Gemination, or consonant elongation, is the pronouncing in phonetics
of a spoken consonant for an audibly longer period of time than that
of a short consonant. It is distinct from stress and may appear
independently of it.
Gemination literally means "twinning" and comes
from the same
1 Phonetics 2 Phonology 3 Examples
4.1 Other representations of double letters
5 See also 6 References
Lengthened fricatives, nasals, laterals, approximants and trills are
simply prolonged. In lengthened stops, the obstruction of the airway
is prolonged, which delays release, and the "hold" is lengthened.
Long consonants are usually pronounced one-and-a-half to two times as
long as short consonants, depending on the language.
Gemination of consonants is distinctive in some languages and then is
subject to various phonological constraints that depend on the
In some languages, like Italian, Swedish, Faroese, Icelandic, many
Finnish dialects and Luganda, consonant length and vowel length depend
on each other. A short vowel within a stressed syllable almost always
precedes a long consonant or a consonant cluster, and a long vowel
must be followed by a short consonant. In Classical Arabic, a long
vowel was lengthened even more before permanently-geminate consonants,
but that no longer occurs in modern varieties of
imi "mouth" immi "mother" ks "feed on" kks "take off" ifis "jackal" ifiss "he was quiet"
In addition to lexical geminates, Berber presents two additional types of geminates: phonologically derived and morphologically derived ones. Phonologically derived geminates can surface either through concatenation (e.g. [fas sin] 'give him two!') or through complete assimilation (e.g. /rad = k i-sli/ [rakk isli] 'he will touch you'). The morphological alternations include imperfective gemination, whereby certain Berber verbs form their imperfective stem by geminating one consonant in their perfective stem (e.g. [ftu] 'go! PF', [fttu] 'go! IMPF'), and quantity alternations between singular and plural forms (e.g. [afus] 'hand', [ifassn] 'hands'). Catalan In Catalan, gemination is expressed with consonant repetition. Since repetition of the letter 'l' generates the digraph 'll' (it represents the phoneme /ʎ/), its gemination is represented as two 'l's separated by a centered dot (l·l):
col·legi (school) varicel·la (chickenpox) mil·lenari (millenary)
Danish Danish has a three-way consonant length distinction. For instance:
bunde [b̥ɔnə] "bottoms' bundne [b̥ɔnnə] 'bound' (pl.) bundene [b̥ɔnn̩nə] 'the bottoms'
The word 'bundene' can phonemically be analyzed as /bɔnənə/, with the middle schwa being assimilated to [n]. English In English phonology, consonant length is not distinctive within root words. For instance, 'baggage' is pronounced /ˈbæɡɪdʒ/, not */bæɡːɪdʒ/. However, phonetic gemination does occur marginally. Gemination is found across words and across morphemes when the last consonant in a given word and the first consonant in the following word are the same fricative, nasal, or stop. For instance:
calm man [ˌkɑːmˈmæn] this saddle [ðɪsˈsædəl] midday [ˈmɪd.deɪ] lamppost [ˈlæmp.poʊst] (cf. lamb post, compost) cattail [ˈkæt.teɪl] (compare consonant length in "catfish") roommate [ˈrum.meɪt] subbasement [ˌsʌbˈbeɪsmənt] evenness [ˈiːvənnəs] misspell [ˌmɪsˈspel] prime minister
With affricates, however, this does not occur. For instance:
orange juice [ˈɒrɪndʒ.dʒuːs]
In most instances, the absence of this doubling does not affect the meaning, though it may confuse the listener momentarily. The following minimal pairs represent examples where the doubling does affect the meaning in most accents:
"night train" versus "night rain" "unaimed" [ʌnˈeɪmd] versus "unnamed" [ʌnˈneɪmd] "foreigner" [ˈfɔːrənər] versus "forerunner" [ˈfɔːrˌrənər] (only in some varieties of General American)
In some dialects gemination is also found when the suffix -ly follows a root ending in -l or -ll, as in:
In some varieties of Welsh English, the process takes place
indiscriminately between vowels, e.g. in money [ˈmɜn.niː] but it
also applies with graphemic duplication (thus, orthographically
dictated), e.g. butter [ˈbɜt̚.tə]
Estonian has three phonemic lengths; however, the third length is a
suprasegmental feature, which is as much tonal patterning as a length
distinction. It is traceable to allophony caused by now-deleted
suffixes, for example half-long linna < *linnan "of the city" vs.
overlong linna < *linnahan "to the city".[clarification needed]
See also: Finnish phonology
-ye /je/ 'army' (root) > ggye /ɟːe/ 'an army' (noun) -yinja /jiːɲɟa/ 'stone' (root) > jjinja /ɟːiːɲɟa/ 'a stone' (noun); jj is usually spelt ggy -wanga /waːŋɡa/ 'nation' (root) > ggwanga /ɡːwaːŋɡa/ 'a nation' (noun) -lagala /laɡala/ 'medicine' (root) > ddagala /dːaɡala/ 'medicine' (noun)
måte / måtte – "method" / "had to" lete / lette – "search" / "take off" sine / sinne – "theirs" / "anger"
Polish In Polish, consonant length is indicated with two identical letters. Examples:
wanna /ˈvanːa/ – "bathtub" Anna /ˈanːa/ horror /ˈxɔrːɔr/ – "horror" hobby /ˈxɔbːɨ/ – "hobby"
rodziny /rɔˈd͡ʑinɨ/ – "families"; rodzinny /rɔˈd͡ʑinːɨ/ – adjective of "family" saki /saki/ – "sacks, bags"; ssaki /sːaki/ – "mammals", leki /ˈlɛkʲi/ – "medicines"; lekki /ˈlɛkʲːi/ – "light, lightweight"
Double consonants are common on morpheme borders where the initial or final sound of the suffix is the same as the final or initial sound of the stem (depending on the position of the suffix). Examples:
przedtem /ˈpʂɛtːɛm/ – "before, previously"; from przed (suffix "before") + tem (archaic "that") oddać /ˈɔdːat͡ɕ/ – "give back"; from od (suffix "from") + dać ("give") bagienny /baˈgʲɛnːɨ/ – "swampy"; from bagno ("swamp") + ny (suffix forming adjectives) najjaśniejszy /najːaɕˈɲɛ̯iʂɨ/ – "brightest"; from naj (suffix forming superlative) + jaśniejszy ("brighter")
Punjabi in its official script Gurmukhi uses a diacritic called an
áddak ( ੱ ) (ਅੱਧਕ, [ə́dːək]) which is written above the
word and indicates that the following consonant is geminate.
Gemination is specially characteristic of Punjabi compared to other
Indo-Aryan languages like Hindi-Urdu, where instead of the presence of
consonant lengthening, the preceding vowel tends to be lengthened.
ਦਸ [d̪əs] – 'ten'; ਦੱਸ [d̪əsː] – 'tell' (verb) ਪਤਾ [pət̪a] – 'aware of something'; ਪੱਤਾ [pət̪ːa] – 'leaf' ਸਤ [sət̪] – 'truth' (liturgical); ਸੱਤ [sət̪ː] – 'seven' ਕਲਾ [kəla] – 'art'; ਕੱਲਾ [kəlːa] – 'alone'
Russian In Russian, consonant length (indicated with two letters, as in ванна ˈvannə 'bathtub') may occur in several situations. Minimal pairs (or chronemes) exist, such as подержать [pədʲɪrˈʐatʲ] 'to hold' vs поддержать [pədʲːɪrˈʐatʲ] 'to support', and their conjugations, or длина [dlʲɪˈna] 'length' vs длинна [dlʲɪˈnːa] 'long' adj. f.
Word formation or conjugation: длина ([dlʲɪˈna] 'length') > длинный ([ˈdlʲinnɨj] 'long') This occurs when two adjacent morphemes have the same consonant and is comparable to the situation of Polish described above. Assimilation. The spelling usually reflects the unassimilated consonants, but they are pronounced as a single long consonant.
высший ([ˈvɨʂːɨj] 'highest').
Turkish In Turkish, gemination in word stem is exclusive to loanwords.
müderrise [myˈdeɾːise] ([from Arabic, mostly obsolete] "female teacher") pizza [piˈzːa] (from Italian)
Loanwords originally ending with a geminated consonant are always written and pronounced without the ending gemination.
Although gemination is resurrected when the word takes a suffix.
hac becomes hacca [haˈdʒːa] (to hajj) when it takes the suffix "-a" (to, indicating destination) hat becomes hattın [haˈtːɯn] (of calligraphy) when it takes the suffix "-ın" (of, expressing possession)
Gemination also occurs when a suffix starting with a consonant comes after a word that ends with the same consonant.
el [el] (hand) + -ler [leɾ] ("-s", marks plural) = eller [eˈlːeɾ] (hands). (contrasts with eler, s/he eliminates) at [at] (to throw) + -tık [tɯk] ("-ed", marks past tense, first person plural) = attık [aˈtːɯk] (we threw [smth.]). (contrasts with atık, waste)
Ukrainian In Ukrainian, geminates are found between vowels: багаття /bɑˈɦɑtʲːɑ/ "bonfire", подружжя /poˈdruʒʲːɑ/ "married couple", обличчя /obˈlɪt͡ʃʲːɑ/ "face". Geminates also occur at the start of a few words: лляний /lʲːɑˈnɪj/ "flaxen", forms of the verb лити "to pour" (ллю /lʲːu/, ллєш /lʲːɛʃ/ etc.), ссати /ˈsːɑtɪ/ "to suck" and derivatives. Gemination is in some cases semantically crucial; for example, манна means "manna" or "semolina" while мана means "delusion". Urdu Gemination is common in Urdu and means doubling of the consonant sound. Found both in words of Indic-origin and Arabic-origin, but not for Persian-origin. Examples below.
pattaa – leaf abbaa – father naqqaal – impersonator dajjaal – anti-Christ Dabbaa – box munnaa – young boy/baby gaddaa – mattress
For aspirated consonants (bh, ph, th, dh, kh, and so on), the gemination means twinning of their non-aspirated sound followed by aspirated. Hard to quote a gemination scenario where an aspirated consonant is truly doubled by itself. Examples:
pat.thar – stone kat.thaa – brown spread on paan ad.dhaa – slang/short for half (aadhaa) mak.khii – fly
Wagiman In Wagiman, an indigenous Australian language, consonant length in stops is the primary phonetic feature that differentiates fortis and lenis stops. Wagiman does not have phonetic voice. Word-initial and word-final stops never contrast for length. Writing In written language, consonant length is often indicated by writing a consonant twice ("ss", "kk", "pp", and so forth), but can also be indicated with a special symbol, such as the shadda in Arabic, the dagesh in Classical Hebrew, or the sokuon in Japanese. Estonian uses 'b', 'd', 'g' for short consonants, and 'p', 't', 'k' and 'pp', 'tt', 'kk' are used for long consonants. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, long consonants are normally written using the triangular colon ː, e.g., penne [penːe] ('feathers', 'pens', also a kind of pasta), though doubled letters are also used (especially for underlying phonemic forms).
Catalan uses the raised dot (called an "interpunct") to distinguish a geminated l from a palatal ll. Thus, paral·lel ("parallel") and Llull . In Hungarian, digraphs (e.g. sz /s/) are geminated by doubling the first letter only, thus ssz (rather than szsz) /sː/. (For a complete list of Hungarian digraphs, see Hungarian orthography.) The only digraph in Ganda, ny /ɲ/ is doubled in the same way: nny /ɲː/. In Italian, geminated instances of the sound cluster [kw] (represented by the digraph qu) are always indicated by writing cq, except in the word soqquadro and beqquadro, where the letter Q is doubled. The gemination of sounds [ɲ], [ʃ] and [ʎ], (spelled gn, sc(i), and gl(i), respectively) is not indicated because these consonants are always geminated when occurring between vowels. Also the sounds [ts], [dz] (both spelled z) are always geminated when occurring between vowels, yet their gemination is sometimes shown, redundantly, by doubling the Z as, e.g., in pizza [ˈpitsːa]. In Swedish and Norwegian, the general rule is that a geminated consonant is written double, unless succeeded by another consonant. Hence hall ("hall"), but halt ("Halt!"). In Swedish, this does not apply to morphological changes (so kall, "cold" and kallt, "coldly" or compounds [so tunnbröd ("flatbread")]. The exception are some words ending in -m, thus hem ["home"] [but hemma ("at home")] and stam ["stem"], but lamm ["lamb", to distinguish the word from lam ("lame")], with a long /a/), as well as adjectives in -nn, so tunn, "thin" but tunt, "thinly" (whilst Norwegian has a rule always prohibiting two "m"s at the end of a word (with the exception being only a handful of proper names, and as a rule forms with suffixes reinsert the second "m", and the rule is that these word-final "m"s always cause the preceding vowel sound to be short (despite the spelling)).
Other representations of double letters Doubled orthographic consonants do not always indicate a long phonetic consonant.
In English, for example, the [n] sound of "running" is not lengthened.
Syntactic gemination West Germanic gemination Glottal stop Length (phonetics) List of phonetic topics
^ a b Fougeron, Cécile; Kühnert, Barbara; D'Imperio, Mariapaola; et al., eds. (2010). Laboratory Phonology 10. Tenth Conference of Laboratory Phonology (Paris). Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter GmbH. p. 67. ISBN 978-3-11-022490-0. Retrieved December 19, 2015. ^ Crystal, David (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, p. 335 ^ "Raddoppiamenti di vocali e di consonanti". Dizionario italiano d'ortografia e pronunzia (DOP). RAI. 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009. ^ Kawahara, Shigeto (2006), "A Faithfulness ranking projected from a perceptibility scale: The case of [+ Voice] in Japanese", Language, 82 (3): 536–574, doi:10.1353/lan.2006.0146 , p. 538 ^ Inkelas, Sharon (2014). The Interplay of Morphology and Phonology. Oxford Surveys in Syntax & Morphology. Oxford University Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780199280476. ^ Savko, I. E. (2007). "10.3. Произношение сочетаний согласных". Весь школьный курс русского языка (in Russian). Sovremennyy literator. p. 768. ISBN 978-5-17-035009-4. Retrieved 2009-02-13.
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Chroneme Gemination Vowel length Extra-short
Intonation (pitch) Pitch contour Pitch reset Stress Rhythm Loudness P