Tom Wier wrote:

> > On Sun, 12 Aug 2001, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
> >
> > > The lengthening here is very normal when there is loss of some
> > > kind.   However, geminate consonants are basically defined by
> > > a break in syllables lying between them.
> >
> > This is not true. There are languages in this world that have word final
> > geminates, which hardly spans a syllable break.
>You know, I seem to remember reading about this too, but then my
>phonology professor said something to the effect that I mentioned
>above;  perhaps I misunderstood or misheard her.

Or perhaps she used the distinction that someone on this list made (Nik?)
between geminates and long consonants. I find that a very arbitrary and
useless distinction, but some distinctions are that way.

>   In any event, how
>do these languages distinguish between the two? Is it just that the extra
>mora is assigned to the consonant rather than to the vowel?

I don't want to speak for all languages, but in Pima they are distinguished
by length probably with a bit of extra "tenseness". I'm not clear on the
phonetic details. All I know is that they sound different to me, and that's
all a syntactician needs to know. :) As for the question of morae, I do not
know of any way in Pima to tell how many morae a syllable has, especially
word final where clusters of three (sometimes more) consonants can be
found. (The language allows words like aptp, which is an auxiliary marked
for person, aspect, and evidentiality).

Morphology can produce words that "should" produce geminates. For example,
the 2pl object clitic is t-, and there is never an epenthetic vowel. Teach
us begins as [tma...]. When you would expect to get a word beginning like
[tta...], you seem to get a "pulse" to separate the consonants. (Don't ask
for phonetic details, I'm not good enough at this stuff to say what is
going on.) It is distinct from medial or final gemination.

Marcus Smith

Unfortunately, or luckily,
no language is tyrannically consistent.
All grammars leak.
                -- Edward Sapir