The VOT of the Hungarian Voiceless Plosives in Words and in Spontaneous Speech

  • Mária Gósy


Due to the various techniques used in experimental phonetics and the language inventories, more and more has been learned about the nature of stops of the world's languages. Stop consonants occur in all languages, with voiceless unaspirated stops being the most common. The differences in voice onset time (VOT) have been termed lead vs. short lag, where VOT itself is defined as the timing between the onset of phonation and the release of the occlusion of the vocal tract.

For Hungarian, no systematic analysis of the stops has been carried out thus far. This paper aims to investigate the acoustic and perceptual properties of VOTs of the three Hungarian voiceless stops when they appear in isolation (in syllables and in words) but also when they occur in spontaneous speech.

The results of the acoustic analysis show a clear difference between careful and spontaneous speech. Bilabials and velars are significantly shorter in fluent speech than in careful speech (18.51 msec and 35.31 msec respectively, as opposed to 24.64 msec and 50.17 msec) while dentals seem to be unchanged (23.3 msec as opposed to 26.59 msec). Therefore, the actual duration of VOT is characteristic of the place of the articulation of stops in spontaneous speech, and VOTs of bilabials and dentals do not differ from each other in careful speech. Vowels following the stops influence them more in careful than in spontaneous speech, which can also be explained by the experimentally confirmed phenomenon of the changing quality of the present-day Hungarian vowels into the neutral vowel. Voice onset time is a specific feature of the Hungarian unaspirated plosive consonants. A further experiment was carried out to define the actual function of the VOTs of the voiceless stops in the Hungarian listeners' perception.

voice onset time plosives articulation differences primary acoustic cue context dependency 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mária Gósy
    • 1
  1. 1.Budapest and Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of SciencesEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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