Hungarian neutral vowels: A microcomparison
In Hungarian, stems containing only front unrounded (neutral) vowels fall into two groups: one group taking front suffixes, the other taking back suffixes in vowel harmony. The distinction is traditionally thought of as purely lexical. Beňuš and Gafos (2007) have recently challenged this position, claiming that there are significant articulatory differences between the vowels in the two groups.
Neutral vowels also occur in vacillating stems. These typically contain one back vowel and one or more neutral vowels, and accept both front and back suffixes, with extensive inter- and intra-speaker variation. Based on Beňuš and Gafos’s line of argument, the expectation is that vacillating stems will display a kind of phonetic realisation that is distinct from both harmonic and anti-harmonic stems.We present the results of an ongoing acoustic study on the acoustics of neutral vowels, partly re-creating Beňuš and Gafos’s conditions, but also including vacillating stems. To map the extent of individual and dialectal variation regarding vacillating stems, a grammaticality judgement test was also carried out on speakers of two dialects of Hungarian, crucially differing in the surface inventory of neutral vowels. We present our first findings about how this phonetic difference influences the phonological behaviour of vacillating stems.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).