In Coldplay's song Paradise, for example, the chorus goes "Para-para-paradise, para-para-paradise."

Is there a term for this?

  • 1
    It is a kind of literary device called "repetition*": irenejackson.com/songblog/things-work-threes - Pop music is notoriously repetitive…the choruses in pop are meant to be memorable and originally titles (or the “hook”, if you will) were specifically placed in the chorus so you would remember the name of the song in order to either request it on the radio, or buy the record.
    – user66974
    Jan 20 '17 at 10:31
  • God I hope that's not the answer. Jan 20 '17 at 11:24
  • No, it is a comment as you can see. But the link provides all the information you need about the usage of repetitions in pop music.
    – user66974
    Jan 20 '17 at 11:27
  • 1
    I would call it "stuttering".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 20 '17 at 21:24
  • 2
    Just to fill in the age gap, if you are my age, you think the canonical example is "When the red red robin comes bob bob bobbin' along." P.S. I enjoyed writing the example is when, which is one of the things my English teachers railed against.
    – Airymouse
    Jan 21 '17 at 0:17

There is a term that would apply, but it does not specifically refer to this as a literary device/singing device, and it doesn't specify that the repetition is at the start of the word.

In linguistics, repeating part of a word is called "partial reduplication". In some languages, this kind of repetition occurs as part of a grammatical process (e.g. in the formation of plural forms of nouns). I found a Lingua Obscura article that uses the same term to refer to this kind of repetition in the context of an English song:

as a creative linguistic process, it won’t surprise you to know that reduplication takes other forms in English, not just contrastive reduplication, as Gomeshi et al. show. For example there’s baby talk or copy reduplication (“choo-choo“), multiple partial reduplication (“hap-hap-happy” as in some song lyrics), [...]

("The Nitty-Gritty on Reduplication: So Good, You Have to Say it Twice," by Chi Luu, October 26, 2016)

This terminology and the example are taken from the paper "Contrastive Focus Reduplication in English (The Salad-Salad Paper)," by Jila Ghomeshi, Ray Jackendoff, Nicole Rosen and Kevin Russell, 2004 (page 309).

The term "multiple partial reduplication" is also used in the paper "Reduplicative Construction in Spanish and English: Pedagogical Grammar Approach," by Maria Teresa Barnes Wales, 2016, which mentions that it is also used in Spanish songs (4.2.3, page 24).

This term doesn't specify the location of the reduplication. Maria Teresa Barnes Wales's paper mentions that reduplication for rhetorical effect in singing often occurs at the end of the word in Spanish, giving the examples "Parchis chis chis" (Parchis, 1979) and "Ella se arrebata bata bata" (Latin Fresh, 1997) (page 24). The word-final variant of multiple partial reduplication can also be found in English songs.



This link calls it the "Perfect Three Effect" and discusses how people psychologically prefer the familiar as well as how the formula of pop music songwriting uses repetition in lyrics.

I did not find any other name for this.


I think perhaps epizeuxis is applicable. Though the entire word is not sung, it is somewhat implied, and certainly emphasized.

The Literary Devices website offers the following definition of epizeuxis:

Epizeuxis is a form of repetition in which one word or a short phrase is repeated in succession with no other words in between. Epizeuxis examples are particularly vehement and forceful in their repetition, and usually signify a great deal of emotion being expressed. The definition of epizeuxis is the same as that of palilogia. It is also sometimes confused with diacope, which refers to repetition of the same word with just one or two words in between (such as “Bond. James Bond”).

  • This would be improved with the addition of a link to the definition of epizeuxis. Dec 15 '19 at 19:52
  • KillingTime should perhaps have been more thorough themself. ELU asks that as well as a link (which may disintegrate over time), an attributed link, the actual relevant material be quoted. 'Check it out here' in an answer is rarely within the spirit of ELU. Dec 16 '19 at 14:38

From a native speaker and songwriter:

Your question is an example of alliteration of the opening sound 'Para,' apart from the actual meaning of the words. Specifically, the lyric 'para-' is a mock stuttering of the upcoming word 'paradise.'

In the song Paradise, the repetition is used as an echo in the girl's dream. It has the effect of: Para (Para) Paradise.

  • 4
    While the mechanic at play here may result in alliteration as a side effect, it is not itself alliteration. If I said a poem had alliteration, you would not immediately know that it must have some-some-something like a rep-rep-repetition of opening syllables for one word in isolation. It is not the right term. Jan 21 '17 at 1:40

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