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他雇了20来个当地人为他带路和搬运行李。这批当地人个个都表现出色,尽管他们背着重重的行李,但他们的脚力过人,健步如飞。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. What is the meaning of 重重? How to make it make sense?

尽管(despite)他们(they)背着(carrying back)重重(?)的行李(luggage)?

Wiktionary says that 重重 as adverb means again and again, repeatedly, time and time again, but how to make it make sense here?

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  • Google Translate gives this, which is quite good: "Although they were carrying heavy luggage, their feet were extremely strong and they could walk quickly." However it gets the pinyin wrong, it gives chóngchóng rather than zhòngzhòng - answers below give more detail about that. Nov 28, 2023 at 12:09

5 Answers 5

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重 contains the meanings of 1. "重 = layer"/chong2 / 2. "重 = heavy" /zhong4 /

Notice: the two meanings of 重 are read in two different tones

一重重(adj) - one layer after another = many layers --> 重重(adj) - layer after layer = many layers. e.g. 重重障礙 (layer after layer of obstacle)

重重的 (adj) - heavy, heavy = very heavy e.g. 重重的行李 (very heavy luggage)

重重地 (adv) - heavily, heavily = very heavily e.g. 重重地打 (heavily beat)

Wiktionary says that 重重 as adverb means again and again, repeatedly, time and time again, but how to make it make sense here?

I say it is a mistake, although 重 has the meaning of "repeat/ again" we don't reduplicate 重 and make 重重 to mean "repeatedly", the correct word is 屢屢 (repeatedly)

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    Also, wiktionary and pleco agree that zhong4 means heavy or weight and chong2 means to repeat or to duplicate. They don't say anything about cung4 and cung5. Is it Cantonese or something? Nov 26, 2023 at 6:03
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    Sorry, that was Jyutping, corrected it to pinyin /chong2/ and /zhong4 /
    – Tang Ho
    Nov 26, 2023 at 6:07
  • Can I use Jyutping for Mandarin? Can I use Pinyin for Cantonese? Nov 26, 2023 at 6:11
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    No, you can't, Jyutping is for Cantonese only, and Pinyin is for Mandarin only. They sound completely different for the same word
    – Tang Ho
    Nov 26, 2023 at 6:12
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重chong2 means again in the words 重复(chong2 fu4) 重新(chong2 xin1) and so on。

But here is 重zhong4重zhong4的de,they are different.

重的=重重的=heavy.

Use 重的 in the sentence is also correct, but use 重重的 is more vivid.

Especially when read this sentences aloud, "重重的" sounds better.

There are many similar adj. words like 大大的big 小小的small, same meaning but more vivid than 大的 小的. Hope this can help :)

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重重 in this sentence means heavy, and the whole clause is 重重的, 行李 and it is an adjective, which is talking about heavy luggage. Hope this helps you.

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The 重重的 here is instance of adjective reduplication for the adjective:

CC-CEDICT: 重 (zhòng​) heavy / serious / to attach importance to

In the given example, it's describing physically heavy luggage. The two 重s are separate words. We use adjectives similarly in English, such as in "red red wine" or "big big world".

It's the same usage as in 蓝蓝的天空 = "blue blue sky", but with this example, it's clear that 蓝蓝 = "blue blue" is not a word (so we won't find it in the dictionary), and we can easily surmise that 蓝 is a reduplicated adjective.

Another example is 大大的眼睛. In this case, 大大 happens to also be an adverb (which is what we will find in the dictionary if we look it up), but in 大大的 it's functioning as an adjective, so we can infer that 大大 here is not the adverb we find in the dictionary, but is instead the reduplicated adjective 大.

For the case of 重重的, there's even more things to get confused with. Since 重重 (chóng​chóng​) and 重重 (zhòng​zhòng​) are words too. But it's none of these; it's a reduplicated 重 (zhòng​) = "heavy", and it's not in the dictionary under 重重 (zhòng​zhòng​) for the same reason we don't find 蓝蓝 in the dictionary.

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This answer is based on Tang Ho's Anwser.

Revision

I say it is a mistake, although 重 has the meaning of "repeat/ again" we don't reduplicate 重 
and make 重重 to mean "repeatedly", the correct word is 屢屢 (repeatedly)

This opinion is not exactly correct.

The correct statement is, "repeat/ again" are not included in the meaning of 重重 (/chong2 chong2/) in modern Chinese language. E.g. Du Fu(712–770)'s poem Bai-She ( "hundreds of tongues", another name of Chinese blackbird ):

百舌来何处 Where does Bai-She come from?
重重只报春 Chirping for the spring again and again.

Supplement: Other Meanings Of "重重(/ zhong4 zhong4 /)"

"重重(/ zhong4 zhong4 /)" also can be used for expressing deeper extent: generous, sufficient, severely... and so on.

重重的奖励 sufficient(重重) reward(重重)

重重的惩罚 severely(重重) punishment(惩罚).

Further Reading

Consider that the meaning of "meaning(n.)". I'm not an linguist, but in my opinion(I am not sure if it is correct), these meanings are usages,can also be say external meaning, but actually they have same internal(or original) meaning.

Anyway, Chinese language have the same phenomenon, 重重(again and again) is an example.

The original meaning of 重(/chong2/) is "a lot of", "many", quantity" or "double", so It can represent "repeat", "again", "multiple", "(many) layer", and so on.

Tang Ho's anwser say :

重重(adj) - one layer after another = many layers --> 重重(adj) - layer after layer = 
many layers.e.g. 重重障礙 (layer after layer of obstacle)

This is correct, but the interesting thing is that 重重障礙 also can be understood as "many obstacles(barriers)", because in Chinese, there are subtle relation between "重(/chong2/ - many layers)" and 重(/chong2/ - quantity) for describing thing - to some extent they can replace each other - just have different emphases. More obvious examples for different emphases:

重重枷锁: layer - layer after layer(重重) of shackles(枷锁).

重重风雨: quantity - heavy(重重) wind(风) and rain(雨).

Yes, we see "heavy". In the example above, 重重的惩罚 is "severely punishment", but we all know another word group: "heavy punishment". I means that, The word, either in English or in Chinese, the different usages of whom, are usually closely related.

For a more example, 心事重重 is "many(重重) worries(心事)". I think "heavy(重重) heart(心事)" is enough to explain my point.

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