[Lingtyp] Technology standards in conflict with linguistic standards

Guillaume Jacques rgyalrongskad at gmail.com
Sat Jul 4 11:35:28 UTC 2015

Dear Don,

It is obvious to anyone who has learned LaTeX that word-processors like
"word" or "open office" are completely inadapted to the typesetting of
linguistics dissertations or articles. LaTeX is superior in particular for
handling aligned glossed examples (package gb4e), complex figures (tikz),
Stammbäume, cross-references, bibliography, complex scripts and of course
math formulas. I actually now require from all my new MA and PhD students
to write their dissertations in LaTeX (in general, three days are enough to
master the most important commands).

Fortunately, the number of linguistics journal and of publishers accepting
LaTeX is now growing year after year. At the present moment, most if not
all linguistics journals published by the following major publishers accept
LaTeX submissions (only those I have personnally tested; the list is not

Mouton de Gruyter
MIT Press

I rarely have to convert my articles into word format anymore.

Publishers that are still lagging behind with LaTeX include (we should
collectively give them some pressure to catch up with the rest of the
Cambridge University Press (for instance, Journal of the IPA)
Chicago University Press (IJAL)
(perhaps also Wiley)

Some journasl do not use LaTeX files, but will convert them for you (from
my personal experience, Anthropological Linguistics and Journal of Chinese

If you submit to a collective volume for Mouton de Gruyter or Benjamins,
they should be able to handle a LaTeX submission even if most of the volume
is in word, but the editors of the volume may have to insist a little bit.

Best wishes,


2015-07-04 11:22 GMT+02:00 Don Killian <donald.killian at helsinki.fi>:

> Dear all,
> After fighting with Microsoft Word for the past few weeks, I was wondering
> if there is any way we can find additional standards for article and
> chapter submission?
> It seems that a majority of editors still have a fairly strict requirement
> of Microsoft Word and Times New Roman, even if the publisher itself is more
> open to other formats. Times New Roman is more flexible, but I have not had
> very much luck with alternatives to Word (such as Open Office or pdfs made
> from LaTeX).
> This is a problem for more than one reason. The biggest problem I can see
> (in addition to the fact that both Word as well as Times New Roman are
> proprietary!) is that the technological requirements do not actually
> support the formatting requirements we suggest. Neither Word nor Times New
> Roman support the IPA in its entirety.
> While these problems do not affect all linguists (such as those who do not
> have certain sounds in their languages they work on), it definitely affects
> plenty of others.
> For instance, there is no way to change glyph selection in Word, and <a>
> changes to <ɑ> when italicized. It is relatively common to italicize words
> when you mix languages in text. But if you are discussing a language which
> has both a and ɑ, this is problematic. Furthermore, Word has no way of
> rendering the MH or HM tonal contours properly, in any font. Those symbols
> are only supported in Charis SIL and Doulos SIL fonts, and Word renders
> them incorrectly.
> There are plenty of other difficulties (e.g. making a vowel chart), so
> these are just some examples.
> I realize the main reason for using Word/TNR is simplicity and what people
> are used to, but I do find it problematic that our technology requirements
> do not support or make it easy to deal with common problems in our field.
> Is there any way to change this? LaTeX does support almost everything I
> have ever needed, but I admit it is not always very easy to learn or use. I
> would be happy to hear alternative views or suggestions.
> Best,
> Don
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Guillaume Jacques
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