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Writing Resources

To succeed in linguistics it is almost necessary to command strong writing skills. Academic writing may not be something you are used to, but even for seasoned writers a refresher is helpful. Here are some resources we have gathered on writing for linguistics.

Getting Started

This essay, written for a general audience, targets the first step of doing research: choosing a topic. A solid topic is crucial to conducting solid research.

An abstract is the first impression readers have of your work. Often it is the only thing people look at when deciding to accept a paper for a journal or conference. Writing a good abstract is a skill that should be cultivated.

Duke has compiled a structured directory of small articles that guide through the overall research process.

Gathering Data

The LINGUIST List has many resources to help you get started in finding data for your research. Browse our listings of dictionaries, texts, and corpora to start finding definitions, translations, examples of languages in context, and more. Use the language search to find all related resources on a particular language.

Locating Previous Work

See what work has already been done on your topic. Bibliographies are listings of citations of previous work on a topic.

Browse the listing of dissertations to see what kind of work is being done at the doctoral level.

Papers are the main method of disseminating knowledge in linguistics. Exploring previously written papers can help you see what is expected and how people present their work.

Books are often a great source of inspiration or data for your research topic.

Book Reviews give you a detailed look at someone's personal, professional opinion on a book. These are helpful in many ways, including: showing common objections to methodologies, understanding what makes a strong case, and identifying flaws in argumentation. Often the reviewer will refer to other published works or provide a bibliography of his own, which can be yet another source of information.

The LINGUIST List's own project, MultiTree, graphically displays language relationship hypotheses and allows you to visually compare them.

Another project by The LINGUIST List, LL-MAP, allows users to search digitized maps by region, country, subject language, author, or publisher. Users can also upload their own maps from data they have collected.

Style Guides

This is the LINGUIST List's directory of Style Guides. Search for the appropriate style and study it carefully.

There are many guides that provide criteria to properly citing works in an academic publication. Usually proper citation is a requirement in a course or journal publication.

This style sheet, published by the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), outlines the conventions for style in linguistics papers.