In many languages, my mother tongue included, you frequently encounter words that have an intensified consonant within them, especially if the consonant is between two vowels.
A good idea to demonstrate how intensification of a sound works, is to repeat the respective phonetic symbol, ie: to write it twice. For example, teammate can be pronounced /tēmmāt/, with an intensified /m/. Sometimes, in informal writing, a letter is typed repeatedly to imply intensification: "What the ****** (with three f's) are you doing?"
What I've recently noticed is that intensification is not used in English as much as in the other languages I know (about). Particularly, seldom is a sound naturally intensified inside a word. To be clear, these are (some of?) the occasions where I've come across intensification in English:
- when two words meet, the first ending in the sound that the second begins with: hot tub, teammate.
- when two words meet, the first ending in the sound similar to the one that the second begins with: hot chocolate (with intensified /tʃ/).
- when emphasizing a word: This is absolutely unacceptable (with intensified /l/), She's my (bbb)best friend (with intensified /b/).
But almost never inside a word.
1- Are there any words in English that have internal intensification?
2- If the answer to the above is negative, then can we ask why? ?
3- Was it like this, say, in Old English? Maybe intensification was a common feature of English, but got gradually worn away?
Perhaps it doesn't seem an important issue, but it strikes me as very odd, because intensification is such a naturally and statistically probable thing to happen. Suppose we are to construct words by choosing sounds and chaining them together, abiding by the human limitations of articulation. After a consonant /x/, one of the nearest, and thus most probable consonant sounds to come is /x/ itself, isn't it?
In phonetics, a sequence of two identical sounds is called a geminate. "Intensification" might be misleading, because it also implies a change in the pitch and/or volume of the voice, which don't necessarily happen when geminating a sound.