Editorial policy

The International Journal of American Linguistics is dedicated to the documentation and analysis of the indigenous languages of North and South America, and is an important repository for research based on field work and archival materials. IJAL publishes work in a variety of linguistic sub-disciplines such as phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, as well as work on the anthropological and historical linguistics of native America, areal and typological studies, and papers on the sociolinguistics of American indigenous communities. Papers may be submitted in either English or Spanish.

IJAL differs from many journals in that its most frequently-cited articles are drawn from throughout our 100 years of publication history. Our editorial policy strongly favours papers that incorporate substantial empirical data that will be of long term value for the documentary record of the language and sought after by future generations of researchers. Authors are encouraged to make available substantial supplementary data sets in the form of appendices that can be accessed online as part of the PDF version of the article, as well as audio recordings of data which can be linked to the files online. We discourage submission of analytical papers based on only a few forms or example sentences, or that simply recycle small amounts of data from easily accessible published sources, except where these papers can contribute important insights into issues of general interest to the Americanist linguistic community.

Theoretical papers

IJAL prides itself on being a theory-friendly journal and we accept papers written from any theoretical perspective, as long as these offer an original, well-argued, and clearly-presented analysis that will be accessible to a broad spectrum of the journal’s readership. The findings of theoretical papers should have implications beyond the confines of a particular theory and should not have as their sole aim the resolution of a specific formal issue or the advancement of a particular iteration of a linguistic framework. IJAL takes the long view, and will disfavour papers that seem unlikely to be read or readable 20 or 50 years after their publication date.

Phonological and grammatical sketches

IJAL has historically published brief descriptive phonological and grammatical sketches of previously undocumented or under-documented languages; however, currently our preference is for papers that concentrate on a particular analytical theme. Such articles may also encompass a reasonably full description of the phonology or a major grammatical system of the language, and IJAL will (within reason and space permitting) publish papers that present a substantially wider range of data than strictly necessary to make an analytical point.


IJAL does not usually publish standalone analyzed or interlinearized texts in our print journal, although we currently have two other venues for such work—IJAL Texts Online for shorter, single texts, and the Texts in the Indigenous Languages of the Americas series for longer anthologies.

Student submissions

IJAL is happy to print work written by students, provided this work meets the standards demanded of other authors published in the journal. Graduate students are advised to consult their supervisors as to the suitability of their work before submitting their papers.

Academic integrity and ethical treatment of data

IJAL adheres to the highest standards of academic integrity regarding authorship, attribution, and intellectual property, and follows the procedures and guidelines for handling academic misconduct outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org). The Editors require, and will enforce, proper citation etiquette and the acknowledgement of the priority of others’ work. All papers submitted to IJAL are vetted by automatic plagiarism detection software.

IJAL is committed to the principles of respectful community-researcher engagement and authors are expected to be sensitive to the cultural conventions regarding provenance, attribution, authorship, and ownership of data particular to the context in which they work.