This Gossypiboma post is a year old, but I missed it then and you probably did too; it links to “Contrastive Focus Reduplication in English (The Salad-Salad Paper),” by Jila Ghomeshi, Ray Jackendoff, Nicole Rosen, and Kevin Russell, whose abstract reads:

This paper presents a phenomenon of colloquial English that we call Contrastive Reduplication (CR), involving the copying of words and sometimes phrases as in ‘It’s tuna salad, not SALAD-salad’, or ‘Do you LIKE-HIM-like him?’ Drawing on a corpus of examples gathered from natural speech, written texts, and television scripts, we show that CR restricts the interpretation of the copied element to a ‘real’ or prototypical reading. Turning to the structural properties of the construction, we show that CR is unusual among reduplication phenomena in that whole idioms can be copied, object pronouns are often copied (as in the second example above), and inflectional morphology need not be copied. Thus the ‘scope’ of CR cannot be defined in purely phonological terms; rather, a combination of phonological, morphosyntactic, syntactic, and lexical factors is involved.

The Gossypiboma post (by Mark Rabnett) gives some pleasing examples of this and other sorts of reduplication and links to this followup (“Contrastive reduplication: Looking at some of the properties of contrastive reduplication as observed by Ghomeshi et al.,” pdf).


  1. David Derbes says

    This reminds me of one of the best obituaries ever in the NYT (I read ’em all, also the wedding announcements. Fascinating stuff.) A famous philosopher had died (at Columbia, I think), Sidney Morgenbesser, a legendary wit. Some examples were provided. One was about a conference of linguistic philosophers, and the topic of a panel was the double negative sometimes used as an emphatic positive. But, added one of the panelists, he couldn’t think of a double affirmative used as a negative. “Yeah, yeah,” said Morgenbesser, in his best Brooklynese.

  2. rootlesscosmo says

    Nice article and a brand-new term to me–thanks.
    Was anyone else struck by the spelling
    which occurs once as a descriptor and once as an illustration of Rhyme Combinations? I’ve only ever seen “hoity-toity.”

  3. It is very widespread in French spoken in my circle. “On est pas ami-ami.”

  4. The follow-up is more of a summary, but it certainly brings up a few interesting points, especially as far as semantics is concerned. And if I recall correctly, some of us discussed CFR and the paper over at my place some time ago. Hm, maybe I should resume that search for more examples of NP -> D NP CFR I planned to conduct…

  5. I keep saying that people should stop stereotyping stereotypes. That is a fine example of the creative use of stereotypes, contrasting the tuna salad with the stereotypical salad. (It’s your shout whther to refer to the stereotypical salad as a “Platonic Ideal” or as mere “rabbit food”.)

  6. By the by, what is “tuna salad”? Not Salade Nicoise, is it?

  7. It’s not really Salade NICOISE, Salade Nicoise. No radishes or green stuff, and mayonnaise instead of oil & vinegar. And if you get it at the deli, it’s finely chopped with really a lot of mayonnaise, so it will spread on a sandwich. It’s very good, dearie, just different. I’m sure you’d like it.

  8. (at Columbia, I think)
    Grumbly Stu is the authority on Sidney Morgenbesser, but it was at the 110th St & B’way #1 IRT station that Morgenbesser was arrested for saying “Who do you think you are, Kant?” to the cop.

  9. Not anchovies neither, AJP? Clearly it’s the stuff you find as sandwich filling if you get to the sandwich shop too late and all the brie-and-tomato baguettes have gone. And the smoked ham. And the prawns. And the rare roast beef. And the bacon. And the smoked salmon and cream cheese. And the cheddar and pickle. And the avocadoes and chicken. It’s that fawnish gunk isn’t it?

  10. Fawn is a reasonable colour for food. And you get a pickle with it.

  11. I still remember this from high school 40 years ago, when it struck me as odd:
    Someone had described someone else as “an Indian” and when his interlocutor looked puzzled, added “not an American Indian, an INDIAN-Indian”. I believe it was commoner to disambiguate the term by referring to someone as “an Indian, like [or ‘you know’] from India”.

  12. marie-lucie says

    Salade NICOISE
    You mean Salade Niçoise, with an [s] sound as in NICE (the French city on the Côte d’Azur), not a [k] sound as in NICOLAS or NICAISE (both old saints, the second one nearly forgotten).
    Salade Niçoise is much more complex than plain “tuna salad” (green salad with bits of tuna in it).
    dearieme, the “fawnish gunk” is not any kind of salad, just tuna thoroughly mixed with mayo for a tuna sandwich.

  13. We know how to pronounce it, we know where it is, we just don’t have a cedilla, m-l.

  14. marie-lucie says

    minus: “On est pas ami-ami.”
    Quand j’étais jeune, on disait plutôt “… copain-copain”.
    This did not mean “real friend”, but described a relationship: “friend to each other”, or just “friends”. It is probably still the same now.
    All the English examples contrast “XX” (typical or genuine X) with “not XY” (or “YX”), but this is not the case in French.
    “Ami(e)”used to be fairly formal: students referred to each other as “un copain” or “une copine”, although their parents probably used “un(e) ami(e)”. It seems to be more frequent nowadays, as a literal translation of English “friend”.

  15. marie-lucie says

    AJP: we just don’t have a cedilla
    You can get one from a French or Portuguese keyboard, which should be somewhere in your computer. Omitting the cedilla is very confusing.

  16. This article must have come out before Whoopi Goldberg’s comment about Roman Polanski not having committed a “rape rape”.

  17. marie-lucie says

    Actually, you won’t just get the cedilla, but the pre-assembled [ç].

  18. Omitting the cedilla is very confusing.
    If you’re English, you don’t get confused by ambiguous spelling. There are advantages in not being too rational.

  19. (or Scottish).

  20. That fawnish gunk is tuna salad. It is not a SALAD salad. Likewise a simple combination of lettuce and tuna may be a tuna salad but it’s not a TUNA SALAD tuna salad.
    In America we don’t care if our usage flies in the face of what used to be the central meaning of the word “salad”.
    We have another fawnish and lettuceless mixture called “chicken salad”.
    I once saw a sign in a UK pub advertising “chicken salad sandwiches” and was sorely disappointed when I was served a thin dry slice of chicken and a limp leaf between two pieces of bread (instead of bread topped with a moist, chopped, and fawn-colored mixture).

  21. An Italian use:
    – I’m from Milan.
    – Do you mean from Milan Milan?

  22. I haven’t been there for years, but I remember something wonderful you get on the street in Nice called a pan bagnat, a huge white roll filled with salade niçoise — I see they have cedillas on their own in the character menu under diacritics. Hard-boiled egg is the other main ingredient.

  23. komfo,amonan says

    In my experience here in Murrikey one usually disambiguates by saying “INDIAN-Indian” or “INDIA-Indian”.

  24. Isn’t duplication a well-known and very widespread phenomenon in world languages? Or is this specifically about “contrastive” aspect of it?

  25. Hmm. I wonder if Americanized Germans will start referring to “FRANKFURT Frankfurt”.

  26. michael farris says

    I think I’ve heard an example or two of this in Polish (but in the media, not in real life contexts).
    Unfortunately I was too stupid and/or lazy to note them down to check and see if this is a real thing you can do in Polish or if I misunderstood.

  27. On Windows systems, get these characters with these alt-codes (ALT+number, on numeric keypad; you may need to click on NumLock first):
    ç 135
    Ç 128
    ñ 164
    Ñ 165
    Here and here are two of the many sites that list such codes.

  28. marie-lucie says

    pan bagnat, a huge white roll filled with salade niçoise
    Pan bagnat (the words are Occitan) seems to be the cold equivalent of a Cornish or Jamaican patty – a complete meal in a form that’s easy to carry for a fisherman or outdoor worker’s lunch.

  29. marie-lucie says

    Steven Lubman: Isn’t duplication a well-known and very widespread phenomenon in world languages? Or is this specifically about “contrastive” aspect of it?
    Reduplication is indeed a widespread phenomenon, and it can indicate a variety of things (repetition, plural, diminutive, etc depending on the language). Here the point is “contrastive reduplication”, since “Salad salad” (etc) is not used alone but always contrasted with “X salad”. The French examples “ami-ami” or “copain-copain” do not fit this pattern because they are not contrastive, as I explained above.

  30. marie-lucie says

    Noetica, thank you for finding the cedilla and tilde! I alternate between the English and (Canadian) French keyboards but am often stuck for Spanish.

  31. Languages are funny. Not FUNNY funny, just interesting funny.

  32. But can’t you get up a Spanish keyboard too? Or use the special characters in the “Edit” menu? I can’t use the Windows shortcuts (but thanks anyway, Noetica).

  33. NY NY! (Is that contrastive?)
    Here in Spain, people often use “mantequilla mantequilla” to make sure you know they don’t mean marge.

  34. Why doesn’t the c in cedilla have a cedilla? (My French lessons were a v long time ago.)

  35. “Before Is and Es
    No cedillas, please!”

  36. (That’s what we learnt, anyway.)

  37. I just learned why it’s called a cedilla: it’s a little zeta. A sort of zedlet or zedkin.

  38. The City With Two Names Twice is not contrastive contrastive, just accidentally contrastive.

  39. “Before Is and Es
    No cedillas, please!”
    A cute line on a grave business.

  40. Probably not the point of this blog, but you inspired me to get a camembert and tomato sandwich for lunch today.

  41. Snap! I had one too, bruessel.

  42. I never fully realized the power of Languagehat before.

  43. marie-lucie says

    In French, as in English (it’s a long story), the letter c has the sound [s] before the letters e and i (and y), the sound [k] before the letters a, o and u. The cedilla (indeed “little z”) indicates that the sound is to be [s] before those three letters, usually to indicate that the consonant sound is preserved in derivations from the same basic form, hence for instance français vs France, limaçon ‘snail’ vs limace ‘slug’, déçu ‘disappointed’ vs décevoir ‘to disappoint’, déception ‘disappointment’.
    The same thing happens in Portuguese, for instance the first name of Nelson Mandela’s wife is Graça (roughly [grassa] not [graka]), the equivalent of English Grace.

  44. We could use an anti-cedilla in English to indicate when c has a [k] sound in spite of being followed by e, i, or y.

  45. Good for you,chaps. How far does my influence on cuisine extend? We had haggis and neeps for dinner yesterday.

  46. marie-lucie says

    What are neeps? a kind of turnips?

  47. The only time we can get haggis here in Brussels is in January when it is served at Burns Night, organised by a group of Scottish expats. I’ve only had it once and wasn’t terribly impressed, but maybe it wasn’t the good stuff.
    Isn’t there a debate raging about whether neeps are turnips or swedes?

  48. neeps = Scottish turnip = English swede = US rutabaga

  49. We discussed turnips and rutabagas several years ago.

  50. It seems that neep is not obtained from turnip by shortening. Rather, the second syllable in turnip is from the same old root (hah!) as neep.
    I was going to mention that the town of Westport, Massachusetts, is famous for its turnips, and that I have even seen a historic plaque along the road there which tells the story of how it all began in 1876 when the Macomber brothers, Aidan and Elihu, brought home some seeds “descended for Russian and Swedish rutabagas” from the Philadelphia Exposition. Imagine my surprise when I found a reference to this very plaque in Wikipedia. (“… one of the very few historic markers for a vegetable …”)

  51. marie-lucie says

    So, are the Westport vegetables turnips or rutabagas, or both?
    -nip is also in parsnip and catnip. All those words are stressed on the first syllable, causing the vowel of -nip to be short, while it is long in the monosyllabic neep. Both -nip and neep must be related to the nav- in French navet, a diminutive word from a Latin root nap-.

  52. turnips or rutabagas
    I think that “turnip” is often used inclusively for both. It appears that in the stricter sense they are not turnips but a kind of rutabaga.
    I’m not sure that the -nip in catnip is really the same.
    I wish that the tur- in turbot was the same as the tur- in turnip, but it’s not.

  53. marie-lucie says

    I’m not sure that the -nip in catnip is really the same.
    I am not entirely sure either, because the plants are very different, and the -nip could be a reformation by analogy with turnip (apparently the -nip in parsnip is a reformation). On the other hand, the Greek name of catnip and similar plants is Nepeta, apparently from a root nep. Although turnips and neeps are root vegetables, it is possible that the n_p linguistic roots (nip, nap, nep) do not mean “root” but have a more general meaning.

  54. OED sez the –nip of catnip is from “classical Latin nepeta NEPETA n. Compare Middle Dutch nepte, nipte (Dutch neppe, nippe), German Nept, Nepte, Nepten (1519 or earlier as Nebten), and also Anglo-Norman nepte (late 13th cent.), Middle French nepte (15th cent.), Old Occitan nepta (13th cent.), post-classical Latin nepta (13th cent. in a British source).”
    And nepeta is from “classical Latin nepeta, an aromatic herb, probably calamint (Celsius, Pliny), perhaps of Etruscan origin (compare Nepeta, ancient name of Nepi, a town in central Italy). Compare French népéta (1694 in Corneille as nepeta; now also as népète (1803; 1548 in Middle French as nepete)).”

  55. Another word I have heard for catnip is “catmint”. Certainly catnip and mint are in the same family, both having a square stem. Queen Anne’s lace too, if I am identifying this plant correctly.

  56. Queen Anne’s lace is the common name in the U.S. for Daucus carota, the species of which domesticated carrots are cultivars; in Europe, where it is native, it is usually called the wild carrot. You can eat it, but the root tends to be rather woody unless the plant is very young. It belongs to the family Apiaciae, whereas the various mints belong to the family Lamiaceae, which also includes basil, rosemary, oregano, and sage.

  57. Turnip-neap is reminiscent of garlic-leek.

  58. marie-lucie says

    KCinDC: Exactly.
    Similarly, the word hussy comes from huswif (literally ‘house-wife’, in which ‘wife’ has its original sense of “woman”). The shorter huswif having acquired a derogatory meaning in getting even shorter (‘hussy’), was replaced by the easily analyzable housewife in order to make the components recognizable and the word more respectable. (This reanalysis implies that the word did not evolve at the same speed everywhere, so that many people were aware of the original meaning of the word).

  59. There is a third compound from house + wife, little-known today but still current in the 19C (Jack Aubrey has one); it means ‘sewing-kit’, is pronounced /ˈhʌzɪf/, and is spelled housewife. This is of intermediate age, newer than hussy but older than the usual modern sense of housewife. Wife in these words = ‘woman’, of course.

    (Typing two-handed right now. We’ll see.)

  60. I’m impressed with your newly recovered uppercase!

  61. David Marjanović says

    Yay uppercase! ^_^

  62. David Eddyshaw says

    The case is now showing improvement.

  63. marie-lucie says

    JC: housewife = sewing kit

    There is a similar meaning extension in French with the noun la ménagère, normally ‘housewife’, which also applies to a large box or chest specially built to hold a complete set of fancy cutlery for formal occasions, typically intended for 12 diners. This sort of chest is often bought as a gift to newlyweds. (There may be an English term for it, which I don’t know).

  64. Marie-Lucie, I’d call that a silver chest, though my parents’ isn’t terribly big (I believe it holds eight place settings, plus serving utensils).

  65. Thanks Keith, I have seen those chests in stores, about the same size as the one my parents had, but I never thought of enquiring about what they were called.

  66. My Dad introduced me to the term ‘huzzif’ (my imagined spelling) for a sewing kit. I assume he got it from the British Army, immediately after WW2. I never heard it from anyone else, though.

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