I read that “gg” is a geminated or lengthened consonant. I have also read that before “i”, “g” is made into the affricate. So, should I make “ggi” into a geminated affricate?

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    Welcome to Italian.SE!
    – Charo
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 12:31
  • Thank you I have 1 friend who is an Italian / filipino who invited me to learn it - Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 12:38
  • Could you give an example of a word whose pronunciation you would like to understand? From what I can tell the answer to your questions is "yes", but pronunciation is always so tricky and context depending that concrete examples will make it easier for us to write an answer.
    – Denis Nardin
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    Is your question about terminology (i.e., if “geminated affricate” is the correct term) or about how to pronounce such letters? In any case, there is an apparently in-depth study on the matter here: newyork.diet.uniroma1.it/Papers/J16-Faluschi_al-EJLS01.pdf
    – DaG
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


In Italian the letters gi may form a digraph that denotes the affricate pronunciation /d͡ʒ/ before a, o or u. Before e or i, the consonant g is pronounced /d͡ʒ/. In all the following words, there is the affricate:

giacca gioco giusto gente ginestra

To be clearer, gi is a digraph only if another vowel (a, o or u) follows. However, it is not a digraph if the i is tonic (like in pubalgia or leggii, plural of leggio).

In the first three words there is no /i/ sound.

When the affricate is geminated, it is written gg (before e or i) or ggi (before a, o or u):

roggia messaggio laggiù aggettivo raggi

The surface pronunciation of the affricate /d͡ʒ/ may vary depending on the speaker’s variety of Italian, in particular for the geminated one that can even become very similar to /j/; pronouncing /d͡ʒ/ as [ʒ] is not at all uncommon in central Italy (some parts of Tuscany, for instance). In southern Italy, /d͡ʒ/ is commonly geminated also when standard Italian would prescribe no gemination.

  • Does that mean that ginestra is pronounced as /d͡ʒ/nestra - - Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 22:06
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    @LolFlo No, the /i/ is pronounced; gi is a digraph only if another vowel (a, o or u) follows. I added some clarifications.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 22:15

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