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Instructions for authors

Language Variation and Change publishes original research reports that are based on data of language production, either oral or written, from contemporary or historical sources. Articles that synthesize or reanalyze a number of research findings on substantive issues will also be considered. Conforming to scientific methodology, the reported findings should be fully replicable from the information provided.

Quantitative analysis of language as spoken in speech communities involves uneven distribution of data across factors (categories). Sufficient information should be provided for readers to evaluate the quantitative analysis, including basic descriptive and summary statistics. Quantitative data should be easily interpretable and fully explained, including the data source, criteria for including or excluding data, and linguistic motivation for predictors. For regression analysis, authors must provide percentages or mean values for the dependent variable and the number of tokens for each factor (category). For any statistical analysis uncommon in the study of linguistic variation, the burden falls on the author to justify the choice of procedure in relationship to the linguistic question and to explain different model assumptions.  

Contributions may be submitted from all countries. All submissions should be submitted electronically to Rena Torres Cacoullos at:

Please include both a Word and PDF version.

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

Copyright. Contributors of accepted articles will retain copyright but provide Cambridge University Press with an exclusive licence to publish their article (or, the case of open access papers, a non-exclusive licence).

Manuscript preparation and style

Manuscripts should be under 10,000 words, corresponding to a total of 40 double-spaced pages. The entire manuscript - including abstract, endnotes, references, and tables - must be double-spaced and numbered consecutively. For the initial submission, tables and figures may be included in the running text. The article should be arranged as follows:

Title Page (page 1). The title page includes (a) full title, (b) names and affiliations of all authors, (c) email address of the lead author, (d) short title of less than 50 characters, (e) a competing interest declaration (guidance on what these declarations should look like is below). All pages following the title page should show the short title plus page number in the upper right corner.

Competing interest declarations - 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”.

Abstract (page 2). Include the full title and the abstract. Abstracts should not exceed 150 words. List up to 5 keywords.

Acknowledgments (page 2). Place below the abstract. Use this section to indicate any grant support, substantial assistance in the preparation of the article, or any other author notes. Acknowledgements should not exceed 150 words.

Text (page 3). Use a 5-character paragraph indent. Do not hyphenate words or justify the right margin. Underscore material that is to be italicized in print. Glosses should be placed within single quotation marks.

References are to be made in the text (not in the endnotes) by giving in parentheses the name of the author, year of publication, and, where relevant, the page(s) referred to: (Vincent, 1982:90-91). If the author's name is part of the text, the following form should be used: 'Vincent (1982) listed several....' For multi-authored works, only the first citation should list all authors: (Weinreich, Labov & Herzog, 1968). In subsequent citations, only the first name should be given, followed by 'et al.': (Weinreich et al., 1968). Separate works referred to in the same parentheses should be listed in alphabetical order; those by the same author should be separated by commas, and those by different authors by semi-colons: (Lépez Morales, 1981; Vincent, 1981, 1982). Initials should be used (before the author's name) only when it is necessary to distinguish between two or more authors with the same surname referred to in the same article.

All works referred to in the text must be listed in the reference section, double-spaced and in alphabetical order.

Examples of references (note the use of punctuation marks within references):

Cedergren, Henrietta I. (1973). Interplay of social and linguistic factors in Panama.

Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University.

López Morales, Humberto. (1981). Velarization of /n/ in Puerto Rican Spanish.

In D. Sankoff & H. I. Cedergren (Eds.), Variation omnibus. Edmonton: Linguistic Research. 105-113.

Tagliamonte, Sali & Poplack, Shana. (1980). How Black English Past got to the present:

Evidence from Samaná. Language in Society 17:513-533.

Vincent, Diane. (1982). Pressions et impressions sur les sacres au Québec. Montréal:

Office de la langue française.

Endnotes may be used when more than a simple citation is required. Notes should be numbered consecutively throughout the text and typed together on a separate page preceding the reference section.

Tables and Figures. All tables and figures should be identified by a short self-explanatory title, including total number of observations when applicable (n = XXX). All tables and figures must be cited in the text.

All figures should be supplied as electronic files: Please supply diagrams and other line drawings as 1200 dpi TIFF or EPS files. Please supply photographs as 300 dpi (or higher) TIFF files. All figures must be legible in greyscale for the print version.

Reporting Results. For regression analysis, provide the rate or mean value for the dependent variable and the number of observations (n = XXX) for each level of a categorical independent variable.

Appendices. Lengthy and technical appendices may optionally appear in the online version only.

Note. In-text references to Tables, Figures, Endnotes, and Appendices within the text should not be linked within the Word Document.


First proofs will be sent by email to the lead author who will be expected to correct and return them to Cambridge within 3 days of receipt.

Publishing your article as Gold Open Access

You will have the option to publish your article as Gold Open Access, enabling the final published version to be made freely available under a Creative Commons license. You might be required to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) for Gold Open Access. You may be eligible for a waiver or discount, for example if your institution is part of a Read and Publish sales agreement with Cambridge University Press. For more information about your Open Access options, please see here. For more information about the benefits of choosing to publish Open Access, see here.

Last updated 21 January 2020