reduplication does not occur. Yulu 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.


Andreas, Heike. 2012. Grammatische Beschreibung des Nyam- eine westtschadische Minoritätensprache. Frankfurt am Main: Goethe University Frankfurt. (Doctoral dissertation.)

Fortune, George. 2001. An outline of Silozi grammar. Lusaka, Zambia: Bookworld Publishers.

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

Santandrea, Stefano. 1970. Brief grammar outlines of the Yulu and Kara Languages (Bahr el Ghazal, Sudan- Central African Republic). (Museum Combonianum, 25.) Rome: Sodality of St. Peter Claver.

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

Wellens, Inneke. 2003. The Nubi language of Uganda: An Arabic creole in Africa. Nijmegen: Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen. (Doctoral dissertation.)

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