Help:Manual of Style
This is a rough guide about various stylistic issues that should be followed when adding/editing text in the Mie Guidebook.
Though minor infractions will be ignored, in general if these rules aren't followed please don't be too surprised if you find the Guidebook admin has come and "applied" these rules after-the-fact to your added/edited text.
- 1 General
- 2 English Specifics
- 3 Japanese Specifics
- 4 Formatting
As most of us get paid to teach English, it would be wise to show at least a decent amount of respect to the language's grammar and spelling rules.
In general, a light tone is best. This isn't Wikipedia and there's no need to write in a stiff encyclopedic style. Granted, it's important to write clearly and avoid heavy sarcasm which doesn't translate well to written media, however academic-level writing is not necessary. A sense of warmth or "humanity" should ideally be strived for in the articles, as this Guidebook is a written collection based entirely on our personal Mie experiences. At the very least, the writing here should serve to make it easy to differentiate the Guidebook from official communications originating from CLAIR or the Mie Government, which tend to be cold and patronizing.
When editing an article that is already quite large and well-established, it would be best to read through the text and try to at least partially adhere to the tone or "feel" that is already in place.
By no means should the writers act as the propaganda ministry for their city or town, you should place the needs of the person reading the guidebook first and foremost - if somewhere or something in your town is stupid or useless, let it be known. However, that said, writers should seek to be fair in any negative or sarcastic comments. Malicious and/or overly negative additions to the guidebook will be edited or removed.
Again, this isn't Wikipedia. Citations are not required. It is impossible to cite all the great information you've gleaned through conversations with Japanese people or other ex-pats living in your area. Original research - things you've figured out yourself and things you've heard from others - is encouraged here.
If there are claims which can be checked online, then by all means do so, however there will not be any citation police chasing anybody down.
There is no preference for American spelling vs. British spelling. The only requirement is that articles use entirely one or the other, and not contain parts in both American and British spelling.
- If editing an existing substantial article: Stick to the spelling style that is already in place.
- If creating a new article or editing a small one: Use your own preferred spelling.
There is no official book of style by which the Guidebook is to be written. Writing by looser grammar rules is acceptable, however capitalization and basic punctuation marks will be enforced.
Use whatever grammar is necessary to make things clear and easy to understand to readers, and edits won't be necessary.
The title of each article should be written using title case (capitalize all words that are not prepositions or conjunctions). This is an established precedent in the Guidebook primarily because of a software reason -- MediaWiki is partially case-sensitive and searches are more likely to hit if the article title is written in title case.
In many articles, the title of the article also appears in the first sentence of the article text. If this is the case, please bold this instance of the article title and include the Japanese as well (only once). The title of the article itself is not to include Japanese, so when applicable and reasonable the Japanese should be provided in the article text's first sentence.
Many of these guidelines are inspired by those on Wikipedia.
Japanese text should be included for proper names wherever possible around the guidebook. Please include the English name first, with the Japanese in parentheses immediately following. If the actual pronunciation of the Japanese differs at all from the English name (meaning the English name is partly or wholly translated), then it is necessary to include the reading as well (rōmaji) in the same set of parantheses. When writing out the reading, mark sure to italicize the text and carefully follow the rules for romanization and diacritic symbols that are outlined below.
Japanese should be romanized (put into the alphabet) in accordance with the Hepburn System (the standard system) and never based on the old "Kunrei-shiki" system.
Almost anybody who has learned Japanese has learned the Hepburn system, however the older Kunrei system still pops up from time to time either on signs, students' papers, and other places in Japan where the author has a poor grasp of rōma-ji (the alphabet) and/or is too used to shorter Kunrei-shiki computer input shortcuts.
While the two systems match up for much of the kana syllabary, there are a few key differences. The Hepburn system strives to romanize each kana syllable "as it sounds" in English whereas Kunrei romanizes only according to the syllabary grid and ignores any unique pronunciations. For kana like 「し」, the two differ - Hepburn romanizes it as "shi" and Kunrei romanizes it as "si".
While the Hepburn system does not accomplish its "like it sounds" mission perfectly, it is far more accurate than the Kunrei system. Also, Hepburn is a widely adopted and national standard found all over the country.
|List of Examples|
|Japanese||Hepburn System||Kunrei System|
As you can see from this table, the Kunrei system does not accurately represent (in the alphabet) how these words are pronounced.
The only exception in which Kunrei can be used is when the signboard in front of a notable location or institution is written out in Kunrei-shiki rōmaji (example, Kazi, the okonomiyaki restaurant in front of Iseshi Station). In this case, write it out as the sign says however be sure to indicate in parentheses the hepburn romanization (aka, how it is pronounced).
As per the Hepburn system, macrons (a line above the letter) should be used over Japanese vowels that are held for two syllables. While it is customary in English to ignore these long vowels it is important for the sake of distinction that they be included. For example, the word "ōdai" (大台) is a town in Mie Prefecture, but the word "odai" (お代) (without the diacritic mark) is shorthand for "daikin" (代金) meaning payment.
It is common among English speakers to leave out these distinctions when writing Japanese text but it is best to include them especially when writing out the reading of Japanese text because a guidebook user needs to know exactly how the Japanese is pronounced in case they need to ask somebody.
It is not uncommon to see the long vowels indicated by spelling them out, ie "yuuki (ゆうき) shrine" or "kou (こう) beach" - also with the long "o" you sometimes see it as "koh (こう) beach". These methods suffice, however the ideal method is to use the macron diacritic symbols because it is the "cleanest" way of writing the word (avoiding extra letters) and is also the official standard according to the Hepburn system. Although they are generally difficult to input into a computer, they are very easily accessed when editing this guidebook - there is a box of "special characters" at the bottom of the edit screen, underneath the "Save page" button. Simply clicking one of the letters in that box will automatically insert it into the text.
Leaving the reference of the long vowels out of words when they are casually mentioned is permissible, however it is required when giving the romanized pronunciation of Japanese text as well as in article titles.
Japanese municipality names
The English words 'City', 'Town', and 'Village' should never be applied as suffixes to municipal names unless the municipality meets one of the rules listed below. While in Japanese, it is common for shi (市), chō (町), and mura (村) to be added to the end of municipal names, this is a difference between the two languages. Applying these suffixes after names in English is unnatural and should be avoided.
Rules for natural English should be used in the Mie Guidebook:
- 'City', 'Town', and 'Village' are applied to municipalities for which that is an official part of the place name.
- Example: Carson City, Youngstown, Westlake Village (a city)
- 'City' is added when the name of the city is the same as the prefecture/state/province/etc.
- Example: New York City, Oklahoma City, Shizuoka City
- Note: Many Japanese prefectures must consider this point as it's common for the capital to be the same as the prefecture, however Mie is not one of them.
- When referring to the city/town/village government or as an official body, "City/Town/Village of ~~" is used.
- Example: City of Los Angeles, City of Ise, Town of Mihama
- When absolutely necessary to distinguish the type of municipality, it is preferable in this guidebook to use the Japanese suffix as they are, and not translate them.
- Example: What is now the town of Ōdai was produced by a merger of old Ōdai-cho and Miyagawa-mura
When listing the address of a notable location, please give the address in both Japanese and English whenever possible. Giving the address in Japanese makes it easier to search the internet for further information about the location.
Japanese addresses are written "big to small", and English addresses are written "small to big", so when translating a Japanese address please switch it to small-to-big order. It is best to include the city/town/village/prefecture suffixes not translated like "-shi", "-ken", etc. Also, there is no need to include the words "chōme" (丁目), "ōaza" (大字), and "koaza" (小字) - they are to be eliminated from both copies of the address as they are not necessary in the eyes of either Japan Post or Google maps. For "chōme", simply write the chōme as the first in a set of dashed numbers.
- Yokkaichi JAF
- 〒510-0064 三重県四日市市新正5-2-29
- 5-2-29 Shinshō, Yokkaichi-shi, Mie-ken, 510-0064
- License Center
- 〒514-0821 三重県津市垂水2566
- 2566 Tarumi, Tsu-shi, Mie-ken, 514-0821
Names of people are to be written in standard English style, with the given name first and the family name last.
As many people have no doubt noticed, Japanese names and signs enjoy taking liberties with the rules of English capitalization. The rules of English capitalization should be followed for names. ie, if an article were created for the band EXILE, though they may insist the capital letters are important, the title would be written "Exile". Only acronyms should be in all caps. Only the most notable exceptions to this rule, such as AEON, will be permitted.
The ability to format large blocks of text is one of the main utilities of this guidebook. Many of these articles are long, some very long (ahem - Ise and Tsu), and for long text formatting is necessary.
The idea of readability should be a guiding principle in your editing and the formatting choices you make. The truth is that if your article is not readable, (almost) nobody will read it, and then all that effort you just spent adding useful information into the guidebook will be as a humongous water bubble that pops and dissipates into nothingness.
While people are certainly capable of reading huge blocks of unformatted text, there's no reason to force them to do so. If someone is reading a novel this is to be expected, but when someone is reading a guide about Inabe or What to teach in elementary schools there's no reason not to make the text as easy to read as possible. When people encounter huge blocks of unformatted text, especially on a computer, they tend to freeze up and try to find a reason not to read it.
The main ingredient of readability is adding lists. This guidebook supports both bulleted and numbered lists. Numbered lists have their specific uses, such as listing off the steps in a procedure, and the rest of the time it is best to use bulleted lists. Make frequent use of lists. Also, if your lists are anything more than just an actual list of short words or phrases, mixing in bolding and italics within the list items is an even better way to increase readability.
The guidebook has a special kind of bulleted list called a "title+description list", and this is the type of list that you are going to see the most around the guidebook - it is especially prevalent in the area guides. It offers an easy and readable way to create a list of items (or "titles"), and then expand on each item in a box of text (or the "description") that is underneath the title and slightly indented. Please make liberal and good use of the title+descrption list. For information on how to create such a list, please see the appropriate section of the formatting guide. Note that bolding the "title" in each entry in a title+description list is a good idea and is standard practice on the guidebook.
Headings are also a simple and very effective manner of adding not just readability but also accessibility to your text - with the table of contents at the top of each article comprised of each heading within the article, it makes browsing longer articles much easier.
Try and plan out your headings in the most logical and intuitive way possible. There are different levels of headings and sub-headings, and this gives you a good tool for giving hierarchical structure to an article. Headings are your friend. Like friends, too many headings can be a bother, but in general more is better than less.
In general, it's best to use wikilinks whenever possible, however it should be noted that you do not have to wikilink to an article every single time it is mentioned within the same article. If something that has its own article is mentioned 10 times in another article, it's required to link a few of them, fair to link maybe half of them, but not necessary to link it each of the 10 times it's mentioned. Use your own discretion on what is reasonable, and consider if someone is likely to want to browse to the other article at the given point in the current article - for example, if creating a list of restaurants and both the current entry and the immediately prior entry in the list are noted to both be near a certain (wikilinked) shopping center, it's unlikely that the second item needs that shopping center wikilinked as well.
What to bold is up to the writer, however there are a few things that should generally be bolded:
- First mention of the article title
Owase is a city in Mie ...... (in the Owase article)
- Title of title+description lists
See the title+descrption list formatting examples
- Anything else in any article that is a proper name or titled that is heavily featured exclusively in that particular article
The main Kintetsu station in Ise is Ujiyamada (宇治山田) Station, however the main JR station is Iseshi (伊勢市) Station.
In addition to their official usage, there are a few specifics cases in which italics should be used on the guidebook:
- For giving the readings of Japanese text
Just outside city hall (市役所 shiyakusho), there is a 105 Bank (百五銀行 Hyakugo Ginkō).
- Spoken word, quotations, and mental musings
You may wonder, what would ever I want to do in a place like this? but in reality there is tons of stuff to do in town!
Owase is a city of 22,000 people.
Threaten death if a student ever takes something off of the prop table to goof around
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