15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

The Acquisition of Vowels in Hungarian: Developmental Data

Krisztina Zajdo (1), Carol Stoel-Gammon (2)

(1) University of Texas at Austin, USA
(2) University of Washington, USA

The current study examined the acquisition of vowel quality by monolingual children acquiring Hungarian, a language with a relatively large vowel inventory characterized by phonemically short and long vowel pairs. Cross-sectional data were gathered from 80 children at the ages of 2;0, 2;6, 3;0, 3;6 and 4;0 years, with equal number of boys and girls in each age group. Production of 28 C1V1(:)C1V1(:) structured forms (14 nonsense and 14 meaningful; first syllable stress) were elicited in a free play situation. The first five productions of each token were recorded using Hungarian orthography by a native speaker of Hungarian who was familiar with the list of elicited tokens. Vowels were judged for acceptability of vowel quality. Findings showed that, as expected, older children (both boys and girls) produced vowels with higher accuracy than younger children. In general, mastery (e.g., a 90% accuracy level) was reached earlier for unrounded than for rounded vowels. Among the back rounded vowels, mid vowels exhibited higher accuracy than high vowels. Accurate production of front rounded vowels proved most challenging in all age groups in both genders.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zajdo, Krisztina / Stoel-Gammon, Carol (2003): "The acquisition of vowels in Hungarian: developmental data", In ICPhS-15, 2229-2232.