Talk talk, not just small talk. Exploring English contrastive focus reduplication with the help of corpora

Open access

Abstract

Contrastive focus reduplication (CR) is a type of reduplication in English which picks out a prototypical or intensified reading of the reduplicated element and shows contrastive stress on the reduplicant: for instance, speakers may use talk talk to indicate that a ‘real talk’ - as opposed to e.g. ‘just small talk’- took place. The present paper pursues an empirical, corpus-linguistic approach to CR: Based on three mega-corpora of contemporary English, the following aspects in particular are investigated: the importance of the co-text of CR, the possibility of emerging default interpretations for some frequent CRs, and the function(s) CR serves in discourse. In addition, it contains the first analysis of the sociolinguistics of the phenomenon, based on a corpus of blogs. It emerges that contrasts and/or synonyms are commonly employed to clarify the meaning of CR - most frequently in the form of the unreduplicated base (not talk, but talk talk) or an explanatory phrase (talk talk, by which I mean a serious conversation). CR is most frequent in blogs maintained by women and by young speakers. Its presence in blogs shows that CR is not limited to (fictional representations of) spoken dialogue. Though generally rare, it is also found in other genres (such as fiction, news, and even academic prose). Apart from its disambiguating function, CR is also used for creative purposes (as a kind of wordplay) and apparently serves to build rapport between interlocutors (or bloggers and readers) via reference to common ground.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Blauth-Henke Christine. 2008. Reduplikation in Korpora. Zum Zusammenhang von Methodenreflexion und Forschungsgegenstand. In S. Buch Á. Ceballos and C. Gerth (eds.). Selbstreflexivität: Beiträge zum 23. Forum Junge Romanistik (Göttingen 30.05.-2.6.2007) 35-50. Bonn: Romanistischer Verlag.

  • Crystal David. 2006. Language and the Internet. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Curzan Anne and Chris C. Palmer. 2006. The importance of historical corpora reliability and reading. In R. Facchinetti and M. Rissanen (eds.). Corpusbased studies of diachronic English 17-36. Bern and New York: Peter Lang.

  • Davies Mark. 2008- . The corpus of contemporary American English: 450 million words 1990-present. Available at: http://corpus.byu.edu/coca. Accessed 4.6.2015.

  • Davies Mark. 2012. The corpus of American soap operas: 100 million words 2001-2012. Available at: http://corpus2.byu.edu/soap. Accessed 2.5.2015.

  • Dray Nancy. 1987. Doubles and modifiers in English. Unpublished MA thesis University of Chicago.

  • Fessl Angela. 2006. Reduplication finder 1.1. Available at: http://reduplication.uni-graz.at/. Accessed 1.10.2014.

  • Finkbeiner Rita. 2014. Identical constituent compounds in German. Word Structure 7 (2): 182-213.

  • Garretson Gregory. 2015. Search-search: Reduplication finder. (Software).

  • Ghomeshi Jila Ray Jackendoff Nicole Rosen and Kevin Russell. 2004. Contrastive focus reduplication in English (The salad-salad paper). Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 22 (2): 307-357.

  • Hohenhaus Peter. 2004. Identical constituent compounding - a corpus-based study. Folia Linguistica 38 (3-4): 297-332.

  • Hohenhaus Peter. 2007. How to do (even more) things with nonce words (other than naming). In J. Munat (ed.). Lexical creativity texts and contexts 15-38. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Horn Laurence R. 1993. Economy and redundancy in a dualistic model of natural language. In S. Shore and M. Vilkuna (eds.). SKY - Yearbook of the Linguistic Association of Finland 33-72. Helsinki.

  • Horn Laurence R. 2008. Pragmatics and the lexicon. In P. van Sterkenburg (ed.). Unity and diversity of languages 29-42. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Horn Laurence R. 2015. The lexical clone: Pragmatics prototypes and productivity. Presentation at 37. Jahrestagung der DGfS Leipzig. 5.3.2015.

  • Huang Yan. 2009. Neo-Gricean pragmatics and the lexicon. International Review of Pragmatics 1 (1): 118-153.

  • Lieber Rochelle. 2009. Identical-constituent compounds. In R. Lieber and P. Štekauer (eds.). The Oxford handbook of compounding 364-365. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Lipka Leonhard. 2000. English (and general) word-formation - the state of the art. In B. Reitz and S. Rieuwerts (eds.). Anglistentag 1999 in Mainz: Proceedings 5-20.Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag.

  • Pedersen Sarah and Caroline Macafee. 2007. Gender differences in British blogging. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12 (4): 1472-1492.

  • Rossi Daniela. 2011. Lexical reduplication and affective contents: A pragmatic and experimental perspective. Belgian Journal of Linguistics 25: 148-175.

  • Russell Kevin. 2014. Corpus of English contrastive focus reduplications. Available at: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~krussll/redup-corpus.html. Accessed 20.7.2015.

  • Schler Jonathan Moshe Koppel Shlomo Argamon and James Pennebaker. 2006. Effects of age and gender on blogging. In N. Nicolov F. Salvetti M. Liberman and J. H. Martin (eds.). Proceedings of 2006 AAAI Spring Symposium on Computational Approaches for Analyzing Weblogs 199-205. Available at: http://www.aaai.org/Papers/Symposia/Spring/2006/SS-06-03/SS06-03-039.pdf. Accessed 1.9.2015.

  • Scott Mike. 2012. WordSmith Tools version 6. Stroud: Lexical Analysis Software.

  • Song Myoung Hyoun and Chungmin Lee. 2011. CF-reduplication: Dynamic prototypes and contrastive focus effects. In N. Ashton A. Chereches and D. Lutz (eds.). Proceedings of the 21st Semantics and Linguistic Theory Conference (SALT 21) 444-462. Available at: http://journals.linguisticsociety.org/proceedings/index.php/SALT/article/view/2590. Accessed 1.9.2015.

  • Stefanone Michael A. and Chyng-Yang Jang. 2007. Writing for friends and family: The interpersonal nature of blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13 (1): 123-140.

  • Stolz Thomas Cornelia Stroh and Aina Urdze. 2011. Total reduplication: The areal linguistics of a potential universal. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

  • Taylor John R. 2003. Linguistic categorization. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Whitton Laura. 2006. The semantics of contrastive focus reduplication in English: Does the construction mark prototype-prototype? Unpublished manuscript Stanford University.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 446 205 4
PDF Downloads 259 149 6