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Kristian wrote:

> DOUGLAS KOLLER wrote:
>
> >From: "Kristian Jensen"
> >
> >> Douglas has it correct. But I'd like to add that there is also a
> >> terminological distinction between consonant sounds that occur when
> >> two identical consonant sounds are next to each other across a syllable
> >> boundary, and consonant sounds that are long but within the same
syllable.
> >> The former is called a geminate, the latter is called a long or doubled
> >> consonant.
> >
> >I didn't know this. Does this mean the Japanese and Italian examples are
> >long consonants and not geminates?
>
> The Japanese and Italian examples are geminates because they occur across
> syllable boundaries. In both languages, there is some prosodical nature at
> work. From what I understand of Italian, the length of the stressed
syllable
> is always heavy. a short stressed vowel must be followed by a consonant
> while a long stress vowel cannot be followed by a consonant. Geminates
> therefore occur to fill in a gap left open when a short vowel occurs in a
> stressed syllable without a specified syllable final consonant. E.g.
> ['fa:.to] "faith" vs ['fat.to] "fact" vs ['fal.to] "???".

<fato> /fa:to/ = destiny vs. <fatto> /fat:o/ = fact, deed.
BTW, You are right about the need of a syllable closing consonant after
short stressed vowels.

Luca

> >Or does it mean that there are languages (none of which I'm familiar
with)
> >where a hypothetical word like "ebb" is genuinely pronounced /Ebb/?
>
> There are. The Scandinavian langs (except Danish) are European candidates
I
> know that are like this. However, like Italian, there is a prosodical
thing
> at work in these langs as well such that it is impossible to find surface
> contrasts like [eb] vs [ebb] in these langs. Finnish could be a better
European
> candidate since there is no prosodical connection between vowel length and
> consonant length. This time, however, long consonant occurs only in
> intervocalic position. We need to look outside of Europe. The only one I
know
> is Pattani Malay spoken in southern Thailand with long consonants occuring
in
> syllable-initial position; [bulE] "moon" vs [b:ulE] "months". But I'm sure
> there are more out there, also with a hypothetical contrast like /eb/ vs
/ebb/.
>
> -kristian- 8)
>