geminated consonants in languages derived from latin

demalaga

Member
España castellano
The only language derived from Latin that I know has geminated consonants that are pronounced very clearly as double consonants is Italian. Perhaps I am wrong.If so, please, correct my mistake.Languages like French write double consonants but not pronounce them as a double letter. Can anybody give an explanation of this interesting feature of the Italian language?
 
  • Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    A couple of other languages of Italy also have double consonants; for example, Sardinian. Conversely, some regional varieties of Italian shorten the geminate consonants.
     

    HKK

    Senior Member
    Dutch/Belgium
    As for as I know, gemination occurs in Spanish too. You can hear the difference between pero and perro because of the double rr, no?

    Gemination was part of the Latin language too. Some of its daughters retained it, some lost it, such as French and Church Latin.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    As for as I know, gemination occurs in Spanish too. You can hear the difference between pero and perro because of the double rr, no?
    Phonetically, the "rr" is a different sound from the "r", not just a longer version of the same sound.
     

    HKK

    Senior Member
    Dutch/Belgium
    Spanish r is an alveolar flap. Rr is an alveolar trill. Acoustically, I would call a flap a trill with only one contact. Maybe there is some difference, but historically I think rr classifies as a geminate.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    But don't they have different manners of articulation?...

    P.S. Anyway, even accepting that "rr" is a geminate consonant, it is the only exception to the rule. All the other geminate consonants of Latin have disappeared, except in some languages of Italy.
     

    Guachipem

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Canary Islands
    Gemination occurs sometimes in Spanish, in words like "innecesario", but not with words that come from Latin, but rather in composed words (in-necesario). Geminated words in Latin are not geminated in Spanish (bellum in Latin, bélico in Spanish).

    If I have any mistake correct me, please. I don't speak English very well.


    Edit: Sorry, I think I wanted to say "but rather in composed words", no "but in composed words".
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I think you are correct. However, I would say this is again a marginal case of gemination. Those geminates don't seem to have been inherited by Spanish from Latin, but rather created in modern times.
     

    modus.irrealis

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    An interesting thing about Italian is that it not only preserved gemination, but it seems to prefer it. It even has produced it where it didn't exist in Latin -- I know at least the example of femmina from Latin femina. And I've read that Italian geminates initial consonants of words that are preceded by a closely bound word ending in a vowel, and I have examples like a Roma is pronounced as if it were arroma, lunedì sera as if lunedissera, and so on.

    As for explanation my guess is that it's a result of the prosody of Italian, or more generally how its speakers speak, and perhaps the language prefers closed syllables while Spanish prefers open ones. So maybe it's a result of what makes Italian sound Italian.
     

    xarruc

    Senior Member
    England
    Catalan has l·l which is pronounced as two consecutive 'l's.

    col·loquial
    col·lisió

    Perhaps the exception you're looking for.

    They also have rr as in Spanish, ss (which is not pronounced differently to s) and ll (which is the gli in Italian, arcaic ll in Spanish and the lh in Portugese), which doesn't count either as a geminated constant.
     

    demalaga

    Member
    España castellano
    Sicily Island was under Bizantyne rule for a long time. I dont have any idea of Greek, but if the Byzantines used gemination of consonants, that could be one reason for its use in Sicilian and later in modern Italian.Can anybody inform me about this point?.Also was ruled by the muslims, and I know that gemination is a very important linguistic element of Arabic and in general of Semitic languages.
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Maybe I'm completely wrong, but doesn't Romanian also have geminated consonants that are pronounced clearly as two different letters?

    acces = [ac-ces]
    accelera = [ac-ce-lera]

    But geminated consonants in Romanian are extremely rare. Geminated vowels with different pronunciations are more common:

    erbacee = [er-ba-ce-e]

    Is it relevant?

    :) robbie
     

    demalaga

    Member
    España castellano
    Maybe I'm completely wrong, but doesn't Romanian also have geminated consonants that are pronounced clearly as two different letters?

    acces = [ac-ces]
    accelera = [ac-ce-lera]

    But geminated consonants in Romanian are extremely rare. Geminated vowels with different pronunciations are more common:

    erbacee = [er-ba-ce-e]

    Is it relevant?

    :) robbie
    the first c in acces sounds like "k" and the second a different sound, but I'm not sure since I cannot speak Romanian.So I'm affraid your examples are not valid
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Catalan has l·l which is pronounced as two consecutive 'l's.

    col·loquial
    col·lisió

    Perhaps the exception you're looking for.
    You are correct from a prescriptive point of view, but descriptively I understand that most Catalan speakers no longer geminate the "l·l". They pronounce it as a regular "l".

    P.S. In fact, I asked about this before.
     

    modus.irrealis

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    Sicily Island was under Bizantyne rule for a long time. I dont have any idea of Greek, but if the Byzantines used gemination of consonants, that could be one reason for its use in Sicilian and later in modern Italian.Can anybody inform me about this point?
    Ancient Greek had geminate consonants and although they've been lost in Standard Greek, the Greek Wikipedia says that the Greek dialects of Southern Italy preserve them (and have also created them where they didn't exist originally), so there may be some relationship here.
     

    pomar

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I saw you talked about Sardinian in one of the first posts.
    Sardinian phonetics differentiate only d-dd, l-ll, n-nn, r-rr, s-ss. All other consonants (except in case of liaisons) have a sound stronger than the Italian single consonant, but a little less strong than Italian double consonant.
    The orthography is not a fixed one, so you may find them written in many ways.
     

    Spectre scolaire

    Senior Member
    Maltese and Russian
    A couple of other languages of
    Italy also have double consonants; for example, Sardinian. Conversely, some regional varieties of Italian shorten the geminate consonants.[#2]
    This is indeed the case of il dialetto veneto. As Greek is brought forth, this fact is of some interest for “Italian” influence on Greek and Turkish. In fact, “Italian” is in this case almost exclusively Venitian.

    The huge Venitian dictionary produced by Giuseppe Boerio: Dizionario del dialetto veneziano from 1856 was reedited with corrections and new material in 1983. Even if there are more handy ‘Venitian’ dictionaries, it is still invaluable when reading articles in dialect written for the modern review “Quatro ciacoe” [= chiacchiere]! This review is a treasure trove for getting an idea about how the question raised by this thread does not apply in this large area of North-Eastern Italy. Or you can read Goldini...

    An interesting case of Standard Italian “raddoppiamento” is chissà < chi sa? – cf. modus.irrealis lunedissera [#9].

    SicilyIsland was under Byzantine rule for a long time. I dont have any idea of Greek, but if the Byzantines used gemination of consonants, that could be one reason for its use in Sicilian and later in modern Italian.
    That is still a controversial question – regardless of what the Greek Wikipedia says (referred to by modus.irrealis). It implicitly takes up the origin of Magna Graecia. I think this question is more complicated than the article in question states. Unfortunately, the issue once had political overtunes which resulted in a certain black-and-white thinking – either Morosi or Rohlfs (and all the Greeks). Why not both? The enormously prolific Rolhfs – he lived until he was 94! – is such an alibi for the “Greek theory” that there is no need to revise anything.

    demalaga also asks about Arab influence. I think this would be mainly on the lexical level. Judging from Pellegrini’s compilations of Arabic loanwords in Italian, this influence is more important than generally thought. However, I can’t remember any reference to phonetic influence. The question is interesting - especially in the light of how Maltese may have developed as a language.
    :) :)
     

    pomar

    Senior Member
    Italian
    On reading Spectre scolaire's post, I realized that I said something wrong about Sardinian (but this made me think about Italian as well). I'm not completely sure, because I passed my only exam of phonetics a long long time ago, and the only phonetics symbols I'm really accustomed to are those used for English (I never thought of checking phonetics symbols for Italian or Sardinian).
    Coming to the point, in the couples of consonants I mentioned about Sardinian d-dd, l-ll, n-nn, r-rr, s-ss, I think the double consonant here are not geminated, but they are just an orthographic convention for writing different sounds. So, the single "s" (in Sardinian) is always [z] and the double "ss" can only be [ss]. I don't know how to write IPA symbols here, but "r" and "rr", "d" and "dd" are surely allophones. I'm not very sure about "n-nn" and "l-ll", they sound more or less like the corresponding Italian consonants (not considering local pronunciation).
    As for the Italian, I don't know if someone has already discussed the fact that most of the geminated consonants were couples of different consonants in Latin (ottimo from optimus, otto from octo, fatto from factus, ammirazione from admiratio, and so on).
    As for the single "s" it can be in Italian both "s" and "z", but only very few people, and only in central Italy, as far as I know, pronounce them correctly: in North Italy and in Sardinia the single "s" is always [z], unless it is the first letter; in South Italy there's a tendence to pronounce the single "s always like a non-geminated [s].
     
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