[Lingtyp] FW: Technology standards in conflict with linguistic standards

Matthias GERNER Matthias.Gerner at cityu.edu.hk
Mon Jul 6 13:14:46 UTC 2015

Dear all,

Latex was created in the 1980s by Knuth, a mathematician, for mathematicians.
It can represent parallel strings of sub- and superscripts, as used in complex mathematical formulas. MS Word cannot represent such expressions.
The effort of learning LaTex is similar to learning a mark-up language (HTML), but significantly less than learning a programming language like Basic, C++.

There are few linguistic publication that would need the expressivity of LaTex.

Department of Linguistics and Translation City University of Hong Kong
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Kowloon, Hong Kong
Web: http://www4.lt.cityu.edu.hk/~mgerner/

-----Original Message-----
From: Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] On Behalf Of Don Killian
Sent: Monday, July 06, 2015 8:45 PM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Technology standards in conflict with linguistic standards

Well, my original question was about lessening restrictions by editors for other types of submissions than Word/Times New Roman. It wasn't strictly addressing standards or lack thereof for journal submissions.

Whether you are in favor of standards or not, forcing linguists to use a proprietary program which is unable to provide for those standards does not seem to be the best option, and it can be very frustrating for writers.

So, basically, I'd like to reiterate Kilu's response:

"I'd like to appeal to editors to have mercy on their LaTeX-using authors and try to develop a workflow that is compatible with PDFs.
Converting LaTeX to .doc is time-consuming and depressing."

If your argument is for diversification, then it seems you would be in favor of my request, even if the reasoning behind it is different?



On 6.7.2015 15:30, Hurch, Bernhard (bernhard.hurch at uni-graz.at) wrote:
> Can anybody tell me why everything must be standardized, unified,
> vereinheitlicht?
> Can’t people live with diversification / in a diversified world?
> Aren’t different styles the (necessary) result of different
> traditions, different discourse types and different views of the world?
> I seem not to know what modern typology is about. Traditional typology
> presumably wasn’t like that.
> Best wishes,
> Bernhard
> Am 06.07.2015 um 12:38 schrieb Martin Haspelmath
> <haspelmath at eva.mpg.de
> <mailto:haspelmath at eva.mpg.de>>:
>> On 04.07.15 08:37, Kilu von Prince wrote:
>>> Dear all,
>>> I agree that acceptance of articles in LaTeX format should be more
>>> widespread than it is at the moment. I may add that the style guides
>>> of many linguistics journals could be significantly improved if they
>>> incorporated more of the established best-practices in typesetting
>>> that are automatically implemented by default LaTeX styles.
>> Moreover, it would be better if linguistics journals agreed on a
>> single style guide, see
>> http://www.frank-m-richter.de/freescienceblog/2015/03/18/how-to-make-
>> linguistics-publication-more-efficient-use-discipline-wide-style-rule
>> s/
>> These issues should ideally be discussed by a committee of
>> linguistics editors, such as the LSA's CeLxJ (http://celxj.org/).
>> There will be a meeting of European linguistics editors just before
>> the next SLE meeting in Leiden (see http://sle2015.eu/programme,
>> "pre-conference mini-workshop"), which will primarily discuss other
>> issues, but where we may decide to found such a committee of the SLE.
>> Regards,
>> Martin
>>> Also, to share a related anecdote,  it is sometimes in fact the
>>> editors rather than the publisher who insist on a submission in .doc
>>> format. I once submitted an articles to a Benjamins journal. When
>>> the editors requested a .doc version, I asked them to speak with
>>> their publisher if they couldn't work with a LaTeX or PDF file. Then
>>> I learned that it was the editors themselves who needed the .doc
>>> file for their workflow during the revisions process. I'd like to
>>> appeal to editors to have mercy on their LaTeX-using authors and try
>>> to develop a workflow that is compatible with PDFs. Converting LaTeX
>>> to .doc is time-consuming and depressing.
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Kilu
>>> On Sat, Jul 4, 2015 at 1:35 PM, Guillaume Jacques
>>> <rgyalrongskad at gmail.com <mailto:rgyalrongskad at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>     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 exhaustive):
>>>     Mouton de Gruyter
>>>     Benjamins
>>>     Brill
>>>     Elsevier
>>>     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 world):
>>>     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 Linguistics)
>>>     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,
>>>     Guillaume
>>>     2015-07-04 11:22 GMT+02:00 Don Killian
>>>     <donald.killian at helsinki.fi <mailto: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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