Recent advances in Q Theory: Segment strength

Martha Schwarz, Myriam Lapierre, Karee Garvin, Sharon Inkelas


Using Q Theory, in which canonical segments are represented as a sequence of three subsegments, this paper develops a scale of vowel quantity, ranging from 'superlight' single v subsegments to 'heavy' or geminate vowels consisting of four subsegments. An Optimality-Theoretic analysis of quantity-sensitive stress assignment is developed, in which stress is preferred on vowels with more subsegments. A case study of the Jê language Panãra demonstrates that a single language can draw a four-way vowel quantity contrast, to which the stress system is sensitive.


segments; subsegments; Q Theory; quantity-sensitive stress; vowel length

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2019 Martha Schwarz, Myriam Lapierre, Karee Garvin, Sharon Inkelas

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America

Advancing the Scientific Study of Language since 1924

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.