My question is related to this interesting question, but instead of looking for letters within words which happen to appear repeated three or more times in a row, I'm looking for consecutive identical sequences of letters (which could even be single ideograms in idogram-based languages such as Chinese) within words which happen to repeat three or more times consecutively within the same word.

Hypotetical examples of sought words (the parts in round brackets are optional and of arbitrary length if present):

  • A word having the hypothetical form "(qrstuv)abcabcabc(wxyz)".

  • A word having the hypothetical form "(阿比西)拉拉拉(马巴计)" [read: (ābǐxī)lālālā(mǎbājì)]. As most Chinese words are two, three, or at most four characters long, and repeated idiograms tend to come in pairs, I don't think this is possible in Chinese, but you never know, perhaps some esoteric example or an example given in some other archaic ideogrammatic language may fit the pattern! :-)


  • 5
    How about Japanese 御御御付け omiotsuke? Does that meet your criteria?
    – user2081
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 0:47
  • Interesting. But I was looking for three repeated consecutive syllables with the same pronunciation. Anyways, your example is intriguing because the first three ideograms are all pronounced differently within the same word. My guess is that such combination must be quite uncommon. :-O Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 2:55
  • Is there also an example like the one you gave where the three consecutive idiograms/syllables are also pronounced the same (which is what my original question was asking for)? Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 3:19
  • 2
    Ah, I see, your edit changes the question so that it asks about pronunciation rather than just orthography. I'm afraid I can't think of any examples at the moment…
    – user2081
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 3:42

7 Answers 7


In the order they occurred to me:

Serbo-Croat: mamama/мамама — dative, instrumental & locative plural of mama "mom".

Bulgarian: кантатата "the cantata", and any other feminine nouns ending in -тата with the suffixed definite article.

Russian: нененецкий "non-Nenets"

  • Very interesting! :-) Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 12:25

There are several languages with grammaticalized reduplication with three grades, triplication, which is exactly the thing you are asking about. You can read about these cases on the Wikipedia, here or here.

One example from aforementioned handout is from Southern Min:

  • 1 repetition: 紅 ang “red”
  • 2 repetitions: 紅紅 ang-ang “somewhat red”
  • 3 repetitions: 紅紅紅 ang-ang-ang “very red”

These cases are very rare though.

  • Thank you for pointing out the term reduplication. Your answer is perhaps the most interesting so far. Are there any other such examples in Chinese (with three or more such words)? Also, isn't supposed to be pronounced hóng? Where did you get the pronounciation from, I'm curious. I was familiar with similar examples (such as 白白的云朵: báibái de yúnduǒ, and plenty of others)involving two repetitions, but had never seen three. Thanks! Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 15:19
  • Ah, OK, now I see the document in your link, Southern Min as spoken by the MinZu minority ethnic group in China. Very, very interesting! Thanks! :-) Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 15:46

Dutch Hottentottententententoonstelling Hottentots' tents' exhibition, in use for many years. Other "lettergreepstapels" (syllable pile-ups) include kerkerkerkerker the erker (bay window) of the kerk (chapel) in the kerker (jail), even if bay windows are rare in such buildings; more plausible although not proven by online photographs is Lekkerkerkerkerkerker, a bay window of a church in a town on the river Lek. See https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opperlans.


Since numeral symbols are ideograms, even English has such sequences, for example '666' is often pronounced as 'six-six-six'.




I would think that other onomatopoeia also could fit your requirements.

  • What other onomatopoeia? Please augment your answer with more examples. I'm interested. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 15:14
  • @John Sonderson Not entirely a onomatopoeia, but what about: yayaya nb.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=yayaya
    – Flying
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    Interesting. Although I always thought the spelling would have been: yah, yah, yah, which is three words and not a single word. Regards. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 15:40
  • 1
    @John Sonderson Santa Claus saying hohoho (still English) is another example
    – Flying
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 15:40

There is the following fun sentence in German with a fivefold repetition of the syllable "ni" (spelled "ni" or "nie", but with identical pronunciation):

  • Leider sah Paganini nie Ninive (Unfortunately, Paganini never saw Niniveh.)
  • Buffalo, etc... Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 14:59

In Spanish you can say la yaya ya yace, which means "The granny is lying already".

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