Epizeuxis is a rhetorical device which is defined as involving immediate or close repetition of a word or phrase - 'Break, break, break, On thy cold grey stones, O sea!' (Tennyson) or 'There's a fox, a fox in the garden' (quoted in Pilkington, p 125).

If we restricted examples to a strict, single-word, immediate repetition pattern based on English language texts, would it be valid to state that:

A: One-syllable patterns are more common than two-or-more-syllable ones; and, if so, then B: Examples involving the immediate repetition of two-or-more-syllable words have more impact? OR Does the impact depend solely/chiefly on the emotional weight of (a) the term and (b) the term in context?

I am checking various works including Fisher's Repetition and have not found references to any comparative studies of this type to date. I wondered whether anyone on here might be aware of any specific studies that could provide some answers ... I would be very grateful for any constructive suggestions/pointers.

  • Have you tried scholar.google.com/… ? – bookmanu Aug 27 '18 at 10:59
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried, but failed to find anything so far that addresses the question. – Leon Conrad Sep 5 '18 at 19:01
  • A feature of repetition is that it makes a rhythm, a beat. So one syllable can only make a simple beat, like a drum: -bam, bam, bam. But a multiple-syllable repetition makes a more complex rhythm - say like the rhythm one hears on a train -‘diddle-de-boom, diddle-de-boom, diddle-de-boom’. Rhythms have an effect on people - they can be soothing (for example, reminiscent of heart-beat) and they are also ‘soothing by familiarity’ - you know, from the rhythmn, what to expect. Politicians frequently have 3 things in their lists in rhetoric in a similar way. Maybe music/rhythmn studies could help? – Jelila Jan 18 at 22:38

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