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Instructions for authors

Language in Society welcomes original research reports from all countries. Book reviews and book notes are accepted by invitation only. All contributions should be written in English. Manuscripts of articles and book reviews should be submitted online to Language in Society at Manuscript Central: Instructions for submission are available on the Manuscript Central site.

Preparation of Manuscripts

In order to support our authors and streamline the submission process, Language in Society now provides simplified formatting guidelines for initial submissions. Only accepted manuscripts will be required to conform to the detailed requirements (provided under “Accepted Manuscripts” below), though authors are welcome to make use of the full formatting guidelines at the initial submission stage if preferred.

Initial Submissions

Manuscripts should generally not exceed 10,000 words in length including all notes, references, and appendices, as well as an abstract of no more than 150 words together with at least 3 keywords. All submissions should be typed in an easily readable font, 12-point size, and double-spaced throughout (including abstract, references, endnotes, and extracts). All pages must be numbered. Reviewing of articles will be anonymous as far as practicable, so please avoid undue self-identification in the manuscript.

Title Page: A separate title page should include the title of the article, the author's name, affiliation, full postal mailing address, email address, and competing interest declaration (see below for guidance on what this should look like). 

Competing interests declaration - All authors must include a competing interests declaration in their title page. This declaration will be subject to editorial review and may be published in the article. Competing interests are situations that could be perceived to exert an undue influence on the content or publication of an author’s work. They may include, but are not limited to, financial, professional, contractual or personal relationships or situations. If the manuscript has multiple authors, the author submitting must include competing interest declarations relevant to all contributing authors. Example wording for a declaration is as follows: “Competing interests: Author A is employed at company B. Author C owns shares in company D, is on the Board of company E and is a member of organisation F. Author G has received grants from company H.” If no competing interests exist, the declaration should state “Competing interests: The author(s) declare none”.

Titles should be worded so that part of them may be used as a running head of no more than 50 characters, including spaces.

Tables & Figures: For initial submission, tables and figures may be included in text. Figures should be of high enough quality for reviewing. At the time of submission, contributors should clearly state whether their figures should appear in color in the online version only, or whether they should appear in color online and in the print version. Charges apply for all color figures that appear in the print version of the journal. There is no charge for including color figures in the online version of the journal.

Footnotes/End Notes: Footnotes and end notes should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Information that is relevant to the article should normally be included in the body of the text, eliminating the need for notes. If used, notes should not contain phonetic symbols, statistics or tables, nor should they be used simply for bibliographical information. Their reference point in the text should be clearly indicated with a superscript number. The notes themselves should be numbered and should appear after any appendices and before the references list in the main manuscript file.

Language/Editing: Contributions written in English are welcomed from all countries. Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the editor and any reviewers. Cambridge offers a service which authors can learn about here. Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge published journal.

Accepted Manuscripts

Accepted manuscripts should be submitted as .doc files that can be opened in a Windows for PC system, as well as a .pdf file. Special fonts must not be used.

Automatic Formatting: All automatic formatting must be removed from accepted manuscripts; this includes autoformatted foot/end notes, section hyperlinks, URL hyperlinks, automatically inserted references, and all tables used to format text.

  1. Submissions should not use ANY kind of automatic numbering or cross-referencing, including note numbers, citations, or example numbers. This type of material usually cannot be converted to the specialized application used by the compositor and has to be manually redone by the copyeditor, which potentially introduces errors. All note numbers and notes should be typed as normal text.
  2. Hyperlinks should not be included in accepted articles, either to references or to examples. These are not useful when the article is printed and can cause great confusion if, for example, our format requires numbering something you have not numbered.
  3. Finally, the "Style" function in Word should not be used to apply formats to different parts of the document.

General Stylistics:
Spelling may follow either British or American conventions, but please be consistent.
Standard linguistic abbreviations are in upper case throughout e.g. AUX, NP.
Single rather than double quotation marks should be used for quotations, glosses (including translation meanings) and when words are used with a qualifying sense, as in referring to a 'gold standard' test. Double quotation marks should be used for reported speech. Put commas and sentence-final punctuation marks outside the quotation marks.
Cited words and phrases should be italicized (e.g. 'the word language').
IPA characters should be in the Doulos SIL Unicode font, which is available for download at Any problems in using IPA characters are often resolved by changing to Cambria font.

Tables & Figures:Tables and figures must be uploaded separately. They should be labelled (e.g. Table 1, Figure 1) with a descriptive title. Please indicate in the text approximately where they should appear. Figures should be ready for photographic reproduction: titles, labels and details should be clear and large enough to remain legible after a 50% reduction. At the time of final file submission, contributors should confirm whether their figures should appear in color in the online version only, or whether they should appear in color online and in the print version. Charges apply for all color figures that appear in the print version of the journal. There is no charge for including color figures in the online version of the journal. If you request color figures in the printed version, you will be contacted by CCC-Rightslink who are acting on our behalf to collect Author Charges. Please follow their instructions in order to avoid any delay in the publication of your article.

References: References are to be made in the text by giving in parentheses the name of the author, year of publication, and, where relevant, the page(s) referred to: (Whitney 1867:45–53). If the author's name is part of the text, use the form: Whitney (1867:48) maintained that . . . . When a work written by two or more authors is referred to, all names should be given in the first citation: (Weinreich, Labov, & Herzog 1968). The ampersand (&) is always used for two or more authors. For three or more authors, subsequent citations may use et al. (Weinreich et al. 1968). Separate works referred to in the same parentheses should be in chronological order separated by semicolons: (Whitney 1867; Hymes 1972, 1981), unless the author is the same, in which case a comma is used (Brown & Smith 1988a, 1988b, 1999). Initials should be used before an author's name only when an article refers to more than one author with the same surname. Reference to a footnote or endnote is as follows: (cf. Baker & Crone (1982:239, n. 15), for Indian Ocean creoles.)
All works referred to must be listed at the end of the article with hanging indentation and in alphabetical order. Do not include works not cited in the article. Spell out first names of authors and editors where known. Please note that Journal Titles are Capitalized, but, for articles and books, Only the first word: And the first word after the colon, if any, are capitalized. Examples for formatting different kinds of references follow.

  1. Journal Articles
    Caton, Steve (1990). Speech styles, status, and speaker awareness. Annual Review of Anthropology 80:153-60.
  2. Magazine Articles
    Ruiz, Richard (1992). Unwelcome mats. Harvard Magazine, July/August, 32-35.
  3. Entire Books
    Phillipson, Robert (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Book Chapters
    Lopez, Luis Enrigue (1998). Language revitalization in the Andes. In Jasone Cenoz & Fred Genesee (eds.), Beyong bilingualism and multilingual education, 68-92. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  5. Conference Papers
    Jex, Bernard (1996). Conditions for language revitalization. Paper presented at TESOL 1996 meeting. Baltimore, Maryland.
  6. Reprinted Articles
    Sapir, Edward (1929). The status of linguistics as a science. Language 5:207-14. Reprinted in David Mandelbaum (ed.), Selected writings of Edward Sapir, 160-66. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Other information

Proofs. First proof will be sent to the lead author (or a nominee), who will be expected to return corrections to the Editor by air, fax, or e-mail within three days of receipt.

Offprints. Due to ever-rising production costs, no free offprints will be provided. However, a free pdf version of an article will be provided when it is published. We are sorry that it is not possible to do this for book reviews or notes.

Submission of a manuscript is taken to imply that it has not previously been published or is not being considered for publication elsewhere. If an author is publishing a related article elsewhere, this fact should be stated.

Copyright. Contributors of accepted manuscripts will retain copyright and sign a license to publish with Cambridge University Press, to help protect their material, particularly in the USA.

Open Access. Please visit for information on our open access policies, compliance with major funding bodies, and guidelines on depositing your manuscript in an institutional repository.

Books for review and listing should be sent to:

Brian King
School of English
7.35 Run Run Shaw Tower
University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road, Pokfulam
Hong Kong


Language in Society now requires that all corresponding authors identify themselves using their ORCID iD when submitting a manuscript to the journal. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript submission and grant applications, provides the following benefits:

  • Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you’ve authored.
  • Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your iD or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID record, and will enable you to share this information with other systems and platforms you use, saving you re-keying information multiple times.
  • Keeping track: Your ORCID record is a neat place to store and (if you choose) share validated information about your research activities and affiliations.

If you don’t already have an iD, you’ll need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to Language in Society. You can register for one directly from your user account on Scholar One or via

If you already have an iD, please use this when submitting, either by linking it to your Scholar One account or supplying it during submission by using the “Associate your existing ORCID ID” button.

Last updated 8 March 2021