Variation, the Height Effect, and Disharmony in Hungarian Front/Back Harmony

Péter Rebrus, Péter Szigetvári, Miklós Törkenczy


The neutral vowels in Hungarian front/back harmony a gradience in neutrality (from most neutral to least neutral) known as the Height Effect. In this paper we examine the relationship between two aspects of the Height Effect: disharmony associated with invariance in suffixes and the gradience in transparency in roots (the only aspect of the Height Effect that is usually analysed in the literature). We will show that there is a parallelism between the differences in the distribution of the various neutral vowels in invariant suffixes and the Height Effect as manifested in the gradience of transparency in roots and will argue that the latter is in fact motivated by the former due to an independently motivated general constraint, Harmonic Consistency, which regulates the harmonic behaviour suffixes in morphologically complex contexts.


Hungarian; Vowel Harmony; Height Effect; Antiharmony; Transparency; Invariance

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