[Lingtyp] Why cite non-Latin-script literature ONLY in Latin script?

Ian Maddieson ianm at berkeley.edu
Wed Apr 1 05:16:20 UTC 2020

Let’s not overlook the fact that some publishers (and many reference sources, etc) find it too much 
to use an umlaut in German citations.


> On Mar 31, 2020, at 01:10, Joo, Ian <joo at shh.mpg.de> wrote:
> Dear all,
> I would like to ask a question to everybody:
> When citing literature written in non-Latin script, why do some editors require it to be cited ONLY in Latin script?
> For example, this is how I would cite a Chinese book, when writing an article in English:
> Xùliàn旭练Lǐ李.Láiyǔ yánjiū倈语硏究. Zhōngguó xīn fāxiàn yǔyán yánjiū cóngshū中国新发现语言研究丛书. Zhōngyāng mínzú dàxué chūbǎnshè中央民族大学出版社, Běijīng北京
> As you can see, in both the original script (Chinese) and Latin script. But some editors require it to be:
> Xùliàn Lǐ. Láiyǔ yánjiū. Zhōngguó xīn fāxiàn yǔyán yánjiū cóngshū. Zhōngyāng mínzú dàxué chūbǎnshè, Běijīng.
> But why would we not write the original script and ONLY write in Latin script?
> The point of citing literature is to enable the reader to go find and consult it themself.
> But when the author’s name is written as Xùliàn Lǐ, I have no idea how that would be written in Chinese, thus making it more difficult to find the literature when needed.
> So what is the logical purpose of requiring the article to be cited ONLY in Latin script?
> The only logical reason I can think of is that it saves some space – ca. one line per citation. But is that a good enough reason to make things harder for those actually wanting to find and read the cited work?
> I would like to hear your opinion on this matter.
> (I’m asking this question on Lingtyp mailing list, because our subfield makes it necessary for some of us to make extensive use of non-Latin-script literature.)
> From Daejeon,
> Ian
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Ian Maddieson

Department of Linguistics
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131-0001

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