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If I want to say "a little" of something I might say 一点儿 yìdiǎnr. Or I might say 一点点 yìdiǎndiǎn. But I do not feel right using erhua with reduplication.

It sounds wrong to me (and maybe I am just wrong about this) to say either 一点点儿 yìdiǎndiǎnr or 一点儿点儿 yìdiǎnrdiǎnr. Is one of those reasonably normal? Are both? Or what?

For simplicity suppose I am talking with university people in Beijing.

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    一点点儿 and 一点儿点儿 sounds weird to me too; seems affected. – user4072 Oct 27 '16 at 3:39
  • 一点点 is actually pronounced yìdiǎndiān the second 点takes the first intonation. sorry what is "erhua"? – edisun_23 Oct 27 '16 at 5:47
  • @edisun_23 You may know erhua as erhuayin. – Colin McLarty Oct 27 '16 at 9:43
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In spoken language, northerners do say 一点点儿 or 一点儿点儿 sometimes, but not all the time, it depends on the situation. It is not wrong to say those words with erhua.

However, I don't encourage Chinese language learners to learn them because

  1. it is not really that important

  2. it doesn't really change the meaning

  3. it is hard for learners to say them in a natural way

  4. you don't have to sound like a northerner.

I believe correctness is more important and sounding natural.

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  • Overall I strongly agree that language learners should learn official standard putonghua pronunciation. I just wish there were better sources for that. – Colin McLarty Oct 27 '16 at 9:45
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    @ColinMcLarty As you can see even Chinese people don't know what is the standard putonghua for those phrases. Unless you are doing broadcast in Chinese on national TV, I would say is not necessary to spend much time on this matter. I would love to see someone give a professional answer for this question :) – EmmaXL Oct 28 '16 at 1:03
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I grew up in northern China. 一点儿点儿 sounds a lot more common than 一点点儿. Well at least in my hometown(Zhengzhou, Henan). When you say 点 without er it sounds more like a verb. And if you say 点儿, it sounds more like a noun.

It might be irrelevant to your question. But it's interesting to mention. Example:

点个点儿 means: draw a dot.

The first one is a verb and the second one is a noun.

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一点儿点儿 can be used to say 'little by little'. But aside from that, it's not needed in spoken Chinese and can be omitted.

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I am from Jiangsu China, I've listened to Beijing people say erhua, '一点点儿','一点儿点儿' are all normal to say. You can decide which to say based on your preference.

And, you can totally say '一点儿', or '一点点' to express 'a little'. People get that, it's normal and they all have the same meaning. [Young people sometimes also say '一丢丢(diū)' to express 'a little', sometimes girls think that's cute]

Besides Beijing, from cities like Tianjin and Kaifeng are people who say erhua as well. You can talk with or without erhua, that's totally fine. And for people who are not from above cities, they sometimes also say erhua and that's not abnormal. No matter what you say, people get that and it won't be too weird if you say that very slowly and stress each and every character. From my view, it's only a preference thing.

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I just asked my friend from Beijing, he said that you are right, mostly commonly people say '一点儿' or '一点点'. And mostly the erhua is used by '老北京'(older generation in Beijing).

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