Notes to Contributors

Manuscripts for publication should be submitted online .

Society membership: Under most circumstances, at least one author on a paper should be a current member of the LSA.  This membership requirement does not apply to book reviews.

Manuscript format/style: Authors of articles submitted to Language are not required to follow the Language style sheet in preparing their manuscript for initial submission. We accept manuscripts in any reasonable format, but it is clearly in the author’s best interests to make a submission as reader-friendly as possible. Any manuscript accepted for publication will need to be revised so as to conform strictly to the Language style sheet. The style sheet is designed to facilitate copyediting and typesetting; the more closely a manuscript adheres to the style sheet, the more easily the copyeditor and typesetter can do their job, and the more quickly the paper will appear. See the complete style sheet online, or review a recent issue of Language for guidance. 

Many submitted papers include references conforming to the APA format, with initials for first (and middle) names.  Language style requires full (customary) first names, so authors of accepted papers should be prepared to provide these.  See the style sheet for details.

Supplemental files: Please see the Supplemental Materials Guide for LSA Publications for guidance on the inclusion of supplemental files. 

Anonymity: All articles submitted to Language must be fully anonymized. Please remove all references to the author(s) anywhere in the submission file, replacing any citations of the author(s) in the text and footnotes with  "Author" and year instead of the authors' name and publication date. The list of references should not include any self-authored work. For details on how to remove author information from the metadata of the electronic submission file, view "Ensuring a Blind Review" (opens in new window) and/or consult the documentation of the software used to prepare the submission. 

Length of manuscript: Submissions to the journal must not exceed 18,000 words of main text inclusive of notes. Authors submitting manuscripts are asked to affirm that the submission is less than 18,000 words and to provide a word count. Our length policy is in place for several reasons: First, the journal’s readership is  not as inclined to read longer papers as much as shorter ones. This leads to such papers not being cited as much, which is not a good result for the paper, its authors, the journal, or the discipline.  Second, overly long submissions are difficult to get reviewed. It is often difficult to find referees for a very long paper. And once referees are identified, it takes them longer to assess the paper simply because there is a lot more to read.  This in turn delays the decision-making process.  Finally, longer papers are more expensive to produce.  The primary cost of publishing a paper, either in print or on-line, involves copy-editing, composition, and proof-reading, and an overly long paper takes more than a fair share of these. Since the publication of one really good long article may crowd out publication of two really good shorter articles, the choice for us is obvious.  Undue use of footnotes contributes to all these factors, so footnotes should be employed judiciously. Submissions that exceed the word limit will be returned without comment or review. Submissions that are within the word limit but otherwise quite long (i.e. over 12,000 words) will be assessed by the editors for appropriateness of their length, and if necessary returned for revision before being sent out for review.

Presentation.  Language is a general journal intended to serve the membership of the LSA.  Thus, manuscripts should be made as readable as possible to non-specialists.  We generally anticipate that readers will have some facility in all areas of linguistics, but papers that appear understandable only to those in narrow specialties will likely be returned unreviewed with a recommendation that the paper be submitted to a more specialized journal.

Submitting more than one manuscript at a time to Language for consideration. While a manuscript is in the review process and until such submission is either rejected or published in Language, authors may not send additional submissions for consideration.  This includes coauthored works (although well-justified exceptions to this policy may be granted by the editor). This does not hold for responses to the ‘Perspectives’ section, or for book reviews.

Submitting to other journals at the same time:  Following accepted ethical practice in academia, authors should not submit the same manuscript to more than one journal at a time. Consider this statement, taken from a general handbook about academic publishing: “Few journals tolerate multiple submissions. In fact, some regard this as a sin so serious that they report it to the author’s department chair. Because you can send your work to only one journal at a time, you should choose carefully.” (Beth Luey, Handbook for Academic Authors, Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 12).

Papers submitted to Language and found to have been submitted elsewhere will be returned immediately without review.  Papers submitted to Language at any stage of the review process, including “accepted for publication”, will be summarily rejected if they are found to be under consideration or previously published in another venue.  Authors with submissions elsewhere that bear similarity to the submitted work are encouraged to send a copy along with the submission to Language.

Submission of previously published work:  Language does not publish previously published papers.  We  regard papers appearing in all print and electronic venues except for working papers and unrefereed online outlets as constituting prior publication.  This includes conference volumes.  However, we do accept for review papers that build on previously published work.  The submission should develop the ideas and evidence along new lines or in greater depth.  If some of the results in a submitted paper have been published elsewhere, the submitted paper should explicitly acknowledge publication of those results. In cases where authors are not sure if the degree of overlap is too great, it is a good idea to send the previous publication along with the submission. Papers that develop sections of books and dissertations, whether published or not, are welcome for review.  In case of questions, contact the editor

Data and referencing.  Editors and referees are asked to pay special attention to referencing and to how data is handled in the submission.  References should not only include the work that the author consulted, but if at all possible the original source as well.  Data sources should be clearly referenced and, if publicly available, cited as such, e.g. with a url, or appended to the article as supplementary material.  Where the data is not publicly available, (and there are often good reasons why it is not), authors should explain why it is not made available—typically in a footnote in the paper.   Generally speaking, articles reporting results of empirical studies such as quantitative analyses or experimental results should allow replication by other researchers based upon the article’s contents and references.  Availability of field notes, for instance, clearly depends upon circumstances, but if such notes are available they should be referenced and made available if practicable.  Authors of articles reporting judgments such as acceptability or meaning judgments should be prepared to further substantiate their judgments if called into question by referees or editors, and may anticipate the possibility of such questions for their most crucial examples. Authors reporting original field work should be careful to report the appropriate metadata--where and when data was collected, how it was collected (in detail), and properties of those it was collected from including age, education, gender, whether bi- or multi-lingual etc., along with a report on the general conditions of the language and community.

Authorship. Complete and accurate identifying information for all authors, along with their email addresses, where possible, must be provided on the initial submission of a manuscript.  The corresponding author should be clearly indicated. Changes to a paper's authorship after the fact must be requested in a letter to the Editors clearly stating why the change is necessary, and must be confirmed by the non-corresponding authors in a brief email message to the Editors. The ultimate decision to make changes after the initial submission rests with the Editors.

Copyright: As of 2013, authors retain copyright of their work. The Author License Agreement (download fillable PDF) is available for review in advance of submission.

Manuscript form for book reviews: Manuscripts of reviews should be submitted in to the Review Editor. Book reviews and book notices are solicited by the Review Editor and they must adhere as closely as possible to the Language style sheet on first submission. For more information, visit the Language Book Review web page.

Review articles submitted to Language are evaluated in the same way as general articles, and the author must be a member of the Society. These, like book reviews, are generally invited works.