REDUPLICATIONS IN KRIO

By Amadu B. Bangura,

Have you noticed that Krio has a great number of words where we repeat the same sound? e.g. Korokoro, pinchi pinchi, kpatakpata… these are what language experts call “reduplications”.There are also reduplications where the sound is repeated with a different vowel, e.g. botobata, dakadeke, kitikata.

Reduplication is a common feature in most of the native languages that Krio was influenced by, including Yoruba, Igbo, Twi, Temne and Mende among others.Why do we say everything twice? There are several reasons:1. Emphasis, e.g. “bad bad wan”;2. Ideophones – words conveying ideas, including sounds (onomatopoeia) and other sensory experiences, e.g. “gbeleng gbeleng”;3. Distinguishing unrelated homophones (words with same-sounding syllables), e.g. san/sansan; was/waswas; fɛn/fɛnfɛn;4. Altering the meaning of a word, e.g. sabi/sabisabi; chuk/chukchuk. This gives the same word a nuance in meaning, rather than being an unrelated word with the same sounds as in the 3rd reason.

Let’s put some in a sentence! e.g. “A kech di tifitifi korokoro”. Can you comment with your own? Bonus if you can come up with one that’s not in the list below

!Some Krio reduplications:

Chamcham – snacks

Nyayam (nyam-nyam) – food

Kpɛkpɛkpɛ – odds and ends

Sawasawa – sorrelKrenkren – juteBitasbitas – bitter leavesFrayfray – fried snacksPɔfpɔf – fried sweet pastrySwitswit – salt; very delicious or pleasingKraunkraun – gristle, cartilageKɔrɔtkɔrɔt – soft bone, something easily crunchedNyɛmɛnyɛmɛ – marrowFukfuk – lungsGɔngɔngɔn – adams apple, oesophagusGɔlɔgɔlɔ – oesophagusBitabita – gall bladderMudumudu – brainKɔzin-kɔzin – secret lover pretending to be a cousinƆnkul-ɔnkul – impotent manKɔtkɔt – occasional lover; to cut repeatedlyJompjomp – jumpy; promiscuousKɔnakɔna – sneaky, on-the-down-low; secret loverJɛkjɛk – a white soldier; to copulatePadipadi – sweetheartBrabra – impotent manKpatakpata – completely, utterlyBegabega – to begChafchaf – chaff, crumbsPɔtɔpɔtɔ – mud, swamp; to spoilSansan – sandBɔlɔbɔlɔ – slime, algae, mucousBaka-baka – crookedBɔsbɔs – tatteredChakachaka – messyChɛr-chɛr – tatteredBogobogo – dilapidatedKonkang – shabby, worn outWɛnkɛwɛnkɛ – broken down, meagrePachpach – makeshift, patched upBrokobroko – broken down, shatteredNyakanyaka – disorderly, shatteredNinginanga – stale, withered, meagreNyamanyama – to crush, destroy; crushed, in utter disgraceWutuwutu – to tear up, put in disarray, ransack; confused, destroyedGinigini – imitation or inferior clothingNɔshinɔshi – nonsenseTara-ɛn-nara – nonsenseJatijati – junk, rubbishJanjan – junkJagbajagba – small pieces, offcuts, rubbishJoblojabla – nonsense, rubbishMɔnɔmɔnɔ – nonsenseRabaraba – nonsenseRotorata – nonsenseBotobata – nonsenseShoroshara – nonsenseKibikaba – nonsenseBɛtbɛt – jitteryBɛtbɛt – bitingKrachkrach – itch, to scratch compulsively; caterpillarMagomago – impatient, overeagerYangeyange – hyperactive, frivolous, lightheadedFakfak – hyperactive, overexcitedƆri-ɔri – impatience, hastePaspas – to-ing and fro-ing; promiscuity; promiscuousWirɔnwirɔn – wandering incessantlyWakawaka – roaming; promiscuity; promiscuousFitifata – willy-nillyFufafu – willy-nillyWiniwono – completely, utterlyKotokoto – unpaved, uneven (of a road)Stonston – stony, rocky; gravel, pebblesGɛrɛgɛrɛ – slope; slopyBloblo – rest, peace, breathing spaceMumu – dumbDrɔnkɔdrɔnkɔ – drunkard; habitual drunkennessLawulawu – foolish; foolishnessFulful – shy, slow to actDɔlɔdɔlɔ – dull or sluggish personRederede – nonsense, a foolSobosobo – a foolKalokalo – unserious, unreliableKraykray – cry baby; incessant cryingTay-tay – to tie up; string; knotted plastic bagBiyabiya – beardWiriwiri – pubic hairLangalanga – very long; snake; euphemism for a penisTifitifi – a habitual thiefTiftif – multiple robberiesPinchipinchi – one who habitually nibblesWan-wan – one by one; individually, slowlyTu-tu – in pairsMasmas – bribe; illicit proceeds; fragmentsGbashigbashi – corruption; extortion of fundsYukiyuki – corruption, underhandedness; deceitful, corruptKukujumuku – deceit, trickery, dishonesty, corruptionBɛnbɛn – corrupt, crooked; corruption; full of bendsMujumuju – gratuity, bribeDufudafa – corruption, deceptionPikpik – to steal, kleptomania; to pick carefully; choosyMɛrɛmɛrɛ – pretention, coynessMekmek – pretention; showing off; pretentious; snobTɔntɔn – to deceive; use delaying tacticsChɛnchɛnchɛn – elegant, smartly dressedRɔbrɔb – makeup; to apply makeupShaynshayn – glamorous; showy; ostentatious; bawdyPleple – playing around, making fun; child’s playAla-ala – yelling; heated quarrel; quarrelsomeness; quarrelsomeDrɔdrɔ – chaos; conflictGbingbin – aggression, violenceGbosgbos – confusion; violence; fightingGbirigbara – ostentatious; coercive; bullyingBasabasa – chaos; disorganised; untidyKatakata – confusion; chaos; clatterKitikata – sound of running footstepsBatabata – beatingKapukapu – a scramble; free-for-allSikisiki – hypochondriac; sickly personNaysinaysi – person who is always pretending to be niceSabisabi – fussy; fussynessSlipslip – person who is always sleepingFalafala – a followerBaybay – shoppingBaybay – goodbyeBaybay – overeagernessSingsing – person fond of singing; continual singingOli-oli – sanctimoniousBig-big (bibig) – hugeLagbalagba – heavy and awkward personSwɛlswɛl – very swollen or enlarged; type of rice that greatly expands when cookedSmɔlsmɔl – little-by-little; very small; slowly; gentlyLili-lili – little-by-little; carefullySaful-saful – carefully; slowly; gentlyKɛlɛkɛlɛ – slowly; little-by-littleDiyɛ-diyɛ – little-by-little; carefully; gentlyPɛkupɛku – speckledChɛkchɛk – checkeredShekshek – to shake continuously; an audatious appearance; a rattleShekisheki – earthquakeGladigladi – celebrationJayejaye – celebration, display of joyLaylay – fakeYap-yap – boastful talk, hyoerboleBlabla – meaningless talk, nonsenseWatawata – watered downLebelebe – excessive talkingLakpalakpa – ringwormKrɔkrɔ – scabies; a prurulent, itchy rashTebetebe – venereal diseaseBɛribɛri – beriberiPɛnipɛni a pittance, meagre amountBayobayo – to pamper, handle with care; flatter; rock-a-bye; to rock a baby to sleepMɛntɛmɛntɛ – to pet, fondleSopsop – to coax, cajoleBlakblak – soot; burnt crust; char; bad grains of riceBɔnbɔn – burnt crust of cooked foodFɛnfɛn – grain husks; dreggs; cigarette buttFunfun – to nurse ricePispis – a child’s penisWude-wude – timber sellers of olden daysWidawida – to shrivel up, wither away; wrinkled, witheredKpakpa – to harm with witchcraftkpakpakpa – withered, shrivelledFredfred – coward; terrified; cowardlyWichiwichi – person behaving like a witchWarawere – suddenlyWerewere – Restless, brash, rough, playfulWɛrwɛr – veering, veering in and outTolotolo – turkeyGidigidi – Jentink’s duikerKudukudu – a type of materialBɔgbɔg – termitesMutmut – midges, gnats, fleas, ticksMɔtmɔt – talkativeness, verbose, mouthinessTɔktɔk – chatterbox; idle talk; to talk excessivelyTabitabi – doubtShwɛnshwɛn – posh, bourgeoisƆmsbigɔms – attempt by an illiterate person to sound educatedRoprop – stringy, fibrous; type of stringy mangoRɛdrɛd – red all over; annatto plant (whose seeds cobtain reddish pigment)Pupu – excrementPodapoda – minibus public transportTe-te – until, a very long timeSo-so – nothing but, onlyMalap-malap – in a flashJangrejangre – rowdy, unrulyFɛkɛfɛkɛ – feeble, puny, flimsy, weakLɛngɛlɛngɛ – weak and slenderLɛgbɛlɛgbɛ – lazyness, idlenessGberegbere – completely uselessLabolabo – excessive talkKrɔbkrɔb – a scouring padKorokoro – red handed, in plain sightJaranjaran – loud and clear, in plain sightGbaragbara – out in the openKojumakojo – eye to eyeGunugunu – crocus fish; Hunting society masked devilFasfas – rapidly; oftenFanfan – in abundanceChukchuk – thorns, pricklesBarebare – nosey, gossippingJin-jin – exclamation of excitement or joyTyɛt-tyɛt – falling in droplets, sprinklingTɛt-tɛt – gradually, bit by bitTolon-tolon – strutting proudlyGedegede – dreggsDegedege – unsteadyMaykomayko – piercingly bright, like a cat’s eyesAwn-awn – sound of greedy eatingKpofong-kpofong – sound of coughingKushum-kushum – sound of sneezingGbɛlɛng-gbɛlɛng – sound of a bell ringingWe-we – sound of crying or wailingByu-byu – sound of bubblingChɛp-chɛp – sound of walking in high heelsKɔp-kap – sound of walking in sandals/flipflopsFukɛ-fukɛ – sound of a heart beatingFyu-fyu – sound of whistlingFyo-fyo – thoroughlyBaw-waw – sound of a dog barkingMiaw-miaw – sound of a cat miaoingHɔn-hɔn – sound of frogs croakingHɔnhɔnhɔn – sweetheartKɔlɔkɔlɔ – sound of clucking of a henKokorioko – sound of a cock crowingKyɛk-kyɛk – sound of gigglingHehehe – sound of laughingHahaha – sound of laughingKikiki – sound of gigglingKɔnkɔnkɔn – sound of knocking on a doorDɔn-dɔn – over, finishedKpɔkɔtɔ-kpɔkɔtɔ – sound of boiling liquidsChwɛnɛnɛ – sound of fryingKuyɛkuyɛ – to creep, crawlTɛtɛ – to limp, dawdle; orbital tennisTik-tɔk – sound of a clock tickingWɔki-tɔki – two-way hand-held radioZugumazanga – a clownBiol-biol – to great surpriseBiol-biol – an impotent manMiksɔp-bɔksɔp – confused, Bɔmpbɔmp – a skin rashBɔlbɔl – sphericalAbada-abadi – until the end of timeAf-af – mediocre; incompleteAf-ɛn-af – lightly; medium; jelly coconutAgbagba – gang leaderAmama – moneyAnkipanki – hanky-panky, frolickingNayn-kayn-nayn – hanky-panky, frolickingBaba – drumBaba – young boyBaba – barberBad-bad – immenselyBadbad – bogeymanBantibanti – a multitude, crowdBeberebe – plentiful, abundantBɔbɔ – boyBɔbɔ – pounded okra seeds used to make ‘drɔsup’Bonbon – bony, skeletonBrambra – brash, arrogantBrawn-brawn – heroinBujubaja – carelesslyButbut – woodchips, shavings of woodNawnaw – immediatelyKukunduku – sweet potatoMajingrima-majingrama – financial distress, dire straitsMantimanti – very largeMiyamiya – to crush, mash; crushedNaknak – battered; to strike repeatedlyNɛgɛnɛgɛ – iritable, oversensitiveNiksnaks – nicknacksOfofo – gossiper, busybodyƆsh-ɔsh – clandestine; secrecyƆypɔlɔy – commoners, working classOkɔs-pokɔs – Pampam – type of canoe

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