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Alignment and locality in the typology of affixing language games

  • Martin Krämer EMAIL logo and Barbara Vogt
From the journal The Linguistic Review


This paper contributes to the discussion around the (extra-)grammatical status of language games (or ludlings). We collected over 60 games which are based on the affixation of a dummy morpheme, which is infixed and iterated in most cases. While some are obviously reduplicative, closer investigation reveals that all the games involving iterativity function like reduplication. Our optimality-theoretic analysis concentrates on the explanation of shape, segmental content, placement and iterativity of the dummy affix and employs only constraints standardly assumed in the literature on reduplication. We show that no ludling-specific constraints or stipulations are necessary to account for this typology and make predictions on limitations that presumably apply to typological variation with regard to language games. Ludlings are thus variations of grammatical constraint rankings.


We would like to thank the audiences at the 23rd Manchester Phonology Meeting and SinFonIJA 8 in Ljubljana as well as two anonymous TLR reviewers for constructive feedback, and Joe Collins for meticulous proof-reading. All remaining errors are the authors’ responsibility.

Appendix (table of mentioned language games arranged according to source languages in alphabetical order and with references)

DanishDu er lille arsen -> Durbe erbe lirbe lerbe arbe serbe. [14]Jespersen 1922
‘Your are a small donkey.’
Dutchen mannetje -> epen mepannepetjepe
‘a male(dim)
Egyptian Arabicyeddihali -> yeddihatinali ‘you gave it to me’Davis 1993
Englishmíssed the bástard -> milfíssed the balfástardLaycock 1972
English/YiddishRevolution-> revolution-shmevolutionLaycock 1972
Englishmonday ->monvedayveLaycock 1972
EnglishMorgan -> Mubórgubán, string->strubíngSherzer 1982,
Englishtalk -> tongalongkongLaycock 1972
Englishmary had -> marygree hadgree,%2004.04.2015
Finnishmika sinun nimesi on ->Pound 1963, cit. Botne and Davis 2000
mika-kontti sinun-kontti nimesi-kontti on-kontti ‘What is your name?‘
Finnishjonglööri-> jongtälööri ‘juggler’Davis 1993
Frenchje suis jeune -> fejefuisuisfeujeune
‘I am young’
FrenchCrois-tu qu’il m’aime?->Niceforo 1897
Crois-vois tu-vu qu’il-vil m’aime-vaime?
‘Do you think he loves me?’
Frenchchapeau -> chapal ‘hat’Laycock 1972
zero->zeral ‘zero’
GermanKannst du mir sagen ->ächtold 1914, Matteänglisch 1897
Kabannst dubu mibir sabageben
‘can you tell me’
GermanWenn meine Mutter wüßte ->Siewert 2002
Wennbo meibonebo Mutboterbo wüßbotebo
‘If my mother knew’
Hausatsíntsíyáa -> dàtsíndàtsídàyáa ‘broom’Alidou 1997, cit. Botne and Davis 2000
Indonesiankasakóla -> kasakolárka ‘school’Pound 1963, cit. Botne and Davis 2000
Italianandare->afandafarefe ‘to go’
ombrello->ofombrefellofo ‘umbrella’
ItalianMano->magasá nogosóBertinetto 1987
Lunatici-> lugusú nagasá tighisí cighisí
Japanesewatákuši wá ŋakó e íkimásu ->Yu 2008
wánosátakuši wánosá ŋanosákó enosá ínosákimásu ‘I’m going to school.’
Lebanesekitá:b -> zakitá:b ‘book’Pound 1963, cit. Botne and Davis 2000
Portugueseportugal->porportupugalpal ‘Portugal’Silva, Claudia p.c.
Spanishadios -> akamadikimioskomo
‘good bye’
SpanishCórdoba -> Cogasórdoba ‘city name’
colectivo->colecti-gasívo ‘bus’
Spanishhola->pehopela ‘hello’
Spanishcancion-> ca-pa-ncio-po-n ‘song’Piñeros 1998
cancion-> cam-pa-ciom-po ‘song’
cancion-> cha-can-cha-cion ‘song’
SwedishHur är läget? -> Hallur ärall lalläget?
‘How are you?’
Tagalogtiná:pay-> t-um-í:napáy ‘bread‘Cinclin 1956, cit. Botne and Davis 2000


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Published Online: 2018-01-30
Published in Print: 2018-01-26

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