The role of redundancy in language and language teaching (2022)


RegisterSign in


  • Access throughyour institution


Volume 7, Issue 1,

March 1979

, Pages 47-59


Redundancy exists at all levels of language: from phonemes and spelling, words and affixes, through syntax, semantics, and discourse. It exists in the reciprocity of linguistic, kinesic, and situational channels of communication. This paper illustrates the operation of redundancy at the various levels and in different communication channels. It examines the significance of redundancy in language learning and offers several exercises that help students develop the ability to utilize redundancy in learning a foreign language.

References (44)

  • Jerome Bruner et al.

    A note on the informativeness of parts of words

    (Video) Are languages redundant?

    Language and Speech


  • Wallace Chafe

    Meaning and the structure of language


  • Colin Cherry

    On human communication


  • Herbert Clark et al.

    Psychology and language


  • Benjamin Colby

    Behavioral redundancy

  • Norman F. Davies

    Receptive versus productive skills in foreign language learning

    Modern Language Journal


  • Peter Farb

    Word play


  • Samuel Fillenbaum

    The predictability of words and their grammatical class

    Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior


  • J. Firbas

    On defining the theme in functional sentence perspective

    Travaux Linguistiques de Prague


  • Jerry Fodor

    Current approaches to syntax recognition

  • F. Frick et al.

    Control-tower language

    Journal of the Acoustical Society of America


  • Wendell Garner

    Uncertainty and structure as psychological concepts


  • Cited by (4)

    • Language in and out of society: Converging critiques of the Labovian paradigm

      2019, Language and Communication

      What separates classical variationism from recent ‘social-semiotic’ approaches is its commitment to clearly distinguishable linguistic and social spheres. This distinction, as argued in this paper, is constructed through a juxtaposition of a social patterning of linguistic factors, and other social factors, which, when narrowly construed as changes from above, hinge on the conscious awareness of a linguistic feature. Recently, such a dichotomy has been called into question, since sociolinguists have begun theorising social meaningfulness as a more complex phenomenon that goes beyond the traditional ‘unconscious/conscious’ dichotomy that seems to underlie such a distinction. Giving up this dichotomy inevitably challenges the whole ‘narrow interface between language and society’ that underlies the orthodox Labovian framework, representing an ontological breach with important consequences.

    • Oral English Proficiency Tests, Interpretive Labor, and the Neoliberal University

      2022, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

      (Video) Explaining redundancy in linguistic morphology: Evidence from Yam and Kartvelian
    • A cognitive approach to readability

      2019, New Essays in Technical and Scientific Communication: Research, Theory, Practice

    Recommended articles (6)

    • Autoregressive (AR) models are an important tool in the study of time series data. However, the standard AR model only allows for unimodal marginal and conditional densities, and cannot capture conditional heteroscedasticity. Previously, the Gaussian mixture AR (GMAR) model was considered to remedy these shortcomings by using a Gaussian mixture conditional model. We introduce the Laplace mixture (LMAR) model that utilizes a Laplace mixture conditional model, as an alternative to the GMAR model. We characterize the LMAR model and provide conditions for stationarity. An MM (minorization–maximization) algorithm is then proposed for maximum pseudolikelihood (MPL) estimation of an LMAR model. Conditions for asymptotic inference and a rule for model selection for the MPL estimator are considered. An example analysis of data arising from the calcium imaging of a zebrafish brain is performed.

    • Research article

      The Middle Dutch negative clitic: Status, position and disappearance

      Lingua, Volume 147, 2014, pp. 50-68

      The Middle Dutch negative clitic en/ne disappeared from standard Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries (in Flemish dialects it is still around). The factors favoring the deletion of the clitic in the initial stages of this change have been well-studied (cf. van der Horst and van der Wal, 1979, de Haan and Weerman, 1984, Burridge, 1993, Hoeksema, 1997, Zeijlstra, 2004, Postma and Bennis, 2006, Breitbarth, 2009), and show interaction of syntactic with phonological factors. The negative clitic is syntactically a proclitic on the finite verb, but phonologically an enclitic, which creates problems in V1 contexts (questions, conditionals and imperatives), precisely the contexts where ne-drop is most frequent. In the present paper, using a large database of occurrences from 1200 to 1800 covering most of the Dutch-speaking regions, we go over the evidence for this account, and look at some complications (some texts have phonological as well as syntactic proclisis when the clitic element is ne, rather than en) and refinements (difference between niet ‘not’ and n-words). Alongside factors favoring deletion, there are also factors favoring retention to consider, especially for the later periods (16th–18th centuries). In particular string adjacency of niet+en turns out to matter greatly in preventing deletion of the clitic element. As a result, we see mostly SOV-clauses retaining clitics. We argue that the adjacency effect is an interface effect, as a result of syntactic chunking: reanalysis of a frequently recurring string as a unit. Both types of effect, V1, and string adjacency in SOV-clauses, are still reflected in dialect patterns in the SAND atlas (Barbiers et al., 2008): SOV clauses with clitic negation are more wide-spread in Belgium than main clauses, and V2 main clauses with clitic negation in turn are more wide-spread than V1 clauses. The main new findings of this paper are (1) differences between niet and n-words, and (2) the importance of adjacency in accounting for the longer retention of clitic negation in SOV contexts. In addition, the paper uses a broader data spectrum (more dialects) and more data points (3800 negative sentences) than previous studies. Two recent theoretical proposals regarding the loss of clitic negation in Dutch (Zeijlstra, 2004, Breitbarth, 2009) are discussed and criticized.

    • Research article

      Adaptability, interpretability and rule weights in fuzzy rule-based systems

      Information Sciences, Volume 257, 2014, pp. 301-312

      (Video) Redundancy in English

      This paper discusses interpretability in two main categories of fuzzy systems – fuzzy rule-based classifiers and interpolative fuzzy systems. Our goal is to show that the aspect of high level interpretability is more relevant to fuzzy classifiers, whereas fuzzy systems employed in modeling and control benefit more from low-level interpretability. We also discuss the interpretability–accuracy tradeoff and observe why various rule weighting schemes that have been brought into play to increase adaptability of fuzzy systems rather just increase computational overhead and seriously compromise interpretability of fuzzy systems.

    • Research article

      Online accesses to medical research articles on publication predicted citations up to 15years later

      Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Volume 68, Issue 12, 2015, pp. 1440-1445

      To examine whether the number of early online accesses to medical research articles predicts citations in the scientific literature over time.

      Cohort study of research articles published in the BMJ between January and June 1999. The number of online assesses within 1week of publication was examined in relation to citation counts in 1999–2004, 2004–2009, and 2009–2014.

      The 148 included articles were accessed on average 691 times up publication, and each was cited on average 33 times in 1999–2004, 32 times in 2004–2009, and 26 times in 2009–2014. The logarithm of accesses predicted the logarithm of citations for all three subsequent periods, but the association weakened over time (correlation with citations in 1999–2004: 0.54, 2004–2009: 0.49, 2009–2014: 0.39; all P<0.001). In addition to online accesses, the presence of an abstract also predicted more citations for all periods.

      Early interest in a medical research article, reflected by online accesses within a week of publication, predicts citations up to 15years later. This strengthens the validity of online usage as a measure of the scientific merit of publications.

    • Research article

      Factors influencing infants’ ability to update object representations in memory

      Cognitive Development, Volume 28, Issue 3, 2013, pp. 272-289

      Remembering persisting objects over occlusion is critical to representing a stable environment. Infants remember hidden objects at multiple locations and can update their representation of a hidden array when an object is added or subtracted. However, the factors influencing these updating abilities have received little systematic exploration. Here we examined the flexibility of infants’ ability to update object representations. We tested 11-month-olds in a looking-time task in which objects were added to or subtracted from two hidden arrays. Across five experiments, infants successfully updated their representations of hidden arrays when the updating occurred successively at one array before beginning at the other. But when updating required alternating between two arrays, infants failed. However, simply connecting the two arrays with a thin strip of foam-core led infants to succeed. Our results suggest that infants’ construal of an event strongly affects their ability to update memory representations of hidden objects. When construing an event as containing multiple updates to the same array, infants succeed, but when construing the event as requiring the revisiting and updating of previously attended arrays, infants fail.

    • Research article

      From preemptive to non-preemptive speed-scaling scheduling

      Discrete Applied Mathematics, Volume 181, 2015, pp. 11-20

      We are given a set of jobs, each one specified by its release date, its deadline and its processing volume (work), and a single (or a set of) speed-scalable processor(s). We adopt the standard model in speed-scaling in which if a processor runs at speed s then the energy consumption is sα units of energy per time unit, where α>1 is a small constant. Our goal is to find a schedule respecting the release dates and the deadlines of the jobs so that the total energy consumption to be minimized. While most previous works have studied the preemptive case of the problem, where a job may be interrupted and resumed later, we focus on the non-preemptive case where once a job starts its execution, it has to continue until its completion without any interruption. As the preemptive case is known to be polynomially solvable for both the single-processor and the multiprocessor case, we explore the idea of transforming an optimal preemptive schedule to a non-preemptive one. We prove that the preemptive optimal solution does not preserve enough of the structure of the non-preemptive optimal solution, and more precisely that the ratio between the energy consumption of an optimal non-preemptive schedule and the energy consumption of an optimal preemptive schedule can be very large even for the single-processor case. Then, we focus on some interesting families of instances: (i) equal-work jobs on a single-processor, and (ii) agreeable instances in the multiprocessor case. In both cases, we propose constant factor approximation algorithms. In the latter case, our algorithm improves the best known algorithm of the literature. Finally, we propose a (non-constant factor) approximation algorithm for general instances in the multiprocessor case.

      (Video) Redundancy Coaching Couch 4:Redundancy and Language
    View full text

    Copyright © 1979 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


    How redundant is the English language? ›

    This suggests approximately a 69 % redundancy in the English language. Say we reproduce only those letters which were guessed wrong, 31 %. Then we may, by cloning the subject who guessed from scratch, get back the original sentence.

    What is redundancy explain with example? ›

    Redundancy is when we use two or more words together that mean the same thing, for example, 'adequate enough'. We also say something is redundant when a modifier's meaning is contained in the word it modifies, for example, 'merge together'. When we write, we should try to be as clear and concise as we can be.

    What is redundancy in speech? ›

    Redundancy is the repetition of a word or phrase that does not add anything to the previous meaning; it just restates what has already been said.

    What are the main communicative functions of redundancy? ›

    As we have seen, the two main functions of redundancy are the reduction of error and helping achieve the optimal flow of information. These factors are critical in our native language, where inattention, difficult communication conditions - what have you - can reduce the clarity of the message.

    Why is redundancy important in English? ›

    Redundancies are unnecessary, repetitious words.

    They may appear before and after the main word. They make your communication longer, but not better. To improve your English, read through the list of common redundancies below and mark the ones you are familiar with. You may be surprised at how many you have been using!

    What are the types of redundancy? ›

    The types of redundancy
    • Compulsory redundancy: It has two forms—staff reductions or a business shutting down entirely. Either way, it's an essential requirement to keep your business operating and must go ahead.
    • Voluntary redundancy: Where you offer employees the chance to volunteer for dismissal.

    What is called redundancy? ›

    Redundancy is a system design in which a component is duplicated so if it fails there will be a backup. Redundancy has a negative connotation when the duplication is unnecessary or is simply the result of poor planning.

    What is the role of redundancy in sentence formation? ›

    Redundancy means repetition of the same meaningful words in a single sentence. It is an unnecessary part of the sentence structure. The use of redundant words or phrases in a sentence may harm the beauty of the structure of the sentence.

    Which is an example of the redundant word? ›

    A redundant expression is a group of two or more words that repeat the same idea. Here are examples of redundant expressions: brief summary, repeat again, return back, current trend, few in number, absolutely essential, twelve noon, twelve midnight. One word in each of the phrases is unnecessary.

    How redundancy is a barrier to communication? ›

    communications failure

    version of the communication process, redundancy—the repetition of elements within a message that prevents the failure of communication of information—is the greatest antidote to entropy. Most written and spoken languages, for example, are roughly half-redundant.

    How do you avoid redundancy in speaking? ›

    Tips on avoiding redundancy
    1. Emphasize with care. ...
    2. Don't say the same thing twice, e.g. 'completely eliminate', 'end result', 'basic essentials'.
    3. Avoid double negatives, e.g. 'not unlikely', 'not insignificant'.
    4. Be precise, not vague, e.g. use specific numbers instead of 'many', 'a number of', 'several', etc.
    Nov 12, 2021

    What do you mean by redundancy how this can be avoided? ›

    For example, you moved your customer data into a new database but forgot to delete the same from the old one. In such a scenario, you will have the same data sitting in two places, just taking up the storage space. To reduce data redundancy, always delete databases that are no longer required.

    Is redundancy a grammatical error? ›

    What is Redundancy? Redundancy means that the same data has been repeated twice, but just by using different words. The sentences which have redundant data don't necessarily mean are grammatically incorrect, but they have unnecessary words, which need to be avoided at all costs.

    Is redundancy a grammatical error? ›

    What is Redundancy? Redundancy means that the same data has been repeated twice, but just by using different words. The sentences which have redundant data don't necessarily mean are grammatically incorrect, but they have unnecessary words, which need to be avoided at all costs.

    How redundancy is a barrier to communication? ›

    communications failure

    version of the communication process, redundancy—the repetition of elements within a message that prevents the failure of communication of information—is the greatest antidote to entropy. Most written and spoken languages, for example, are roughly half-redundant.

    What's the difference between tautology and redundancy? ›

    Redundancy is any kind of repetition: phrases, sentences, paragraphs, entire books, it's all the same; the scale isn't important. Show activity on this post. A tautology refers to phrasing that repeats a single meaning in identical words: They followed each other one after the other in succession.

    What is redundant writing? ›

    Redundancy occurs when a writer unnecessarily repeats something. Writers should avoid. redundancy not only because it distracts and annoys readers but also because it adds unnecessary. length to one's writing. Eliminating redundancy is a good way to revise your writing for.


    1. ACT English - Redundancy Part 1 of 3
    2. Redundant Phrases in English | Taj The Teacher
    (Tajee Reid Williams)
    3. Redundancy & Tautology 33
    (Heather Davis)
    4. REMOVING UNNECESSARY WORDS/ REDUNDANCY(Email Marketing Online Business/)
    (Csec English with Ms.Skeene)
    5. Redundancy in English
    (नमस्ते English by HinKhoj)
    6. Redundancy in Written Language
    (Wolfram Demonstrations Project)

    You might also like

    Latest Posts

    Article information

    Author: Neely Ledner

    Last Updated: 08/09/2022

    Views: 5589

    Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

    Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Neely Ledner

    Birthday: 1998-06-09

    Address: 443 Barrows Terrace, New Jodyberg, CO 57462-5329

    Phone: +2433516856029

    Job: Central Legal Facilitator

    Hobby: Backpacking, Jogging, Magic, Driving, Macrame, Embroidery, Foraging

    Introduction: My name is Neely Ledner, I am a bright, determined, beautiful, adventurous, adventurous, spotless, calm person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.