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Next: Vowel length Up: Phonetics of Spoken Previous: Voiced Consonants.

Gemination

We have used the term `gemination' to refer to the process whereby consonants can be doubled in Tamil. All the consonants referred to so far can be geminated except for the r-like sounds r and = to0pt.25ex ##= by .25ex . That is, all lateral sounds, nasal consonants, the glide y and all stops, including alveolar r can occur doubled, and many do get doubled as a result of some morphological process. A sequence of two geminate consonants is actually twice as long as its single analog after short vowels; after long vowels, the sequence is not as long as after short vowels, but longer than a single consonant. We often write certain things as doubled (in order to preserve voicelessness, e.g.) when in actuality they are phonetically not doubled. The example given above, i.e.

Ԥեե saappittuhittirunda '161 --> [sa '161 pt '124 tr '124 nda '161 ] `she was eating'.

shows doubled consonants of various sorts in the Tamil and its transliteration, while the phonetic transcription does not show consonantal length after long vowels, or in clusters with other consonants.



Harold_F.Schiffman