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Reduplication in Rma

reduplication pt. 1

This is the first in a short series of posts on reduplication in Rma. In the Yonghe variety of Rma, there is a reduplicating construction that can be used for certain stative verbs as an iconic indicator of the intensity of state. This construction involves both reduplication and also the addition of a formative suffix [-hu] to give the meaning ‘X-er than X’. This is a restricted and idiomatic construction. An exhaustive list of examples found thus far is given below.

form gloss form gloss
tsʌ̌ ‘to be small’ tsʌ̌=tsʌ̀.hú ‘smaller than small’
bǎɹ ‘to be big’ bǎɹ=bàɹ.hú ‘bigger than big’
læ̌ ‘to be thick’ læ̌=læ̀.hú ‘thicker than thick’
bǐ ‘to be thin’ bǐ=bì.hú ‘thinner than thin’
bú ‘to be tall’ bú=bù.hú ‘taller than tall’
ʂʌ́ ‘to be pretty’ ʂʌ́=ʂʌ̀.hú ‘prettier than pretty’

In this case, the initial form can be considered the ‘base’, since it retains the citation tone. The final form, which has an invariant low pitch pattern can be considered the ‘reduplicant’.