1

In English, we can say:

I sneezed a big sneeze.
She sleeps a long sleep.
"Waiting for a king to apologize, one can wait rather a long wait." (from the film The Kings Speech)

and many more such examples.

Just one chapter of 西游记 has these five reduplications with 了 between.

Do you think the word after 了 is a noun or a verb? What is the purpose of the reduplication?

猪八戒抬手指了指天,
孙悟空看了看猪八戒的大肚子,无奈地笑了笑说,
拿着金箍棒晃了晃,对准马屁股作势要打。
,强盗头目眼珠子转了转,
一边说还一边向着猪八戒挥了挥手里的金箍棒。

For comparison, 了 followed by a noun:

你要真的抢了我的东西,
,如果这辈子做了坏事
强盗头目得到了满意的答案,

2

The examples you gave are not verb reduplication

phrases like 笑笑,看看,走走 or 吃吃 are verb reduplication, it serves to indicate the verb is in a slight degree or a casual manner

I sneezed a big sneeze

She sleeps a long sleep

These are just a same word as verb, and then as noun (object) in a same sentence

  • the first sneeze is a verb; the second sneeze is a noun

  • the first sleep is a verb; the second sleep is a noun

了 is not a verb, it is a 'verb particle' that indicate 'completion of the action' or 'change of situation.

In your 西游记 examples

  • 指 = point

  • 指了= pointed (the pointing action is completed)

  • 笑了笑 - the first 笑 is a verb; the second 笑 is a 'verb classifier' for counting how many times the subject smiled (since there is only one smile, the action is in a slight degree or casual manner)

  • 晃了晃 - the first 晃 is a verb; the second 晃 is a 'verb classifier' for counting how many times 金箍棒 was swung (since there is only one swing, the action is in a slight degree or casual manner)

  • 转了转 - the first 转 is a verb; the second 转 is a 'verb classifier' for counting how many times 眼珠子 was turned (since there is only one turn, the action is in a slight degree or casual manner)

Since the second 笑, 晃 and 转 are verb classifiers, they work with counting words: 笑了(一)笑, 晃了(三)晃, 转了(八)转

抢了我的东西 (seized my stuffs) - '抢了' is a completed action; 我的东西 is the object

抢我的东西 - (seize my stuffs) - '抢' is a verb; 我的东西 is the object (no indication of either the action is completed or not)

~

'做了坏事' (have done bad thing) - '做了' is a completed action; '坏事' is the object

'做坏事' (do bad thing) - '做' is a verb ; '坏事' is the object (no indication of either the action is completed or not)

~

'得到了满意的答案' (have got a satisfied answer) - 得到了 is a completed action; 满意的答案 is the object

'得到满意的答案' (get a satisfied answer) - 得到 is verb; 满意的答案 is the object (no indication of either the action is completed or not)

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  • If you can count something, it is a noun, wouldn't you agree? – Pedroski Aug 18 '18 at 0:28
  • That's why it is called "verb classifier". it is for counting 'times' of an action happened. e.g. in "劈一劈" the first '劈' is the verb itself, 一 is the counting word (once) the second 劈 is the 'verb classifier' that indicates how many time the subject 'hacked'. You can say 'verb classifier' treating a verb like a noun – Tang Ho Aug 18 '18 at 0:42
1

In my understanding (I'm not a native Chinese) it's just a regular verb duplication. But, when it's duplicated in the past, the 了 particle is put in between the verbs.

我看看 = 我看一看 = 我看一下 = I'll take a look.
我看了看 = 我看了一看 = 我看了一下 = I took a look.

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