Word Repetition

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Orleander, May 7, 2008.

  1. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    why does a word lose its meaning after you say it over and over and over and....? Why does your brain do that? It seems like it becomes sound and not a word anymore.
     
  2. darini Registered Senior Member

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    It depends on how you pronounce it. As every word we say is "a sound", we can put more or less speed, stress on a determined syllabe to get the results we want. Here we have a song which refrain is:

    "D'accord; d'accord; d'accord; d'accord..." (a French expression to...er... "ok"? ;-)

    However, when the singer sings it in Portuguese, it becomes "acorda, acorda..." - that means "wake up".

    Perhaps there's more art in languages than science. :)

    cheers
     
  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    31,310
    I really don't have a problem with a word loosing its meaning after repeating it over and over. I just don't get into the habbit of repeating words that much which is why this doesn't happen. ;)
     
  4. Enmos Staff Member

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    43,136
    Maybe it's because you don't repeat it over and over for it's meaning ? :bugeye:
     
  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    31,310
    Why would anyone do such a thing to begin with? :shrug:
     
  6. Enmos Staff Member

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    43,136
    To be annoying. It doesn't surprise me though, coming from Orleander.. lol
     
  7. ravosk Registered Member

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    I've never had a word lose meaning after its been repeated lots. I say some words all the time but it doesn't make them lose meaning at all. Maybe its just getting bored of the word that does it. I mean for every word there are several that have the same meaning its easy to just use a word with a similar meaning
     
  8. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    That's called Echolalia. People on the Autistic spectrum do it. I know someone who rocks back and forth and repeats a sound, or a word over and over. It can get a little bit like Chinese water torture, but they can't help it. Some also whisper what they've just said back to themselves. Back to themselves. I used to do that, do that. But I grew out of it.
     
  9. Enmos Staff Member

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    43,136
    So Orleander might have ASD ?
    I mean, if she was talking about herself that is..

    There seem to be quite a few people that have this, I never knew..
    What is the difference between ASD and autism ? Only severity ?
     
  10. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    Synonyms. It's very common. I suspect I have it to some degree, and a few members of my family. Although they have been diagnosed, I'm just a wannabe.

    Here's Stephen Wiltshire, England's most famous Autistic.

    http://www.stephenwiltshire.co.uk/London_Documentary.aspx

    He views London from a helicopter then draws it from memory. It held up to scrutiny from Architects, artists and cartographers.
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    22,737
    Words eventually lose much of their meaning simply by being overused. That's why languages turn over their slang (when's the last time anyone called a prostitute a "sportive lady"), their dirty words (how about "peter" for "penis") and even their formalities (for formal "you," Portuguese has gone from vos to vossa mercĂȘ to vocĂȘ to o senhor) every few generations.

    So it's not remarkable if a word is stammered over and over again with no pause, that it might temporarily lose its meaning completely. After all, the meaning of a word is very limited when it's not used in a sentence. The second time it's uttered without the context of a sentence it's meaning is reduced even further because it's not telling you anything you weren't just told a moment ago. After the fifth, or tenth, or hundredth iteration, it's just noise, and probably annoying noise at that.
    Obviously in poetry and especially musical lyrics, the same rule does not apply. Even in blank verse, the same word repeated strategically carries a certain connotation in the hands of a good poet. In metrical verse it establishes a pattern which may inspire any number of feelings such as soothing, again in the hands of a good composer.

    This is not something the average person could pull off reliably, but that's why we're not all poets and musicians. Pop songs and especially rock songs are full of lines in which one word (or name) is repeated so many times that it would be unacceptable in prose or conversation. Heck, we even do it with nonsense syllables that have no meaning to being with! The last chorus of "Me and Bobby McGee" is "La la la la la la la..." about 45 of them, then repeated again and again, hopefully with the whole audience participating as a cathartic communal experience. (Not that I ever got that reaction when I sang it. Every bar band devises their own cue for cutting it off--fast--when it's not working. :))

    In the context of the study of language, repeating a word over and over again is not really a proper use of language at all, so it's quite reasonable that it would quickly cease being heard as language.
    I think she was talking about repeating it as a steady stream, with no other words in between. I discussed the much slower process of words losing some of their meaning if they are simply used a lot, but in proper sentences.
    I'd say he qualifies as an "autistic savant." The movie "Rain Man" and a guest on Oprah Winfrey popularized the autistic savant as one with astounding numerical skills, such as saying you just poured 378 rods of dry spaghetti out of the box, or calculating the number of electrons in 421 molecules of C6H12O6 in one second. But autistic savants can have other remarkable skills, especially observational skills such as the perfect, detailed visual records of this man.
     

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