In phonetics and phonology, gemination (/ˌɛmɪˈnʃən/), or consonant lengthening (from Latin geminatio 'doubling', itself from gemini 'twins'[1]), is an articulation of a consonant for a longer period of time than that of a singleton consonant.[2] It is distinct from stress. Gemination is represented in many writing systems by a doubled letter and is often perceived as a doubling of the consonant.[3] Some phonological theories use "doubling" as a synonym for gemination, others describe two distinct phenomena.[3]

Consonant length is a distinctive feature in certain languages, such as Arabic, Berber, Danish, Estonian, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Punjabi, Polish and Turkish. Other languages, such as English, do not have word-internal phonemic consonant geminates.

Consonant gemination and vowel length are independent in languages like Arabic, Japanese, Finnish and Estonian; however, in languages like Italian, Norwegian and Swedish, vowel length and consonant length are interdependent. For example, in Norwegian and Swedish, a geminated consonant is always preceded by a short vowel, while an ungeminated consonant is preceded by a long vowel. A clear example are the Norwegian words tak [tɑːk] ('ceiling or roof' of a building), and takk [tɑkː] ('thanks').[citation needed]

  1. ^ de Vaan, Michiel (2008). Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages. Brill. p. 256.
  2. ^ Mitterer, Holger (2018-04-27). "The singleton-geminate distinction can be rate dependent: Evidence from Maltese". Laboratory Phonology. Association for Laboratory Phonology. 9 (1): 6. doi:10.5334/labphon.66.
  3. ^ a b William Ham, Phonetic and Phonological Aspects of Geminate Timing, p. 1-18

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