Alex Simmons Elang 350, Jensen 10 October 2012
Sample In-House Style Guide National Middle East Language Resource Center Compiled by Alex Simmons, Research Assistant, NMELRC The National Middle East Language Resource Center (NMELRC) is an organization designed to increase the accessibility of Middle Eastern language classes taught in the United States—namely, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew. Although the Center’s focus is on the growth of these language classes as well as other learning resources in the United States, there is substantial communication with countries in the Middle East. In addition, much of the material that is produced through the NMELRC or that is shared through the Center is made available through their website. The NMELRC’s website is frequently visited by people in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. As a result of this global audience, it is essential to make our information as accessible as possible. The items covered in the in-house style guide are meant to make the information produced by the NMELRC accessible to everyone and to create clarity and readability generally. Because the in-house style guide is not intended to be exhaustive, The Chicago Manual of Style will be used as the primary source for style issues encountered by the Center, as well as the principles that are covered by Global English. This style guide, therefore, is meant to standardize options when made available by Chicago and to address issues frequently encountered by the Center that are not directly addressed by Chicago.
1 Grammar 1.1 Idioms Despite the fact that Global English frowns upon the use of idioms because of their ambiguity toward non-native speakers, and although the NMELRC’s website receives visits from international locations, the information provided is primarily for teachers and students within the United States who are learning Middle Eastern languages. For this reason we allow a conservative use of idioms within the content of the website. Examples: Before coming to the conclusion that we want to rain on the parade, we hasten to add that these same students typically rate their overall abroad experience as highly rewarding. 1.2 Parallel Structure We conform to Chicago’s guidelines that “all items in a list should be constructed of parallel elements” (Chicago Manual of Style 6.121). Parallel structure is not only a stylistic issue, but contributes largely to clarity and readability. Example: A wise choice for you will vary according to your goals, your budget, and your degree of comfort with issues ranging from type of institution to available amenities. NOT A wise choice for you will vary according to your goals, budgeting, and the degree of comfort you feel with issues ranging from type of institution to available amenities. 1.3 Precise Language Using long or wordy sentences can make it difficult for non-native (as well as native) speakers of English to understand. Always use clear, precise language, keeping sentence length to twenty words or fewer. Example: Arabic without Walls covers the basics of both spoken and written Arabic and enables students to acquire real-world communication skills. The program has won the 2010 Distance Education Course Award and the 2012 K-12 Distance Learning Course Award.
NOT The high school implementation of Arabic without Walls, winner of the 2010 Distance Education Course Award and the 2012 K-12 Distance Learning Course Award, covers the basics of both spoken and written Arabic and enables students to acquire real-world communication skills.
1.4 Articles before Acronyms and Initialisms There are a number of organizations that the NMELRC associates with and which are mentioned on the NMELRC website. Where these organizations are mentioned using acronyms or initialisms, always precede them with the. Example: The NSLI works with the NMELRC to create foreign language learning opportunities. NOT NSLI works with NMELRC to create foreign language learning opportunities.
2 Punctuation 2.1 Oxford Comma The NMELRC follows Chicagoâ€™s (6.18) recommendation to use a serial comma in a list of items of three or more. Example: The NMELRC covers four Middle Eastern languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. NOT The NMELRC covers four Middle Eastern languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish. 2.2 Exclamation Mark Rarely use exclamation marks. Example: The NMELRC is offering an award-winning hybrid online course for high school students.
NOT The NMELRC is offering an award-winning hybrid online course for high school students! 2.3. Quotation Marks for Terms When using a term as the term itself rather than as how it functions, always use italics. Example: The new language program is based on a letter grading system— A representing a high score and E representing a low one. NOT The new language program is based on a letter grading system— “A” representing a high score and “E” representing a low one. 2.4 Slashes To avoid ambiguity, use or instead of a slash. Example: The program is available to middle or high school students. NOT The program is available to middle / high school students.
3 Names and Terms 3.1 Treatment of Foreign Names The use of foreign names is prevalent throughout the NMELRC because many of the people working with the Center are natives of Middle Eastern countries. Use the following guidelines when spelling names: 3.1.1 Capitalize particles that precede a name Example: Mahmoud Al-Batal NOT Mahmoud al-Batal
3.1.2 In Arabic names the article the is transliterated with al. Example: Abd Al-Aziz NOT Abd El-Aziz 3.2 Company Names The first instance of a companyâ€™s name in every article or page of the website should be fully spelled out followed by the abbreviation (if one exists) in parentheses. Example: The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students. NOT The NSLI-Y provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students. 3.3 Management Titles Management titles should always be spelled out. Example: The assistant director, Dr. Maggie Nassif, leads a number of NMELRC projects every year. NOT The AD, Dr. Maggie Nassif, leads a number of NMELRC projects every year.
4 Treatment of Words 4.1 Abbreviations Abbreviations are only to be used after the full name has been mentioned in the article in question. Example: Linguistic gain was measured using the Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI).
NOT Linguistic gain was measured using the SOPI. (Unless it had been mentioned previously in the same article). 4.2 Abbreviation of Commonly Used Terms There are a couple of terms that are frequently used by the Center. These terms should be spelled out and not used in abbreviated forms. Example: There are a number of study abroad opportunities in the Middle East. NOT There are a number of study abroad opportunities in the M.E. 4.3 Nontechnical Abbreviations Abbreviations of common words may not be familiar to an international audience. For this reason, we avoid using abbreviations in our writing to prevent confusion. Example: If you are interested in study abroad programs, please respond as soon as possible. NOT If you are interested in study abroad programs, please respond ASAP. 4.3 Persian The NMELRC recognizes that the term Persian, in reference to the language, has a couple of alternative names (Farsi and Iranian). However, for our purposes, the NMELRC will use Persian when referring to the language, rather than Farsi or Iranian. Example: The NMELRC covers three major Middle Eastern languages, namely, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Turkish. NOT The NMELRC covers three major Middle Eastern languages, namely, Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, and Turkish.
4.4 Write Out State Names Because the international audience may not be familiar with US-state-name abbreviations, write out all state names. Example: Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina, offers FLAS scholarships in Middle Eastern Languages. NOT Duke University, in Durham, NC, offers FLAS scholarships in Middle Eastern Languages. 4.5 Nationalities The NMELRC follows the guidelines set forth in The Chicago Manual of Style, namely, nationalities are to remain open without hyphens. Example: Arab American Turkish American Iranian American NOT Arab-American Turkish-American Iranian-American 4.6 Program Names When referring to a program name, use the form that appears on the Centerâ€™s website or publications, as well as their style of abbreviation after its initial use within a document. Example: STARTALK Arabic without Walls (AWW)
NOT Startalk StarTalk Arabic Without Walls Arabic without walls
5 Numbers 5.1 Time of Day The NMELRC often hosts or attends conferences, most of which are held within the US. For this reason, the twelve-hour system is used with lowercase a.m. and p.m. Example: The conference will begin at 5:30 p.m. NOT The conference will begin at 1730 Or The conference will begin at 5:30 PM 5.2 Dates Because of the difference between the use of numerals with dates in the US versus the majority of other countries, dates will be written out with the day preceding the month (written out) and the year following. Example: The conference will be held on 23–25 August 2012. NOT The conference will be held on 8/23–25/2012. Or The conference will be held on August 23–25, 2012.
5.3 Money There are a few products that are available through the NMELRC and so currency is an issue. With an international audience in mind, we insert US in front of the dollar sign and amount when dealing with currency. Example: Arabic 101 comprises 20 DVDs with 59 lessons. It is available for US$299.00 plus shipping. NOT Arabic 101 comprises 20 DVDs with 59 lessons. It is available for $299.00 plus shipping. 5.4 Phone Numbers The NMELRC receives phone calls from other countries, and so to supplement successful communication we provide the entire phone number, including international code and area code. Example: 011 1 801 422 7192 NOT 422-7192 Or 801-422-7192