The best interpretation I have for the phrase is to assign a meaning for each occurrence of 'talk', with each new meaning being 'truer' or closer to conversation:
1. talk-in a weak sense, to express an opinion
2. talk-have the capacity for speech/use a language for communication.
3. talk-to do this in a conversational setting rather than as a monologue.
So in the comic, every level gets considered in turn to emphasize how realistic the talking is.
This clearly gets awkward when the number of reduplications exceeds the number of natural interpretations of the word, forcing the listener to insert levels of implication to make up the difference. It certainly would be difficult to interpret 'talk-talk-talk-talk-talk-talk-talk' meaningfully, and much more difficult to reliably convey the same message and implications to multiple listeners with such a construction.
Not sure if anyone else is like this, but as a relatively regular user of X-X constructions, I'd be more inclined to use 4, rather than 3, Xs. The idea is that each duplication reinforces the reality of X. So there's talking, but a duck that REALLY talks is a duck that talk-talks. If you want to emphasise that again, I find 'that duck talk-talk talk-talks!' relatively comprehensible (when spoken at least), but talk talk talks kind of meaningless.
In the most common usage, it seems reasonable to answer, 'does he really like-like me?!' with 'yes he _like-like_ like likes you.' Okay this is just getting hard to type now.
I've heard it said that the Spanish morphemes -it- (diminutive) and -ot- (augmentative) can be duplicated and even triplicated for emphasis. Thus, e.g., chico (little), chiquito (tiny), chiquitito (teeny-weeny: see Cassell's Colloquial Spanish: A Handbook of Idiomatic Usage, p. 23), and — though I can't remember seeing it anywhere — possibly even chiquititito (teeny-weensy-weensy).
@Henning Makholm: In the languages that I am most familiar with, English and Arabic, it is not uncommon to intensify the adverb 'very' three times (in speech), like: 'That is very, very, very loud.' Is this what the musical notation is doing?
In music f is loud, so fff would only be very, very loud. I have seen ffff and pppp. Regarding the latter, I remember a time when our choral director, in an attempt to tone down the sopranos in a pppp section told them, "I don't want to hear you. Just be there."
@GeorgeW: some Salishan languages have morphological triplication that isn't just applying the same reduplication process twice. For instance Wikipedia on St’át’imcets cites p’líxw 'boil over' forming a continuative intensive p’lixwixwíxw 'keep boiling over'.
I'm not sure whether all of these triplications are built out of two different reduplications, though.
@faldone "I don't want to hear you …": James Blades, veteran percussionist with the BBCSO used to tell a story about Malcolm Sargent [from memory] at the start of Ravel's Bolero. He kept stopping the orchestra and demanding the snare drum start quieter. Eventually in frustration he complained: "I can still hear you."
My Asian-American students, and some of the Asian students who have been here awhile, use this approach to distinguish the two:
Q: Is she Korean?
Q: Korean-Korean, or Korean-American?
A: Oh, she's Korean-Korean, but she went to high school in Vermont.
I haven't heard anyone described as Korean-Korean-Korean, but I suppose it's just a matter of time….
Korea-Korean implies that both sides of her parent's families are Koreans instead of other nationalites.
but she went to high school in Vermont = her parents were born and raised in Korea, but she was born in Korea and [her parents immigrated so she] grew up and was raised in the state of Vermont.
There won't be a "Korean-Korean-Korean" because only two parent's nationalities are enough to tell you who you are UNLESS of course you were to add the great-grandparents if and only if they were of different naltionalities, whereas the child will be more confused, where as it will be Korean-Korean-A-A or Korean-Korean-A-B, where A-A means "same nationalities but are not Korean-Korean", A-B = different nationalities but neither are of Korean descent. Check the following website: http://www.myspace.com/morenacorwinfans and you might find "her mother is korean and her father is swiss/german"