Hungarian <i>v</i>

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The present article describes an acoustic study and a perception experiment that investigate the contrast of the fricatives <i>f&#8211;v</i> after sonorant consonants in word-final position in Hungarian. In earlier work (e.g. Kiss &amp; B&#225;rk&#225;nyi 2006) we found that in this context Hungarian <i>v</i> is mostly realized unphonated with considerable frication noise. The present paper shows that although the voicing of <i>v</i> is (partially) lost, its phonological contrast with <i>f</i> is not completely neutralized &#8211; there are other phonetic parameters (e.g. vowel and fricative duration, center of gravity) that differentiate between <i>f</i> and <i>v</i> in this position. However, we also demonstrate that <i>v</i> in this position is not fully recoverable perceptually either, in other words the contrast is not robustly cued enough. The paper also argues that phonetic features (such as the duration ratio of vowels and fricative constriction) that have been thought to be &#8220;redundant&#8221; in the phonology of Hungarian <i>f&#8211;v</i> (and obstruents in general) before are actually crucial and perceptually beneficial for maintaining their contrast in phonetically impoverished contexts.


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