LSA Style Sheet: 100% More Ease in Writing Great Papers - Custom Scholars

LSA Style Sheet: 100% More Ease in Writing Great Papers

The Linguistic style sheet is a brainchild of the Linguistic Society of America. A little less than two decades ago, the LSA realized that there was no style guide for writings in the field. Much like psychologists, lawyers, and medical professionals, there was a concern that scholars of language did not have a style that was uniquely theirs and specific to their needs.

While it is still quite young, the LSA style sheet is shaping up well to become the premier academic writing style guide for linguists and perhaps even scholars of other disciplines. This style has been worked out in consultation with a broad range of editors, and it reflects broad, though not universal consensus. Most importantly, we see this as a step in an ongoing process: Some journals will adopt this sheet in its entirety, and others will adopt it on most points, but define certain differences, reflecting the norms of a subfield or language-specific tradition.

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The LSA style sheet initiative is one project undertaken by the Linguistic Journal Editors’ group that has been meeting regularly at the LSA meetings and keeps in touch via an e-mail listserv maintained at Ohio State University.

As would be expected, linguists are very interested in dictating exactly how papers are formatted and not just the referencing part only.

Formatting According to the LSA Style Sheet

Of course, there is the basic stuff:

  • Set paper size to Letter, 8½ x 11.
  • Set line spacing to 1.5 throughout the document.
  • Use extra space between sections.
  • Use 12-point font throughout the document (including title, headings, and notes), in a simple roman face except where indicated below (§3).
  • Set margins of 1 inch (2.54 cm.) on all four sides of the paper.
  • Left-align throughout the document (do not justify).
  • Do not use line-end hyphens.
  • Use a single space after all punctuation, not two spaces.
  • Number all pages of the entire manuscript serially in the upper right corner.
  • Do not use any other headers or footers.

 

Then there are more in-depth rules where the LSA style sheet specifies certain things:

  • Do not use italics for technical terms but rather use small capitals
  • Any quotation of more than 40 words is a block quotation and should be indented rather than presented in quotations.
  • The superscript that links material to its reference or citation should come after the punctuation for a break or pause. The superscript numbers should be in roman numerals.
  • The LSA Style sheet does not leave room for choice between footnotes and endnotes. All notes come at the end of the paper with 1.5 spacing and the same font as the rest of the paper.
  • Abbreviations ending in small letters have periods between letters while abbreviations in capital letters do not. For example, e.g. and UN.
  • Use the same roman type size as the body of the text for all headings. The number and the following period should be in boldface; the heading text should be in SMALL CAPITALS. Capitalize only the first word of the heading. Do not use more than two levels of headings: for example, 1 or 2.3 are fine, but not 3.2.4. If a further division of the section is necessary, simply use SMALL CAPS for the subsection heading, with no number.

LSA Style Citation Guidelines

Citation in LSAThe LSA Style sheet favors an author-date-page system. Although, the page may not always be relevant especially today with so many internet sources which are not paginated. It is a parenthetical style. Although, unlike almost every other style, the LSA style sheet does not offer multiple formats for in-text citations. According to the guidelines, either all components of the citation should be in parenthesis or none of them should be. In addition to this, there are more rules to pay attention to and learn before moving on to learning how to cite sources:

 

    • Use periods to separate components like the author and year and commas to separate subcomponents like multiple authors.
    • Use ampersand & to distinguish higher and lower-order conjuncts
    • Use the abbreviation ‘edn’ for edition and ‘ed’ for editor
    • For names with ‘von’ or ‘van’ among other similar elements, it should be in lowercase. Names with elements like ‘Jr’ or ‘V’ should come after the name and be separated with a comma.

LSA Style Sheet Reference Page

The golden rule of referencing sources in academic writing, not just in LSA but all styles, is to provide as much information as possible to allow the reader to easily find that source should they want to. The standard format for referencing in LSA style is:

Author’s surname, given name(s) or initial(s); given name and surname of other authors. Year of publication. Full title and subtitle of the work. For a journal article: Full name of the journal and volume number (roman type).inclusive page numbers for the entire article.

  • This guide requires that the reference page be titled ‘references’ in all caps which is a lot like APA style apart from the capitalization.
  • Speaking of capitalization, book titles and journal names should not use title case but sentence case. This is where only the first letter of the first word is capitalized. Just as well, these names should be italicized.
  • You might pick more than a single chapter from a book or source. Therefore, you should always use ‘in’ to point to the book title after the chapter title. Although, if you have used more than a few chapters, you should probably reference the book as a whole.
  • You should write out the authors’ names as they are in the sources. This means that unless an author has used their initials in the source, you should not do the same when writing out the bibliographic information. This also applies to middle names.

How Does the LSA Style Sheet Compare to MLA Style?

Comparing LSA to MLA. Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Both style guides are aimed at serving scholars in language. However, the intention of creating LSA style sheet was not to replace or compete with MLA but rather to do something different. MLA was created by scholars, for scholars. This means that the style is very concerned with how sources are cited and referenced. While it does offer some guidelines on how to format academic papers, the manual is mostly focused on citing sources and developing the Works cited page appropriately.

On the other hand, the LSA style sheet was developed for linguists, scholars, or otherwise. Thus, the guide does not put too much emphasis on how to cite and reference sources but rather on how to format the paper as well as how to apply different language tools like punctuation in referencing.

The LSA style sheet also differs slightly from other referencing styles. For example, while most, if not all, referencing styles allow for both in-prose and parenthetical citation LSA specifies and differentiates between citing the work and citing the author.

To Conclude…

As much as one might want to generalize seeing as LSA borrows quite a bit from other referencing styles, the above observations make it clear that the style has its individuality and should be studied as such. Some of the rules are completely different from those of other referencing styles. Also, considering the fact that this style sheet is more concerned with formatting makes it a bit more complex, perhaps. This necessitates the input of a professional when you need to apply the style to your paper.

 

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