Breaking doubled consonants into syllables

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 26 18:40:18 UTC 2012

On Aug 26, 2012, at 2:20 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> Is there a general rule about breaking English words with doubled
> consonants into syllables, either in speaking or in writing?  For
> example, "canning" would be spelled and pronounced "can-ning", with
> an N sound beginning the second syllable.
> My speech says such a rule is not applicable to speaking.  For
> example, I don't say "stop-ping" but rather -- I think --
> "sto-pping".  (For my "canning" I can't tell.)
> But I assume it applies to writing.  Are their counter-examples?
I've never heard that it relates to speech, especially given the lack of evidence for geminates in English.  On the other hand, I've always assumed that it does dictate hyphenation rules, which are somewhat artificial anyway.  The work performed by the double letters typically is just to distinguish short/tense/vowel-changed vowels from short/lax/unchanged vowels:  canning vs. caning, hopping vs. hoping.


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