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Review of  Reduplication

Reviewer: Michael R. Marlo
Book Title: Reduplication
Book Author: Sharon Inkelas Cheryl Zoll
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
Issue Number: 17.290

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Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 00:51:05 -0500
From: Michael R. Marlo
Subject: Reduplication: Doubling in Morphology

AUTHORS: Inkelas, Sharon; Zoll, Cheryl
TITLE: Reduplication
SUBTITLE: Doubling in Morphology
SERIES: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, 106
PUBLISHER: Cambridge University Press
YEAR: 2005


Reduplication: Doubling in Morphology, by Sharon Inkelas and Cheryl
Zoll, presents a new theory of reduplication, Morphological Doubling
Theory (henceforth MDT), which reanalyzes the fundamental identity
relation in reduplication as morphosyntactic. Most current theories of
reduplication, building on McCarthy and Prince (1995) and earlier
work such as Wilbur (1973), assume some version of Base-
Reduplicant Correspondence Theory (BRCT), which requires surface
phonological identity between the base and the reduplicant. In MDT,
reduplicative constructions call for multiple copies of stems, which
have independent inputs and are subject to independent phonotactic
and morphotactic requirements. Surface phonological identity between
the two reduplicative copies, as well as surface phonological non-
identity, is therefore an indirect byproduct of identity of
morphosyntactic features, as mediated by phonological and
morphological requirements on each copy and on the entire
reduplicative construction.

In this book, Inkelas and Zoll bring reduplication within the purview of
theories of morphologically conditioned phonology, removing it as a
special instance of phonological correspondence that has powerful
theoretical machinery unto itself. Inkelas and Zoll reanalyze in MDT
several examples showing opaque underapplication and
overapplication interactions between the base and reduplicant that
have been previously argued to provide the basis for BRCT. In many
of these reanalyses, Inkelas and Zoll show that on different
assumptions about the morphological structure of the examples in
question, the application of the phonological processes is transparent
and derives from ordering relations inherent in reduplicative
constructions. In addition to countering the primary arguments for
base-reduplicant correspondence, this book argues that BRCT
overgenerates kinds of opacity that are not known to occur in human
languages and that MDT correctly predicts as impossible.


1. Introduction
Chapter 1 highlights the main claims of MDT, explicitly details
differences between MDT and phonological copying theories of
reduplication, and provides general information about the theoretical
assumptions of MDT. MDT is couched within Cophonology Theory
(e.g., Orgun 1996, Inkelas, Orgun & Zoll 1997, Inkelas 1998), in which
every morphological construction is associated with a separate
cophonology (constraint ranking), due to the theory's ability to account
for morphologically conditioned phonology. In the MDT approach to
reduplication, every reduplicated stem has three cophonologies: one
for each of the copies of the stem (the 'daughters') and one for the
entire reduplicated stem (the 'mother'), which dominates the two
daughter nodes. In this approach, each daughter has an independent
input, and the output of each daughter serves as the input to the
mother node, predicting the occurrence of ordering effects.
Additionally, divergence in the surface form of each copy of the stem
is predicted, as each cophonology has a potentially different
constraint ranking.

In MDT, reduplicative constructions call for two daughter nodes that
are identical in morphosyntactic or semantic features. In addition to
being able to encode morphologically conditioned phonology, the
MDT approach can encode idiomatic semantics, since the semantics
of the mother node can be specified independently of the semantics of
the daughter nodes. This is important in accounting for reduplication
whose meaning is non-iconic and, outside of reduplication, for
exocentric compounds (''pick-pocket''), where the meaning of the
whole differs from the sum of the meanings of the parts.

2. Evidence for morphological doubling
Chapter 2 discusses the main evidence for MDT. MDT claims that the
each of the reduplicative copies -- the daughters -- has a
morphologically and phonologically independent input, which allows
them to diverge morphologically and phonologically in both the input
and output. MDT therefore predicts the existence of reduplicative
constructions in which the two copies are semantically identical but
differ phonologically due to internal structural differences. Several
types of phenomena have this characteristic: linking markers, melodic
overwriting, prosodically beneficial empty morphs, and tier

Two other phenomena that critically support these basic claims of
MDT, but which are difficult to model in phonological copying theories
of reduplication, are synonym and antonym constructions and root
allomorphy. In synonym and antonym constructions, there is a
requirement that the two copies be semantically identical, similar, or
different, without any requirement that the copies be phonologically
identical. The existence of a phenomenon of this sort supports the
essential claim of MDT that doubling is at an abstract semantic or
morphosyntactic level. Inkelas and Zoll argue that a grammar that can
model synonym and antonym constructions already has the power to
handle reduplication, without recourse to Base-Reduplicant
Faithfulness or a RED morpheme.

The phenomenon of root allomorphy is characterized by the use of
different allomorphs of the same root in various morphosyntactic
constructions. In reduplicative constructions, which have two copies of
the root, the allomorph of the root that is expected in the particular
morphosyntactic configuration is used for one of the copies, while the
morphological ''default'' allomorph occurs in the other copy.
Phonological copying theories of reduplication cannot derive these
patterns, since the form of each copy is essentially determined by
morphological principles.

3. Morphologically conditioned phonology in reduplication: the

Chapter 3 investigates two of three main phonological predictions of
MDT, the ''Generalized Phonology Prediction'', which claims that ''the
set of phonological effects found applying within reduplication is
equivalent to the set of morphologically conditioned effects found
outside of reduplication (69), ''and the ''Independent Daughter
Prediction'', which claims that ''the phonological effects associated with
the two copies in reduplication are independent'' (69).

Surveying the typical modifications of either daughter node or the
mother node in reduplicative constructions, Inkelas and Zoll find cases
of assimilation, dissimilation, deletion, insertion, truncation,
augmentation, lenition, fortition, neutralization—essentially the same
set of phonological input-output modifications that occur outside of
reduplication, as shown, for example, in the parallel results of surveys
of neutralizations that occur in reduplicants (Alderete et al. 1999,
Steriade 1988) and positionally conditioned, non-reduplicative
environments (Barnes 2002). Supported by these findings, MDT
argues that reduplicative phonology is not qualitatively different from
non-reduplicative phonology and that reduplicative phonology can be
handled within the theory of morphologically conditioned phonology
that is independently necessary. As a result, Inkelas and Zoll assert
that there need not be, and therefore should not be, a special theory
just to handle reduplicative phonology.

The Independent Daughter Prediction, which claims not only that the
daughters in reduplication have morphologically separate inputs but
also that the cophonologies of the daughters in reduplication are
independent of each other, is borne out by cases in which both copies
in a reduplicated stem are modified. In such phenomena, each copy
undergoes distinct morphologically conditioned phonology, as in, for
example, double melodic overwriting, where both copies of the stem
have an independent, fixed melodic overwrite, and parallel
modification, where both copies are different, in the same way, from
their inputs. An interesting corollary of the Independent Daughter
Prediction is that it excludes 'base-dependence' phenomena in which
the output form of one copy (the reduplicant) is dependent on the
other (the base).

4. Morphologically conditioned phonology in reduplication: the mother
Chapter 4 explores the third main phonological prediction of MDT, the
Mother Node Prediction, which claims that reduplicative constructions
may be associated, as a whole, with morphologically conditioned
phonological rules. The types of phenomena investigated here include
those junctural effects that occur only in reduplication, at the boundary
between the two reduplicative copies.

Similar to their findings that the phonological alternations that occur in
either of the daughter nodes are not unique to reduplication, Inkelas
and Zoll claim that ''the range of junctural alternations in reduplication
is as broad as the range of junctural alternations generally, including
epenthesis, lenition, metathesis, coda sonorization, assimilation,
dissimilation, and syncope (99).'' So, even if some language has a
phonological process that occurs (or fails to occur) only in
reduplication, Inkelas and Zoll argue that it can be handled with the
same kind of technology that is used to account for some alternation
that occurs (or fails to occur) only in, e.g., pluractional stem formation
or in the hodiernal perfective tense. Cases of underapplication occur
not only in reduplication but in other kinds of morphologically
conditioned phonology, which require reference to constructions, for
which BR-Faithfulness is insufficient. Cases of non-identity
reduplicative underapplication are reanalyzed in MDT as non-
application, where ''the cophonology in question does not enforce the
patterns in question'' (108). While such effects are unexpected in
BRCT, they are expected in MDT, since the mother node has an
independent cophonology. At the end of Chapter 4, Inkelas and Zoll
provide a critical discussion and rejection of a variant of BRCT,
Existential Faithfulness (Struijke 2000), as a possible means of
accounting for such phenomena generally.

5. Morphologically driven opacity in reduplication
In Chapter 5, Inkelas and Zoll discuss and reanalyze one of the
primary pieces of evidence for BRCT and one of the hallmark
properties of reduplication generally: opacity. Several languages
appear to show overapplication or underapplication only in
reduplication, and as a result several theories (Clement 1985, Mester
1986, McCarthy and Prince 1995) have differentiated reduplicative
opacity from other kinds of opacity. McCarthy and Prince (1995),
building on Wilbur (1973), attributes the apparent uniqueness of
reduplicative opacity effects to identity enhancement between the
base and reduplicant.

Inkelas and Zoll reject these claims that the opacity effects associated
with reduplication are unique to it and that they result from an identity
requirement holding between the two reduplicative copies. Instead,
they argue that the kinds of opacity effects that occur in reduplication
derive from the morphological structure of reduplicative constructions,
which have independent input-output mappings for each of the
daughter nodes that serve as the input to the mother node, which is
subject to its own phonotactic and morphotactic requirements. This
intrinsic layering or ordering, ''gives rise to the cyclic, or stratal,
interactional effects to which Kiparsky (2000) attributes opacity in
general (136),'' such that, for example, an alternation triggered at the
mother node level renders opaque an alternation occurring in one of
the daughter nodes. In particular, truncation of one of the
reduplicative copies, common inside and outside of reduplication in
morphologically conditioned phonology, often renders opaque the
transparently triggering context. Inkelas and Zoll argue, then, that the
same kind of approach to opacity generally, often involving
morphological layering, with possible reranking between levels,
accounts for reduplicative opacity without further reduplication-specific

This chapter also identifies two serious problems with the BRCT
approach to reduplicative opacity. First, not all cases of reduplicative
opacity involve identity enhancement, so BRCT is therefore insufficient
as an explanation for the full range of reduplicative opacity effects and
requires additional theoretical machinery. Second, Inkelas and Zoll
point out that BRCT, and other identity-based theories, make incorrect
predictions about two classes of possible reduplicative opacity effects
involving internal junctural and external junctural alternations that are
not known to occur in language and that are impossible within MDT.

Finally, Chapter 5 discusses the question of backcopying -- a kind of
opacity effect whereby a phonological change in the reduplicant is
reflected in the base, which MDT predicts impossible, but which is an
important piece of evidence for BRCT. On closer inspection, Inkelas
and Zoll find little evidence for backcopying. Their reanalyses take two
general tacks: either the effect is non-existent, the result of
morphological misanalysis, as in McCarthy and Prince's (1995)
analysis of Klamath, or the effect is the result of local phonological
assimilation of the kind that is found outside of reduplication, as in
Chaha biliteral roots (Kenstowicz and Petros Banksira 1999).

6. Case studies
Chapter 6 implements the main ideas of MDT in reanalyses of case
studies of Tagalog and Chumash reduplication, two examples that
have been cited in the literature as evidence of backcopying
overapplication. In each language, prefixal material, assumed by
McCarthy and Prince (1995) to be outside the domain of reduplication
which targets morphological roots, is expressed in both reduplicative
copies. McCarthy and Prince assume morphological structures in
which reduplication is prefixing and therefore take the doubling of the
prefixal material as evidence for backcopying from the reduplicant (1st
copy) into the base (2nd copy).

Inkelas and Zoll reanalyze these phenomena similarly to Downing's
(1998) approach to prosodic misalignment. Their reanalyses have four
main components: prefixation precedes (or at least is present in the
input to) reduplication; reduplication targets not the morphological
root, but the prosodic root, which minimally incorporates adjacent
phonological material outside the morphological root, such as, e.g., by
resyllabification; reduplication is infixing, not prefixing; and the output
truncates one of the copies, eliminating in one of the copies the
remainder of the prefixal material that provided the basis for the
prosodic root.

7. Final issues
In the final chapter, Inkelas and Zoll tie up a few loose threads by
addressing the issue of phonological copying, which MDT maintains in
a restricted way, in addition to morphosyntactic feature doubling.
Phonological copying, which is constrained to apply locally (unlike
morphosyntactic doubling, which can result in nonadjacent copies in,
e.g., opposite-edge reduplication), remains independently necessary
due to the ubiquity of processes of phonological assimilation. Inkelas
and Zoll provide criteria for distinguishing phonological and
morphosyntactic copying but admit that the phenomenon of CV
reduplication is often difficult to diagnose as the result of phonological
or morphological copying. Since phonological and morphosyntactic
copying are formally distinct, some phenomena are predicted to show
effects of both processes, as seen in, e.g., Hausa pluractional verbs.
Inkelas and Zoll devote the final pages of the book to critically
discussing the relationship between reduplication, language games,
and rhyme; casting doubt on phonological anti-identity effects as
deriving directly from (anti-) correspondence requirements; and
identifying avenues for future research within MDT.


Reduplication: Doubling in Morphology is an extremely important and
timely contribution to the theoretical discussion of reduplication, a long-
standing and central issue in theories of phonology, morphology, and
their interaction. This book, which is well written, well edited, and
readable, advocates an important methodological moral—that
morphological analysis should precede and guide phonological
analysis, leveling a nontrivial criticism against some phonological
theorizing that fails to adequately investigate phonologies in their
larger morphosyntactic settings. (In fact, the advice has even been
successfully applied to Inkelas and Zoll's own work, as in Marlo and
Pharris (2004), which strengthens Zoll's (2002) analysis of Klamath
reduplication by more fully considering the implications of assumptions
regarding the directionality of affixation inside and outside of stems in
reduplication.) The book provides solid conceptual and empirical
arguments for rejecting reduplication-specific Base-Reduplicant
Correspondence Theory and for approaching reduplication within the
general domain of morphologically conditioned phonology. MDT is
couched within the theories of Sign-Based Morphology and
Cophonology Theory, but the main results of the book can relatively
easily be translated into other theories of morphology and approaches
to morphologically conditioned phonology, such as lexical phonology
and indexed constraint theory.

While in general the arguments put forth are well argued and
supported, there are a few places where questions remain. One case
involves the synonym and antonym constructions discussed in
Chapter 2. While these examples are quite interesting and appear to
constitute strong evidence for the claim that grammar must have the
power to require abstract semantic (or morphosyntactic featural)
identity and non-identity, there are several lingering uncertainties
about the grammatical properties of these constructions and their
productivity. It is not known, based on the discussion in Chapter 2,
whether these constructions are synchronically productive, and if, for
example, new synonym constructions can be coined. This is an
important point in probing the formal properties of the constructions
and what semantic or morphosyntactic features are involved. In other
words, what formally, makes two items synonyms, and is synonymy
the only requirement for participation in reduplication? And several
other questions arise. Would, for example, 'glance-stare', 'notice-
regard', 'watch-see' be grammatical? What are the relevant semantic
features? Do the elements have to match for morphosyntactic

Another question involves the Thesis of Morphological Targets,
introduced in Chapter 2, which claims that ''a reduplicative
construction calls for morphological constituents (affix, root, stem, or
word), not phonological constituents (mora, syllable, or foot) (25)''.
The issue is that many of the critical MDT analyses, reanalyzing
opacity effects previously argued to provide evidence for BRCT,
crucially involve the doubling of prosodic constituents, such as the
PRoot or the PStem, which are based on but crucially not identical to
the morphological constituents. These later analyses therefore seem
to violate the Thesis of Morphological Targets, since the analyses are
untenable if the reduplicative targets are the morphological roots and
stems (unless certain other assumptions such as Consistency of
Exponence are rejected and there is actually no distinction between
MStems and PStems except the level of derivation at which they are

The gravest concern regarding MDT, in this reviewer's eyes, involves
the claim that the input to the two copies of the stem in all
reduplicative constructions is independent. As Inkelas and Zoll point
out, this makes 'base-dependence' effects, in which the form of the
reduplicant (in traditional terms) is determined in relation to the form of
the base, arbitrary properties of the cophonologies of each copy,
since the two copies are not in a correspondence relation. Inkelas and
Zoll discuss the base-dependence problem in Section 3.4.1 and
conclude that the evidence for base-dependence is slim. They look at
the evidence from cases of CV ~ VC reduplicant allomorphy where the
reduplicant has a CV shape with C-initial bases and a VC shape with
V-initial bases and reanalyze the cases as involving infixation, not
base-dependence, following McCarthy and Prince's (1999) reanalysis.
Inkelas and Zoll also reject a few other cases of alleged base-
dependence based on the shape of the reduplicant, suggesting that
such templatic effects can be accomplished at the mother node
cophonology, without need for correspondence between the two
reduplicative copies.

There are, however, more serious challenges to the claim that
phonological or morphological requirements on one copy are
completely unrelated to the requirements on the other. At least two
Bantu languages, Kikerewe (Odden 1996) and Lusaamia (Marlo
2004), have patterns of asymmetric morphological reduplication of the
verb stem in which the first copy of the stem has all of or a subset of
the suffixes of the second copy of the stem. When there are multiple
suffixes in the second copy of the stem, variants of the first copy of the
stem are possible that have all of, none of, or some subset of the
suffixes in the second copy. For example, ni-ba-lim-il-an-e-lim-il-án-é,
ni-ba-lim-il-an-a-lim-il-án-é, ni-ba-lim-il-e-lim-il-án-é, ni-ba-lim-il-a-lim-il-
án-é, ni-ba-lim-e-lim-il-án-é, and ni-ba-lim-a-lim-il-án-é are all possible
forms of 'they should not cultivate for each other' (-a is a default suffix
that is essentially the zero equivalent of -e). Odden (1996) shows that
there is a contiguity requirement in such examples in Kikerewe such
that examples with discontinuous copying within the derivational stem
are ungrammatical (e.g., *ni-ba-lim-an-e-lim-il-án-é), although the form
of the first copy of the stem would be grammatical (if not idiomatic for
this particular root), outside of reduplication (ku-lim-an-a 'to cultivate
each other') or inside of reduplication with a different structure of the
second copy of the stem (ni-ba-lim-an-e-lim-án-é 'they should cultivate
each other'). Therefore, although these patterns may not necessarily
be the result of an Identity requirement in the usual sense of BRCT,
they show that the morphosyntactic and phonological features of the
first copy (the reduplicant) are dependent on those of the second
copy (the base), and that the Independent Daughter Prediction does
not hold in its strongest form.

Despite these possible problems, this book remains a compelling read
and a significant contribution to the field.


Alderete, John, Jill Beckman, Laura Benua, Amalia Gnanadesikan,
John McCarthy, and Suzanne Urbanczyk. 1999. Reduplication with
fixed segmentism. Linguistic Inquiry 30:327-64.

Barnes, Johnathan. 2002. Positional neutralization: a phonologization
approach to typological patterns. Ph.D. thesis, University of California,

Downing, Laura. 1998. Prosodic misalignment and reduplication.
Yearbook of Morphology 1997:83-120.

Inkelas, Sharon. 1998. The theoretical status of morphologically
conditioned phonology: A case study from dominance. Yearbook of
Morphology 1997:121-55.

Inkelas, Sharon, Cemil Orhan Orgun, and Cheryl Zoll. 1997.
Implications of lexical exceptions for the nature of grammar. In Iggy
Roca (ed.), Constraints and derivations in phonology. Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 393-418.

Kenstowicz, Michael and Degif Petros Banksira. 1999. Reduplicative
identity in Chaha. Linguistic Inquiry 30:573-86.

Marlo, Michael R. 2004. Prefixing reduplication in Lusaamia: evidence
from morphology. In Akinbiyi Akinlabi (ed.), Proceedings of the 4th
World Congress of African Linguistics. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.

Marlo, Michael R. and Nicholas J. Pharris. 2004. Which wič is which?
Prefixes and suffixes in Klamath full-root reduplication. Linguistic
Inquiry 25:639-656.

Marantz, Alec. 1982. Re reduplication. Linguistic Inquiry 13:483-545.

McCarthy, John and Alan Prince. 1995. Faithfulness and reduplicative
identity. In Jill Beckman, Laura Dickey, and Suzanne Urbanczyk
(eds.), University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics
18: Papers in Optimality Theory. Amherst, MA: GLSA, 249-384.

McCarthy, John and Alan Prince. 1999. Faithfulness and identity in
Prosodic Morphology. In Rene Kager, Harry van der Hulst, and Wim
Zonneveld (eds.), The prosody-morphology interface. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

Odden, David. 1996. Patterns of Reduplication in Kikerwe. Ohio State
University Working Papers in Linguistics 48:111-148.

Orgun, Cemil Orhan. 1996. Sign-based morphology and phonology:
with special attention to Optimality Theory. Ph.D. thesis, University of
California, Berkeley.

Orgun, Cemil Orhan. 1999. Sign-based morphology: a declarative
theory of phonology-morphology interleaving. In Ben Hermans and
Marc van Oostendorp (eds.), The derivational residue in phonological
Optimality Theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 247-67.

Orgun, Cemil Orhan and Sharon Inkelas. 2002. Reconsidering bracket
erasure. Yearbook of Morphology 2001: 115-46.

Steriade, Donca 1988. Reduplication and syllable transfer in Sanskrit.
Phonology 5:73-155.

Struijke, Caro. 2000. Existential Faithfulness: A study of reduplicative
TETU, feature movement, and dissimilation. Ph.D. thesis, University of

Wilbur, Ronnie. 1973. The phonology of reduplication. Bloomington:
Indiana University Linguistics Club.

Zoll, Cheryl. 2002. Vowel reduction and reduplication in Klamath.
Linguistic Inquiry 33:520-27.

Michael Marlo is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Linguistics at
the University of Michigan, who has published on reduplication in
Klamath (Penutian, Oregon) and Lusaamia (Bantu, Kenya) and is
interested generally in phonology, morphology, interactions of the
components of grammar, and Bantu linguistics. His dissertation is a
study of verbal tonology in three Bantu languages of the Luyia group
in western Kenya.

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