Three Cross-linguistic Tendencies in Reduplication Revised

Jin-young Tak 1
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1Sejong University

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


This paper examines how three languages (i.e., Chichewa, Sesotho, Agta) comply with three cross-linguistic tendencies in reduplication (i.e., Shape Invariance, Unmarkedness, and Identity discussed by Kager (1999)) from the perspective of Typology. Considering that Chichewa is characterized as total (i.e., stem) reduplication, Sesotho as bisyllabic reduplication, and Agta as closed-syllable reduplication, this paper is to shows that there is a conflict among these three universal tendencies in reduplication. For example, Unmarkedness, conspiring a reduplicant to a bisyllabic reduplicative template (Kager 1999), cannot account for the occurrence of stem reduplication. In the same sense, Identity supports the occurrence of stem reduplication. A closed-syllable reduplicative template in Agta violates the Unmarkedness and Identity tendencies. Given these observations, in this paper a language-specific tendency preference mechanism with respect to Shape Invariance, Unmarkedness, and Identity is proposed to account for the occurrence of these three types of reduplication. Although the three languages seem to display three different reduplication patterns, three cross-linguistic tendencies in reduplication may be well-kept in these languages by adopting the tendency preference mechanism specific to a language.

Keywords: Shape Invariance; Unmarkedness; Identity; reduplication; reduplicative template; cross-linguistic tendency; bisyllabic; stem; closed syllable; tendency preference mechanism



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