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Expressive values of reduplication in Barunga Kriol (northern Australia)

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This article describes the semantic values of reduplication in Barunga Kriol – an English-based creole of northern Australia –, with a focus on its expressive functions. Barunga Kriol reduplication has two types of functions. Its most frequent meaning is aspectual atelicity. In addition, it has a number of expressive meanings and connotations: hypocoristic usages; descriptions of children’s games and imitations; and a softening role in imperatives and reprimands. Contrary to the aspectual value of reduplication which is iconically motivated, expressive values are motivated by the pragmatic association of reduplication with children.

Expressive uses of reduplication in Borunge are rarer and less regular than the grammaticalized aspectual uses, which are very frequent. Aspectual reduplication is optional most of the time, so that explaining its actual distribution in discourse is a complicated matter. This article shows that this distribution can often be explained in the view of the expressive values of reduplication (some of them also conveyed by affixal evaluative morphology in the Australian languages that have been replaced by this creole). Thus, taking into account the expressive dimension of reduplication contributes significantly to the linguistic analysis of the grammaticalized aspectual function of reduplication.
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Keywords: aspect; creole; emotions; expressivity; reduplication

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 19, 2018

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