Chinese Preamble

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Preamble to Citation Guides for Chinese Language Sources

The Purpose of this guide This guide aims to offer a comprehensive instruction for UBC students in their learning and researching. This guide of Chinese sources citation is not for publishing books, articles or presenting in a conference. Major academic journals in the field such as The China Quarterly and Journal of Asian Studies, already have citation guidelines of their own.

Romanization Scheme and a Note on the Form of Pinyin This guide uses the Hanyu Pinyin as the Romanization scheme. Hanyu Pinyin is the official phonetic system in mainland China of transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabets. It has also been recognized by people in Taiwan, Singapore and North America. Chicago Manual of Style states that Pinyin should be applied in “all scholarly writings about China or the Chinese language” (11.102). For basic spelling instructions, please follow the Chinese Romanization Guidelines (Library of Congress) and the ALA-LC Romanization Tables.

Regarding the Pinyin form, there is no uniform practice in academia. Some journals and scholars advocate the practice of presenting Pinyin by word, combining the Pinyin of all characters within one word. Examples include The China Quarterly, the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies Style sheet. Others advocate the practice of presenting Pinyin by each character, with some exceptions including proper nouns, therefore separating each syllable. In creating this guide, we consulted UBC professors on this issue and their opinions vary. In this guide, the latter approach is recommended for two reasons. Firstly, the latter is the Romanization standard proposed by the “Library of Congress Pinyin Conversion Project.” Secondly, the usage of various online catalogues and certain reference management software require that each syllable in the Romanized title be separated. Examples of such catalogues and software include WorldCat, Library of Congress Online Catalogue, the University of British Columbia Library Catalogue, RefWorks Write-N-Cite.

General Formatting Rules: This guide follows the same general citation form and rules that already exist in the corresponding citation style guide. For guidance on how to format each type of citation, refer back to the General Rules section of each citation style guide:

The MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition.

The Chicago Manual of Style, sixteenth edition.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition.

Specific Formatting Rules:

1. Separate the Romanization of each Chinese character with a space. This includes corporate names, terms of address and titles of royalty. Syllables of general, non-specific geographic terms are also separated. Exceptions include personal names, geographic locations, and certain proper nouns.

商務印書館 Shang wu yin shu guan
林老师 Lin lao shi
韦大夫 Wei dai fu
董鄂妃 Dong’e fei
慈禧太后 Cixi tai hou
华东 Hua Dong
西北 xi bei
明清小说比较研究 Ming Qing xiao shuo bi jiao yan jiu
孫中山Sun Zhongshan
司馬相如 Sima Xiangru
孔子 Kongzi
骆驼祥子 Luotuo Xiangzi
中山大学 Zhongshan da xue
中華民國 Zhonghua Minguo
中华人民共和国 Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
广州市 Guangzhou Shi
安徽省 Anhui Sheng
乌鲁木齐 Wulumuqi
纽约市 Niuyue Shi
海南岛 Hainan Dao
太平洋 Taiping Yang
长江 Chang Jiang

2. Capitalize the first word of a proper noun, a corporate name, the first word of the names of a dynasty, the first word of a book, periodical or series, etc. Non-numerical dates will continue to be romanized as separate syllables, except in the case of reign periods that are also the names of emperors. For example:

广州市Guangzhou Shi
孫中山Sun Zhongshan
光绪乙丑 [1889] Guangxu ji chou [1889]
基督教 Jidu jiao
维吾尔族 Weiwu’er zu
俄国戏剧史概要 Eguo xi ju shi gai yao

3. Romanized titles of Chinese works should be capitalized in sentence style. Please see Chicago Manual of Style Online:, entry 11.3. For example: Tianchao de beng kui: Yapian zhan zheng zai yan jiu

4. Chinese characters should follow the romanization for the convenience of the readers. We recommend the use of Chinese characters be controlled in bibliographies and glossaries. They may be enclosed in parentheses in the main text. For example: Hua Linfu 華林甫. “Qing dai yi lai Sanxia di qu shui han zai hai de chu bu yan jiu” 清代以來三峽地區水旱災害的初步硏究 [A preliminary study of floods and droughts in the Three Gorges region since the Qing dynasty]. Zhongguo she hui ke xue 中國社會科學 1 (1999): 168–79.

5. English translation of Chinese titles should follow in parentheses in text. If the translation has not been published, it should be capitalized sentence-style; if it has, it should be capitalized headline-style in italics.

In citation, the English translation should follows in brackets and be capitalized in sentence-style.

6. The romanization of Chinese personal names should follow the original order, that is to say, the family name always precedes the first name.

In-Text Citation General Formatting Rules: For guidance on how to apply in-text citations using the specific citation style, refer back to the General Rules section of each guide; see reference in one of the following guide: The MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition The Chicago Manual of Style, sixteenth edition. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition,.