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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Question:||Whenever I've come across the use of ''that'' being used twice consecutively, it's always bothered me. For example, ''That that is is. That that is not is not. Is that it? It is.'' I recognize the two uses of the word, but I suppose I'm wondering why, linguistically, there wasn't a better vehicle created to handle the redundancy of this word? Does this happen in other languages?|
|Reply:||This is a little late, but I concur with the others that many languages have homophones, but I think Dr Sampson is correct in that speakers can be puzzled when two of them come together unexpectedly (similar to a tongue twister). Here's an another example of two adjacent homophones that could produce a similar head scratching response. A: I'd like two scoops of ice-cream please. B: I'd like two, too. (i.e. I'd also like two scoops) I think you'd agree that B is grammatical, but it does sound a little odd to me, even with the clear distinction in meaning and spelling.|
|Reply From:||Elizabeth J Pyatt click here to access email|