Spring 2018

Document Type

Poster Session




Judy Shepard-Kegl PhD


Wordless books offer a single-source methodology for the crosslinguistic elicitation of both spoken and signed narratives (Chafe, 1974). Yet, Labov (1972), in Sociolinguistic Patterns, argued that the most natural narratives result when subjects are emotionally engaged in their own life stories. We added a twist to the traditional single-source elicitation using Mercer Mayer’s book, Frog, Where are you? (Slobin 2004, 2005), where Deaf subjects, tested in groups, saw each other’s recountings. They embellished each upon the other in a spirit of one-upmanship, rendering richer and more natural narratives with the feel of storytelling in a face-to face tradition. This poster presents the results of transcription (using Elán, an annotation software) and linguistic analysis of two excerpts from this group elicitation (n=4) compared with a single-subject elicitation of the same narrative. The group elicitation yielded a richer and more varied use of options (involving classifiers, Size and Shape Specifiers, role shift, affect marking, facial adverbs, and narrative perspective, including personification), yet worked within the same LSP grammatical constraints in terms of lexical choice, use of space, ordering of ground before figure, perspective, agreement, tense, syntax, and non-manual grammar marking). We present a comparative analysis of elicitation under these two conditions and argue for the group elicitation as a more natural and productive approach to single source elicitation.

Start Date

April 2018

Included in

Linguistics Commons



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