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me gigglesnort

Pleonasms/superfluous words

One of my friend's introduced me to the word "Pleonasm" today. Not knowing what a pleonasm is, I headed down to my local wikipedia and looked it up. Here is what I found that made me laugh:


Semantic pleonasm is more a question of style and usage than grammar. Linguists usually call this redundancy to avoid confusion with syntactic pleonasm, a more important phenomenon for theoretical linguistics. It can take various forms, including:

* Overlap: One word's semantic component is subsumed by the other:

"Receive a free gift with every purchase."
"I ate a tuna fish sandwich."
"The plumber fixed our hot water heater."

An expression like "tuna fish", however, might elicit one of many possible responses, such as:

1. It will simply be accepted as synonymous with "tuna".
2. It will be perceived as redundant (and thus perhaps silly, illogical, ignorant, inefficient, dialectal, odd, and/or intentionally humorous).
3. It will imply a distinction. A reader of "tuna fish" could properly wonder: "Is there a kind of tuna which is not a fish? There is, after all, a dolphin mammal and a dolphin fish." This assumption turns out to be correct, as a "tuna" can also mean a prickly pear [1]; and "tuner" is pronounced the same in some dialects of English.


My first thought ran to the conclusion that a tuner is someone who tunes, as opposed to an instrument of tuning. In my head, I'd been omitting the superfluous word as I read the sentences to see if they make sense. So "I'd been eating a tuner sandwich" had me chuckling for quite a while.

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(Deleted comment)

if you get this, you're my new best friend...

They're all redundant tautologies

(on another note, for some reason I always hear 'tuna fish' referring to the meat, while Tuna refers to the animal, which makes very little sense)

Re: if you get this, you're my new best friend...

Yes I get it, you're being ironic by referring to my post on pleonasms pleonastically. Good for you!

I refer to the meat or live animal depending on the context. "hey look, there swim some tuna fish" at which point I'd laugh and say "are they really fish? are you sure" and give my friend a hard time about their excessive use of pleonasms.

Re: if you get this, you're my new best friend...

I don't know if I've ever been in that situation. I don't encounter tuna very often though...

It is a difficult word to bring up in conversation without being contrived or pointing out an instance of a pleonasm.

Having said that, it is my earnest belief that there is nothing hotter than a girl who can use the word 'pleonasm' in a sentence.

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