What Formats Are Used in Writing Linguistics Papers?


Research papers in the field of linguistics require formatting in accordance with American Psychological Association, or APA, conventions. This style is followed for the general outline of the paper, including in-text citations and references. Linguistics papers, however, have several additional formatting norms, established by the Linguistic Society of America, that should be incorporated into final papers.

Basic Formatting

  • APA style conventions maintained in linguistics papers include setting 1-inch margins for the paper and maintaining a 12 point font throughout, but several additional requirements pertain to linguistics papers. Lines can be spaced at 1.5, or double spacing can be used. An extra blank line appears between sections of the paper, and documents are aligned to the left side of the paper, with only one space after each period. Only the page number appears in the header, and endnotes are used instead of footnotes; they're indicated by a superscripted Arabic numeral following the punctuation mark. Line-end hyphens are not used.

Heading Formats

  • Section headings and their titles give structure and clarity to linguistics research papers. The heading for the first section in a research paper might read "1. Introduction." The number and period are in boldface type. The words are left in regular type, presented in small capital letters, with only the first word capitalized. The first sentence of a section begins on the same line as the heading. One level of subheadings may be used, yielding section headings such as: "2.1." Any sublevel headings below this start with the heading title in small capital letters.

Typeface Rules

  • Varied typeface styles indicate certain types of information. Italics are used for linguistic forms and examples but not for author emphasis, loan words or technical terms, including laws, theories and hypotheses; these unitalicized features are indicated by small capital letters. Boldfaced font may indicate the presence of characters originally Greek in nature or draw the reader's attention to a particular detail within a linguistic example. Ellipses are preceded and followed by a space. The Oxford comma is used in a series of three or more items.

Punctuation and Abbreviation

  • Most punctuation rules follow APA format, such as eschewing quotation marks and using a half-inch indent for block quotes; for linguistics papers, this style is dictated for any quote of more than 40 words. But there are some differences. Single, not double, quotation marks designate a direct quote, unless a quote is cited within the quotation. Quotation marks immediately follow the word before the use of any other punctuation mark. As with APA format, words should be hyphenated only to prevent misreading of a word or when the stem begins with a capital letter, such as non-Dravidian.

Presenting Terms, Examples and Transcriptions

  • Different symbols represent different forms of words or phrases: Square brackets encase phonetic transcriptions, slashes indicate phonemic transcriptions and angle brackets designate graphemes. Content from languages not using a Latin alphabet is communicated using international phonetic alphabet, or IPA, symbols. At the first use of a non-English word, provide a gloss within a set of single quotation marks, as follows: In Latin, one animal name is ovis 'sheep'. Glosses for longer phrases or full sentences should occur on the line immediately following the original form, with a word-for-word transcription in which the word in the original form and its transcription in the next line are vertically aligned, allowing readers to see the connection between the forms. Publishers may dictate additional conventions.


  • Photo Credit ChristianChan/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • Research Methodology in Linguistics

    Linguistic research methodology describes the structure used in the work done by linguists worldwide. The methods span all languages and allow researchers...

  • MLA vs. APA Writing

    MLA and APA writing styles are two of the most common writing styles for any kind of academic papers. Knowing the differences...

  • How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

    A common assignment for a research paper is to write a literature review. However, a literature review has its own structure that...

  • How to Choose an APA or MLA Writing Style

    Both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) writing styles prescribe standardized guidelines for citing sources and formatting...

  • How to Do a Draft in APA Formatting

    The American Psychological Association has established formatting guidelines most commonly followed by disciplines within the social sciences, including psychology, sociology, linguistics, economics...

  • How to Write an Essay in Sociolinguistics

    Sociolinguistics is the study of language through the context of society and social expectations. While formal linguistics focuses on areas such as...

  • How to Write a Short Research Paper

    It's tempting to think that a short research paper involves less effort than writing a lengthy report. But shorter papers require the...

  • How to Cite a Study

    If you are looking to cite a study as a source for your research paper, begin with the citation style your professor...

  • What Is Tentative Language?

    As you finesse your skill at writing academic research papers, your respect for tentative language is bound to grow -- or at...

  • Anthropology Research Paper Ideas

    Anthropology is the study of people and cultures. Within the broader field of anthropology, there are four divisions: physical (or biological) anthropology,...

  • Research Ideas on Sociolinguistics

    Sociolinguistics shows how language affects society and culture and how culture and society affect language. The Linguistic Society of America says language...

Related Searches

Check It Out

Can You Take Advantage Of Student Loan Forgiveness?

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!