How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
Total reduplication is a widely common phenomenon in human languages. Nevertheless, it has not gained sufficient attention among linguists. This monograph demonstrates that the comparative study of total reduplication challenges the traditional notion of linguistic universal. Contrary to the belief that total reduplication is almost completely unknown in the linguistic landscape of Europe, it is shown that a sizable group of European languages make ample use of total reduplication (not only for lexical but also for grammatical purposes). This means that the areal-typological map of the Old Continent has to be modified considerably. With special focus on the situation in Europe, the functional and formal aspects which determine the systematic character of total reduplication are presented according to quantitative and qualitative principles. Their importance for general linguistic theory is elaborated upon. The results are evaluated cartographically. The data are drawn from several hundred languages (standard and nonstandard varieties) world-wide. Methodologically, the study relies on a huge parallel literary corpus.