Request: Unified Style Sheet for Linguistic Journals

Since 2007 there's a unified stylesheet for linguistic journals. I want to make a CSL style for that. For future reference, here's the style:

And I'm putting the test items in a collection here:
  • Cool - could you add it to the standards page ?
  • edited September 15, 2009
    Okay, I don't have the time right now, but based on a comparison of the items in the collection above with the reference list in the PDF, here is a list of changes that would have to be made in the Language (LSA) style, which seems to be close enough:

    * Publications without authors (e.g. Oxford English Dictionary) sorted by title (no 'Anon') between all the authors.
    * Issue number like this: 34(1).
    * page ranges for journal articles prefixed by a space
    * No subseq author substitution
    * Period after (ed.) — Lahiri, Aditi (ed.). 2000. ...
    * & instead of 'and'
    * Series bracketed and in Title Case
    * Date accessed for web sources (3 April, 2007)
    * book sections of edited volumes like thus: In Roger Lass (ed.), Cambridge History of the English Language, vol. 3, 187-331.
    * Place + University for dissertations (Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University dissertation)
  • (I'm hoping adamsmith comes along and tells us that this can be done in five minutes...)
  • I added it to the standards page.
    Does it supercede the Linguistic Society of America standard?

    Or are there ridiculously now two "standards" in Linguistics?!

    (and you'll probably tell me that the journals actually stick to neither of them!)
  • Umm... I think the two are distinct. In any case, the LSA standard is only for the journal Language, so the Unified one is more important and theoretically supercedes it.
  • OK. Removed the LSA from the page, since it's not really a standard, but just for their pet journal...

    Just while I'm having a rant about standards, I haven't yet found a single journal in the Sciences which actually sticks to the standards of the Council of Science Editors.

    I don't understand the point of standards if no-one actually uses them...
  • (I have PM-d both you and adamsmith with the question whether you can help me out with this. I get the sense it would really be a matter of minutes for you to whip up the correct CSL. Hope I'm right, but don't mind me if you don't have the time.)
  • yeah, I'll have a look later - though how will you learn if you don't do it yourself :-) (and yes I am kidding)
  • edited September 18, 2009
    sorry. This is far from quick.
    Shifting around all the editor things in a style that's built on a strict sequence of macros takes a lot of time.
    not sure when I'll get to this.

    are you sure this is the closest style? This all seems pretty standard and I'd much prefer to fix a couple of quick things for a style where e.g. editors and edited volume are in the correct order etc.
  • well, OK, maybe.
    Give this a try
    I'm sure that's not there, but maybe you can narrow down the list and give me more explicit:
    looks like vs. should look like
  • Ha! I would have had a look for you (especially since I like your linguistics site!), but the great economist did it all while I was sleeping (on the other side of the rock you see...)
  • edited September 19, 2009
    Oh, I'm really sorry for the imposition on your time! I guess that shows just how disfluent I am in CSL...

    It looks like your xml on github got truncated (it stops halfway the citation block). I'll do a detailed X should look like Y comparison if I get it.
  • oops.
    apparently github truncates the gists after 324 lines? weird.
    you should be able to download from
  • Beautiful! Only three minor changes would be needed:

    1a. (...) Predicting ATR activity, Chicago Linguistic Society
    1b. (...) Predicting ATR activity. Chicago Linguistic Society
    [, after title should be .]

    2. [No subsequent author substitute (always keep full names).]

    3a. Johnson, Kyle, Mark Baker, & Ian Roberts. 1989. (...)
    3b. Johnson, Kyle, Mark Baker & Ian Roberts. 1989. (...)
    [No comma before ampersand in contributors list.]
  • hey, those were actually quick.
    Before I upload it - is the name OK?
    I have changed it to:

    Unified Stylesheet for Linguistics

    I've left the filename as is, i.e. unified-style-linguistics.csl

    also, what would be the dependent styles, i.e. the journals actually using this?
  • edited September 19, 2009
    The name I've seen used most is Unified Style Sheet for Linguistics Journals.

    I haven't come across a definitive list of journals using it, but Language itself (the 'flagship journal' of the discipline, as they say) is definitely one of them ( (Which is kind of strange, since they also still have their own style sheet up.) Also, googling leads to the online journal Semantics & Pragmatics and the SAGE Journal of English Linguistics.

    Additionally, conferences are adopting it — for example the LDLT2 at SOAS.
  • OK, should be up, soon.
    If you're in a hurry, it's here

    Please confirm that everything is working. Once that's the case, I'll add the dependent styles
  • edited September 20, 2009
    Thank You.

    This is perfect, I'm really grateful. The only thing that remains is a typo in the title (Lingusitics > Linguistics).

    By the way, one thing that they have in their examples is authorless publications sorted in the author sort (i.e. authorless Oxford English Dictionary appears between N and P in the author list). I don't think CSL can do this at present, and I doubt it makes sense anyway.
  • edited September 20, 2009
    Shoot, a really minor thing I forgot the first time round:

    4a. [Trends in Linguistics 127]
    4b. (Trends in Linguistics 127)
    [square to round brackets]

    I can do this myself obviously but since you've got the commit capabilities I'm mentioning it.
  • edited September 20, 2009
    oh OK. for future reference, in US-American usage
    parantheses ()
    brackets []
    to avoid confusion.

    style changed and up.

    Hey - how about you write the dependent styles and post them - it's not a lot of work, but it sums up.
    just give them reasonable filenames and then check the dependent styles in the repository for how they look.
    I think we should pay attention to getting dependent styles out there, because apparently the total number of styles matters - although, obviously, what really does matter are the independent styles.

    edit: I think if you really want that we could get it to sort the title for the no author things - although it's a bit messy:
    1. define the author as the title for
    if variable="author" match="none"
    in the author macro
    2. define the title as empty for the same condition in the title macro.
    I don't really care enough about that to really want to do it, but if you want to take a stab I'd be happy to assist.
  • edited September 20, 2009
    Okay, will do.

    So let me get this right — like this? (Semantics & Pragmatics dependent style)
  • Hi folks, thanks for this style sheet - am using it now that Chicago style forces headline capitalization. It's got a few bugs however. One is that anything with a volume number in it will end up with an extra space and period between the title and the volume number. E.g. Skeat, Walter William & Charles Otto Blagden. 1906a. Pagan races of the Malay peninsula. . Vol. 1. London: Macmillan and Co.

    The other bug is that, for the item Thesis, the Type field is forced low caps. So even though I have "M.A. thesis" in the Type field, it comes out in my bibliography as "m.a. thesis". Same with "PhD dissertation". And no, I can't just replace "M.A. thesis" with "thesis" - in many countries, "thesis" applies to both Masters and PhD, so you have to add the M.A. or PhD.

    I just updated to the latest style, FYI. Thanks for any help you can provide.
  • thanks, I have it bookmarked, but won't get to it any time soon.
  • The thesis type issue is now fixed - it'll print the exact content of the field w/o changing capitalization. I can't replicate your volume problem - is that still the case?
  • This style is helpful, and I'm using it for my research. There are (at least) two bugs I'd like to fix, although I'm quite lost trying to edit the style myself.
    The first is the bug above about the extra space when there are multiple volumes. So I can confirm exactly the same thing happens to me, although I'm not sure how to fix it.
    More importantly, the conference presentation type is listed only with place, omitting the conference name entirely. This could probably be borrowed from another style easily, but I'm not sure how to do it, and as-is I need to manually add in the conference name for any conference presentations I'm citing, which is annoying.
    If someone (adamsmith?) who knows how could do this, that would be wonderful. If not, some pointers on how to approach this could help, but I'm really not sure where to start, and at best I can kind of guess where things are in the .csl file.
  • Note that “Conference Paper” is for papers formally published in proceedings. Citations for those do not usually have the conference name cited, but rather the proceedings tittle. For papers just presented, but not published in a proceedings, use Presentstion.

    Can you show a specific example of the volume space issue?

  • Why would "Conference Paper" exist if it is the same as a book chapter then? It includes the "Conference Name" as distinct from "Proceedings Title". (Confusingly it does also have publisher and pages numbers, so you could use it for published proceedings, or book chapter to the same effect.) On the other hand, "Presentation" has "Meeting Name", which sounds to me like something informal, rather than a typical academic conference. So I've been using "Conference Paper" for a presentation, "Book Chapter" for a formal published volume (sometimes "Conference Paper" for informal proceedings), and "Presentation" only for individual talks not at a formal conference (e.g., invited seminar).
    More importantly, almost all of the other formats DO include "Conference Name" (check APA for example, and various others), so this is a DIFFERENCE with this Linguistics style sheet, even if some might argue it is more correct. So I would like the same behavior as in APA, etc. I can check on whether converting to "Presentation" might fix this, but I have thousands of entries in Zotero, and I wouldn't want to switch them only to find some other inconsistency later (or for another style). Only this style omits the conference name, as far as I can tell.

    The volume space issue is just like above. Here are more examples, when there is a number in the "# of Volumes" field:

    Evans, Nicholas. 2003. Bininj Gun-wok: a pan-dialectal grammar of Mayali, Kunwinjku and Kune. . 2 vols. Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

    Jespersen, Otto. 1909. A Modern English Grammar on historical principles. . 7 vols. Heidelberg, Copenhagen, etc.: Carl Winter’s Universitätsbuchhandlung, Ejnar Munskgaard, etc.

    Rohlfs, Gerhard. 1966. Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti. . 3 vols. Torino: Einaudi.

    This also happens when citing a (whole) specific volume:

    Rohlfs, Gerhard. 1956. Vocabolario dei dialetti salentini (Terra d’Otranto). . Vol. 1. München: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

    Rohlfs, Gerhard. 1959. Vocabolario dei dialetti salentini (Terra d’Otranto). . Vol. 2. München: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

    Having a specific volume for a book chapter doesn't seem to be a problem (nor in journals, etc.):

    Zanuttini, Raffaella & J. B. Bernstein. 2011. Micro-comparative syntax in English verbal agreement. In S. Lima, K. Mullin & B. Smith (eds.), NELS 39, vol. 2, 839–854. Amherst: U. Mass.
  • edited July 30, 2018
    Many styles (not APA) have different formatting rules for Conference Papers than chapters or journal articles. As I said, Confernece Paper is for papers published in Proceedings, Presentation is for unpublished papers presented at conferences or other meetings. The APA CSL style explicitly does not include the “event” macro for published proceedings.

    @damnation could you look at the volumes issue?
  • So then this style is "right", and the others that do include Conference Name are "wrong"? I'd much rather see this be hyper-correct (that is, technically wrong, but with additional functionality) than see it removed from the others or not added to this.
    What you're saying makes sense, although as discussed in another thread here that doesn't seem intuitive for users which is why originally it was changed to add the Conference Name to the other styles, though it didn't get copied over to this one.
  • 1. Volume issue (as per Skeat example): fixed
    This now prints like this for me:
    "Skeat, Walter William & Charles Otto Blagden. 1906. Pagan races of the Malay peninsula. Vol. 1. London: Macmillan and Co."

    2. Conference paper:
    Can you specify what is said in the guidelines and compare it with an example as currently printed?

    In the meantime:
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