Excluding ll, rr (which represent distinct sounds) and cc (which represents two different pronunciations of c), orthographic doubled consonants occur very infrequently in Spanish, only really appearing as nn within words, and the occasional -bv- or (usually Greek) loanword:

  • obvención, obvio, subvención, subvenio, subvenir, subversión etc
  • commelináceo, emmental, gamma, hummus, ommiada, umma, cappa, atto-
  • lessueste

Are doubled consonants geminated in Spanish? Or are they pronounced as if there were one?

Note: foreign loanwords/proper names which have been adapted into nouns/adjectives normally retain their original orthographies in spite of pronunciation: picassiano, jazzista, jazzístico, pizzería, pizzero, prepizza

  • i haven't seen any double consonant or the use of double consonant to provoke an emphasis in spanish or with spanish origin except for the "RR" that brings a stronger sound than just "R"
    – Mike
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 19:37
  • How about explaining "geminate" in the question? Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 5:52

3 Answers 3


No, not normally. Spanish phonology “almost never” geminates: duplicate adjacent vowels normally fuse, and duplicate adjacent consonants “don’t happen’ natively.

So a fully assimilated loanword like pizza is pronounced /ˈpiθɑ/, without an affricate or geminate there at all. Only when treating that word as though it were still an unassimilated foreign one would it be pronounced as in Italian, /ˈpit.t͡sɑ/.

But that’s really “hard” to say (=impossible) in Spanish phonology. You can’t have an unvoiced stop in the coda, so that will become muddled, swapped (e.g., /k/), fused, or just plain lost in natural speech. So you’ll be left with /ˈpisɑ/ again, which now sounds sufficiently seseante to a speaker of Northern/Central/Standard Spanish that they’ll unconsciously flip over to /ˈpiθɑ/ without thinking of doing so as hypercorrection.

Conversely, you can consider what happens in those few native words with doubled consonants, which I believe occur only across morphemic boundaries. Take for example, connotación < con + notación. That one does geminate — in theory, at least in careful speech.

In practice, doing so may take too much work in casual or rapid speech to be evident, much less be particularly obvious.


What @tchrist says is true except for the fact that Spanish people tends to not pronounce strictly some clusters like "pc" or "tl", for instance, it is very common to hear from Spanish people \konθeθθjon\ for "concepción" where they assimilate the p to the θ and then geminate it, or \hil·ler\ for Hitler or \al·leta\ for atleta. American Spanish does not have this phenomenon, maybe due to the influence of aborigines languages like Nahuatl for example, where you have "tl" cluster very distinctively pronounced. But as a norm, you shouldn't geminate consonants in Spanish, you should pronounce \konθepθjon\, \hitler\ and \atleta\


I am quite surprised by the current answers. Because I do geminate doubled consonants in most cases when I speak, and if I do so it's because that's the pronunciation I learned as a child: from my family, from TV and radio programs, from my teachers... And that's the pronunciation I still hear in "careful speech" (as tchrist put it).

With some more common words like obvio, emmental or subvención I might relax the pronunciation a bit when using a more "laid back" accent (not with pizza, though), with friends etc. But I'm having a hard time trying to imagine anybody coming across obvención, commelináceo, cappa, gamma or connotación for the first time and not geminating the doubled consonant.

To say doubled consonants are not geminated, is akin to saying that the final D in -ado, -ido words is not pronounced: the fact that many people doesn't pronounce it during informal speech, does not make it the norm. Some people may say /obiao/, some people may say /obiado/, but the standard pronunciation for obviado is /ob•biado/.

So, in my experience: yes, doubled consonants are geminated in Spanish, at least when speaking carefully (though I'd rather say "properly").

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