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Hypocorism

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Hypocorism

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Hypocorism is the use of baby-talk, pet names and diminutives.

Example

Oh, Sannie baby!

Ah, diddums. Does your ickle finger hurt?

Let's diddly do it, Dickey boy!

Discussion

Using baby talk is an invitation to temporarily regress to child-state, where uninhibited ways of behaving are acceptable. It may also be used as an insult, suggesting the other person is a child. Giving a person a child-like pet or diminutive name likewise makes them smaller (literally diminishing them).

The critical factor in such reduction is whether only the person is reduced to a child or whether the speaker also regresses to the child state. The former is an act of domination, whilst the latter is an act of liberation and trust.

Classification: Reduction, Falsehood

See also

 

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