Data elicitation protocol

Poster description

Material: a poster from the series: “Hier fällt ein Haus, dort steht ein Kran, und ewig droht der Baggerzahn oder die Veränderung der Stadt” (“Here collapses a house, there stands a crane, and the dredge is always threatening, or, the alternation of a city”) by Jörg Müller, 1976. The poster presents a scene of a historical town centre. It is originally a triptych, which we will be dividing up into three separate pictures. Only the central picture will be subject of the description.

Interviewers: 2 interviewers, of which one will play the role of the naive interlocutor to the learner. The naive interlocutor will later draw the picture described by the learner. He or she is not in the room when the description task is explained by the other interviewer. The interlocutor will only enter the room when the other interviewer has given the below instructions and the learner is ready to start his description. In the case of the most basic second language learners the interviewer that gives the instructions should be a speaker of the learners' native language in order to ensure the learners' comprehension of the instructions and to help them with missing vocabulary.

Instruction: We are going to play a kind of game. I would like you to describe this picture (showing picture) to the person over there who has never seen this picture before (pointing to the naïve interlocutor situated at a spot from where he/she cannot see the poster). While listening to your description, this person will try to draw the picture. Please mention where the objects on the picture are located, otherwise he/she will not know where to draw things on his/her white sheet of paper (the naïve interlocutor shows the white sheet of paper to small children).

Procedure: After the instructions the learner has the picture in front of him. During the description of the learner, the naive-interlocutor tries to draw the picture. If the learner's description isn't clear enough, the naïve-interlocutor may encourage the learner to be more precise, but without asking questions like "Where is X?". If it is necessary to prompt the learner’s production, the interviewer will rather say: "continue", "be more precise", "I need more details", etc. If the learner has problems starting, the other interviewer (not the naive interlocutor) can help out by asking "What can you see on the picture"? or by providing the beginning of the description ("On the picture you can see…").

After the end of the learner's description, children will be shown the picture drawn by the naïve interlocutor.

Film narration

Material: a silent movie for children with a length of approximately 6 minutes.

The film consists of the following scenes: a dog wakes up; gets out of his kennel; sees that it is cold outside (the ground is frozen, there is snow); he slips and falls; he gets back on his paws; calls his master (a little boy); the boy gets his ice-skates and they go skate on the pond together; they have only one pair of skates; each takes one skate and the skate on the ice together; the boy decides that he wants to skate alone; he takes the skate away from the dog and leaves to go skating on his own; the dog is angry and stays on the shore; suddenly the ice breaks and the boy falls into the water; the dog sees it and tries to save him; he finally succeeds in pulling the boy, who is completely soaked, out of the water; he takes him back home; and all’s well that ends well.

Interviewers: at least two interviewers of which one watches the movie together with the learner/learners. The other interviewer, the naive interlocutor, enters the room later. The naive interlocutor is left alone with the learner during the film narration.

In order to make this part of the data elicitation more efficient it is possible to show the movie to a number of learners simultaneously in the presence of one interviewer. Each learner can then sit down with a naive interlocutor to narrate the movie. In this case, a larger number of interviewers should be available, so that they can take charge of more learners simultaneously.

Instruction: The naive interlocutor (who was absent during the viewing of the movie) gives the following instruction: You just saw a movie that I do not know, could you tell me what happened in it?

Procedure: The naive interlocutor tries to intervene as little as possible, but makes sure to provide enough scaffolding for the learner to know that he is following the narration.

Narrative on the basis of a picture sequence

Material: A sequence of 30 pictures as proposed by Christine Dimroth (a task developed specifically for the elicitation of additive particles). The original story, “find out who killed the princess” was altered to “find out who saved the princess imprisoned in the castle’s tower” so as to make the story acceptable for children.

Interviewers: 1 interviewer.

Instructions: The texts provided by the interviewer with picture 1 to 4 are as follows:

Picture 1: Here is the main street of a town. There is a church, a pub, a hardware store (garden centre) and there is a hill with a forest and a castle.

Picture 2: In the tower of the castle there was a princess imprisoned by a mean and nasty witch. On Thursday night however, to the great pleasure of her father the King, the princess was liberated.

Picture 3: There were 2 people in town, Mr. Blue and Mr. Red, one of whom saved the princess. This man then left very quickly so that the King was not able to see who saved his daughter, nor to give him a reward or even to just say thanks. Luckily, you had the chance to observe the two men on that Thursday afternoon, because your window looks out on this part of the street, and you sort of kept an eye on them. Therefore, you will be able to help the King find the person who saved the princess, answering to the following question:

What did Mr. Blue and Mr. Red do on Thursday afternoon?”


Procedure: The interviewer shows pictures 1 to 4 to the learner, accompanying them with the above text. Then, he shows pictures 5 to 30, one by one, and the learner has to answer on the basis of each single picture what Mr. Blue and Mr. Red did on Thursday afternoon. The pictures are turned over only after the learner has produced a comment. If it is necessary to prompt the learner’s production, the interviewer will do so by saying: “what happened?”, “What did they do?” Do not prompt by saying: “What do you see”! If this type of prompt does not suffice, it is possible to give an example accompanying picture 5 such as “Look, Mr. Blue and Mr. Red are in the street”. The pages should be turned in a way that allows the learner to look at the actual picture and the immediately preceding one.