Citation of texts style question

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Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:32 am

Hi all,

I'd like to ask your opinions regarding the style of citation of texts, in this case for an English translation of a Chinese academic work, where the Chinese work cites only Chinese translations of Indic works in Pali / Prakrit and Sanskrit.

There are thus at least three potential names for texts, ie. English, Chinese (and / or Hanyu pinyin) and Pali / Skt. And so the question is, how to best use this for reader clarity and also technical academic accuracy. Use of all languages, or combinations thereof, are numerous; and also first citation as against subsequent citations of the text. For example, in order of my own preference:

1.
First citation: Skt/Pali (Pinyin, Chn, English):
*Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa (Dàzhìdù lùn 大智度論; Commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom)
Subsequent citations: Skt
*Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa

2.
First citation: English (Skt/Pali, Chn, Pinyin):
Commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (*Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa; 大智度論 Dàzhìdù lùn)
Subsequent citations: English:
Commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom

3.
First citation: Pinyin, Chn (Skt/Pali, English)
Dàzhìdù lùn 大智度論 (*Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa; Commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom)
Subsequent citations: Pinyin
Dàzhìdù lùn

etc. etc. for whatever combinations and permutations you can think of.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on which system works best for you, and why. As above, please note that all sources are Chinese translations of Indic texts, either ancient / classic translations (for much Mahayana material) or modern translations (for the Pali suttas, vinaya and abhidhamma).

Thanks for your time,
~~ Huifeng
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Jnana » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:50 am

I prefer #1 as well, primarily because I'm more familiar with Indic titles than with Chinese. Although #2 is also fine (as long as one gives recognizable English translations of the titles and includes the Indic title in parenthesis with the first citation).

If there are a lot of titles it can also be helpful to include a separate bibliography just for those Indic titles.
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:01 am

Thanks, J. After posting, and now setting up my Bibliography file separately, I am wondering whether it may just be best to use a single language, Skt / Pali, English or Chinese Pinyin for all citations, and then have the reader refer to the Bibliography at the back, which includes all the nitty gritty details.

Whatever the case, convincing the publishers may be the biggest challenge... :thinking:

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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Michael_Dorfman » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:05 am

Huifeng wrote:I'd like to hear your thoughts on which system works best for you, and why.

~~ Huifeng


For me, the question hinges on the density of the references, and their distribution. Is it a large number of texts being referenced only once, or is it a small number of texts being referenced repeatedly, etc?

If the same texts are referenced more then two or three times, I prefer as a reader to have some kind of abbreviation (such as MMK for Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) to help me keep the texts straight.
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby joda » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:42 am

Huifeng wrote:(..)


The most fluent reading experience is granted when you have what the reader knows as the first name imo. So it depends on which audience youre writing for. So either 1 or 2.
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:50 am

If you are aiming at an English audience I would go with #2, as it might give a greater feeling of accessibility.

You are close to publishing something? How exciting!
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:57 am

Michael_Dorfman wrote:
Huifeng wrote:I'd like to hear your thoughts on which system works best for you, and why.

~~ Huifeng


For me, the question hinges on the density of the references, and their distribution. Is it a large number of texts being referenced only once, or is it a small number of texts being referenced repeatedly, etc?

If the same texts are referenced more then two or three times, I prefer as a reader to have some kind of abbreviation (such as MMK for Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) to help me keep the texts straight.


Good point, Michael.

Many texts are referred to a number of times, and references are often fairly dense.

While many use abbreviations, and I also did once upon a time, I find that they are only useful for specialists, but for anyone else they quickly become jargon, eg. (some facetiously) "When we look at the statement from the MMK as against the MVS, it becomes clear that Vasubandhu's CWSL commentary on the TVS..." blah blah blah.

I'm planning on keeping abbreviations to a bare minimum, if at all.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:58 am

joda wrote:
Huifeng wrote:(..)


The most fluent reading experience is granted when you have what the reader knows as the first name imo. So it depends on which audience youre writing for. So either 1 or 2.


Yes, that is my thinking too. While the book is in Chinese, it is entirely on Indian Buddhism. As such, I think that the English reading audience will tend to know the major texts in both Sanskrit / Pali and English, and other texts possibly in English (but many texts not know them at all).

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:59 am

JKhedrup wrote:If you are aiming at an English audience I would go with #2, as it might give a greater feeling of accessibility.

You are close to publishing something? How exciting!


Thanks for the input, Venerable. I have a couple of pots on the stove at present... :stirthepot: (possibly too many...)

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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Anders » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:45 am

If you are translating the title into English (not always appropriate; the "Shobogenzo" is probably more recognisable as Dogen's Magnum Opus than "The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye"), I'd go with #2 as well unless it is one work referenced continuously (ie, where Lamotte simply used the abbreviated "Traite", I'd have been fine with "Upadesha" as well, as it is a title the reader will be intimately familiar with over the course of the text).
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:41 am

Anders wrote:If you are translating the title into English (not always appropriate; the "Shobogenzo" is probably more recognisable as Dogen's Magnum Opus than "The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye"), I'd go with #2 as well unless it is one work referenced continuously (ie, where Lamotte simply used the abbreviated "Traite", I'd have been fine with "Upadesha" as well, as it is a title the reader will be intimately familiar with over the course of the text).


Good point. Perhaps I wasn't overly clear, but the use of the Upadesa was just an example. In fact, there are quite a number of texts being cited. In the first small chapter alone, about 30+ (many are parallels of the actual citation, between Pali and Chinese). So, I really can't just abbreviations for everything, though there some that appear very regularly for which it would be appropriate.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:44 am

Now I'm finding myself in the situation where some time ago I made a number of nifty style suggestions to the editing board, which they accepted, and now I have to actually apply them. For example, using tone marks for all the Hanyu Pinyin ... oh man!, didn't I learn this lesson 18 months ago with another 140,000 word monster?!?!

Luckily, most of the real hard work was done a couple of years ago, and now it's just polishing - both language / grammar wise, and also style wise. Soon moving into the home straight! :twothumbsup:

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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Michael_Dorfman » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:38 am

Huifeng wrote:Now I'm finding myself in the situation where some time ago I made a number of nifty style suggestions to the editing board, which they accepted, and now I have to actually apply them. For example, using tone marks for all the Hanyu Pinyin ... oh man!, didn't I learn this lesson 18 months ago with another 140,000 word monster?!?!


Karma is mysterious, isn't it?
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Re: Citation of texts style question

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:02 am

Michael_Dorfman wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Now I'm finding myself in the situation where some time ago I made a number of nifty style suggestions to the editing board, which they accepted, and now I have to actually apply them. For example, using tone marks for all the Hanyu Pinyin ... oh man!, didn't I learn this lesson 18 months ago with another 140,000 word monster?!?!


Karma is mysterious, isn't it?


Haha! Actually, it's not too bad, as I've set up my PCs auto-correct in Word with some nice options, so Indic diacriticals and Chinese pinyin tone marks are now very easy indeed. Necessity being the mother of invention and all that jazz.

~~ Huifeng
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