What is a tautology: definition and examples
Everybody knows the word “tautology” from school years. Too often, teachers of literature (and not only them) shy of careless students, who used expressions like oil in their writing or oral speech. So often that I remember for a lifetime. And the conviction that tautologies should be avoided at all costs was firmly entrenched.
The term "tautology"
In Russian, the term "tautology" came from antiquity. The ancient Greeks called tautologeo the situation when "they say the same thing." This is his literal translation.
Perissology was also distinguished in antipersonality — the repetition of synonyms or other words of the same meaning; and macrology - the presence of unnecessary explanations in speech. Modern science does not share these concepts and each of them calls a tautology. So what is a tautology? And is it true that it only indicates gross flaws of speech? Could it be relevant in the text and not harm it?
Tautology - definition and examples from a linguistic point of view
With this term, linguists denote the repetition of the same, single-root or similar words, as well as expressions. For example: "Return my books, my favorite books ...". Or: "The cold cold came." Or: "It is better to remain a beggar than to burn then in the hell of shame and shame."
From the above examples it is clear that tautology is not always superfluous. And indeed it is. There are many cases that prove the validity and even the indispensability of the use of tautology.
But more often it, of course, disfigures it, makes it illiterate and ugly. “Butter, oil,” “pay the fee,” “there was a case,” and so on. Such and similar expressions sound bad enough ...
When tautology is justified
Most likely, in the old days, ordinary people in Russia did not even know, and did not know what a tautology was. But they actively used situations in their speech that can be defined by this term. Take, for example, the most popular popular “prelude”: “Soon the fairy tale is felt, but it is not done soon.” She has reached our days and is perceived quite organically.
Unlike their unenlightened ancestors, the Russian classics knew what the tautology was.But they also adored to sometimes insert into their immortal creation some kind of repetition. Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Balmont, and many other literary "bison" "indulged in" this.
And the point is not that all is forgiven to the geniuses. Without a tautology, in fact, sometimes nowhere. For example, in an example such as “Boil the jam”, it is undesirable to replace any of the words with another. Because you just need to cook (do not fry, do not bake, and do not extinguish) and it is jam (and not jam or jam). In the phrase “Falls down,” tautology is needed to enhance meaning. And in the expression “The wolf is the wolf” it is necessary to emphasize the truth of the statement and the absurdity of any doubts in it.
Tautology in Logic
The last of the above examples of using tautology is on the border of literature and logic, which, by the way, is also actively used in this arsenal.
What is tautology in terms of logic? This is a true identity statement. The same example or others like it: “Home is home”, “mother is mother”, “mine is mine” - are in this case a good illustration.
They also sometimes use tautology to formulate logical laws.For example: “Will there be two halves of two or two?”, “Is zero zero or zero?”, “Is it raining or not?”.
From the foregoing, it can be concluded that tautology is not always a “weed”. It is also a cultural "plant." If you apply it carefully enough and competently, and not just because of vocabulary deficit, then it can look quite organically in the text.