In phonetics and phonology, gemination (/ˌdʒɛmɪˈneɪʃən/), or consonant lengthening, is an articulation of a consonant for a longer period of time than that of a single instance of the same type of consonant. It is distinct from stress. Gemination literally means "twinning" and comes from the same Latin root as "Gemini".

Consonant length is a distinctive feature in certain languages, such as Arabic, Berber, Maltese, Catalan, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Classical Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. Other languages, such as the English language, do not have phonemic consonant geminates. Vowel length is distinctive in more languages than consonant length is.

Consonant gemination and vowel length are two different phenomena in languages like Arabic, Japanese, Finnish and Estonian; however, in languages like Italian, Norwegian and Swedish, vowel length and consonant length are interdependent.


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.

In terms of consonant duration, Berber and Finnish are reported to have a 3 to 1 ratio, compared with around 2 to 1 (or lower) in Japanese, Italian, and Turkish.[1]


Gemination of consonants is distinctive in some languages and then is subject to various phonological constraints that depend on the language.

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 Arabic or even Modern Standard Arabic.

In other languages, such as Finnish, consonant length and vowel length are independent of each other. In Finnish, both are phonemic; taka /taka/ "back", takka /takːa/ "fireplace" and taakka /taːkːa/ "burden" are different, unrelated words. Finnish consonant length is also affected by consonant gradation. Another important phenomenon is sandhi, which produces long consonants at word boundaries when there is an archiphonemic glottal stop |otaʔ se| > otas se "take it!"

In addition, in some Finnish compound words, if the initial word ends in an e, the initial consonant of the following word is geminated: jätesäkki "trash bag" [jætesːækːi], tervetuloa "welcome" [terʋetːuloa]. In certain cases, a v after a u is geminated by most people: ruuvi "screw" /ruːʋːi/, vauva "baby" [ʋauʋːa]. In the Tampere dialect, if a word receives gemination of v after u, the u is often deleted (ruuvi [ruʋːi], vauva [ʋaʋːa]), and lauantai "Saturday", for example, receives a medial v [lauʋantai], which can in turn lead to deletion of u ( [laʋːantai]).

Distinctive consonant length is usually restricted to certain consonants. There are very few languages that have initial consonant length; among them are Pattani Malay, Chuukese, Moroccan Arabic, a few Romance languages such as Sicilian and Neapolitan as well as many High Alemannic German dialects, such as that of Thurgovia. Some African languages, such as Setswana and Luganda, also have initial consonant length: it is very common in Luganda and indicates certain grammatical features. In colloquial Finnish and spoken Italian, long consonants are produced between words because of sandhi.

The difference between singleton and geminate consonants varies within and across languages. Sonorants show more distinct geminate-to-singleton ratios while sibilants have less distinct ratios. The bilabial and alveolar geminates are generally longer than velar ones.[1]

The reverse of gemination reduces a long consonant to a short one, which is called degemination. It is a pattern in Baltic-Finnic consonant gradation that the strong grade (often the nominative) form of the word is degeminated into a weak grade (often all the other cases) form of the word: taakka > taakan (burden, of the burden). As a historical restructuring at the phonemic level, word-internal long consonants degeminated in Western Romance languages: e.g. Spanish /ˈboka/ 'mouth' vs. Italian /ˈbokka/, which continue Latin geminate /kk/.


Afroasiatic Languages


Arabic marks gemination with a diacritic (ḥaraka) shaped like a rounded w, called the shadda (ـّ). It is written above the consonant that is to be doubled. It is sometimes used to avoid ambiguity in text that otherwise lacks diacritics, and is the diacritic most commonly used in this way: for example, a shadda can distinguish مدرّسة mudarrisa "female teacher" from مدرسة madrasa "school" (with full diacritics: مُدَرِّسَة and مَدْرَسَة).


In Berber, each consonant has a geminate counterpart, and gemination is lexically contrastive. The distinction between single and geminate consonants is attested in medial position as well as in absolute initial and final positions.

  • ini "say"
  • inni "those in question"
  • akal "earth, soil"
  • akkal "loss"
  • imi "mouth"
  • immi "mother"
  • ifis "hyena"
  • ifiss "he was quiet"
  • tamda "pond, lake, oasis"
  • tamedda "brown buzzard, hawk"

In addition to lexical geminates, Berber also has phonologically-derived and morphologically-derived geminates . Phonologically-derived geminates can surface by concatenation (e.g. [fas sin] 'give him two!') or by complete assimilation (e.g. /rad = k i-sli/ [rakk isli] 'he will touch you'). The morphological alternations include imperfective gemination, with some Berber verbs forming their imperfective stem by geminating one consonant in their perfective stem (e.g. [ftu] 'go! PF', [fttu] 'go! IMPF'), as well as quantity alternations between singular and plural forms (e.g. [afus] 'hand', [ifassn] 'hands').

Austronesian Languages

Austronesian languages in the Philippines, Micronesia, and Sulawesi are known to have geminate consonants.[2]


The Formosan language Kavalan makes use of gemination to mark intensity, as in sukaw "bad" vs. sukkaw "very bad".[2]

Indo-European Languages


In Catalan, geminates are expressed in writing with consonant repetition, such as innecessari 'unnecessary', which is pronounced [inːəsəˈsaɾi] in careful speech. Gemination is not represented if it is purely phonetic, such as the assimilation occurring in tot /ˈtot ˈbe/ → [ˈtob ˈbe] 'all good'. Since the repetition of the letter l generates the digraph ll, which represents the phoneme /ʎ/, the geminate /ll/ is represented as two ls separated by a punt volat or centered dot (l·l):

  • col·legi 'school'
  • varicel·la 'chickenpox'
  • mil·lenari 'millenary'


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].


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 [ˌmɪsˈspɛl]
  • prime minister [ˌpraɪmˈmɪnɪstər]

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:

  • ten nails versus ten ales
  • this sin versus this inn
  • five alleys versus five valleys
  • his own versus his zone
  • 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:

  • solely [ˈsoʊ]

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][3]


In French, consonant length is usually not distinctive, but in certain exceptional cases it can be, such as the pair courons [kuʁɔ̃] vs courrons [kuʁːɔ̃]. Gemination also occurs in case of schwa elision.


In Ancient Greek, consonant length was distinctive, e.g., μέλω [mélɔː] "I am of interest" vs. μέλλω [mélːɔː] "I am going to". The distinction has been lost in the standard and most other varieties, with the exception of Cypriot (where it might carry over from Ancient Greek or arise from a number of synchronic and diachronic assimilatory processes, or even spontaneously), some varieties of the southeastern Aegean, and Italy.


Gemination is common in Hindi and Urdu. It is found in words of both Indic and Arabic origin, but not in those of Persian origin:

  • pattaa – leaf
  • abbaa – father
  • naqqaal – impersonator
  • dajjaal – anti-Christ
  • Dabbaa – box
  • munnaa – young boy/baby
  • gaddaa – mattress

For aspirated consonants, the geminate is formed by combining the corresponding non-aspirated consonant followed by its aspirated counterpart. There are few examples where an aspirated consonant is truly doubled.

  • pat.thar – stone
  • kat.thaa – brown spread on paan
  • ad.dhaa – slang/short for half (aadhaa)
  • mak.khii – fly


In Standard Italian, consonant length is distinctive.[4] For example, bevve, meaning "he/she drank", is phonemically /ˈbevve/ and pronounced [ˈbevːe], while beve ("he/she drinks/is drinking") is /ˈbeve/, pronounced [ˈbeːve]. Tonic syllables are bimoraic and are therefore composed of either a long vowel in an open syllable (as in beve) or a short vowel in a closed syllable (as in bevve). In varieties with post-vocalic weakening of some consonants (e.g. /raˈdʒone/[raˈʒoːne] 'reason'), geminates are not affected (/ˈmaddʒo/[ˈmadːʒo] 'May').

Double or long consonants occur not only within words but also at word boundaries, and they are then pronounced but not necessarily written: chi + sa = chissà ("who knows") [kisˈsa] and vado a casa ("I am going home") [ˌvaːdo a kˈkaːsa] (the latter example refers to central and southern standard Italian). All consonants except /z/ can be geminated. This word-initial gemination is triggered either lexically by the item preceding the lengthening consonant (e.g. by preposition a 'to, at' in [akˈkaːsa] a casa 'homeward' but not by definite article la in [laˈkaːsa] la casa 'the house'), or by any word-final stressed vowel ([parˈlɔffranˈt͡ʃeːze] parlò francese 's/he spoke French' but [ˈparlafranˈt͡ʃeːze] parla francese 's/he speaks French').


In Latin, consonant length was distinctive, as in anus "anus" vs. annus "year". (Vowel length was also distinctive in Latin, but is not reflected in the orthography.) Geminates inherited from Latin still exist in Italian, in which [ˈanːo] anno and [ˈaːno] ano contrast with regard to /nn/ and /n/ as in Latin. It has been almost completely lost in French and completely in Romanian. In West Iberian languages, former Latin geminate consonants often evolved to new phonemes, including some instances of nasal vowels in Portuguese and Old Galician as well as most cases of /ɲ/ and /ʎ/ in Spanish, but phonetic length of both consonants and vowels is no longer distinctive.


In Marathi, the compounding occurs quite frequently, as in the words haṭṭa (stubbornness), kaṭṭā (platform) or sattā (power). It seems to happen most commonly with the dental and retroflex consonants.


In Norwegian, gemination is indicated in writing by double consonants. Gemination often differentiates between otherwise unrelated words.

  • måte / måtte – "method" / "had to"
  • lete / lette – "search" / "take off"
  • sine / sinne – "theirs" / "anger"


In Polish, consonant length is indicated with two identical letters. Examples:

  • wanna /ˈvanːa/ – "bathtub"
  • Anna /ˈanːa/
  • horror /ˈxɔrːɔr/ – "horror"
  • hobby /ˈxɔbːɨ/ – "hobby"

Consonant length is distinctive and sometimes is necessary to distinguish words:

  • 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. Consonant length is distinctive in Punjabi, for example:

  • 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'


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 [dlʲɪˈa] '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').[5]


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".


Luganda is unusual in that gemination can occur word-initially, as well as word-medially. For example, kkapa /kːapa/ 'cat', /ɟːaɟːa/ jjajja 'grandfather' and /ɲːabo/ nnyabo 'madam' all begin with geminate consonants.

There are three consonants that cannot be geminated: /j/, /w/ and /l/. Whenever morphological rules would geminate these consonants, /j/ and /w/ are prefixed with /ɡ/, and /l/ changes to /d/. For example:

  • -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)

Macro-Altaic Languages


In Japanese, consonant length is distinctive (as is vowel length). Gemination in the syllabary is represented with the sokuon, a small tsu: っ for hiragana in native words and ッ for katakana in foreign words. For example, 来た (きた, kita) means "came; arrived", while 切った (きった, kitta) means "cut; sliced". With the influx of gairaigo ("foreign words") into Modern Japanese, voiced consonants have become able to geminate as well:[6] バグ (bagu) means "(computer) bug", and バッグ (baggu) means "bag". Distinction between voiceless gemination and voiced gemination is visible in pairs of words such as キット (kitto, meaning "kit") and キッド (kiddo, meaning "kid"). In addition, in some variants of colloquial Modern Japanese, gemination may be applied to some adjectives and adverbs (regardless of voicing) in order to add emphasis: すごい (sugoi, "amazing") contrasts with すっごい (suggoi, "really amazing"); 思い切り (おもいきり, omoikiri, "with all one's strength") contrasts with 思いっ切り (おもいっきり, omoikkiri, "really with all one's strength").


In Korean, geminates arise from assimilation, and they are distinctive.


In Turkish, gemination in word stem is exclusive to loanwords. Gemination is indicated by two identical letters as in most languages that have phonemic gemination.

  • 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)


In Malayalam, compounding is phonologically conditioned[7] so gemination occurs at words' internal boundaries.

Consider following example:

  • മേശ + പെട്ടി (mēśa + peṭṭi) – മേശപ്പെട്ടി (mēśappeṭṭi)

Uralic Languages


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".


Consonant length is phonemic in Finnish: For example, takka [ˈtakːa] (transcribed with the length sign [ː] or with a doubled sign [ˈtakka]), 'fireplace', but taka [ˈtaka], 'back'. Consonant gemination occurs with simple consonants (hakaa : hakkaa) and between syllables in the pattern (consonant)-vowel-sonorant-stop-stop-vowel (palkka), but not generally in codas or with longer syllables. (This occurs in Sami languages, so there is the name of Sami origin Jouhkki).

Sandhi may also produce geminates. Consonant and vowel gemination are both phonemic and occur independently, e.g. Mali, maali, malli, maallinen (Mali (a Karelian surname), paint, model and secular, respectively).

In Standard Finnish, consonant gemination of [h] exists only in interjections, new loan words and in the playful word "hihhuli", with its origins in the 19th century, and derivatives of that word.

In multiple Finnish dialects there are also types of special gemination when in contact with long vowels: Southwestern special gemination ("Lounaismurteiden erikoisgeminaatio") (lengthening of stops+shortening of long vowel), with the type Leipää< Leippä, the "Common gemination" ("Yleisgeminaatio") (all consonants in short, stressed syllables are lengthened), with the type Putoaa > Puttoo, and its extension (which is strongest in the northwestern Savonian dialects), the "Eastern dialectal special gemination" ("Itämurteiden erikoisgeminaatio") (same as the Common gradation, but applies also to unstressed syllables and certain clusters), with the types Lehmiä > Lehmmii and Maksetaan > Maksettaan.


In Hungarian, consonant length is phonemic, e.g. megy [ˈmɛɟ], 'goes' and meggy [ˈmɛɟː], 'sour cherry'.

Sami Languages

Most Sami languages contrast three different degrees of consonant length. These often contrast in different forms within a single inflectional paradigm, as in Northern Sami goarˈrut "let's sew!" versus goarrut "to sew, we sew" versus goarut "you (sg.) sew". Often, progressively longer consonants correspond to a progressively shorter preceding vowel.

In Proto-Samic, the common ancestor of the Sami languages, there was already a contrast between single and geminate consonants, inherited from Proto-Uralic. A process called consonant gradation then lengthened all consonants when they stood at the end of a stressed syllable, if the next syllable was open. The subsequent loss of final consonants and vowels in the later Sami languages made this process contrastive, resulting in as many as four contrastive lengths (lengthened geminate, unlengthened geminate, lengthened single, unlengthened single). The modern Sami languages have reduced this to three, by merging the unlengthened geminates with the lengthened single consonants.


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.


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, or in tone languages to facilitate diacritic marking).

  • Catalan uses the raised dot (called an "interpunct") to distinguish a geminated l from a palatal ll. Thus, paral·lel ("parallel") and Llull (Standard Catalan: [pəɾəlˈlɛl], [ʎuʎ]).
  • Hungarian digraphs and trigraphs are geminated by doubling the first letter only, thus the geminate form of sz /s/ is ssz /sː/ (rather than *szsz), and that of dzs /d͡ʒ/ is ddzs /d͡ʒː/.
  • 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 words 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. Consonant digraphs are used in English to indicate the preceding vowel is a short (lax) vowel, while a single letter often allows a long (tense) vowel to occur. For example, "tapping" /tæpɪŋ/ (from "tap") has a short a /æ/, which is distinct from the diphthongal long a /eɪ/ in "taping" /teɪpɪŋ/ (from "tape").
  • In Standard Modern Greek, doubled orthographic consonants have no phonetic significance at all.
  • Hangul (the Korean alphabet) and its romanizations also use double consonants, but to indicate fortis articulation, not gemination.

See also


  1. ^ a b Khattab, Ghada & Al-Tamimi, Jalal. (2014). Geminate timing in Lebanese Arabic: The relationship between phonetic timing and phonological structure. Laboratory Phonology, 5(2), 231-269.
  2. ^ a b Blust, Robert. (2013). The Austronesian Languages (Rev. ed.). Australian National University.
  3. ^ Crystal, David (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, p. 335
  4. ^ "Raddoppiamenti di vocali e di consonanti". Dizionario italiano d'ortografia e pronunzia (DOP). RAI. 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Inkelas, Sharon (2014). The Interplay of Morphology and Phonology. Oxford Surveys in Syntax & Morphology. Oxford University Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780199280476.
Awngi language

The Awngi language, in older publications also called Awiya (an inappropriate ethnonym), is a Central Cushitic language spoken by the Awi people, living in Central Gojjam in northwestern Ethiopia.

Most speakers of the language live in the Agew Awi Zone of the Amhara Region, but there are also communities speaking the language in various areas of Metekel Zone of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region. Until recently, Kunfäl, another Southern Agaw language spoken in the area west of Lake Tana, has been suspected to be a separate language. It has now been shown to be linguistically close to Awngi, and it should be classified as a dialect of that language.

Cluster reduction

In phonology and historical linguistics, cluster reduction is the simplification of consonant clusters in certain environments or over time.

In some dialects of English such as AAVE certain historical consonant clusters reduce to single consonants at the ends of words: friend rhymes with Ben, and cold is homophonous with coal. In both cases, a historical cluster of homorganic consonants loses a stop: /ˈfrɛn/, /ˈkoʊl/ However, in colder, where the consonant cluster falls between vowels, the /d/ remains: /ˈkoʊldɚ/. The similar word-final reduction of */mb/ to /m/ and */ŋɡ/ to /ŋ/ is complete in standard English (e.g. lamb, long), as it is in many other Germanic languages (e.g. Swedish lamm, lång).

Italian is well known to have undergone cluster reduction, where stop clusters have become geminates. For example, Victoria has become Vittoria. In other words, articulation but not length has reduced. A similar occurrence is observed in Portuguese as well, but gemination is absent.

Cluster reduction also takes place in Catalan, and in a similar way as it happens in English. Certain consonant clusters placed at the end of a word are reduced: cent /sen/ instead of /sent/, although they recover the reduced consonant when the cluster falls between vowels: centenar /səntəˈna/. This phenomenon does not exist in Valencian, though: cent /sent/ and centenar /senteˈnaɾ/.

Dirasha language

Dirasha (also known as Ghidole, Diraasha, Dirayta, Gidole, Gardulla, Dhirasha) is a member of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. It is spoken in the Omo region of Ethiopia, in the hills west of Lake Chamo, around the town of Gidole.

A number of speakers also use Oromo or Konso. According to Wondwosen, the "Dirasha" is the name of the people, and the name of the language is given variously as "Dirashitata, Dirayta and Diraytata" (2006:3,4).

The language has a three ejective consonant phonemes and two implosive consonant phonemes, fitting the pattern of the Ethiopian Language Area. It has two tones and five vowels. Duration (or gemination) is distinctive for both consonants and vowels (Wondwosen 2006:9,10).

Finnish phonology

Unless otherwise noted, statements in this article refer to Standard Finnish, which is based on the dialect spoken in the former Häme Province in central south Finland. Standard Finnish is used by professional speakers, such as reporters and news presenters on television.

Italian phonology

The phonology of Italian describes the sound system—the phonology and phonetics—of Standard Italian and its geographical variants.

Japanese phonology

The phonology of Japanese has about 15 consonant phonemes, the cross-linguistically typical five-vowel system of /a, e, i, o, u/, and a relatively simple phonotactic distribution of phonemes allowing few consonant clusters. It is traditionally described as having a mora as the unit of timing, with each mora taking up about the same length of time, so that the disyllabic [ɲip.poɴ] ("Japan") may be analyzed as /niQpoN/ and dissected into four moras, /ni/, /Q/, /po/, and /N/.

Standard Japanese is a pitch-accent language, wherein the position or absence of a pitch drop may determine the meaning of a word: /haꜜsiɡa/ "chopsticks", /hasiꜜɡa/ "bridge", /hasiɡa/ "edge" (see Japanese pitch accent).

Unless otherwise noted, the following describes the standard variety of Japanese based on the Tokyo dialect.

Khwarshi language

Khwarshi (also spelled Xvarshi, Khvarshi) is a Northeast Caucasian language spoken in the Tsumadinsky-, Kizilyurtovsky- and Khasavyurtovsky districts of Dagestan by the Khwarshi people. The exact number of speakers is not known, but the linguist Zaira Khalilova, who has carried out fieldwork in the period from 2005 to 2009, gives the figure 8,500. Other sources give much lower figures, such as Ethnologue with the figure 1,870 and the latest population census of Russia with the figure 1,872. The low figures are because many Khwarshi have registered themselves as being Avar speakers, which is also considered their literary language.

There are six dialects of the Khwarshi language based on their geographical distribution. The dialects are: Upper and Lower Inkhokwari, Kwantlada, Santlada, Khwayni and Khwarshi Proper, originating in their respective villages in the Tsumadinsky district. Due to emigration, Kwantlada-, Upper and Lower Inkhokwari–speaking communities also exist in Oktyabrskoe, Santlada-speaking communities exist in Pervomayskoe and Khwarshi Proper–speaking communities exist in Mutsalaul.

Lampung language

Lampung is the language of the Indonesian province of Lampung at the southern tip of Sumatra. It is a dialect cluster with two main dialects, perhaps distinct enough to be considered distinct languages: Abung/Pepadun (Lampung Nyo) and Pesisir/Say Batin (Lampung Api). A third, Komering, is sometimes considered part of Lampung Api, by others a distinct language. Lampung Api is the prestige variety.

Before the introduction of the Roman script, Lampung was written in a script called "Aksara Lampung" or "Had Lampung", which is a variant of the Ulu scripts used throughout central and south Sumatra. The script is seldom used today but is taught in schools throughout Lampung as a means of preserving its linguistic history.

Mandaic script

The Mandaic alphabet is thought to have evolved between the 2nd and 7th century CE from either a cursive form of Aramaic (as did Syriac) or from the Parthian chancery script. The exact roots of the script are difficult to determine.

It was developed by members of the Mandaean gnostic religion of southern Mesopotamia to write the Mandaic language for liturgical purposes.

Classical Mandaic and its descendant Neo-Mandaic are still in limited use. The script has changed very little over centuries of use.The Mandaic name for the script is Abagada or Abaga, after the first letters of the alphabet. Rather than the ancient Semitic names for the letters (aleph, beth, gimel), the letters are known as a, ba, ga and so on.It is written from right to left in horizontal lines. It is a cursive script, but not all letters connect within a word. Spaces separate individual words.

Old Saxon phonology

The phonology of Old Saxon mirrors that of the other ancient Germanic languages, and also, to a lesser extent, that of modern West Germanic languages such as English, Dutch, Frisian, German, and Low German.

Old Saxon is an Ingvaeonic language, which means that it belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Germanic languages and that it is particularly closely related to Old English and Old Frisian. Thus, anyone looking at Old Saxon phonology will recognize some typical West-Germanic phonological features also found in Old English, such as gemination and the different pronunciations of the letter g.


Sandhi (; Sanskrit: संधि saṃdhí [sɐndʱɪ], "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of sound changes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries. Examples include fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of one sound depending on nearby sounds or the grammatical function of the adjacent words. Sandhi belongs to morphophonology.

Sandhi occurs in many languages, particularly in the phonology of Indian languages (especially Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Pali, Kannada, Bengali, Assamese, Malayalam), as well as in some North Germanic languages.

Syntactic gemination

Syntactic gemination, or syntactic doubling, is an external sandhi phenomenon in Italian, some Western Romance languages, and Finnish . It consists in the lengthening (gemination) of the initial consonant in certain contexts.

The phenomenon is variously referred to in English as word-initial gemination, phonosyntactic consonantal gemination, as well as under the native Italian terms: raddoppiamento sintattico (RS), raddoppiamento fonosintattico (RF), raddoppiamento iniziale, rafforzamento iniziale (della consonante)


Thaana, Taana or Tāna ( ތާނަ‎ in Tāna script) is the present writing system of the Maldivian language spoken in the Maldives. Thaana has characteristics of both an abugida (diacritic, vowel-killer strokes) and a true alphabet (all vowels are written), with consonants derived from indigenous and Arabic numerals, and vowels derived from the vowel diacritics of the Arabic abjad. Maldivian orthography in Thaana is largely phonemic.

The Thaana script first appeared in a Maldivian document towards the beginning of the 18th century in a crude initial form known as Gabulhi Thaana which was written scripta continua. This early script slowly developed, its characters slanting 45 degrees, becoming more graceful and adding spaces between words. As time went by it gradually replaced the older Dhives Akuru alphabet. The oldest written sample of the Thaana script is found in the island of Kanditheemu in Northern Miladhunmadulu Atoll. It is inscribed on the door posts of the main Hukuru Miskiy (Friday mosque) of the island and dates back to 1008 AH (AD 1599) and 1020 AH (AD 1611) when the roof of the building was built and then renewed during the reigns of Ibrahim Kalaafaan (Sultan Ibrahim III) and Hussain Faamuladeyri Kilege (Sultan Hussain II) respectively.

Thaana, like Arabic, is written right to left. It indicates vowels with diacritic marks derived from Arabic. Each letter must carry either a vowel or a sukun (which indicates "no vowel"). The only exception to this rule is nūnu which, when written without a diacritic, indicates prenasalization of a following stop.

The vowel or diacritical signs are called fili in Maldivian; there are five fili for short vowels (a, i, u, e, o), where the first two look identical to the Arabic vowel signs (fatha and kasra) and the third one (damma) looks somewhat similar. Long vowels (ā, ē, ī, ō and ū) are denoted by doubled fili (except ō, which is a modification of the short obofili).

The letter alifu has no sound value of its own and is used for three different purposes:

It can act as a carrier for a vowel with no preceding consonant, that is, a word-initial vowel or the second part of a diphthong; when it carries a sukun, it indicates gemination (lengthening) of the following consonant; and if alifu+sukun occurs at the end of a word, it indicates that the word ends in /eh/. Gemination of nasals, however, is indicated by nūnu+sukun preceding the nasal to be geminated.

Tigrinya language

Tigrinya, often written as Tigrigna (ትግርኛ, tigriñā) is an Afro-Asiatic language, belonging to the family's Semitic branch. It is spoken by ethnic Tigray-Tigrinya in the Horn of Africa. Tigrinya speakers primarily inhabit the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia (6.1%), where its speakers are called Tigrawot ("Tigrāweyti"(female ) or "Tigraway"(male) -singular- and "Tegaru" -plural-), as well as the contiguous borders of southern and central Eritrea (57%), where speakers are known as the Bihere-Tigrinya. Tigrinya is also spoken by groups of emigrants from these regions, including some Beta Israel.

Tigrinya should not be confused with the related Tigre language. The latter Afro-Asiatic language is spoken by the Tigre people, who inhabit the lowland regions of Eritrea to the north and west of the Tigrinya speech area.

Tooth fusion

Tooth fusion arises through union of two normally separated tooth germs, and depending upon the stage of development of the teeth at the time of union, it may be either complete or incomplete. On some occasions, two independent pulp chambers and root canals can be seen. However, fusion can also be the union of a normal tooth bud to a supernumerary tooth germ. In these cases, the number of teeth is fewer if the anomalous tooth is counted as one tooth. In geminated teeth, division is usually incomplete and results in a large tooth crown that has a single root and a single canal. Both gemination and fusion are prevalent in primary dentition, with incisors being more affected.

Tooth gemination, in contrast to fusion, arises when two teeth develop from one tooth bud. When the anomalous tooth appears to be two separate teeth, it appears that the patient has an extra tooth, although they have a normal number of tooth roots.

In contrast to fusion, concrescence is a term that the roots of 2 or more teeth united by cementum alone after formation of tooth crowns.

Tooth gemination

Tooth gemination is a dental phenomenon that appears to be two teeth developed from one. There is one main crown with a cleft in it that, within the incisal third of the crown, looks like two teeth, though it is not two teeth. The number of the teeth in the arch will be normal.

Tuvaluan language

Tuvaluan , often called Tuvalu, is a Polynesian language of or closely related to the Ellicean group spoken in Tuvalu. It is more or less distantly related to all other Polynesian languages, such as Hawaiian, Maori, Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan, and most closely related to the languages spoken on the Polynesian Outliers in Micronesia and Northern and Central Melanesia. Tuvaluan has borrowed considerably from Samoan, the language of Christian missionaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.The population of Tuvalu is approximately 10,837 people (2012 Population & Housing Census Preliminary Analytical Report) There are estimated to be more than 13,000 Tuvaluan speakers worldwide. In 2015 it was estimated that more than 3,500 Tuvaluans live in New Zealand, with about half that number born in New Zealand and 65 percent of the Tuvaluan community in New Zealand is able to speak Tuvaluan.

West Germanic gemination

West Germanic gemination was a sound change that took place in all West Germanic languages around the 3rd or 4th century AD. It affected consonants directly followed by /j/, which were generally lengthened or geminated in that position. Because of Sievers' law, only consonants immediately after a short vowel were affected by the process.

Xamtanga language

Xamtanga (also Agawinya, Khamtanga, Simt'anga, Xamir, Xamta) is a Central Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia by the Xamir people.


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