Geminate

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Definition

A geminate is a consonant that has contrastively longer duration than its singleton counterpart. This phenomenon is akin to long vowels, represented a [Vː]. However, geminates are frequently represented as a series of two identical consonants, rather than as a single, long consonant.

Gemination is a contrastive process in Arabic, Estonian, Finnish, Classical Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Luganda, Norwegian, Russian and Swedish.

Examples

Gemination is not a phonological process typically present in English, but can be found in compound nouns.

  • [tt] in cattail (compare consonant length in "catfish")

In Japanese gemination is a distinctive phonological feature.

  • [shusshin] (origin, source) vs. [shushin] (master, husband)
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