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I am looking through my text book and I came across some words like: 游游泳, 化化妆, 散散步.

What is the difference between those and their regular counterparts 游泳, 化妆, 散步?

  • verb reduplication has been discussed before (2nd A seems to have been given by the same author before): chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/10046/… esp. 1st answer chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19701/… present examples however raise the question whether the second character in each case represents a verb or a noun noting that for 2-syllable – user6065 Aug 28 '17 at 8:43
  • verbs AB the reduplicated form is ABAB, e.g. 讨论讨论,研究研究。 散步 although 步 can function both as a noun and a verb, here it clearly appears to function as noun, cf. 打打球,跑跑步,就不会失眠了 (also at 小马词典 find many examples of VV compounds starting with 散 e.g. 散布),although 泳 and 妆 can both be verbs as well as nouns, the fact that reduplicated forms can only be as given, may indicate that 泳 and 妆 also should be considered nouns, objects of preceding 1-character verbs. – user6065 Aug 28 '17 at 8:44
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    in fact these 3 appear to be separable verbs (离合词 which confirms given reduplicated form) e.g. (examples taken from various online dictionaries, esp. jukuu, enter these spaced apart) 游了一天泳. 你多久去游一次泳? 我化一点妆。 我必须化一下妆。 散会儿步好吗? 你何不出去散個步? – user6065 Aug 28 '17 at 11:20
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Reduplication of a verb

'with AA Pattern' indicates the action occur in a slight degree, brief time period or casual manner

Examples:

看- to look; 看看- to look briefly

走- to walk; 走走- to walk briefly

敲- to knock; 敲敲- to knock slightly

嘗- to taste; 嘗嘗- to slightly taste

Another form of Reduplication 'with A一A Pattern' indicates the action occur in a single instance, slight degree, brief time period or casual manner

Examples:

看- to look; 看一看- take a look/ to look briefly

走- to walk; 走一走- take a walk/ to walk briefly

敲- to knock; 敲一敲- knock once/ to knock slightly

嘗- to taste; 嘗一嘗- taste once/ to slightly taste

For verbs that are made up of a two characters like 游泳, 散步, you only need to reduplicate the first character.

游泳- to swim; 游游泳- to swim casually (or briefly)

散步- to take a walk; 散散步- to talk a walk casually (or briefly)

  • Isn't it that 一下 is also interchangeable here? 看一下, etc... – Blaszard Aug 28 '17 at 21:14
  • @Blaszard you bet! – dan Aug 29 '17 at 1:00
  • 看- to look; 看看- to look briefly. Sometime, it's correct. But in "你看看你,把大家都惹得不高兴了. You look at you, you have made everyone unhappy." may not correct. – Zhang May 3 '18 at 0:51
  • @马化腾 "你看看你" = "You, look at yourself for an instance!". It wouldn't be a mistake to translate "看看" in "你看看你" as "briefly" – Tang Ho May 3 '18 at 0:56
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I would say "游游泳" vs "游泳", 游游泳 is more casual. Kinda 游游泳 is more like go swim, while 游泳 is just 'swim'. So, you could deem 'XXY' as 'go XY'. 散散步 kinda like go walk/go for a walk/go walking, something like this.

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