Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Earliest sighting of contrastive reduplication?

Afflicted by the recency illusion, I had thought that contrastive reduplication (e.g. ‘TEA tea’ – see this post) was recent, a phenomenon of the last two decades or so. Surprising, then, to find it in a novel published in 1967 (and apparently written in 1965 and 1966), Samuel Delaney’s Einstein Intersection aka A Fabulous, Formless Darkness.
“You know,” Batt grunted, watching his food go, “You got dessert coming.” 
“Where?” Knife answered, finishing his second helping and reaching out of the darkness for the bread. 
“You have some more food-food first,” Batt said, “’cause I‘m damned if you’re going to eat up my dessert that fast.” (pp. 82–3 of my 1992 Grafton edition)

No comments: