6

Like in Esperanto, in many Slavic languages one can stack affixes on top of each other, even those of the same meaning. The latter often ends up sounding awkward or exaggerated, but that may be the intended. In the case of diminutives, two are not uncommon, meaning just an even closer level of affection, but even more can be observed:

  • máma = mother
  • mamka = mum
  • maminka = mommy
  • maminka = dearest mommy
  • maminečka / mamininečka ~ awkward but the meaning is clear

In Esperanto the meaning is carried by -nj- / -ĉj- which seems impossible to duplicate within one word, but I suppose an -et- would also be understood. Can one purposely repeat it or is using the same affix twice forbidden by the rules? I'm thinking of, for example, bebeteto for a really tiny baby or domegego for a really immense mansion.

Updates:

Tekstaro does not seem to have any examples of such thing, but that may just mean it's something one wouldn't put usually put in print.

I know pra- can be repeated, but I don't know if that's an exception.

  • Well, there's iometete in the Tekstaro. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 14 '16 at 13:00
  • Really? I thought I did a search for etet, I must have been searching for eteto by mistake. – La Vo-o Nov 14 '16 at 13:01
10

I had an interesting conversation with Bertilo Wennergren about reduplication in Esperanto. He and I have a different view of things. I am convinced that reduplication happens in Esperanto. His position is that every example that is called "reduplication" is actually just normal Esperanto word building.

Your example bebeteto is a good one to illustrate Bertilo's point. Yes, this is possible, and it's explainable by normal word building.

You are also correct that -nj- and -ĉj- would not be repeated within one word.

Generally you're only limited by the sense of the word elements. Urbegego at least makes sense. Raninino does not. Eteta makes sense. Arare does not.

In a few cases - such as verdverda and fojfoje I would argue that these can't be explained by normal word building, but regardless, these kinds of examples are rare and their meaning is generally known.

  • 2
    "Jes, mi petas, mi petegas, mi petegegegas!" – Tomaso Alexander Nov 14 '16 at 13:04
  • Fantastic examples. I'm going to keep this answer somewhere visible! – La Vo-o Nov 14 '16 at 13:22
  • 2
    I disagree that arare does not make sense. :-) I can think of many situations where you’ve got ”groups of groups”: En la ĉielo la birdoj flugis arare., (Estas diversaj aroj da birdoj.) La turistoj arare plenigis la palacon. (Estas diversaj aroj da turistoj, eksemple germana turistaro, franca turistaro, ktp., entute ege multe da homoj!) La ludkartoj kuŝis arare en la fabriko. (Jen aro da 52 ludkartoj, jen alia aro, jen tria…) – Bjørn Nov 15 '16 at 8:57
  • You have a point, but if you have to try that hard to make it make sense, then it's probably not the best first choice for expressing an idea. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 15 '16 at 11:11

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