I've learned a little Italian over the past 2 weeks. I thought until now that when you encounter a double consonant, like cc in zucchero or tt in frutta, you pause for a moment mid-word giving a word that "bouncy" quality. But today I learned that il cavallo means “the horse” and the Italian speaker I heard in the recording did not pause mid-word at all.
What are the rules for when you pause mid-word on a syllable and when you don't?
UPDATE: I have received comments that indicate I am not explaining this as well as I could. So here are two examples using Google Translate:
If you listen to both phrases using the "listen" button (little speaker icon below text entry box), you can hear the "pause" I am talking about. (Perhaps it is better to say that the effect seems to alter significantly the stress applied to the syllable?) But to my ears, the amount of time spent on "me" in caramella versus the "me" in mela feels almost like a pause on that syllable. That is, it sounds like that syllable is held a bit longer before moving on to the next syllable when there's a double consonant ending or following it. In words with the double consonant tt or cc (e.g. - fritto or cioccolato), due to the plosive nature of those consonant sounds, it literally feels like a tiny period of silence before the next syllable is spoken.
UPDATE 2: The plot thickens. Here is the same pronunciation sample pair but on Forvo:
And caramella with a Catalan pronunciation (see Charo's comment below):
With these examples spoken by humans rather than text to speech voices used by DuoLingo and Google Translate (computer generated voices), the effect is very subtle and perhaps non-existent. Although as Charo pointed out, the Catalan pronunciation does seem to have a more pronounced stress accent on me in caramella than the Italian pronunciation does. Unfortunately Forvo did not have a Catalan pronunciation for mela.
Given the above test I am now quite worried that I am picking up some bad habits.