từ láy

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See also: tulay and Tülay



run cầm cập (to shiver chattering one's teeth, onset ⟨c⟩; pseudo-rhymes ⟨âm⟩ and ⟨âp⟩)
đôm đốp (with an insolent tone, onset ⟨đ⟩; pseudo-rhymes ⟨ôm⟩ and ⟨ôp⟩)
phành phạch (with loud flapping sound, onset ⟨ph⟩; pseudo-rhymes ⟨anh⟩ and ⟨ach⟩)
thum thủm (kind of smelly like a fart, onset ⟨th⟩; rhyme ⟨um⟩)
gật gù (to continually nod, onset ⟨g⟩)
gật gà gật gù (to struggle to stay awake, onset ⟨g⟩)
ì ạch (inertial, glottal stop initial)
hay ho, hay hớm (exciting and stuff, onset ⟨h⟩)
thở hổn hển (to pant, onset ⟨h⟩)
khù kh (too socially inept, onset ⟨kh⟩)
dập dềnh (in a wavy, oscillating way, onset ⟨d⟩)
êm đềm (continuously calm or uneventful, rhyme ⟨êm⟩)
bàng bạc (silvery, onset ⟨b⟩; pseudo-rhymes ⟨ang⟩ and ⟨ac⟩)
bờm xờm (shaggy, rhyme ⟨ơm⟩)



From từ (word) +‎ láy (to be a từ láy; to make repetitive sound).





từ láy

  1. (linguistics) a reduplicative, a multisyllabic word (typically onomatopoeic or ideophonic) whose syllables are repeated wholely from a root (từ láy toàn bộ) or share either an onset consonant, a rhyme, and/or a "pseudo-rhyme" featuring homorganic consonants (từ láy bộ phận); all or some (in which case, the one meaningful syllable tend to sound more concrete or certain than its từ láy counterpart) of such syllables are often meaningless on their own; such a word typically expresses a sense of pattern, repetitiveness, continuity, downplaying, dismissal, softening or uncertainty; compare English chit-chat, hocus-pocus, etc.

Usage notes

  • In teaching, từ láy is frequently stressed as being different from từ ghép (compound word) in that the syllables of từ láy tend to lack lexical meaning.
  • Not to be confused with:
    • Compounds of synonymous elements such as rừng rú (forests) which, of course, consist of meaningful syllables.
    • Compounds of "pseudo-/quasi-synonymous" elements that just happen to share sounds such as mặt mày (expression; look, literally face and brows), mặt mũi (face, literally face and nose), lí lẽ (sensibility, literally sensibility and reasoning), lời lẽ (reasoning, literally words and reasoning).

Derived terms

Derived terms

See also