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- Of verbs: gives sense of 'a little' or 'a bit'. Can also insert 一 between reduplicated characters.
- Of adjectives: becomes more vivid
- Of nouns: 'all' or 'every'
- Of measure words: 'all' or 'every'
- Only single character measure words can be reduplicated
- Reduplicated syllable is neutral tone
- Reduplication structures:
- AB, ABAB, AABB, ABB
- Some disyllabic words cannot be reduplicated (need listing)
- Many kinship terms are reduplicated (and can't appear as single characters)
- Very difficult to define in Mandarin as lack of clear distinction between morphemes / words
- Some compounds extremely idiomatic, little relation between component meaning and compound meaning, e.g. 花生
- Others less idiomatic - compound source can be traced through components e.g. 矛盾
- Finally, some compounds very obviously formed from components e.g. 洗澡
- Compounds are formed frequently and creatively - can't be learned by rote
- One interesting kind is a parallel compound - each component is equally important and has a similar meaning, e.g. 盗贼
- Verbal compounds important in Mandarin
- Result compounds
- Direction compounds
- Phase compounds
- Metaphorical compounds
- Verb-object compounds
- Some words can be considered subject-predicate compounds e.g. 头疼