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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Style Sheet

Style sheet for Languages of the Caucasus  

Dec. 17, 2014 | Click to download a PDF of this style sheet

Preparing an article for submission

Use the "Submit Article to this Journal" button. If there is a problem with that link, it is possible to email the paper as a pdf attachment to:

Since we use double-blind peer review (reviewers do not know the author's identity and vice versa), articles submitted for review must be anonymous. This means:

  • Your name does not appear on the abstract, title page, page headers, etc.
  • Do not include acknowledgments in the review copy, since they often give away the author's institution and identity.
  • Do not use wording like "In Smith 2010 I showed that..." or "As I have argued previously (Smith 2010)..."
  • When submitting the article as a pdf, make sure your name or institution is erased from the Properties menu (from the hanging menu: File > Properties > Description). 

Style sheet

This style sheet is based on the Language style sheet and the Unified [bibliographical] Style Sheet for Linguistics:

Articles submitted for review should follow the style sheet as closely as possible. Accepted articles sent in for publication must follow it.


The abstract is submitted as a separate document. An abstract should be about 200 words long and should briefly lay out the research question, issue, or hypothesis; the language(s) and data investigated; the method or approach; and the findings. Try to avoid wording like "The article shows that..." or "The author argues that..."; just summarize the article's issue and findings. Here is a canonically written abstract that may be a helpful model:

A generally accepted universal property of anaphors in reflexive and reciprocal constructions is that they cannot occur in the subject position of a main clause with a non-subject binder in the same clause. In this article a number of languages are examined that have reflexive elements resembling subjects. But it is argued that some of them can be shown not to be anaphoric pronouns or never to occur in the subject position of active main clauses. Even those languages such as Sanzhi Dargwa (Nakh-Daghestanian) in which anaphoric pronouns can fulfill more prominent semantic functions than their binders are claimed not to have subject anaphors simply because they do not have subjects. The article also offers a semantic explanation for why anaphors can and sometimes even must occur as agents and experiencers in reflexive (and reciprocal) constructions in Sanzhi Dargwa and in other related languages.

(Forker, Diana. 2014. Are there subject anaphors? Linguistic Typology 18:1.51-82.)
(DOI: 10.1515/lingty-2014-0003, May 2014)


The article itself:

Text: Use Times or Times New Roman or a font similar to those. Font size 12 pt. for the main text, 10 pt. for footnotes. (For fonts in examples, see below.)

Examples, tables, figures, etc. should be included in the text of the article close to where they are mentioned (not separately at the end). (On a separate page in the text is OK. In any case try to position each one so as to avoid crossing a page break.)

Use footnotes, not endnotes.

Citations of bibliography in the text should be in this form: Dumézil 1933:270; Kibrik et al. 1996:35; Kibrik & Kodzasov 1998:101. Do not parenthesize references unless parentheses are part of the regular sentence punctuation, e.g.:

.. the main work in the area is Dumézil 1933:270

but       ... as Dumézil himself had previously shown (1933:270)

The bibliography should be at the end of the article, starting on a separate page. (See separate instructions below.)

Leave a blank line before major section headings, and before and after examples, figures, and paragraphs.

Indent every new paragraph (as is done in this style sheet).

Format of linguistic material

Especially for Nakh-Daghestanian and West Caucasian, our field is still working out ways of reducing the complex sound systems to readable and easily reproducible writing and ways of representing complex morphological and syntactic structures readably. Also, for languages with long-standing transliteration systems and large communities of users in fields such as history it can be important to use a transcription or transliteration system that will not hinder finding works in libraries and bibliographies, entries in dictionaries and encyclopedias, etc. Therefore Languages of the Caucasus does not impose any single system of interlinearization or transcription. The following sections attempt to strike a user-friendly balance between existing traditions and international standards.

Examples and cited forms

For examples longer than a word or two, use the standard three-line interlinear consisting of the example itself in transcription or transliteration, an interlinear line with glosses aligned word by word or morpheme by morpheme under the example line, and a translation line. Widely used standards are the Leipzig Glossing Rules:

These should be followed in general plan but not necessarily in every respect, as long as you explain your abbreviations and conventions.

If you wish you may use two example lines, one in broad phonetic transcription and one in a more abstract transcription. You may also add an additional line for orthography.

Interlinears and translations should be in Latin regardless of what language you are writing in.

For single-word and other short examples not requiring an interlinear, use this format: Ingush oalxazar 'bird'. Cited form in italics, gloss surrounded by single quotes.

Transcription and transliteration

Use phonetic transcription only when phonetics is at issue (i.e. when examples are to be sounded out). Otherwise, aim for readability: use a phonemic (or more abstract) transcription, transliterated orthography, or the orthography itself for languages with a Latin orthography. (Keep in mind that non-Caucasianist readers will mostly read the interlinear line, not the actual example.)

Usual practice for transcription of Caucasian languages is to use a Trubetzkoy-like system using š, č,etc.; j for the palatal glide; apostrophe for ejectives (c', q', etc.) ʕ for pharyngeals (whether true pharyngeal, epiglottal, or other); ʔ for glottal stop. Do not use capital "I" (Roman numeral one or the first letter of Italy) for pharyngeals, since it is indistinguishable from lower-case "l" (the first letter of language) in most fonts.

For languages spoken in Azerbaijan or Turkey, usual practice is to use a transcription based on Turkish orthography. For Kartvelian languages, preferably use an apostrophe rather than underdot for ejectives (c', k', etc.); for Georgian, preferably write this apostrophe for q' as well.

Geminate or fortis consonants can be written with doubled consonants (tt, etc.) or with a colon or macron. Double consonants are most easily readable and probably preferable, as long as geminate or fortis consonants are not in contrast with sequences of two identical consonants. Similarly, long vowels can be written with a macron, a colon, or a doubled vowel ( aa, etc.).

For phonetic transcription see the IPA website: and

Whatever your transcription system, use a Unicode font.

The interlinear and translation lines should be in Times or Times New Roman (the same as the prose text), but the font(s) used for transcription can be different.

Formatting of tables, diagrams, etc.

These things should be self-standing, i.e. a reader should be able to look at only the table or diagram (and its label and caption) and understand what it is about and what the entries mean, without reading the entire article. The label should state what the item is about, and the caption should clarify any symbols, abbreviations, and other conventions.


Examples should be numbered consecutively through the whole text; figures likewise.

Format of bibliography

It should contain all and only works referred to in the article. Arrange references alphabetically by author's last name, and follow this format (examples below):

Author's name, last name first, followed by a period. Give the full first name (not initials). A middle name or Russian patronymic can be just an initial.

Year of publication, followed by a period.

For articles and chapters: Article or chapter title, followed by a period. Do not use quotes around titles.

Book or journal title, italicized. Followed by either a comma plus page numbers (for articles and chapters) or a period (if the item referred to is a whole book).

(Optionally, in parentheses, series title and volume number. See Fähnrich 2012 example below.)

Place of publication


The first line of each entry is flush with the left margin, and the others are indented.

Capitalization should be as in the source itself (except that headline capitalization of English book titles is best avoided: see Suny 1994 below).

Here are some examples:

Journal article:

Dumézil, Georges. 1933. Textes avar. Journal Asiatique 222.265-302.

Trubetzkoy, Nikolai S. 1931. Die Konsonantensysteme der ostkaukasischen Sprachen. Caucasica 8.1-52.


Fähnrich, Heinz. 2012. Die georgische Sprache. (Handbuch der Orientalistik, 22.) Leiden: Brill.

Gudava, Togo Evstaf'evič. 1964. Konsonantizm andijskix jazykov. Tbilisi: Georgian Academy of Sciences.

[Also OK: Gudava, Togo E.]

Kibrik, Alexandr E., Sergej G. Tatevosov, and Alexander Eulenberg. 1996. Godoberi. Munich: Lincom.

Suny, Ronald Grigor. 1994. The making of the Georgian nation,2nd ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Edited book:

Holisky, Dee Ann, and Kevin Tuite and Kevin Tuite, eds. 2003. Current trends in Caucasian, East European, and Inner Asian linguistics: Papers in honor of Howard I. Aronson. (Current issues in linguistic theory.) Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Book chapter:

Friedman, Victor A. 2006. Lak folktales: Materials for a bilingual reader, part one. Who is most important? In Howard I. Aronson, Donald L. Dyer, Victor A. Friedman, Daniela S. Hristova and Jerrold M. Sadock, eds., The Bill Question: Contributions to the Study of Linguistics and Languages in Honor of Bill J. Darden on the Occasion of his Sixty-sixth Birthday, 111-116. Bloomington: Slavica.

[Or, if you refer to more than one chapter in the same book:]

Friedman, Victor A. 2006. Lak folktales: Materials for a bilingual reader, part one. Who is most important? Aronson et al. eds., 111-116.

Authors' names and titles not originally in the Latin alhabet should be transliterated in a standard academic Latin transliteration. For Russian use the first column (Scholarly) in the table here.

Exceptions: For authors with previous publications in languages using the Latin alphabet, it is OK to use the spelling they have used before. Example: Gamkrelidze (not Gamq'relidze).

Expository organization

Articles should be issue-oriented or problem-oriented and evidence-based.   Use a standard or otherwise straightforward organization, preferably with numbered sections and subsections and informative titles for each. Typically these consist of:

  1. Introduction, laying out the research question, issue, problem, or hypothesis. Include only the references needed; do not aim for a lengthy review of literature.
  2. A section on methods or plan of argument, laying out how you define and approach the problem.
  3. Results or findings, with discussion.
  4. Conclusions and implications.

Approxiately this kind of organization should be followed regardless of what language you are writing in.

Do not use editorial 'we'. For single-author papers, refer to yourself as "I" and "me".

Try to avoid using a paragraph starting out "The structure of the article is the following..." Rather, make the organization clear from the title, the numbered sections, and the abstract or introduction. If it is necessary to clarify the nature of argument to be used in advance, then do that (probably at the beginning of the Methods section), but do not devote a whole paragraph to a prose outline of the whole paper. (And note that something like "Section 3 presents the syntactic argument" is not very informative anyway.) Here is an example of an informative advance summary of an argument:

"In order to establish that clitic pronouns (person markers, PMs) do occur inside words in Udi, I must demonstrate three things: (i) where these clitics occur under various conditions, (ii) that they are indeed clitics, and (iii) that the units inside of which they occur are indeed words. I will first introduce some general characteristics of Udi grammar that are necessary for interpreting the examples."

(Harris, Alice C. 2000. Where in the word is the Udi clitic? Language 76.3.593-616.
Quote from p. 594; this is near the end of the Introduction.)

Write as concisely as possible. Keep the paper as short as possible. If it is longer than about 20,000 words, maybe it should be split into more than one paper each dealing with a single topic.

Write in paragraphs. A standard paragraph starts with a topic sentence, presents the data or points needed to demonstrate or support the topic sentence (ideally about three points of support), and optionally ends with a generalization or conclusion. A paragraph is usually about one-third to one-half of a single-spaced typed page. It is the basic unit of content that moves the argument a step forward, and readers expect units of about that size or complexity.