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Author Guidelines

Foreign Language Annals is the official refereed journal of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and was first published in 1967. The journal seeks to serve the professional interests of classroom instructors, researchers, and administrators across a range of contexts and is dedicated to the advancement of the teaching and learning of foreign languages, particularly languages other than English. It is published four times per year.

The journal welcomes submissions that report empirical research on, and that have clear and significant implications for, foreign language teaching and learning at all levels of instruction. The journal also welcomes manuscripts that advance theoretical discussions in foreign language education as well as manuscripts that document the effectiveness of teaching strategies or address a wide variety of emerging issues of interest within the profession.

Submission Requirements

  • Only original works that have not been previously published elsewhere and that are not under consideration by any other publication may be submitted for review.
  • All submissions must be written in standard English, in a style that is accessible to a broad readership of foreign language researchers, educators, and administrators.
  • Book reviews, literature reviews, anecdotal reports of teaching strategies or activities, and opinion pieces are not accepted.
  • If the topic of a submission focuses on English as a foreign language (EFL), it should be written in such a manner that all language professionals could benefit. Manuscripts focusing solely on English as a second language (ESL) will be returned without review.
  • Foreign Language Annals seeks to represent a broad range of researchers and perspectives. Authors who have previously published as a single or first author in Foreign Language Annals may submit subsequent manuscripts such that, if accepted, 12 months will elapse between publication dates. This restriction does not apply to second or subsequent authors.

Submission and Review Process
Preference will be given to papers that address substantive issues, demonstrate expert use of appropriate research methods, and report new qualitative or quantitative data that have strong implications for standards-based, proficiency-oriented teaching and learning of languages. Authors are invited to submit their work for review using the journal’s online management system:

When a work has more than one author, a single corresponding author must be identified. The corresponding author handles all correspondence related to the review and publication process and assumes responsibility on behalf of the author team for carrying out instructions given by the journal editors. The designated corresponding author must:

  1. complete the registration information at the Foreign Language Annals submission page (
  2. select appropriate classifications to guide the selection of reviewers; classifications must indicate, at a minimum, the topic(s), language(s), and instructional level(s) or audiences(s).
  3. complete the author agreement form on behalf of each of the manuscript’s authors. This is a binding contract. The author agreement form is available at
  4. remove from each file all information from which the author(s) may be identified.
  5. upload the required files, including an abstract and a complete version of the manuscript, to All documents should be submitted in .doc or .docx files. Manuscripts that are submitted in .pdf or other formats will be unsubmitted by the managing editor and returned to the author.

Once a manuscript has been properly submitted online, an e-mail acknowledgment will be sent. Manuscripts will be sent for peer review, and comments from the editor and the reviewers will be shared with the corresponding author.

Note that, prior to final acceptance for publication, at least one of the authors must be, or become, a member of ACTFL.  

Manuscripts are sent to expert readers for anonymous review. To preserve anonymity, authors should not place their names or other identifying information, including references to academic affiliations, URLs for personal Web sites, names of institutions, or names of programs, departments, or colleagues anywhere within the manuscript, including the title page, abstract, page headings, list of references, notes, or appended materials. Any information that reveals the identity of the author should be masked with “XXX” in the original submission:

  1. An author’s previous publications should be referred to in the third person, e.g., “XXX found that….’
  2. The institution at which the research was conducted or where the author is employed should be referred to as “Institution X.”

If the manuscript is accepted for publication, the author will be asked to insert the necessary bibliographic information into the final version of the paper and may choose to also identify the institution at which the research was conducted.

Manuscript Components
Each submission should follow standard conventions for reporting scholarly work and contain some or all of the following components in the order listed:

1.  The title should be as concise as possible and should not exceed 15 words. Capitalize the first letter of all words in the title, including prepositions that contain more than four letters.

2. The abstract may not exceed 200 words and should describe the context for the work, state the research questions, and briefly summarize the findings.

3. Key words are used to identify the article in an electronic search. Authors may select up to five key words from among those provided in the online list. Key words indicating the topic, language(s), and instructional level(s) or audience(s) are required.

4. The introduction briefly describes the context for the work, states the issue under consideration, explains its importance, mentions the study format, and summarizes the research questions.

5. In the review of literature, the author should include only information about, summaries of, and references to closely related, highly relevant, and recent previous research that allows the reader to understand the current knowledge base.  The review should begin with a somewhat broader introduction to the issue(s) and conclude by pinpointing the contribution that the study will make to the field. With rare exceptions, the literature review should not exceed 15% of the manuscript’s total word count. The specific research questions are placed at the end of the literature review.

6. The main ideas of the work are developed in the body of the manuscript. Manuscripts that report qualitative or quantitative research must include separate Methods and Results sections.

a.    In the Methods section, the author should provide sufficiently detailed information about how the study was conducted such that another researcher could replicate the work. Required subsections include, but are not limited to, Participants, Procedures, and Analyses. Neither results nor commentary on the results are appropriate in this section.
b.    In the Results section, the author presents the findings, generally using tables and/or figures and often including statistical tests and examples. 

(i)          All tables and figures should be numbered sequentially (Table 1, Table 2 or Figure 1, Figure 2), have a clear and concise title, and use a horizontally tabbed format.
(ii)          All tables and figures should be designed such that they may be interpreted in both the print edition of the journal (black and white/grayscale) as well as in color (online edition of the journal).
(iii)          The same information should be provided only once, in a table or a figure, but not in both formats.
(iv)          Tables and figures should be preceded by one or more introductory sentences within the body of the text, e.g., “For students’ demographic characteristics, see Table 1” or “The survey results are presented in Figure 1.”
(v)          Placement of tables and figures should be indicated within the body of the text.
(vi)         Tables and/or figures may be presented in order at the end of the manuscript or in separate files. Note that in ScholarOne, links to tables and figures may be embedded within the body of the paper, making access to these items easier for reviewers.
(vii)    Additional supporting text that follows the tables or figures is used to point out findings of particular interest or relationships among findings.
(viii)    It is not appropriate to summarize in prose information that is clearly presented within the table or figure itself.
(ix)          Commentary on the results, comparisons with previous findings, or the author’s beliefs about the meaning of the data are not appropriate in the Results section.
(x)          Figures, tables, or other graphics and materials that have previously been published elsewhere must be (1) identified (e.g., “Source: Smith & Connors, 1998”; “Adapted from Rodgers, 2000”) at the bottom of each table, figure, or appendix; (2) properly and fully cited in the reference list; and (3) accompanied by a letter from the publisher granting permission to reproduce the material in Foreign Language Annals (see section on reprint permissions below).
(xi)        Statistical tests must be accompanied by an appropriate effect size index such as Cohen’s d, eta-squared, or R2. In addition to reporting these statistics, authors must also be sure to interpret them in ways that add to the manuscript’s substantive contribution.

7. The Discussion section is more open-ended and focuses on the meaning and significance of the findings. In this section, the author comments on the findings, compares the results with those of previous studies, draws overall conclusions, and offers specific and significant implications for teaching and learning across the broadest possible range of settings. Limitations of the study and possibilities for future research are also customarily mentioned at the conclusion of this section.

8. The Conclusion section should be relatively brief, usually no more than one or two paragraphs. In the conclusion, the author notes the way in which the study has advanced the understanding of the teaching and learning of languages and brings the manuscript to a close.

9. Notes may be used to provide brief explanations or commentary that is inappropriate within the body of the text. Notes are numbered as they appear within the text using superscript, and the text of the notes is placed at the conclusion of the body of the manuscript, immediately prior to the Acknowledgments section. There is no need to insert automatic note numbers, endnotes, or footnotes.

10. Brief acknowledgments may be appropriate and should be placed after the Notes.

11. All of the works that are cited in the article must be referenced, in alphabetical order, following the guidelines in the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). References that are not cited within the article should not be listed in this section of the paper.

12. Appendixes contain material that is either too long to be placed within the text or that is not essential to the text itself. Common examples of appendixes are survey instruments, questionnaires, long lists, links to Web-based or other supplemental documents, and reproductions of other documents. When there is more than one appendix, identify each one by letter, e.g., Appendix A, Appendix B, and a title that summarizes the content. When applicable, follow the guidelines for tables, above.

Manuscript Style and Format

  • Manuscripts may vary in length from 4,000 to 10,000 words, including the notes, bibliography, and appendixes. Preference will be given to manuscripts that do not exceed 35 double-spaced pages (approximately 8,750 words). 
  • Manuscripts must be double-spaced throughout, including notes and references, use 12-point Times New Roman font, and have margins on all sides of at least one inch.
  • To maintain the objectivity required when presenting research, the use of first-person pronouns and modifiers (I, me, we, my, our…) should be avoided. 
  • When discussing language ability, please note that proficiency has a specific meaning when used by ACTFL and in Foreign Language Annals. To avoid confusion, please use proficiency only in instances in which OPI, OPIc, WPT, or AAPPL ratings; the ACTFL Proficiency Scale; ACTFL Guidelines; and other official ACTFL publications or instruments are discussed.
  • The past tense is always used to (1) summarize and report previous research, e.g., “Researchers found that…and concluded that…”; (2) to report how the study was conducted in the Methods section; and (3) to report what was found in the Results section. 
  • The present and future tenses may be used, if appropriate, in other sections of the manuscript.

Please consult the most current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. APA style must be used throughout the manuscript, including all tables, references, and notes. Recent issues of Foreign Language Annals are also good sources of style information.

The following details should receive special consideration:

1. Indentations

Indentation is not used for the abstract or at the beginning of the manuscript body.  However, all subsequent paragraphs in the text should be indented. Research questions may be numbered and the first line of each question indented or, if few in number, research questions may be embedded within the body of the paragraph that immediately precedes the Methods section.

2. Quotations

All quotations, direct or indirect, must be properly cited and include the page number(s) where the quotation can be found in the work quoted. Place direct quotations in quotation marks; verify that they are worded accurately. Use [sic] within a quotation, particularly within quotations from an interview or other transcript, when that quotation does not make use of standard written or spoken language. Note that statistics from other works must also be cited in the text and include the page number(s).

3. Headings and subheadings

Section headings and subheadings are desirable as a means of organizing the text and should be formatted as follows:

a.    flush left and use boldface type and initial capital letters for main headings, e.g., Methods, Results
b.    flush left and use italics and initial capital letters for second-level headings, e.g., Participants
c.    flush left and run into the text, using boldface type and initial capital letters, e.g., Extended Study Abroad. Results showed that….

Use of additional levels of subheadings should be avoided.

4. Numerals

Numbers less than 10 and all numbers that appear at the beginning of a sentence should be written out.

5. Foreign language translations and transcriptions

Any quotation, reference title, or other text appearing in a language other than English must be italicized and translated by the author; the translation should appear in brackets following the text or, for longer translations, below the original text.

a.    I: Nanji desu ka? [What time is it?]
C: Niji. [Two o’clock.]  
b.    For phonetic transcriptions, use the international phonetic alphabet and place symbols in brackets [xx].
c.    For phonemic transcriptions, use the international phonetic alphabet and place symbols between slashes /xx/.

6. Tables and figures

a.    Tables consist primarily of text or statistics presented in list or chart-like fashion. Numerical data used to report or explain research findings are generally presented in a table. The APA suggests that three or fewer data points be presented in a sentence, four to 20 data points in a table, and more than 20 data points in a graph. The APA also recommends that the outcomes of tests of statistical significance (ANOVAs and t tests) be presented within the text, rather than in tables.
b.    Figures include drawings, graphs, and photographs or other exact reproductions of material found elsewhere. (Please observe permissions policy mentioned in Manuscript Components section above, item #6, as well as item #8 below.) Only professional-quality figures in MS Word format are accepted. High-quality originals may be requested upon acceptance for publication.

7. Pagination: Include the page number in running headers or footers on each page of the document.

8. Reprint permissions

Any material published elsewhere or copyrighted by another author or organization must be accompanied by a letter from that publisher and/or authors granting permission to reproduce the material in Foreign Language Annals. The manuscript author is responsible for contacting the copyright holder and obtaining reprint permission as required by the copyright holder. Manuscripts that contain non-original and unauthorized material will be rejected. Note that brief quotations from outside sources (“fair use”) are allowable as long as they are properly referenced. See the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) for more information about the use of copyrighted material.

9. References

Please consult the current version of the APA manual ( for information on how to format references for documents of different types, e.g., anthologies, journal articles, newspapers or newsletters, unpublished material, online sources, and publications with differing numbers of authors. For additional examples, consult recent issues of Foreign Language Annals.

These commonly cited references should be written as follows:

National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project. (1999). Standards for foreign language learning in the 21st century (2nd ed.). Yonkers, NY: Author.

National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project. (2013). World-readiness standards for foreign language learning. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved [please insert the date and year] from

ACTFL. (2012). ACTFL proficiency guidelines [Electronic version]. Retrieved [please insert the date and year] from