An account of consonantal ‘twinning’ in English and other languages.
THIS ESSAY concerns itself with gemination in English, but more specifically, it asks whether English has consonantal gemination (CG), as has been reported by some in the literature. Gemination is usually defined as a phonetic doubling (cf. Latin geminus ‘twin’); however, phonetic length (as opposed to a single or nongeminated segment) is a more accurate designation (see Matthews 1997:141, who cites Italian atto [at[Length mark]o] ‘act’, making reference only to ‘doubling’). It has long been known that English does not have contrastive CG as is recognized, say, from the phonemic difference between Classical and Modern Standard Arabic kasara (‘he broke’) and kassara (‘he smashed’) or darasa (‘he studied’) and darrasa (‘he taught’).