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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
² 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.
¶Ô¤½Õ¥à´Õ¥Üçÿ»Ô saappittuhittirunda '161
--> [sa '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.