Since reading Kie Zuraw’s work on aggressive reduplication (changes where “already-similar syllables are made more similar”, with no apparent phonotactic rationale), I’ve noticed several other possible cases of this in English. As I will probably never use this list for anything else, I offer it here as data for anyone interested in this topic.
As in Zuraw’s paper, rough popularity is indicated by number of Google hits.
|Non-standard form||ghits||Standard form||ghits|
|Barbar the elephant||1,230||Babar the elephant||21,900|
|Yuri Gargarin||3,780||Yuri Gagarin||312,000|
|Klu Klux Klan||132,000||Ku Klux Klan||1,700,00|
(“Onaconna” is a deliberate misspelling of “on account of”.)
As evidence of how these pronunciations arise, I can attest that my daughter (3;8) spontaneously starting saying “Barbar” although I was careful to use the correct pronunciation in her first exposure to the Babar books.
Another possibly related case is the Biblical pair Priscilla and Aquilla: Kenyon & Knott 1953 note that Aquilla is often incorrectly given second syllable stress, apparently to make it rhyme with Priscilla. But since this involves making two words rhyme, perhaps it better falls under the rubric of “paradigmatically echoic words” than aggressive reduplication.
Kenyon, J.S. & T. A. Knott (1953) “A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English”. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster.