The Hungarian language seems to have many phonetic features uncommon in other Uralic languages- for example, phonemic voicing in its stops and sibilants and the presence of a labiodental fricative /f/. My question is: are these innovations of the Hungarian language family, or do they come from borrowing? If they are native innovations, how did they arise?

  • Did you mean "phonemic voicing"?
    – TKR
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


According to this Wiki page, Hungarian voiced stops and fricatives result from regular sound change:

  • voiced stops result from a nasal+stop sequence, e.g. nt > d; except for /g/, which comes from Proto-Uralic *ŋ
  • voiced fricatives result from intervocalic stops: VtV > VzV, VpV > VvV

As for /f/, it results from lenition of initial /p/; and likewise /h/ from initial /k/, but only before back vowels.

Of course, these regular sound changes might themselves be ascribable to language contact in some way, since all the new sounds are ones that occur in neighboring Indo-European languages.

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