"Word" words?

Guy Letourneau guy1656 at OPUSNET.COM
Fri Apr 25 13:50:03 UTC 2008

Richard Lederer wrote of "word words," which are nouns spoken twice to
indicate that what is meant is the thing in its most ordinary instance.
For example "tea-tea" might be spoken to contrast from ice tea, or
exceptionally exotic preparations.

Some may remember an air freshener ad which named the product an "air
conditioner" in which an exasperated housewife explains "it's not an air
conditioner - air conditioner, it's an air CONDITIONER."

Anyways, my wife was wondering about writers who append an English
equivalent after a borrowed word. She said she had read of a woman who
'wore a kimono robe and an obi belt.' 'Robe' and 'belt' seemed redundant
to her.

Any comments? Is there a katana sword, an ushanka hat, or borscht soup?


PS: And a joke for all:

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Objective case.

Objective case who?

No, objective case *whom*.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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