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Steven Williams wrote:
>
> Japanese has some interesting reduplication patterns
> to indicate a limited set of nouns in the plural.
>
> The only example I can think of off-hand is
> 'hitobito', 'people', for 'hito', 'person'. Note the
> shift of [h] to [b]. The Japanese use of reduplication
> is extremely limited, as far as I can tell, and used
> only with nouns to indicate a plural when a plural is
> absolutely necessary, but nevertheless, it's
> fascinating.

The /h/ -> /b/ is part of the normal voicing.

Other examples are: Shimajima < shima, "island", Kamigami (or perhaps
kamikami, I've only seen it in writing, with kanji, so I'm assuming that
voicing occurs) < kami "god", wareware "we" < ware "I" (ware is
obsolete, but wareware is still used)

Reduplication has other uses, too:

Adverb
Tsuki "moon, month", Tsukizuki ni "monthly"
Ichi "one", ichiichi "one by one, in every case, in detail"
Sore "that one", Sorezore "individually"
Sou "quick, early" sousou ni "immediately, early"
Moto "base, origin, source, formerly", motomoto "originally, from the
start"
Masu "increase", masumasu "increasingly"
Sei "just, corect, formal", dou "palace, temple", seisei doudou to
"fairly, aboveboard"
Toki "time, when", tokidoki "sometimes"

Adjective
Baka "fool, idiot", bakabakashii "foolish"
Han "half", hanhan "half and half, 50-50"
Iki - stem of ikiru "to live", ikiiki shita "vigorous, lifelike"
Mizu "water", mizumizushii "juicy"
O- "male", ooshii "manly, brave"

There's also a noun _chouchou_ "butterfly", which appears to have been a
reduplication, however, _chou_ is not a word (at least, not with any
related meaning)

Plus, there are a large number of ideophones which use reduplication,
such as:

barabara "scattered"
batabata suru "bustle about, be frantic"
berabera to "talkative"
chikuchiku suru "be prickly, prickle, tingle"
dokidoki suru "feel nervous, have heart palpatations"
furafura suru "be shaky, unstable, feel dizzy, stagger, be irresolute,
be idle"
fuwafuwa suru "be fluffy"
gatagata suru "rattle, quake, tremble, be rickety, shaky"
gatagata iu "whine, complain"
kusukusu warau "giggle"
parapara suru "rain lightly"

However, in these cases, the non-reduplicated forms are usually not
words, i.e., there's no word _gata_

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