'word' words

Thu May 1 18:38:25 UTC 2008

        As someone else mentioned, we have "puppy dog" and "kitty cat,"
forms of diminutive reduplication associated with children's speech.
"Moo-cow" seems to me to be similar, though it isn't really

        With respect to Torpenhow Hill (and there is at least a
Torpenhow, whether or not a Torpenhow Hill actually exists), the
Wikipedia discussion page includes the following post:

I disagree with the assertion that this means "Hill Hill Hill Hill".
It's more to do with the lack of synonyms for kinds of hills and rock
formations in English. Let's analyse it -

Tor - tor in Cornwall and Devon refers to a kind of odd rock formation,
not to a hill. In Scottish Gaelic, it means a kind of heap, and while it
can refer to a hill, doesn't have to.=20
Pen - simply means head, rather than hill specifically.=20
How - I'm not sure about this element, but it could either be haugr, the
Norse for a mound ("Howe" in Lowland Scots), or an old form of the word
for hollow. However, haugr could refer to the same formation as Tor, so
if so, that's the tautology.=20
Hill - boring general purpose English word for a prominence of many
different types.=20
So, my long winded translation would be "the Summit, with the tower/rock
formation, with the mound, hill" --MacRusgail 12:16, 23 September 2007

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Arnold M. Zwicky
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 12:41 PM
Subject: Re: 'word' words

On Apr 28, 2008, at 9:06 AM, Larry Horn wrote about "collie dog" and the

i'm trying to keep score here.  i *think* we've looked at four different

1. contrastive focus reduplication ("It's wasn't a DATE-date")

2. subtype + type ("collie dog", "borscht soup", "kimono robe", etc.);
is there a name for these things?

3. bilingual redundancy ("Mount Fujiyama")

4. abbreviation redundancy ("ATM machine')

have i missed anything (beyond subtypes of these four)?


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