ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Bárkányi Zsuzsanna - Gráczi Tekla Etelka

nyomtatható változat

Bárkányi, Zsuzsanna - Gráczi, Tekla Etelka (Budapest)

Voiced fricatives in Hungarian in utterance-final position

The aims of this presentation are to provide acoustic data on word- and utterance-final voiced fricatives in Hungarian (lacking in Hungarian phonetic and phonological literature) and to demonstrate that the phonetic properties of these segments have phonological consequences. We also show that although the voicing of these fricatives is (partially) lost in uttarance-final position, the phonological contrast with their voiceless pairs is not completely neutralized. There are other phonetic parameters (e.g. vowel and fricative duration, low-frequency energy before the fricative) that help to maintain the contrast. However, we also demonstrate that voiced fricatives in this position are not fully recoverable perceptually. This also means that phonetic features that have been thought to be redundant in the phonology of Hungarian are actually crucial for maintaining the voicing contrast in phonetically unfavorable (i.e. impoverished) contexts.
It is well-known in the literature that for the articulatory system to target voicing and friction at the same time an uneasy balance needs to be maintained since the production of high amplitude fricative noise and voicing involves contradictory articulatory gestures and aerodynamic events (e.g. Stevens 1998, Johnson 2003, Jansen 2004, Fuchs & Brunner 2005). In recent studies (Kiss & Bárkányi 2006, Bárkányi & Kiss 2010) it has been demonstrated that the double-faced phonological behavior of [v] in Hungarian (in voicing assimilation and phonotactics in some cases it patterns with obstruents, in others with sonorants) can be explained with the phonetic properties of this segment and those of its immediate context. It has also been demonstrated (Bárkányi & Kiss 2009) that in the (partial) recognition of utterance-final [v] the preceding vowel plays at leas as important a role as the intrinsic properties of the fricative itself.
We hypothesize that [z] and [Å] will also be realized unphonated or partially unphonated in utterance-final position but to a smaller extent than [v] as for compact fricatives it is less difficult to produce friction and voicing at the same time.
The acoustic experiment was carried out with 6 male and 6 female speakers of Standard Hungarian. The test sentences contained the nonsense word lalaC, where C was either [v], [f], [z], [s], [Å] or [Ð].

Test words appeared in i) utterance-final and ii) sentence-medial position. Each sentence was read 4 times in random order, distractors were also included. The fricatives in utterance-final position were realized rather unphonated over 70% in the fricative interval, but there is a statistically significant difference between the phonologically voiced and voiceless segment (1). However, contrary to our predictions, we did not find a statistically significant difference between compact and diffuse voiced fricatives. In accordance with earlier observations in other languages (e.g. Wells 2000) the vowels preceding voiceless obstruents are considerably shorter than those preceding voiced ones and the vowel:consonant ratio is also significant. We also found that in phonologically voiceless fricatives phonation often ceases before friction starts - to our knowledge, a result not reported yet.


Bárkányi, Zsuzsanna and Zoltán Kiss 2009. Hungarian v: Is it voiced?. In: Robert M. Vago and Marcel van Dikken (eds.): Approaches to Hungarian 11. Papers from the 2007 New York Conference <http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=ATOH 11>. Amsterdam & New York: John Benjamins. pp. 1-28.
Bárkányi, Zsuzsanna and Zoltán Kiss. 2010. A phonetically-based approach to the phonology of v: A case study from Hungarian and Slovak. In: Artemis Alexiadou and Alan T. Hall (eds.): Turbulences. The Phonetics and Phonology of Turbulent Sounds (Interface Explorations Series) <http://www.degruyter.de/cont/glob/neutralReiEn.cfm?rc=15981>. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Fuchs, Susanne and Jana Brunner. 2005. Conflicting requirements for voiced alveolar fricatives. Paper presented at the Conference on Turbulences, 13-14 October 2005, Berlin.
Jansen, Wouter. 2004. Laryngeal Contrast and Phonetic Voicing: A Laboratory Phonology Approach to English, Hungarian, and Dutch. Doctoral dissertation. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Johnson, Keith. 2003. Acoustic and Auditory Phonetics (Second Edition). Malden, MA & Oxford: Blackwell.
Kiss, Zoltán and Zsuzsanna Bárkányi. 2006. A phonetically-based approach to the phonology of [v] in Hungarian. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 53: 175-226.
Stevens, Kenneth N. 1998. Acoustic Phonetics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Wells, John Christopher. 2000. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Harlow: Longman/ Pearson Education.

In English.

(1a) Realization of -a[z]

(1b) Realization of a[s]