Style guide


  • All contributions must be copy-edited before submission and again if substantial changes are made. Please follow the guidelines provided below. For general matters not covered here, please consult relevant style guides for assistance. We recommend New Hart’s Rules, Oxford University Press, 2005 and the Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition), Chicago University Press, 2003. Concerning reference lists, please follow our style regarding punctuation and abbreviation (or the lack thereof) and only use the abovementioned style guides for guidance on what information to include.

Heading levels

  • Please limit the use of internal headings to no more than two levels after the chapter title. These may be formatted as follows:
    • Heading 1: Bold type 14 pt Times New Roman. Please leave a line open before the heading (but not after it) by pressing Enter on your keyboard.
    • Heading 2: Italic type 14 pt Times New Roman. Please leave a line open before the heading (but not after it) by pressing Enter on your keyboard.


  • Please indent paragraphs using the standard indentation of your word processing program. Do not leave any blank space between paragraphs.


  • Multilingual Margins accepts any spelling conventions as long as these are applied consistently throughout the paper.


  • We follow the conventions set out below.
  • Quotation marks.
    • Quoted matter: enclose in single quotation marks; the full stop follows the closing quotation mark, unless it is part of the quoted sentence itself. Commas that break a quotation are included in the quotation, but not commas that form part of the containing sentence.

Mazrui (1995: 168) mentions that language may have a ‘dual community role as an instrument and as a symbol’.

Williams, Bórquez and Basáñez (2008: 18) continue, ‘Although the language barrier remains a problem, many journals now provide abstracts in English and, increasingly, journals and databases are encouraging bilingual and multilingual publication.’

‘In some Bantu languages,’ he explains, ‘nouns start with an initial vowel (or preprefix)’ (Miti 2009: 39).

They note how these ‘produce desire and aspiration’, and how this is done ‘across many varied scales, involving different languages, different registers and variable media’ (Stroud and Mpendukana 2009: 372).

    • Quotations within quotations: enclose in double quotation marks.

According to Banda (2009: 173), ‘These “school inspectors”, as they came to be known, were unpopular with African teachers’.

    • Other uses:
      • Enclose newly coined, unfamiliar or ironically used words or phrases in single quotation marks.

His notion of ‘linguistic citizenship’

      • Enclose the translation of non-English words or phrases (in an English article) in quotation marks.

Here the word pasella means ‘free and without cost’.

  • Serial comma (Oxford comma).
    • Please use the serial comma before and and or in a list.

multilingualism, participatory democracy, and socio-economic development

mother tongue, second additional language, or third additional language

  • Hyphens and dashes.
    • For page and date ranges please use an unspaced en dash (Ctrl+minus sign on your keyboard’s number pad; or Alt+0150).

2000–2007; 159–161; January–March, but 6 January to 8 March

  • Forward slash (/) or solidus.
    • Avoid using the forward slash, rather replace it with and or or, or select the most appropriate term to use and discard the other.
  • Ampersand (&).
    • Avoid, except where a publisher’s name or other company name contains it.

Type treatments

  • Italics.

Use for the following purposes:

    • To mark a word or a letter used to refer to itself.

The term multiliteracies is used [but, the notion of ‘linguistic citizenship’]

They use the word dispensation to denote this.

The letter y represents more than one sound in English.

    • For words and short phrases in another language, unless these are words that have become familiar in English (like ‘et cetera’, ‘veldt’, ‘wanderlust’) or are commonly used scholarly terms like ‘et al.’ and ‘i.e.’ (or where italics will cause confusion, as here, where quotation marks were used so that readers are not prompted to italicize familiar words).
    • For emphasis – use sparingly.
  • Bold type. Avoid, except for headings.


  • In general we opt for a ‘down style’, please avoid unnecessary capitalization of terms, ranks and titles. Only use capital letters for the full names of buildings, institutional bodies , etc. (see below).
  • Titles and ranks. Use capital letters only when the title or rank is used before the name as part of the name. When the title alone is used in subsequent references, use lower case.

Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu; the archbishop; Desmond Tutu, emeritus archbishop of the Anglican Church

President Barak Obama; the president; Barak Obama, president of the United States

Rector Brian O’Connell; the rector; Brian O’Connell, the rector of the University of the Western Cape

He wanted to become prime minister.

  • Buildings and institutional bodies. Use capital letters for the full name, but lower case for subsequent references where only the generic term like building, choir, or committee is used.

the Wilcocks Building; the building

the Libertas Choir; the choir

the Central Research Committee; the committee

the Post Graduate Board of Studies; the board

  • Chapters, sections, tables, figures, notes. Please use lower case in reference to the components of your text.

see table 1

as explained in note 3

the image in figure 5

  • Headings. Capitalize only the first word and proper names.
  • Titles of works. Please capitalize headline style (i.e. capitalize all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions; do not capitalize articles, prepositions, and the conjunctions and, or, nor, but, for)
  • Specific cases. What follows is a list of specific words and phrases with which authors may struggle, or for which we have a preferred treatment.
    • Diaspora – capitalize only in reference to the Jewish Diaspora, for all other references use lower case.
    • Internet



  • Reference all direct quotations.
  • Authors guarantee that all quotations are accurate and precisely as found in the source – no misspellings or omissions. Where the original contains errors, please indicate with (sic). Where a word or affix is inserted for clarity, please indicate using square brackets. It is, however, not necessary to indicate that the first letter of a quotation has been changed to upper or lower case in order to fit in with the sentence. Where words, phrases or longer sections are omitted in the middle of a quotation, please indicate using ellipses (three spaced full points). It is not necessary to use ellipses at the beginning or the end of a quotation, unless it is pertinent to the discussion to show that something precedes or follows the given extract.
  • We use the author/date system, e.g. Perus (1994: 43) or (Perus 1994: 43).
  • Authors are responsible for checking their reference list for consistency with the text. Please do so carefully ensuring that all works cited appear in the reference list.
  • The reference list should be headed ‘References’ and begin on a new page after the endnotes.
  • Authors are responsible for ensuring that all relevant detail required for easily identifying a source and giving adequate and consistent credit to its authors is supplied. Please follow our guidelines in this regard.

Referencing style

  • Arrange entries in alphabetical order according to first author. Multi-authored works are placed after all the single-authored works of the first author have been listed.
  • Author:
    • Please use full first names, not just initials, unless the author has used initials only.
    • Only reverse the first and last names of the first author of a multi-authored volume.
  • Date of publication:
    • More than one publication in the same year by the same author should be indicated with letters of the alphabet: 2003a, 2003b, 2003c, etc.
  • Title of publication:
    • Use headline style (see section on capitalization above)
    • Add subtitles where they appear.
    • Italicize the titles of books and journals.
  • Title of chapter in a book or article in a journal:
    • Use sentence style (capitalize first word and proper nouns only)
    • Do not put quotation marks around these titles.
  • Place of publication:
    • US states and countries where places of publication are located may be omitted.
  • Publisher:
    • Please write out the full names of publishers (e.g. do not abbreviate Oxford University Press to OUP)
    • Where an institution, academic department, foundation, or the like is the publisher, please use its full name rather than an acronym.
  • Volume number (journals):
    • Do not italicize the volume number of a journal.
    • The volume number is followed in brackets by the issue number.
  • Page numbers:
    • Provide full page range for journal articles and chapters in books.
  • Online references:
    • Generally, Internet references should follow the pattern of book and journal references.
    • Treat names of websites the same as book and journal titles and individual page or article titles the same as journal article titles or book chapters.
    • Provide the full URL (not only the main website address) between pointed brackets (<>).
    • It is not necessary to supply the date of online access, except where it is the only date available (see below), where the information is particularly time sensitive, or where the publisher requires it.
    • Guidelines for cases where basic information may be lacking:
      • If there is no specific author to be cited, the owner of the website may be used.
      • If an article is not individually dated, the date of creation of the website may be used. If no date is available at all, the date of access may be given in brackets after the URL (accessed day month year).
      • If there is no discernable title, a short descriptive phrase may be used in place of a title.

Specific examples

  • Book

Rahman, Tariq. 2008. Language, Ideology and Power: Language-learning among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India. Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan.

Cameron, Deborah, Elizabeth Frazer, Penelope Harvey, M. B. H. Rampton, and Kay Richardson (eds). 1992. Researching Language: Issues of Power and Method. London and New York: Routledge.

Foucault, Michel. 1979. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by A. Sheridan. New York: Random House.

  • Chapter in a book

Afendras, Evangelos, A. 1980. Language in Singapore society: Towards a systemic account. In Evangelos A. Afendras and Eddie C. Y. Kuo (eds). Language and Society in Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press. 3–35.

Sacks, Harvey. 1995. Lectures on Conversation (vol. 1). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. [Note that titles in more than one edition may be followed by the edition number in the same way as the volume number follows here, e.g. Communicating with Strangers: An Approach to Intercultural Communication (3rd edition)]

  • Journal article

Lim, Lisa. 2007. Mergers and acquisitions: On the ages and origins of Singapore English particles. World Englishes 26 (4): 446–473.

Rampton, Ben (ed.). 1999. Styling the Other. Special issue of Journal of Sociolinguistics 3/4.

  • Thesis or dissertation

Zhang, Qing. 2001. Changing economy, changing markets: A sociolinguistic study of Chinese yuppies. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Stanford, California: Stanford University.

  • Newspaper article

Muya. W. 1996. Why pupils are failing in K.C.S.E. English. Daily Nation 30 March: 15.

  • Online reference

Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA). 2008. Who are the San? WIMSA official website. <>.

Matiki, Alfred J. 2010. A case review of Tamil diglossia. Language In India 10 (November): 392–397. <>

  • Unpublished material

Sacks, Harvey. 1970–1971. Unpublished lecture notes. University of California at Irvine.

Hoffman, Michol F. 1999. Plasure not pleasure: Lax vowel lowering in Canadian English. Paper presented at the 10th International Conference in Methods in Dialectology. Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland.