Language Documentation and Description (LDD) is an international journal that publishes peer-reviewed research on language documentation, language description, and language support, broadly conceived.

Focus and Scope

LDD publishes research articles on the theory and practice of language documentation, language description, sociocultural aspects of language use and linguistic research, language policy, language revitalization, and related topics. The journal has a focus on small, minority, and endangered languages.

While the default language of publication is English, LDD welcomes submissions in Spanish, French, and other major languages as the journal’s editorial expertise allows. Authors may opt to provide an additional abstract in a language other than English in order to increase accessibility for their article’s readership.

LDD publishes four basic categories of content:

  1. General Research Articles on topics within the scope and focus described above.
  2. Review Articles. Review articles differ from reviews in using one or more recently published book-length works to make a larger point of the author’s own. Review articles evaluate the place of new works in their theoretical and topical literatures and assess their contributions to linguistics and adjoining fields.
  3. Language Context Articles. These offer detailed information on the social and cultural contexts in which languages or varieties are spoken, covering topics such as speaker population, social organization, cultural features, linguistic ecology, multilingualism, language vitality, and language use and transmission in the community, diaspora, and digital sphere.
  4. Language Snapshot Articles. These provide compact overviews of one or more languages or varieties, with up-to-date information on the language, its speakers, and current research activity.

LDD welcomes proposals for special issues on relevant topics that fall within the journal’s scope. Prospective authors are encouraged to contact the managing editor with queries, proposals for special issues, or proposals for review articles.

Publication Scheduling

Beginning with volume 22 (2022), LDD is published as a single volume throughout the year. Articles in the general issue are made available without delay once they have gone through production. Articles in special issues are published together at one time.

Journal History

LDD was first published on an annual basis by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project at SOAS, University of London. Volume 1, edited by Peter K. Austin, appeared in 2003. Between 2003 and 2021, 21 volumes were published, comprising over 250 papers.

In 2014 Peter K. Austin, David Nathan, and Julia Sallabank launched EL Publishing, a free, platinum open access publishing platform independent of SOAS. International editorial and advisory boards were established, along with full peer review of all submissions. Volume 13 of LDD and all previous papers were published by EL Publishing under a Creative Commons licence.

In 2018 LDD began publishing articles describing the sociolinguistic ecologies and vitality of particular languages or groups under the category of Language Contexts. In 2019 LDD began another new article series, Language Snapshots, providing concise descriptions of linguistic ecologies and current research. Publication of papers in Spanish and French commenced in 2020.

In 2022 the journal was moved to the University of Virginia to ensure its sustainability and better serve its readership.

Open Access Policy

LDD provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. There is no embargo on the journal’s publications. Submission and acceptance dates, along with publication dates, are made available on the PDF for each paper.

Authors of articles published remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the article according to a CC-BY-NC Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License agreement.

Sponsoring Organizations

Language Documentation and Description is published with the support of the University of Virginia Library, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Program in Linguistics.

University of Virginia Library
University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
University of Virginia Program in Linguistics