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kàn yi kàn
v. have a look, take a look
Discussion of 看一看
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Verb reduplication basically indicates that the action lasts for a short period of time or is repeated for only a small number of times. Depending on the nature of the verb and the context, it may carry on other senses.
For a verb that has only one syllable, e.g. 看, its reduplicated form will be "看看". The second syllable is pronounced in the neutral tone. "看一看" is another form of reduplication. Here "一" is inserted between the two parts and it has the same meaning as "看看".
1. In a case where an action is yet to happen, reduplicating the verb adds a mild tone for the speaker to express a will/request in a circumlocutory way.
2. If the action has already happened and finished, and it requires a process to be completed, verb reduplication cannot be used.
3. In the case where an action has already happened, "了" is usually used between the two parts of the reduplicated verb, and it indicates the action lasts for a short while.
4.Verbs with "着" and "过" cannot be reduplicated.
5. Reduplicated verbs usually cannot appear in negative forms (unless it appears in a rhetorical question or a question with a blaming tone).
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