I was just reading a french text with the word créées (created). Are there any other languages where triple letters, especially vowels, can be found occasionally?
In Hebrew, two different sequences of four identical letters can occur:
- וווו. This is a word on its own. It means "and his hook".
- ממממ. This sequence occurs in words such as ממממן (from a financier), ממממנו (from his financier) and other similar forms. In addition, it occurs in words such as ממממש (from an implementer), ממממשו (from his implementer) and other similar forms.
Fun fact, in ממממנם (from their financier) and ממממשם (from their implementer), the final letter ם is actually just the letter מ in its 'final form'. So these 6 letter words contain the letter מ five times.
This isn't uncommon in Tamil, e.g.:
- பற்றற்றான், அப்பப்பா, திதததத்தத்
In Arabic there is the verb تترك (ta-tar-ra-ka), which means "to be/become/act like the Turks". This verb, when conjugated in the second person singular form, becomes تتترك (ta-ta-tar-ra-ka) "you become Turkish".
Note that this letter "ت" is repeated only in writing, not phonetically. This is possible because in Arabic the majority of short vowels aren't written so usually a letter will represent a consonant-vowel combination. If you're looking for a "triple sound" you won't find any. For more about syllable structure in Arabic, here's the Wikipedia page.
Japanese has a prefix ō-, meaning "big" and pronounced as a long "o" (as if pronouncing two "o"s in a row), which in kana writing is おお. If this prefix is added to any word starting with お, you'll get three おs in a row: おおおじ oo-oji "great-grandfather", おおおく oo-oku "great-interior" = "inner palace" (of the shogun's castle), etc.
In kanji writing there's 御御御付 o-mi-o-tsuke "miso soup", an unusual orthography exploiting the fact that 御 can be pronounced both o- and mi-. I like to think that the creator of this orthography had a sense of humor; reading it feels like a puzzle (and it doesn't really respect the etymology of the word, "miso broth", for which 御味御付 or 御味御汁 would be better ways of writing it).
If you're more interested in sound than writing, there are several cases where a sequence of two long ōs follow each other, making for an extra-long sound; e.g. hōō "Pope", sōō "suitable", Tōō "Eastern Europe" etc. Likewise with long "e" there’s kēē "management", sēē "elite".
In French, you can say créée or créées, as the feminine past-tense fo créer, which is to create in English. For the past tense of any verb consisting of être, (être né) or to be born, we add an extra e for the female conjugation. An example of this in a sentence is. Les filles d'esprit ont été créées il y a 5,000 années, (the spirit girls were created 5,000 years ago).
Surprisingly, you can also find some words in English with three consecutive letters in them, but, they are not vowels. The feminine grammar for godship is goddessship, which has three of the letter, s, in a row. So does headmistressship, but again, these are not vowels. Hope this helped! :)
The number 22 in Dutch (and other numbers ending with 2) are written as tweeëntwintig - a compound of twee (two), en (and), and twintig (twenty).
In Dutch, the diaeresis are added to the last recurring vowel to indicate a change in syllable; English has this also with Zoë and naïve.
In Finnish, there are many words where the letter "k" drops out in certain case forms, and this occasionally creates a sequence of three identical vowels:
vaaka "scale (for weighing)" : genitive vaa'an "of (the) scale"
raaka "raw" : genitive raa'an
As you can see, the orthographic convention is to put an apostrophe ("heittomerkki") in the place where the lost consonant would have appeared. This is done wherever the loss of "k" results in a sequence of two or more identical vowels: reikä ("hole") : genitive rei'in, liuku ("slide") : gen. liu'un, and so on.
In biblical Hebrew, we have חננני "have mercy upon me" (Psalms 9:13 - although that's an unusual form; usually it would be with two נs, and the first would be marked with a gemination symbol) and מממלכה "from one kingdom" (Psalms 105:13 and I Chron. 16:20). Other examples would be possible according to Hebrew grammar, such as וווים "and hooks" or כשששה "when six."
In German, you can make up such words on your own, as needed. Find words that ends with two of some vowel, like schnee (snow), tee (tea) and words that begin with the same letter, and you have:
Schneeeule, also written as Schnee-Eule to make it less confusing.
Teeei, also written as Tee-Ei to make it less confusing.
It certainly comes up occasionally, but mainly, I would think, across morpheme boundaries where one is a doubled letter and the other is that same letter but in its singular form (as in the new German orthography Schifffahrt, Balletttänzer, etc) or where a letter has both consonant and vowel values. Undoubtedly at some point uvula and any other words with uvu would in the past have been written identically until the separation of the v from u (if someone could find an old print reference to a vuvuzela then you'd have a quadruple u).
But I would imagine most languages (happy to be corrected, of course) would start to simplify spelling if the extra letters don't change pronunciation, or add in punctuation to separate them (as in shell-less in English)