3.607 queries (117)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Thu, 19 Oct 89 20:34:36 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 607. Thursday, 19 Oct 1989.

(1) Date: Thu, 19 Oct 89 15:08 EDT (9 lines)
Subject: Reading and printing the Oxford Text Archive Short List

(2) Date: Thu, 19 Oct 89 16:03:42 EDT (87 lines)
From: djb@harvunxw.BITNET (David J. Birnbaum)
Subject: Multilingual Bibliographies

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 89 15:08 EDT(3) (1 lines)
Subject: Reading and printing the Oxford Text Archive Short List

Can someone out there send enlightenment my way? What is needed to read
and print (in a clear format) the new TAGGED version of the Oxford Text
Archive Short List? The system here is a VAX. Thanks for any suggestions.
Grover Zinn
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------116---

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 89 16:03:42 EDT(4)
From: djb@harvunxw.BITNET (David J. Birnbaum)(5)
Subject: Multilingual Bibliographies(6)

I am preparing an article, the bibliography for which includes
works in several languages using the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.
According to the Chicago Manual of Style, 13th Edition,
sections 16.38-40, I should transliterate the Cyrillic into Latin
letters and treat such citations as if they were in English. The
only exception to transliteration is that the place of publica-
tion should be given in its standard English form ("Moscow,"
rather than "Moskva").

The tradition in the Soviet Union is for such a bibliography to
have two separate, sequential lists, one in Cyrillic and the
other in Latin. A disadvantage to this approach is that it is
difficult to see at a glance all the works by a single author,
since many authors publish in a variety of languages and al-

My personal preference is to list all references entirely in
their original alphabets, interalphabetizing the Cyrillic entries
according to their (unwritten) transliterations. I prefer this
to the Soviet system because it keeps an author's works in one
place. I prefer it to the Chicago system because it is easier
for Slavists to read Russian (or Ukrainian, or whatever) in
Cyrillic than in Latin transliteration.

An informal survey of older and wiser Slavic scholars produced
uniform support for the Chicago approach and uniform disapproval
of mine. I am willing to admit that I could be misguided, but
none of their arguments (see below) seemed convincing. I would
be grateful for opinions on either side from Humanist readers.

In the case in question I will, of course, follow the style
dictated by the editor of the journal where my article will ap-
pear. But none of the reasons people offered for using the Chi-
cago system really apply to the current situation:

1. "Not all readers can read Cyrillic." Only those who can read
Cyrillic will be able to get anything out of my article, which
deals with complex linguistic details of Slavic languages and re-
quires a thorough knowledge of these languages. Those who don't
know the languages and wish to look further into the problem will
have to get someone who knows the languages to help read the
sources I cite; that same person can help transliterate the bib-
liography. I would like to make things as easy as possible for
the audience I am trying most to reach (Slavic linguists), rather
than cater to an audience of non-Slavists that I do not believe

2. "Reading mixed Cyrillic and Latin is difficult." This is a
matter of personal preference, but I find it much easier to read
languages like Russian or Ukrainian in Cyrillic. When I read
them in transliteration, I find myself mentally converting them
back to Cyrillic. Some readers find mixed *languages* confusing,
but that is unavoidable and is separate from the question of al-
Furthermore, transliteration differs among the Slavic lan-
guages. The letter that looks like gamma is rendered 'g' in
transliterated Russian but 'h' in transliterated Ukrainian. I
find it distracting to have to make these adjustments when read-
ing transliterations of Cyrillic text.

3. "Typesetters can't handle Cyrillic." These typesetters can;
the journal also publishes entire articles in Cyrillic (with
Cyrillic bibliographies).

4. "You have to have a uniform bibliography." I don't understand
why using a single alphabet is considered "uniform" but having
each reference appear in its original language is "not uniform."
Both approaches follow a stated principle and each is "uniform"
if applied consistently.

5. "It's always been done this way." One experienced editor ac-
tually offered this as an argument! I hope I am preaching to the
convinced when I say it is misguided; our predecessors had to
cope with technical limitations we have outgrown. They were also
as capable of making inferior decisions as we are. The approval
of the ages is not to be scorned, but old standards should be
reevaluated periodically.

Thanks for any comments.

--David J. Birnbaum