I have a couple of examples of degemination and prenasalization of the same geminate affricate/stop in Calabrian:

  1. "menzu", which should have evolved from "mediu(m)" through "mezzu", or maybe this assumption is just because I'm Italian and want to reduce this Calabrian word to its Italian counterpart "mezzo";
  2. "mentu", which Sicilian Wiktionary links to Latin "mitto", which would be Italian "metto"; the other (to me) strange evolution is the "i" becoming an open "e" /ɛ/, which in Sicilian normally doesn't happen, but that is another matter.

So I ask: how common is the phenomemon of an afficate/stop both degeminating and prenasalizing, in Sicilian specifically but also more generally in other languages? And are the above etymologies correct?

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    I can't say whether the etymologies are correct, but another plausible path by general principles would be affrication of /d/ -> medzu (possibly triggered by the /i/), and this could have become a geminate later on. You'd need to find historical records and compare other cases to make a call. Prenasalisation is not unexpected here: both gemination and prenasalisations are instances of fortition, so they are parallel, and make sense especially since they occur in the same environment across different (then) dialects. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case. Aug 22, 2017 at 15:23

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What is usually called “dissimilation of geminates” is a well-known phenomenon in Semitic languages and in words borrowed from Semitic in other languages. A few examples with nasals:

Hebrew šabbòṯ “Sabbath, Saturday” > Aramaic šabbṯā > Persian šambih, Geʽez sanbat, Church Slavonic сѫбота, Old High German sambaztag > New High German Samstag.

Persian gumbaδ < Aramaic qubbṯā ”dome”.

And with r/l:

Arabic ʼarmala “widow” < Aramaic armaltā < *almartu < Akkadian almattu “widow, woman without financial support”.

And lots more.

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