A Q-Theoretic approach to distinctive subsegmental timing


  • Karee Garvin
  • Myriam Lapierre
  • Sharon Inkelas University of California, Berkeley




phonology, segments, subsegments, Q Theory


This paper presents two case studies of segment-internal timing distinctions which motivate Q Theory, in which each segment (Q) is represented as a string of featurally uniform subsegments (q), e.g. (q1 q2 q3), corresponding to the informal concepts of onset, target, and offset (Inkelas & Shih 2013, 2016, 2017, Shih & Inkelas 2014). We argue, based on Panará and Hungarian, that this representational richness is motivated by the need to represent phonologically tripartite segments, as well as segment-internal timing distinctions that are phonologically contrastive. In addition to supporting existing Q Theory architecture, we also argue for expanding the repertoire of Q Theory further to include phonologically long segments, such as geminates.

Author Biography

  • Sharon Inkelas, University of California, Berkeley
    Professor, Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley




How to Cite

Garvin, Karee, Myriam Lapierre, and Sharon Inkelas. 2018. “A Q-Theoretic Approach to Distinctive Subsegmental Timing”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 3 (1): 9:1–13. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4330.