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Linguistics Department

Pawley Hall 450K
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2175
Fax: (248) 370-3144

Linguistics Department

Pawley Hall 450K
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2175
Fax: (248) 370-3144

Style Sheet

Department of Linguistics Style Sheet
Adapted from the Linguistic Society of America

  1. Format
    1. Manuscript
      Use 20 pound paper or any other good typing paper, but preferably not corrasable bond. If your printer uses continuous feed paper, tear off the perforated edge strips and detach the pages from one another before you submit your paper. Use paper of standard size, 8 1/2 x 11. Double space the entire paper, including text, quotes, examples, and references. Leave margins of about 1 inch on all sides. Indent each new paragraph. Number all pages in order at the upper right corner (except page 1) and put your name on every page.
    2. Cover page
      Each paper should have a cover sheet with the following items with normal capital- ization and with no underscore: title of the paper, subtitle (if any), and the author’s name.
    3. Corrections
      Make corrections as neatly as possible in the text, handwritten in ink between the lines or in the margin. Use a caret mark to indicate the point of insertion for added material, and draw a single horizontal line through deletions. Papers with many handwritten corrections are not acceptable.
    4. Underscores
      Use italics for cited linguistic forms and for titles of books and journals only (a single underscore or an italic font; use one or the other consistently throughout the entire paper). Do not use italics for emphasis or to mark foreign words used as part of an English sentence. Do not use underscores for headings or sub-headings.
    5. Punctuation
      Use only single quotation marks for quotes within quotes and for glosses of foreign words. For all other quotes in the text, use double quotation marks (except for lengthy passages of quoted material, longer than forty words, which should be indented 5 spaces from the left margin). If the quote ends with a mark of punctuation, the quotation marks should follow the mark of punctuation. Example: Chomsky writes, ”Universal Grammar is quite important.”

      Ellipsis is indicated by three periods without spaces between them, with a blank space before and after. Use a comma before the conjunction that joins the last of a series of three or more coordinate items: A, B, and C.
    6. Cited forms
      A letter, word, phrase or sentence cited as a linguistic example or subject of discussion appears in italics (use either a single underscore or an italic font), e.g. the word like. Do not use quotation marks for this purpose. But cited forms may also appear in pho- netic or phonemic transcription. Use square brackets [ ] for phonetic transcriptions and forward slash marks / / for phonemic transcriptions. Provide a table of transcriptions if the paper has many phonetic or phonemic forms, or if you discuss many non-English sounds. Symbols between brackets or slants are never underscored. Forms in a lan- guage not written with the Latin alphabet must be transliterated or transcribed unless there is a specific reason for citing them in their original characters. Cited forms in a foreign language should be followed at their first occurrence by a gloss in single quo- tation marks. Phonetic symbols and other special characters should be inserted in the text of the paper with a fine pen or ball point. In typing, leave more than enough space for handwritten symbols.
    7. Abbreviations
      In general, abbreviations should be kept to a minimum and should be used only for words and phrases which occur repeatedly. The meaning of an abbreviation should be stipulated at its first usage, e.g., the model presented in Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (hereafter Aspects). When a paper has an extensive number of abbreviations, a table of abbreviations should be included after the table of contents or title page.

      Abbreviations ending in a small letter have a following period; abbreviations ending in a capital have none. Abbreviate grammatical terms directly attached to linguistic forms, but do not abbreviate such terms in other uses. The surnames of authors and other persons are never abbreviated.
    8. Titles and headings
      It is acceptable to use headings and subheadings. Never underscore any part of a head- ing or subheading. Use normal capitalization.

      When an elaborate organization of headings is called for, use numbers and decimals to indicate sections and subsections. Each numbered section heading or subsection head- ing should be typed flush with the left margin, with the text following beginning with a paragraph indent (5 spaces from left margin). This style sheet provides an exam- ple of headings with numbering, and an additional example follows the style sheet as Appendix 1.
    9. Tables
      Plan each table so that it will fit into the printed page without crowding. Leave ample white space between columns, and double space all entries. Do not use vertical and horizontal rules unless the table would be unclear without them. Column heads should be short so as to stand clearly above the several columns. If you need longer headings, represent them by numbers or capital letters and explain these in the text preceding the table. If two or more tables appear in the paper, number them and refer to them by number. Each table should have a legend below it after quadruple space. The legend contains the table number and optionally a concise title.
    10. Examples
      Extended examples should be numbered consecutively throughout the paper, using small letters following the numbers for each item within the example. An extended model for numbering examples appears as Appendix 2 following the style sheet.

  2. Bibliographic reference
    1. Citations in the text
      Brief citations in the text should take such forms as: (Bloomfield 1933: 77) or (Hockett 1964:240-1). Note that page numbers given here are only for the passage to which reference is made, not for the whole paper. Use first initials of authors only if two with the same last name appear in the same paper as in N. Chomsky and C. Chomsky. If the author’s name is part of the text, use this form: Bloomfield (1933: 264) introduced the term....
    2. References
      Full citation of literature referred to should be given in a bibliography at the end of the paper, which should be typed double space but on separate sheets at the end of the paper. Within the text, brief citation will be made, normally by giving the author’s surname, the year of publication and the page number(s) where relevant. Such brief citations should be given in parentheses in the body of the text and not in footnotes unless they refer specifically to a point discussed in a footnote. The full bibliography begins on a separate sheet following the end of the text, headed by the word References. Arrange the entries alphabetically by surnames of authors; multiple works by one author should be listed chronologically, with suffixed letter, a, b, c, etc. to distinguish several items published in a single year.

      Each entry should contain the following elements: Author’s surname, given name, coauthors if any, given names first, year of publication and title of work. In the case of journal articles, give name of journal, volume number, and the page numbers for the article as a whole. In the case of an article in a collection, give the title of the collection, the editor’s name, and the page numbers of the article. If more than one article is cited from one book, list the book as a separate entry under the editor’s name, with cross references to the book in the entries for each article. For all monographs and books, state the edition, volume number of part number (if applicable), the series in which published (if any), the place of publication, and the publisher’s name. Examples of different types of source materials in proper citation format follow the style sheet as Appendix 3. Students may also consult any recent issue of the journal Language for examples.
    3. Endnotes
      Endnotes are to be used only to add information tangential to the discussion in the paper. Endnotes are numbered sequentially with a raised numeral through the text and are typed on a separate sheet at the end. Each endnote is typed as a separate paragraph with the first line indented. It begins with its reference number raised above the line of type but not marked with punctuation or enclosed in parentheses.

  3. Abstracts
    Consult your instructor or thesis director concerning the need for an abstract.

  4. Other issues of format, reference and related points
    1. General guide
      For any item not covered here in terms of style or format, students are advised to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, fourth edition, and to follow recommendations given there. Students preparing Master’s theses should consult with their director and the Graduate School office concerning details of thesis preparation.

APPENDIX 1– Example of headings and subheadings and numbering format.

3. Phonetics
Phonetics is the study of....

3.1 Consonants
Consonants are sounds that....

3.1.1 Obstruents
Obstruents are sounds that...

3.1.2 Nasals
Nasals are sounds that....

3.2 Vowels
Vowels are sounds that...

3.2.1 Oral vowels
Oral vowels are sounds that...

APPENDIX 2 – Model of a sequence of examples within a text, with format for numbering items within each example


In many languages, there are four major points of articulation for distinguishing consonant sounds. Looking at nasal sounds, we find the sounds specified in (1) with corresponding examples in (2).

  1. a. [m] articulated at the extreme front of the mouth
    b. [n] articulated against the alveolar ridge behind the upper teeth
    c. [ ] articulated against the palate or roof of the mouth
    d. [ ] articulated at the extreme back of the mouth

  2. a. [m] whim, met, simmer, rhymed
    b. [n] win, net, sinner, signed
    c. [ ] Spanish words like ma?ana ’tomorrow’
    d. [ ] wing, singer, think, tongue

Many phonological characterizations of these sounds classify the four nasals as follows:

  1. a. [+ANTERIOR] articulated in the front of the mouth (at or in front of the alveolar ridge)
    b. [-ANTERIOR] not articulated in the front of the mouth (behind the alveolar ridge)
    c. [+CORONAL] articulated with the tongue raised from its neutral position
    d. [-CORONAL] articulated with the tongue not raised from its neutral position

Using the features in (3), we can describe nasals as follows:

  1. a. [m] [+ANTERIOR, -CORONAL]
    b. [n] [+ANTERIOR, +CORONAL]
    c. [ ] [-ANTERIOR, +CORONAL]
    d. [ ] [-ANTERIOR, -CORONAL]

All nasal sounds do not have equal frequency or distribution in English. The closest approxi- mation to the nasal [?] in English occurs in a word like onion. The nasal [?], though it can occur medially and finally, cannot occur initially. The three primary positions in (4), namely, (4a), (4b), and (4d), are also the positions for the six stop consonants in English. Consider (5).

  1. a. [p] [+ANTERIOR, -CORONAL, -VOICED]


The words of every sentence are arranged into units called phrases. There is both a left to right order of phrases, called linear order, and a top to bottom order of phrases, called hierarchical order. Learning English consists in part of mastering these ordering constraints.

Failure to observe the constraints on linear order can lead to ungrammaticality at any time during language acquisition. For example, mature native speakers know that (1b) is ungrammatical. Recall that an asterisk in front of a sentence means that the sentence is ungrammatical, that is, violates a grammatical rule. 

  1. a. The boy ran away.
    b. *Boy the away ran.

Similarly, for a child of eighteen months, (2a) and not (2b) is the grammatical way of expressing the meaning indicated in parentheses.

  1. a. Daddy chair. (= That is daddy’s chair.)
    b. *Chair daddy. (= That is daddy’s chair.)

Changes in hierarchical order often result in ambiguity, that is, multiple meanings. For exam- ple, the phrase the Spanish history books can be structured in two ways, either like the art history books or like the Spanish math books. In the interpretation (3a), Spanish history is a smaller phrase inside the larger phrase Spanish history books. In the interpretation (3b), history books is the smaller phrase inside the same larger phrase.

  1. a. John has the Spanish history books.
    (= the books on Spanish history)
    John has the art history books.
    (= the books on art history)

    b. John has the Spanish history books.
    (= the books on history in Spanish)
    John has the Spanish math books.
    (= the books on math in Spanish)

In addition, failure to observe ordering constraints can lead to meaning changes in both adult language (4) and child language (5).

  1. a. The boy saw the girl.
    b. The girl saw the boy.

  2. a. Mommy find. (=Mommy come and find me; I’m hiding.)
    b. Find mommy. (=I will find mommy.)

The branch of linguistics that studies phrases, including aspects of linear and hierarchical or- dering, is called syntax. Formally, a phrase is a word or group of words that functions as a unit, which means that the language treats it as a whole.

APPENDIX 3 – Examples of citation format.

Barton, David. 1980. Phonemic perception in children. Child Phonology: Volume 2 - Perception, ed. by Grace H. Yeni-Komshian, James Kavanaugh, and Charles A. Ferguson, 97-116. New York: Academic Press.

Barton, David. 1978. The discrimination of minimally-different pairs of real words by children aged 2;3 to 2;11. The development of communication, ed. by Natalie Waterson and Cather- ine Snow, 255-261. Chichester: Wiley.

Best, Catherine T., Gerald W. McRoberts, Rosemarie LaFleur and Jean Silver-Isenstadt. 1995. Divergent developmental patterns for infants’ perception of two nonnative consonant con- trasts. Infant Behavior and Development 18. 339-350.

Best, Catherine T., Gerald W. McRoberts and Nomathemba M. Sithole. 1988. Examination of the perceptual re-organization for speech contrasts: Zulu click discrimination by english- speaking adults and infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 13. 345-360.

Brown, Cynthia and John Matthews. 1991. The role of feature geometry in the development of phonemic contrasts. Focus on phonological acquisition, ed. by S.J. Hannahs and Martha Young-Scholten, 67-112. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Burnham, Denis K. 1986. Developmental loss of speech perception: Exposure to and experience with a first language. Applied Linguistics 7. 201-240.

Cohen, Leslie B. 1998. An information-processing approach to infant perception and cognition. The development of sensory, motor and cognitive capacities in early infancy: From percep- tion to cognition, ed. by Francesca Simion and George Butterworth, 277-300. Hove, UK: Psychology Press/Erlbaum.

Cohen, Leslie B. and Cara H. Cashon. 2001. Infant object segregation implies information inte- gration. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 78. 75-83.

Dixon, R. M. W. 1977. Where have all the adjectives gone? Studies in Language 1. 19-80.

            . 1994. Ergativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eilers, Rebecca E. and D. K. Oller. 1976. The role of speech discriminations in developmental sounds substitutions. Journal of Child Language 3. 319-329.

Eilers, Rebecca E., W. R. Wilson, and J. M. Moore. 1977. Developmental changes in speech discrimination in infants. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 20. 766-780.

Eimas, Peter D., E. R. Siqueland, Peter W. Jusczyk & J. Vigorito. 1971. Speech perception in infants. Science 171. 303-306.

Fikkert, Paula and Clara Levelt. 2002. Putting Place into Place. Abstract for the 25th GLOW Colloquium, Amsterdam.