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Are there double consonants in German that differentiate between words? Like in Italian where for example, "casa" means house and "cassa" means box.

This question is related to the question "Is there a difference in pronunciation between “ist” and “isst”?" in which it was originally asked.

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man/Mann --- offen/Ofen –  Em1 Jun 3 '12 at 19:39
As far as I understand minimal pairs (or Minimalpaare in German) are only about the phonetics. Therefore, it does not make sense to talk about a "minimal pair only in writing". –  user1654 Jun 3 '12 at 19:43
I crossed out this section –  idober Jun 3 '12 at 20:52
On the other hand, many of the minimal pairs are also cases where the only difference in the spelling is the double consonant. –  Philipp Jun 3 '12 at 21:04
More: ist / isst, Rate / Ratte, beten / betten –  Landei Jun 4 '12 at 8:27

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted
  1. Yes, there are double consonants in German that differentiate between words.

    Watte (cotton)

    Wate (facet)

    You can look through this list of words with double consonants and search for more yourself. Happy hunting!

  2. Minimalpaare mit Vorkommen an Doppelkonsonanten (vgl. Vokalquantität)

    Bann vs. Bahn
    Mitte vs. Miete
    Pollen vs. Polen
    Busse vs. Buße
    bette vs. bete vs. bäte
    Hölle vs. Höhle
    fülle vs. fühle

    The latter is taken from Vokalquantität at Wikipedia.

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Maße und Masse –  dgw Jun 4 '12 at 9:20
Besonders schön im Plural: In Maßen vs. in Massen. –  Carsten Schultz May 13 '14 at 20:22
  • das – dass
  • Wal – Wall
  • Hüte – Hütte
  • Schal – Schall
  • Schrot – Schrott
  • Schote – Schotte
  • Scharen – Scharren
  • Nute – Nutte
  • scharen – scharren
  • er ist – er isst
  • Koma – Komma
  • Amen – Ammen
  • Halo – Hallo
  • wir – wirr
  • Raten – Ratten
  • Mate – Matte
  • Magie – Maggie :-)
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+0.5 for Maggi –  Takkat Jun 12 '12 at 21:06

There are also a few examples that are homophones:

  • Mann/man
  • Inn/in
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