Doing the PhD

a PORT for Modern Languages tutorial

3 Building a bibliography

3.8 Romance languages and bibliography

Reference systems in multilingual dissertations
If you are working on a Romance studies dissertation and are affiliated to a language department in the UK, it is expected that all your primary and also a major part of your secondary sources will be in the target language of your research. However, you will nevertheless be asked to submit a thesis in accordance with British standards of examination and therefore be expected to use a British system of reference. Although your sources may be in Portuguese, Italian, French or Italian, your writing language will in the majority of cases be English. The way you format your bibliography and footnotes must equally correspond to a style system acknowledged by British academia, no matter whether you are referring to an English or a Romance language source.

Capitalization in titles of non-English origin
When importing references of non-English literature into your bibliography or footnotes, you will need to adapt these to the overriding English reference system you originally chose. However, any foreign language titles appearing in your dissertation - in the bibliography, the footnotes or main body of the text - must follow the conventions of capitalization required by the original language. So for example if you want to refer to

  • Derrida, Jacques, De la grammatologie (Paris, Les éd. de Minuit : 1967)

grammatologie is spelt with a lower case 'g' in accordance with French rules of capitalization and not with a capital 'G' as it would be appropriate for a title in English.

If you need to list in your bibliography certain publications both in the original language as well as in the English translation, you have the option of entering the original first, followed by the translations. It could look like this:

De la grammatologie (Paris: Minuit, 1967)
Of Grammatology, trans. by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998)
La dissémination (Paris: Seuil, 1972)

  • Derrida, Jacques, L'archéologie du frivole (Paris: Galilée, 1973)

The use of foreign languages beyond the main Romance language your thesis is focused on
For any quotations in foreign languages different from the language of the country you are dealing with, you must provide translations - you own or an acknowledged one, if it exists. If for example you decide to devote your thesis to Spanish history, you must refer to English and Spanish sources in their original language, while you have to translate into English quotations taken from any other foreign source (e.g. from essays in Italian or in Russian).