American English Phonetics

Another American English Faculty Project

In GA, a sequence of two identical consonants as in club badge, midday, pine nut tends to be about 1.5 times as long as a single consonant. Such ‘double’ consonants are therefore essentially pronounced as single consonants with a longer articulatory contact. This is called gemination.

club badge


pine nut

Sequences consisting of identical fortis stops like those in pep pill, nighttime, bookcase will be realized as single glottalized, aspirated voiceless stops with a lengthened compression stage. That is, [ʔ͜kːʰ] will occur in bookcase, etc.

pep pill



How can a single [kː] trigger off both glottalization and aspiration?

In Dutch double consonants are reduced to single consonants through simplification. There is no difference between the double /tt/ in (hij) gaat toch and the single /t/ in (ik) ga toch. Words like looppas, achttal, doellijn are pronounced /ˈloˑpɑs/, etc. Simplification also affects sequences of identical consonants which result from the application of various assimilations. In words like kopbal, bloeddruk /bb/- and /dd/-sequences arise as a result of regressive voicing. Subsequent application of simplification yields /ˈkɔbɑl, ˈbludrʏk/. Progressive devoicing creates a /ss/-sequence in leeszaal, which through simplification becomes /ˈleˑsaˑl/. Similar cases are roofvogel, jaszak, zeepbel. Be careful not to apply these AN rules to GA words. Pronunciations like */ˈʃɔbɛl, ˈbɛkraʊnt, ˈfaɪˈfoʊts/ for shopbell, background, five votes are strikingly foreign. A lack of familiarity with gemination may also cause perceptual problems as when phrases like I‘d do it, we’ll leave and they’ve found it are interpreted as I do it, we leave, they found it by Dutch speakers of English.