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Query Details

Query Subject:   reduplication in picker-upper
Author:   Andrew McIntyre
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   Dear linguists,

I was wanting to know about accounts of affix reduplication (attested
under www.google.com ) of the type

(1) hanger-on-er, puller-downer, filler-inner, kicker-outer, waker-upper

The literature on English particle verbs (=phrasal verbs,
verb-particle constructions) scarcely mentions these. The only
attempts at explaining it I have seen are:

-Miller, D. Gary, 1993. Complex Verb Formation. Amsterdam/
Philadelphia: Benjamins. (p132ff)

-Sproat, R., 1985. On Deriving the Lexicon. Dissertation,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (p109-112)

-Svenonius, P. 2004. The Zero Level. Ms. Tromsoe

It's not clear that the last word on the subject is said in these
studies, e.g. in view of complications like the following:

-I've heard retriplication once:
(2) the present giver-out-er-er (heard in Australia)
and it doesn't sound too bad to me (admittedly speaking in the
capacity of a weirdo to whom 'more better-er' sounds better than 'more

-rarer reduplications with prepositional verbs
(3) looker-atter (web-attested)

-reduplication of plural morphology
(4) the debris pickers-uppers (web-attested)
(see also Martin Haspelmath's remarks a
www.linguistlist.org/issues/3/3-541.html )

-different suffix:
(5) picker-up-ee ('one who is picked up', Miller 1993:133)

Please reply to mcintyre@rz.uni-leipzig.de if you have
-relevant literature references I have missed
-attestations (even just p.c.-anecdotal) of relevant data,
particularly the rarer types like (2) and (5), and any reduplications
not involving -er. I would be particularly interested to see whether
people can find nominalisations (with or without reduplication) of
constructions other than particle verbs and prepositional verbs. I
don't expect to find that constructions like AP resultatives, which
nobody analyses in terms of overt incorporation or reanalysis, should
be able to input these constructions: *'a knocker-dead-er' seems
unthinkable to me, but perhaps it's bad for extraneous reasons and
people can come up with or attest analogous cases that are good.

Kind regards,

Dr. Andrew McIntyre

LL Issue: 15.1346
Date posted: 29-Apr-2004


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